Torin Ailfred O’Patrick and Faces

I decided that my little leprechaun needed a name, so I looked up male Irish names and Torin Ailfryd O’Patrick was born. His name means: Chief (Torin) elf counsel (Ailfryd) of noble descent (O’Patrick) or Toppy for short.

I try and remember to take a picture of the canvas I am stitching to use for reference only; after I am done stitching Toppy I will take another picture for my stitched piece notebook. I have been trying to keep track of what I stitch and have been cataloging pieces I find that are not in my files. I wrote about this a couple years ago (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2009/08/29/keeping-track-of-needlepoint/). New needlepoint canvases have a stitch guide to go with them, some have stitches others have just the threads I used listed.

If a needlepoint canvas has a face I usually try to start by stitching it first. Faces give the piece personality and also can give a clue into how the rest of the piece is going to be stitched. I think needlepointing faces can be daunting especially when trying to make the face appear realistic; and I think Basketweave & Continental are best suited to either realistic or interpretational stitching of faces. I have seen a Long & Short stitched face that was lovely; it was executed in 1 strand of silk and I doubt that any stitch was more than 4 threads in length. But for the most part I feel Basketweave and Continental are the best; and very realistic complexions can be stitched using one of several thread blending techniques. Sometimes it is best to stitch the entire face and then stitch the special features over this base; other times stitching the features within the face are more desirable; each canvas should be judged on its own.

The first angel is a Gay Ann Rogers (http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Home_Page.html) tree topper and her face is stitched very simply with just eyes and mouth stitched also; there is no shading, outline or detail.

The next angel’s face is a Brenda Stofft (http://www.brendastofftdesigns.com/) angel class, taught many years ago but such a classic. It is difficult to see in this picture but her shading is delicate and realistic. She was stitches with 4 colors of floss, all in Basketweave and Continental: #1 outlined her face, neck, chin and tip of her nose, #2 filled in on either side of the nose and up into the eye area and also under her chin, #3 was stitched with a needle blending technique using two colors of floss just to give the suggestion of blush cheeks, #4 was the remaining parts of her face.

This Lee  (http://www.newleesneedlearts.com/) Geisha canvas was a real challenge. I wanted her to be as realistic as possible and to have the ivory complexion of the geisha. There are 5 colors of silk floss mostly stitched in Basketweave and Continental with an overlaid and outline stitch: colors 1-2-and 4 were so close in value that I barely could tell them apart when not in their original skein.  #1 is the lightest of the silks used on her face; #4 I knew I was going to outline the face but I also wanted the chin to be defined but not by an outline stitch, so there are continental stitches along the chin area that are thread  needle blended of colors 1 & 4; color #2 is under the chin; #3 is the cheek area and is the same value as color #5 but with a pinkish tint to this color family; # 4 is the outline used around the profile of her face and one stitch into the chin area before the tent stitches were used to suggest the rest of her chin; and #5 is the darkest of the flesh colors stitches over the Basketweave to suggest her lowered eyelid.

Ready –to Go Santa (Beau Jeste canvas/class and another fun face) He just has two colors #1 for basic face and #2 outlines nose and is also used for his cheeks. If this had not been a class, I might have overlaid his nose area with #1 in a horizontal Gobelin.

Back to Toppy’s face. I am stitching his face in Basketweave; stitching over his closed eye, eyebrows and nose areas; his open eye cheeks and mouth are left unstitched. Later this week, Toppy and I will be back with a sparkle in his eye and the details of his face.

Do you name your canvases? So how do you approach stitching canvases with faces? I love hearing what other stitchers do to make stitching their canvases more personal.

Thank you for stopping by and I hope you have time to stitch today!  ttfn…sue

P.S Happy Valentine’s Day too.

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Betty Chen Louis

I am breaking one of my personal rules about commenting on another teacher’s work, especially when I had a small part in its production. I am doing this for two reasons:

#1.  I want to give those of us who do not design an idea of how long it takes a concept to go from rough draft to completion. This is but a small part of the design process.

First is the “Idea phase”; this can be as crystal clear as Stuben Glass (http://steuben.com/index.cfm?&loc=GAWOS1)  or just a vague concept and may take a an hour, day week or month(s).

Next is the “Incubation stage”, this is another time variable; it can be long and arduous or short and to the point. This phase is the “what if” phase. What if I try this technique with this thread? 

Next is the “Execution phase”; this is the one that where you pick chose and try the threads and stitches you have visualized in the “Incubation stage” and hope they work without a hitch. How long does this take…until the designer/teacher is happy with her work.

Next is the “Planning Phase” and I like to tell teachers/designers this should be done in conjunction with the “Execution phase”.  Write down (“Planning Phase”) what you do in the order in which you do it (“Execution phase”.) It helps the designer teacher remember what she/he did when they go to write their instructions and it makes the graphic editor’s job easier too.  If instructions are written as we go about the same time as “execution phase”…If not add an extra week or two.

“Production phase” is when the teacher instructions, student handbook or stitch guide is written, proofed, re-written, re-proofed until it is as good as the teacher/designer feels it can be. This phase also includes photos of the project. Somewhere in this process the teacher/designer usually pilots the piece…tries teaching or allowing someone to stitch the project with the written instructions. Then usually there is more rewrite. Then it is off to the printer…This is about 2 to six months or longer depending on the size of the project.

Even after it is completed at the printer it may take longer to reach you the stitcher…If this is a project that has been submitted as a teaching piece for one of the four major stitching venues; ANG (http://www.needlepoint.org/index.php), Calloway Gardens,  EGA (http://egausa.org/), NAN (http://www.needleart.org/ ; it may not be released until after it has been taught at the event and depending on the popularity of the piece may be chosen by another event and even local guilds.

So, by the time this piece reaches you as a class piece or even a retail piece, it could be a year or years. Remember this when you take a class or buy a “new piece” and one of the threads on the materials list has been discontinued. Your local needlepoint shop or the teacher will usually have a suggested substitute handy.  

So with this in mind, remember in  Jan 2009 (https://sudukc.wordpress.com/2009/01/30/17-days-later/ ) I mentioned great things were coming….it has arrived (http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Small_Cityscapes_For_Sale.html) . Betty Chen Louis is releasing a design and is going to also teach online at Shinning Needle Society (http://www.shiningneedlesociety.com/ ).

See how long it takes for a project from just the planning phase to today!

#2. THIS IS THE MOST IMPORTANT REASON:

In my opinion, Betty Chen is one of the greatest teachers in the needlepoint art community. What an opportunity! I so agree with Gay Ann Rogers:

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SNS_Lounge/message/1620) “I think Betty is the mistress of line and color and if you look at her work you will see why she holds the title. Betty is all about subtlety and transition, about the flow of line and the organization and use of space in a design.”

(http://groups.yahoo.com/group/SNS_Lounge/message/1622) “Here is another opportunity to see more work by the person I think is the best designer/teacher now working in my world of needlework, so don’t miss the opportunity to study her sense of line and color.”

And since I have been compensated and will receive nothing more than the satisfaction and pride of knowing that I was asked to be a small part of this endeavor I am going to extol her greatness shamelessly. I was privileged (And I do mean privileged!) to be asked by Betty Chen to assist her in this project; I was but a drop of sand in this very creative process. I have been needlepointing for well over 40 years and have been a member of the stitching organizations for better tan 20 years. I have known Betty for many years and have always been in awe of her creativity and knowledge.  I have signed up for two of Betty’s classes and got sick one time and was in the middle of a house remodeling the second and so when Betty asked me to help with this project I jumped at the idea.  I even shamelessly suggested I should stitch the project as I did the work. Betty agreed and I was very privileged to receive one on one instruction if I needed.  I would just ask a question to hear her talk.  If you have the time, do not miss the chance to take this class online at Shinning Needle Society (http://www.shiningneedlesociety.com/ )…the only thing better is to have her live in a class! Betty is truly one of the Masters of Needleart, a truly gifted artist, and just a wonderful person at heart.  

And check out Gay Ann’s website (http://www.gayannrogers.com/site_2/Home_Page.html) to see more of Betty Chen’s fabulous work.

Okay, now I broke my rule, BUT it is my rule and I can break it for greatness.

ttfn…sue

P.S. Here are my hearts…I love them! They are a cherished memory of my brief time with greatness.

            

Happy 2009

090101-purple-2 090101-purple-2a

090101-purple-2b

Happy 2009! This is a color study Gay Ann Rogers (http://www.gayannrogers.com/) did for the Shinning Needle Society ( to join go to : SNS_GAR_Classroom-subscribe@yahoogroups.com) on Christmas morning. You were to use three colors of thread: light, medium and dark to experiment with stitches. The left side of the first picture is that study, then I played on the right side. Second and third pictures are close ups of the play. When I first read about this study I was not going to do it but then since I like to have something in my purse for the extra moments in time…stuck on the freeway, waiting for an appointment, etc…) I decided to throw it in a bag and take it along and I also needed a piece to experiment with some finishing ideas. Last night I finished stitching it and sometime today I hope to get to my workroom to work on the finishing.

I am not making resolutions this year, just notes on things I would like to see significant progress in doing or getting accomplished. How’s that for skirting the issue and yet remaining positive.

ttfn…sue