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 ( 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 ( 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 ( 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  ( 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.


Remember I said we had a house guest? Well we helped a young lady out who needed a place to stay for two weeks…because of circumstances beyond her control that 2 weeks turned into 2 ½ months. I’m sure our Grandson ,who lives with us, would also think twice before asking again…he spent 2 ½ months sleeping in 2 overstuffed chairs and ottoman pushed together in the sitting room of our bedroom.  It was an interesting experience; one I am not sure I would repeat again, but I have learned not to say “Never”.

In the course of having her live with us I visited a couple of nearby thrift shops…you can find some interesting things in thrift shops. My friend who lives in Colorado finds great stuff, I guess I just wasn’t looking that hard. But one day, in the Christmas section (I was giving some thought to this season, not really I was just aimlessly walking around) I saw these two needlepoint ornaments. $1.00 each! I made the comment to my grandson that I hoped my needlepoint never ended up in a thrift store (although I am a realist and realize that it is not Smithsonian bound) and I would come back and “haunt” him if he put any of my needlework in a thrift store.

But to make this a shorter blog…I left these two ornaments there; even though I knew they were good canvases (Lee, I think), stitched with Kreinik threads n probably professional finished at a shop. Then it happened…I thought about those ornaments and how someone had lovingly stitched them for someone, how much time and effort had gone into them …and how now they were laying in a thrift store unwanted. Well, in my mind I made up this fantasy of how they were lost and needed to be rescued and rehabbed. I kept thinking about these ornaments and one day about two weeks later, I happened to be driving by the thrift store and decided to stop and see if they were still there. They were and so I bought them and brought them home. I was going to try and refurbish them, but have decided that I will place them on the tree just as they are to remind me that some things are worth saving and especially people. This must have been my season of rescuing: a young lady in need of a place to stay and these two ornaments.


Merry Christmas to all…

ttfn… …sue