UPDATED: July 27, 2018
As you can see above, the shadow stitching piece is done.
I like the Shdow Stitching effect, but I really want to talk about another technique, one my DH christened “Sketching with Thread.”
Often we are attracted to a hand-painted canvas because of the delicacy of the lines, they are so compelling. But stitch the canvas and all of a sudden those delicate lines become thick, solid and often dotted.
For several reasons:
First, needlepoint stitches have a slant. If you keep the slant the same no matter the direction of the line, you will get solid lines in one direction and lines of dots in the other.
Second, in an unstitched canvas all lines will look thinner because there is the white space of the holes. Once a canvas is stitched the holes are filled.
So how to preserve the delicacy of the lines even after stitching?
First, thin the thread. While most of the leaves are stitched usiing four strands of floss, most of the darkest green is stitched using only two strands. Even in the parts where there are solid lines, the lines are thinner and more delicate. This allows those lines to be a transition between the thicker four floss lines and the very thin straight stitch lines using two strands.
Second, over stitch with thin threads. The veins of the leaves are stitched with single straight stitches using two strands. These are quite thin and because the canvas underneath is completely stitched, no paint shows. You can, as I did, just make up the stitching, or you can photocopy the canvas before you do the solid stitching to follow where the lines go.
I used this technique extensively on the bird to capture the fine details on the feathers. If two strands is too thick, use a thread that is a single strand but the same thickness. Want it even thinner? Use a single strand of floss, one strand of many silks, or even sewing thread.
Finally, change the slant of the stitch. To preserve the solid line, even if it’s thin, change the slant so that the line stays solid.
This piece was tons of fun and it accomplished what I wanted. Many years later, it’s still one of my all-time favorites.