For many stitchers, designs that have outlines are among the most perplexing to stitch. In this guest post from Brenda Stimpson of Needlepoint for Fun, learn three great ways to deal with these canvases.
Some handpainted canvases have thin outlines around some of the features on them, and people often ask us if they are supposed to stitch these lines. Here’s a canvas with the type of outlines I am talking about.
There are a few ways you could approach this:
- ‘Pretend’ the outline isn’t there and don’t stitch it in at all. In some cases this would work fine, but on the canvas pictured above the outline serves to separate the various anatomical areas of the dinosaur. The artist could have used shading or color changes to do this but, here, an outline was used. So, it really does need to be stitched in somehow. But, you will notice that the outline is very fine so if you were to use option number 2…
- Use a Tent Stitch to stitch in the outline. This will give you a thicker line, which might work well on a large canvas, but on a small piece like this dinosaur design a black line of one Tent Stitch in width will probably overwhelm the piece. Also, doing it this way won’t give you a smooth line, as Tent Stitches don’t curve well.
- Use surface embroidery. If I were to outline the dinosaur and other features in the design above, I would use a single strand of cotton, i.e. 1 or possibly 2 strands of 6-stranded cotton floss, and stitch the outline in at the end as surface embroidery using a Backstitch or a Whipped Backstitch (great for smoothing out curves). In order to do this, you would probably want to take a photograph of the canvas before you stitch it so you can see where these fine outlines are, because you will be stitching over them before you stitch them in again at the end.
I hope this gives you some ideas and ways to approach stitching outlines if they appear on your canvas.