Hello Everyone -
I am sorry that I have had writer’s block, a busy life and lots of belts to paint lately. I promise that I am going to get much better about giving this blog the attention I should.
First, I want to thank Jane at Chilly Hollow Needlepoint for mentioning me in her blog. I was surprised and shocked and oh so flattered and thrilled all at the same time. I must admit, I am not intimidated by finishing or painting and certainly not teaching people, but for some reason, writing doesn’t come as easily to me. I guess that is because I love the interaction with people and the conversation that ensues. However, I am going to get much better about blogging on a more regular basis :-)
Ok, now onto the topic of Santa and his beard.
The face of a Santa and his beard are important in any needlepoint piece because they bring life to the Santa. A well painted face is worth every penny! A friend of mine always taught me to stitch the Santa’s face first, because then he is real. The beard on the other hand can wait. I often do the beard last so that the threads don’t get rolled in my scroll and the threads flattened.
Everyone is always asking for stitches for a beard, mostly because if you stitch Christmas pieces, chances are you run out of ideas for a beard stitch. The simple long random split stitch in burmilana is always an old stand by of mine. I like the brightness of the white burmilana for a beard.
Some other great stitches to use for beards are :
French knots on a stick are easy and quick. I start about 4 or 5 threads from the bottom and bring my thread up, then go down to the bottom of the beard and wrap my needle for a knot and plunge at the bottom of the beard. I continue this process laying in rows of knots, making sure my last row has long stitches at reach from the top of the beard down to that row.
French Knots are a great choice as well, especially when done in different fibers. For this piece, there was so much sparkle in the brim of the glass, so I chose Vineyard Silk in bright white. It has just the shine I was looking for but no sparkle.
For this Santa, there was such a vertical feel to the coat, so I wanted to do a horizontal stitch for the beard. This is a play on a bargello stitch, unfortunately, the name escapes me at this moment. I like the way it neutralizes the vertical feel of the piece. Whisper is the thread used for this one, just fuzzy enough.
Some other stitches to consider would be Double Brick, Double Hungarian, Double Hungarian Ground, Horizontal Parisian, Long Upright Cross and many more. When you are trying to figure out which to choose, look at the canvas from a slight distance and see what the movement of the piece is – diagonal, vertical or horizontal, then choose a stitch that changes the direction from the most prominent feel of the piece. It may not always work, but it will make you think outside of your box for a bit.
That’s all for now, until next time….