Saturday, December 4, 2010

The Dragon - Part Two (Background)

Leigh Designs Dragon

To summarize what Sandy said about her dragon design yesterday, it is a 13 count canvas that is roughly 20x24 inches in the outside dimensions with a dragon that is about 15 inches wide and roughly 18 inches tall.   She bought Rainbow Gallery's Silk Lame for the wings and Plant Earth Fiber's Silk Opal for the body of the dragon, and is thinking about using Flair for the smoke and flame.  Sandy likes full coverage on her designs and is stitching this for her son.

If you aren't familiar with Silk Lame Braid, it is a silk thread twisted with metallic.  It comes in two sizes (13 and 18) for those sizes of NP canvas.  (Sandy, did you buy the 13 size for your canvas?)  It's a very pretty but tender thread that will abrade going back and forth through NP canvas, so short lengths work better. You shouldn't try to use 13 sized Silk Lame on an 18 count canvas unless you don't have any other good thread option for the effect you want.

Silk Opal is a silk thread from Planet Earth Fibers that looks like Vineyard Silk except it has a metallic fiber woven in with the silk.  It looks more like wool than Silk Lame does and there's not as much metallic in it, but it is pretty much the same sort of thread -- a mix of glitter and silk shine.  Unfortunately there aren't any photos on the Plant Earth website yet as this is a new thread, but I found some good closeups on the Gone Stitching website.

The first thing I do when I start planning the stitching of a painted canvas is think about how it will be finished.  Sandy, are you going to frame this?

If so, it helps to know the standard sizes of frames.  It is a lot cheaper to buy a frame already made than to have one custom made.  Luckily, 20x24 inches is a standard framing size.

If a mat is desired, it looks like a standard size is 16x20.  This is important because a) standard mats are cheaper and b) this helps Sandy know how much background to cover.  With the dragon roughly 15 inches wide by 18 tall, a mat this size will work.  If she is indeed going to frame this, knowing how much background will show is important.  Sandy can measure out a paper rectangle that is 16x20, cut it out, and use the background paper to mark where the background needs to stop.  I often do this by taping my background paper pattern on a sunny window, then taping the canvas on top.  After that it is easy to put a dot with a fabric marker at all four corners on the canvas to show where to stop the background because you can see the paper pattern through the canvas on a sunny day.

Once I know how something is finished, I generally work on the background next.  Sandy, whether you are going to frame this or not, I need you to pick a color that looks good with the colors of the dragon.  I imagine ecru, blue, red or green or perhaps orange or purple would set off the colors well, but this is something you have to pick because you have the real canvas and can match colors better.  I'm thinking floss (either silk or cotton) for the background thread because we can do a beautiful background in floss that will be different enough from the Silk Opal and Silk Lame threads you have for the dragon that it will set him off nicely.  If you hate working with cotton or silk floss, however, let me know and we can make other plans.

Sandy, please let me know whether you plan to frame the dragon and if you wanted to use a mat.  We can do a stitched frame like SharonG does if you like that look.  Here are examples:

SharonG also stitches a very beautiful faux bamboo border on some pieces.

Just let me know how you plan to finish the dragon, if you want to use a mat and whether you liked a stitched border.   I also would like to know what color you want the background to be and some idea of a floss brand you'd like to use there.  Then we can talk background stitches.

Written by Jane/Chilly Hollow Blogging at Archived Yahoo 360 postings at