Nothing Like a Fur Coat in August

I'm sure all of our beloved four-legged friends would love to not have fur coats right about now, so let's honor them by talking about stitches that are perfect for animals!  The month of August is dedicated to stitches for animals.  

Before I share today's stitch, I have a confession.  While I agree there are no true rules for needlepoint, I admit I have a very strong opinion about stitches for anything with a face.  I truly believe Plain Needlepoint is the way to go with all faces, whether they are human or animal.  I can and do fun body stitches, but I believe the face needs to represent the animal's (or person's) face, with all the shading that conveys its personality and expression.

The best examples are Vicky Sawyer's animals.  She has back stories for all of her paintings and she is very particular about what personality or emotion her animals are expressing.  You can see exasperation, joy, shyness, and many other emotions in the animals' faces.  Take a look next time before you begin stitching.  It may make you reconsider how you approach their faces.

Okay, with that aside, let's get to the good stuff. Today's stitch offers two versions of a tied Gobelin stitch.   These stitches are great for chests, wings, or legs, especially when you want to add a directional element.

The first is a narrow version.

And the second is a wider version. 

For animals, my instinct is to use two matte threads with similar color values.  A few plies of Lorikeet (a gently overdyed stranded wool) with a solid colored single ply thread would make a great combination.  For certain areas, such as bird wings, the yellow line could be a lightweight metallic.  This is where Kreinik stands out, as they offer (at least) four different weights.  The Kreinik metallics also add a small textures and the thread retains its "round" shape.  

This stitch also makes great greenery.  The stitched sample on Instagram is a bush from a soon to be released Melissa Shirley piece.

These stitch diagrams, along with all other #whimsicalwednesday and #smallspacesunday stitch diagrams, can also be found on a Pinterest board here.

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If you like what you see on this blog, want to learn some very creative decorative stitches, and how to put them all together, sells stitch guides for seasonal Melissa Shirley designs.  27 guides are currently available and more are in the pipeline.