Thursday, 15 January 2015

Needle sculpting paws part 2 - feet.

As with paws, we start with a needle threaded with perle thread (don't use stranded embroidery thread, it's not strong enough) and we take our 2 feet and decide which will be left and which right, in this example I'm doing the right foot.  Insert the needle half way along the instep seam, coming out at the centre front, where the the toe meets the sole.
Go back into the same point, splitting the thread to lock it, as we did with the hands, and come out in the centre of the sole, about one third of the way towards the heel.  Flex the foot as you go through it, 'scooping' a little extra stuffing with your needle, so the thread ends up going in a curve through the foot when you pull it up, this will pull a little more stuffing into the toe, creating a more cushioned effect.
Take a teeny stitch in the sole, as we did with the paws, and bring your needle out either in the seam joint where you started, which gives you simple pads on the sole only, or, as in this example, in the centre front seam of the foot, about where it starts to curve, to create a 'claw'. 
Lay the thread in position (it should sit neatly in the slight dent at the centre front) and insert your needle exactly in the tiny stitch in the centre of the sole, and bring it out in the foot/sole seam where you want the first side 'claw' to sit,
Repeat the process for the first side claw/toe, pulling just enough to create a pad on the sole, but not to ruckle the fabric.
Then do the third toe/claw in the same way.

When you are completing the thisrd one, bring your needle out in the centre front seam junction where you started.
I like to sculpt an instep, too, so the foot is properly foot shaped! If you don't want to do this, you can finish by just doing the same thread splitting stitch and taking your needle out at the heeel, where you pull slightly, snip, and the end will disappear into the foot.  If you do want to shape an instep, do the thread splitting stitch again, to lock your work in place, bringing your needle out in the same place where you first inserted it in to the foot, in the instep seam about halfway between the toes and the heel.
To sculpt the instep, put your needle back into the same point on the seam (a thread or 2 away, else it will just pop back in, it needs some threads to cling to!) and come out about 2 thirds across the sole, a little up from straight across.
Pull really firmly - not hard, you don't want to snap the thread, just sculpt the fabric & stuffing! then lay the thread over to the same point in the instep seam, put your needle in there again, and bring it out through the sole, not quite so far across, and at about 45 degrees to the upper instep stitch.
Pull through, again fairly firmly, and put your needle back into the same point of the instep seam, bringing it out 2 or 3 threads beyond the end of the first instep stitch.
Now put your needle precisely into the very end of the first instep stitch an d back out in the instep seam.
Pull firmly, and you will have a neatly shaped foot. Finish by going back into the instep seam one more time, bringing your thread out at the heel/sole junction, pulling slightly  and snipping the thread.
One right foot! Repeat mirror imaged for the left foot, and you have a full complement of limbs.

And here is my completed bear, called 'Burns Night" ready to dance a reel as the haggis is serenaded in!  I hope you have fun trying this, if you want a bear to stand firmly by itself, weighting the feet with a little steel shot, and sculpting them like this, gives it the same advantage we have - almost tripod shaped feet!

Pulling toes and paw pads. Part one

 I shall start with paws/hands, as they are simpler than feet. Having threaded your needle with perle embroidery thread, insert into the underarm seam at the wrist, and come out in the centre of the seam where the middle of the 'hand' would be, draw through till the last bit of thread just disappears into the wrist seam.

Now insert the needle through the the seam, splitting the thread(to lock the thread in place) and bring it out in the centre of the 'palm'.
Pull gently through, then insert  the needle a couple of threads away from its exit point, to one side, and take through to tht back of the 'hand' to the point you want the thread to appear I usually do it about half the distance from the seam than it is on the palm. Draw through gently.

Pull gently, to create a slight 'pad', then lay the thread over the the end of the hand, where you want it to define the paw pads, and put the needle in exactly in the point in the palm where you did the tiny stitch, exiting in the seam where you want the next division to be. Pull through firmly but not tightly - too tight and you will create rucks in the fabric.

Again, go back through the same point in the seam and out where you want the 2nd division of the palm to be - I usually do do it just a bit closer to the centre stitch than half way. Pull just enough to create a slight indentation in the seam at that point.

Again, go back through to the back of the hand from a couple of threads to one side of your exit point, and pull just enough to create a slight cushion.

Lay your thread over carefully, sitting in the slight notch in the seam line, and insert your needle in the tiny palm stitch, bringing it out again in the seam on the other side of the centre stitch where you want the next division to sit.

Repaet the process for the final pull/claw.

As you finish the last claw, bring your needle out in the paw seam at the centre, where you started, then go back into the same point, splitting the thread again to lock it, and bringing your needle out at the 'elbow', where you can pull it a little tight and snip the thread, so the end disappears.

Ta-dah! Finished paw, which should curve in slightly, ready to cuddle!

I must add, this is just the way I have worked out how to do it, i don't say this is the 'right' way to do it! It's just what I've worked out from needle sculpting dolls and doing a little bit of stump work embroidery when I was at college, if anyone has anything useful to add to my knowledge, I'm all ears!