Create Eye Sparkles in Cross Stitch
Little Stitches That Make a Big Difference!
Before you read on, take a look at these two images of a cross stitched wolf from our Portraits of the Wild Life cross stitch pattern. Can you see a difference? Do you like one better than the other?
I like the wolf on the right. He looks brighter and more alive to me. The difference? Two itty-bitty white stitches on the pupils. That’s it! Those are the “sparkles” in the wolf’s eyes.
When light shines on real eyes, they sparkle. We may not consciously be aware of it, but it makes a difference. Artists are taught to add similar marks to paintings and drawings, and they are just as effective in needlework.
In The Lord of the Rings movies, one way Galadriel is set off from the other elves is by the light that reflects in her eyes. Designers built a special light, made of Christmas lights, rather than a single bulb, to use for her close-up shots. The effect is a bunch of shimmering sparkles in her eyes. She appears brighter, or lighter, than the other elves. Now, did I notice that the light in her eyes was different when I watched the movie? Nope! But I did get the impression that she was special, light, ethereal.
It’s a cinch to make two itty-bitty white stitches on a pupil, but getting them to look just right can be a trick. If there are two eyes (a straight-on image rather than a profile), the sparkles need to coordinate—to appear as though they come from a single light source. And more than that, they need to be a similar size and placed well. How do you do that? Well, I’ll tell you: I don’t know. I stitch and rip until I get a look I like! Trust me, you’ll know when you’ve got something that works.
So there you have it. Next time you stitch a person or animal, even if the pattern doesn’t include them, stitch sparkles in the eyes and see what happens. If you’ve got some white, sparkly metallic fiber, give that a go.
Don’t judge a stitch by its size; sometimes a small stitch has a big impact.