Archive for the Stitches Category

Doodlestitching

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , on August 17, 2018 by suetortoise

I do like making bookmarks. They are small enough not to take too long, big enough to be satisfying, and very suitable as carry-around projects.

They are also great for just doodling with stitches. This one is on 14 count Aida fabric in cross stitch and slanting Slav, with a buttonhole stitch edging. I made it up entirely as I went along, starting with the edging, then positioning my main shapes and finally filling in the smaller shapes and the background grid of cross stitches. That’s a very relaxing way to stitch – no pattern to follow, no pressure. Just do it!

This bookmark was worked with two strands of a fine spun-rayon thread, in white, deep pink and a variegated pink/grey. But it could just as easily have used stranded cotton, silk, or anything that would make a plump cross stitch on this fabric.

Aida is a very ugly fabric, so I made sure I didn’t leave any holes completely unstitched, even though there is quite a lot of ground showing between the spaced crosses. That allowed me to take advantage of Aida’s sturdiness and ease of use, while avoiding its harsh, mechanical look. I used cotton thread for the cord that holds the tassel, for strength. The back was not perfectly neat, as I wasn’t planning ahead, so I backed it with some lightweight iron-on interfacing. I stitched it down around the inside of the buttonhole edging so it won’t pull away if the glue loses its grip over time. 

Another good thing about bookmarks is that they only take a little fabric, thread and time. If they go completely wrong you haven’t lost much and you may well have learnt something useful. You can afford to experiment and try out ideas. I wasn’t expecting this one to ‘work’ – but I’m very pleased with it.

So if you want a little challenge, take a strip of fabric, pick a few colours, decide on few stitches and just design as you go. See what happens when you just relax and doodlestitch. (Warning; this can be addictive!)

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Going for Gold

Posted in Embroidery, museum, Needlework, out and about, Stitches, Uncategorized with tags , , , , , , on March 10, 2018 by suetortoise

Hanny Newton (standing on left) and about two thirds of our workshop group busy with their stitching.

I have just spent the day at an excellent goldwork workshop, here in Shrewsbury.

Hanny Newton is RSN trained. She produces beautiful work: combining technical excellence with fascinating simple design. Have a look on her website – although photography never does goldwork full justice. She’s a very good tutor: inspiring learning by experiment, rather than pedantic coursework, but able to give lots of tips and pointers.

I have never had a great urge to get into goldwork as such – although it is hard not to be a little tempted after today’s workshop. However, this day was focussed on couching, and knew I did need help with that! I’ve let myself down with bad couching when I have wanted to edge silkwork with metal thread (an effect I really love), so I went hoping for help and tips. I wasn’t disappointed. I have come home with lots of good advice about the thread to use (fine passing) and how to get it to sit neatly in place – and to stay there.

We were in a beautifully light room, in the barrel-vaulted attic of a medieval mansion house, part of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. We were one storey above the Corbett Bed, and I think that some benign influence from that feast of stitching percolated up to inspire us.

It was a relaxed and friendly day, everyone enjoyed it and learnt from it. My humble efforts are hardly worth showing here, but I was there to learn, and I hope that I can practice and do better. You can see rather wobbly lines of couching, some playing about with buttonhole stitch as a couching technique (one of the triangles is detached buttonhole stitch) and an attempt to couch down a big twisted cord, going from very visible stitches to hidden stitches. That one was not much of a success (I was getting tired by then), but all the experimenting was valuable.

Thanks to Hanny for an excellent day’s stitching, and to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery for setting it up for us and providing refreshments. More please!

On Friday I am off to Sewing For Pleasure at the NEC in Birmingham. I will be touring the embroidery supplies stands looking for fine passing thread!

Eight-Point Woven Star

Posted in Embroidery, everyday life, Needlework, out and about, science fiction, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , , , on November 22, 2016 by suetortoise

Here’s another interlaced stitch for you to try – you might find it handy for Christmas decorations and cards.

an-8-point-woven-star

The instructions look daunting, and the first few may seem very tricky to work. But once you’ve got the idea, you’ll find the stars quick to stitch. I suggest practising on Aida fabric with a fairly thin thread until you are confident, then you can try working on other evenweave fabric or just using a circle of 8 holes made in thin card. Continue reading

Barred Box Stitch

Posted in Embroidery, Stitches with tags , , on May 21, 2016 by suetortoise

barred box sample complete

I was hoping to be getting on with my Dutch band sampler this weekend: it’s nearly finished at last. But I’ve got a stinking cold so I’m keeping the silk sampler safely out of harm’s way. Instead, here’s another stitch from the Mordvalaisten pukuja kuoseja book for you to experiment with. This one is a good line stitch, more solid than cross stitch. I’m calling it Barred Box Stitch as I don’t know its proper name. It’s a bit like that pencil and paper game of boxes.

Barred Box Stitch diagram

It’s worked in two stages. The first stage is just a row of vertical lines. The second stage completes each box: top, diagonal and base line. It’s more-or less reversible, too. It can be worked on the diagonal, and in various sizes. It’s very straightforward as a line stitch, but working around corners does take a bit more planning and the occasional ‘fudge’ if you want to keep all the diagonal bars lying in the same direction.

barred box sample in progress

The scrolling patterns on the sample are also taken from the same book. Here’s a chart for the pattern. barred box border chart (Click to see full size.)

Glimpse – PART THREE

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Stitches with tags , , , , , , on April 30, 2016 by suetortoise

Here’s the last, and final, part of the instructions for the Glimpse bookmark. If you’ve just joined up, you’ll find PART ONE here and PART TWO here. This time we’ll finish the bookmark, I promise.

Here’s the chart again, to save you having refer back:

glimpse bookmark chart

And this is where we are so far:

window stitches finished

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Glimpse – PART TWO

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Stitches with tags , , , , , , on April 2, 2016 by suetortoise

Okay, you’ve prepared the mesh in Part One, so let’s get going with the filling stitches.

glimpse bookmark chart

Here’s the chart. You can see we have two types of filling, open squares with overcast edges and squares filled with two crossed bars. We’re starting with the filled squares. (I call them “window stitches”, because they look like a child’s drawing of a window.) Use the same colour that you used for the edging stitches. Thread the needle with as long a length of thread as you can manage comfortably, to avoid having to make too many joins.

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Glimpse: a coloured openwork bookmark – PART ONE

Posted in Embroidery, Needlework, Stitches with tags , , , , , , , on January 24, 2016 by suetortoise

Glimpse - a bookmark

I’ve chosen this project as a way of explaining the coloured, counted openwork I have been working on recently, based on the examples in this old book from the Internet Archive. This is my own ‘take’ on the stitching, and is not necessarily the way it was originally done.

I am splitting the bookmark project into two posts. This one covers the materials and tools, and explains marking out, edging and cutting the threads to make an area of mesh. (The same technique works for similar types of embroidery on mesh, so it’s worth learning.) In the next post on this project we’ll do the fun bit – filling the grid with stitches.

Glimpse and threads

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