Posts Tagged ‘blanket stitch’

Several years ago when I was doing my silversmithing course, I had an idea about creating a piece where I ‘mended’ a piece of denim with a ‘patch’ of impressed brass. I impressed some brass with a piece of fabric to give it a woven texture, but got no further. Some time later I was revisiting my sketch book from the course and cut out a ‘patch’ which I then drilled all round the edge to take the stitches. Once polished, it stalled yet again.


However, last week I found the perfect piece of denim  – an off cut from a pair of jeans – and with a square of apple wood from my Dad’s shed, the project was back on again.


I cut a section of the denim with one of the iconic seams running through it and frayed the edges. Next I chose some bright red perle thread to stitch the ‘patch’ on. It took less time to stitch the patch down than it had to drill just one of the holes with my bow drill!


Mounted onto the apple wood square…


… and made into an unusual brooch which I’ve listed here.

Some more progress on the bluework too. From this:


To this:


I’ve finished the eyelets at the bottom and completed the leaves and stems on the floral fragment on the right. The leaves and stems are in split stitch, a favourite of mine for filling areas.


I found an image on the internet of a flower where the petals had been created from long blanket stitches and then the top loops of the blanket stitches had been blanket stitched into to give a frilly sort of raised edge, so I thought I’d have a go at that for my next section.


It’s an interesting method, but slightly untidy for my liking! I think I’m going to seed stitch the background so they don’t stand out quite as much.

And in other news, I have just got the silk fabric to add to my linen and wool and I should soon be able to start investigating how to get ‘crocus coloured’ fabric for the start of my Dorian Gray project.

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I learned a lot stitching the samples for the Stitch Play workshop and it wasn’t just adding new stitches to my repertoire.

I know that thread makes a significant difference to how the stitch looks and sits on the fabric, but I don’t often take the time to experiment. Usually, I start stitching, realise it isn’t right for the look I’m trying to achieve, and restitch it in the ‘right’ thread. The samples gave me the opportunity to really explore the different effects of different threads, especially the heavier threads which I tend to use less.

My first sample piece was based on the leaves and flowers pairs I stitched for Sandra and Val in the last round of Travelling Books. I liked the way the satin stitch worked up in the variegated thread and also the effect of the knotty Portuguese Stem Stitch.


After having worked some bigger shapes with multiple stitches used on each, I wanted to showcase smaller shapes with just a couple of stitches used but a different stitch to edge each one for my second sample piece.


I enjoyed using these wintry blues and am particularly pleased with the effect of the sheaf stitch around the edge of the central circle.

I thought it was also useful to label the samples with the name of the stitches used.


Two samples in, I started to look for shapes to include on the worksheet and found some lovely vase silhouettes.


Having worked on finding lots of different edging stitches for the spots piece, I went back to simple blanket and Berwick Stitches to hold the vase shapes down. Then I could go to town on linear stitches to create the bands across the vases. Chain Stitch is the only repeated stitch on this piece.


I really liked the effect of the four legged knot stitch (3rd row up from the bottom).


I looked at my three samples so far and sighed as I realised that once again, I’d stuck to my favourite green and blue palette and each one was stitched in shades of a single colour. I decided that for the last sample I was going to use rows of bright clashing colours. Yeah, right…


I simply couldn’t do it! But at least there are other colours than blue and green going on…

The Guilloche Stitch at the top is a composite stitch, with french knots, stem stitch top and bottom and a threaded thing going on down the middle. It’s a stitch I would never use normally, but it was perfect for the band going along the edge of the cup.


I love the feathered chain/chained feather stitch along the top of the mug and I also reused a few stitches from the vases sample. The raised chain band (5th row down) was worked in all six strands of a stranded cotton, as opposed to the perle on the first green vase (also 5th row down) and the effect is much richer and fuller.

I also found that using a heavier weight perle on the scroll stitch (2nd row down) than I did on the second green vase (also 2nd row down) helped it to sit better.


They were fun to stitch, but I was ready to return to something different by the time the workshop came round!

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This is a project I started with a group of girls whom I call ‘Tall Poppies’. Bright, articulate children who often experience negativity from their peers due to their abilities. Coming out of the classroom to do some sewing gave them chance to chat in a safe place where no one was going to belittle them for being amazing.

I’d seen some lovely little felt pouch necklaces on Pinterest with hidden positive messages and decided that this would be a great project to work on.

I made various templates and they used pinking shears to cut them out of felt. Then I showed them how to stitch on a snap, keeping it as neat as possible on the other side before they created their own designs, largely based on lazy daisy flowers, thinking about the three sections of the pouch and what would be visible when it was stitched up. I always sew alongside them and this is my pouch.


After scattering simple lazy daisies across the lower front, I decided to create a more complex design on the back, nesting lazy daisies inside each other to make bigger petals and adding chain stitch tendrils.


I neatened up the stitches attaching the snap with rings of buttonhole stitch (on the flap)…


…and chain stitch on the underside.


The lining is a scrap of gorgeous hand dyed silk dupion which has been caught down with the blanket stitch along the sides, tiny running stitches along the front edge which you can just see in the photo above, and blanket stitch under the flap.


I’m not sure now about using blanket stitch to sew up the sides and am probably going to take it out and use a neat double running stitch instead.  On the front it looks nice, but I don’t like the effect on the back.


Seeing something through a photo is so good for showing up the issues you don’t seem able to spot with the naked eye.

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The holiday journal is finished and just waiting for me to add some extra papers, pockets etc. to the inside.


Doing blanket stitch so close together took longer than I bargained but I like the effect.

Then I moved onto another one of my samples for my upcoming Embroiderers’ Guild workshop later in the year. Grey on grey felt embroidered in pale blues.


Fly stitched edge, straight stitches in a radiating pattern and french knots:


Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:


And I’ve turned what I think might have been a vintage money clip into an upcycled sea glass pendant. First of all I sawed off the long bit of the clip following the lines of the design at the bottom.


Then I pierced and cut out the middle section with a very fine saw, again following the edges of the design, and leaving three tabs to attach the sea glass to.


A lot of fiddly filing happened next, to really shape the central section and tidy up the tabs before I could set it with a lovely piece of deep turquoise sea glass.


I love using the piercing saw and the fiddlier the design, the better. I really need to get back to making some more of my original jewellery…

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When I went to visit my parents at Easter I spent some time with my dad in his workshop. He turned me a couple of pairs of knitting needles from yew last year…


…and I used one pair to knit him a hat but the knobs on the end were a bit too small and they were a little on the short side so he turned me a version 2:


in lilac wood


with laburnum collars over the ends to make the knobs a better size.


Laburnum is a fabulous wood. Who could have guessed that the small slender trees which rain down their clusters of golden flowers in suburban gardens at this time of the year have such rich dark wood. I’m not sure where my dad has managed to get so much laburnum from, but you can really see the deep colour of the wood and the dark, spiralling grain in a mouse and egg he made years ago.


Anyway, whilst in the workshop, to my dad’s bemusement,  I managed to score an assortment of scraps and offcuts of various woods. This is apple, which he has used to make some gorgeous chopping blocks.


I added some kantha style rusty doodling. (That rusted sheet came from the workshop too, as I remember…)


With some pieces of watch mechanism added…


I think this will probably become a brooch.


Also time I was thinking about upcycling a random notebook – the sort of thing that comes full of gorgeous pictures and inspiring ideas inside glossy lifestyle magazines – into a holiday journal. Usually I just fuse fabric to the inside, but there was more writing on the front than I wanted, so I made a cover sandwich, with fabric inside…


…and outside.


I’ve just started to blanket stitch the edge for decoration, to keep the edges of the fused fabric from flapping up and also for adding strength to the cover.


I’m using a slightly lighter weight perle that I have done before with these journals and so have put the stitches closer together which means I need to concentrate on keeping the spacing neat!

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At our Stitch Club last Saturday I was all set to begin some Ruskin lace work for my last year’s Lake District journal. That was until I realised I’d forgotten to pack a frame. So instead I selected a piece of hand dyed vintage handkerchief, an oddment of slubby thread, a piece of calico to stabilise it and a fine thread to couch with and started to doodle.


It wasn’t entirely aimless. I’m in the middle of some upcycling ideas and one of those was to create a rich jungly background for a single plastic orchid earring and then turn it into a barrette. After I’d doodled the slubby thread all over I added trails of feather stitch over the top in a variegated cotton, made up a pad of felt and pelmet vilene and began to lace the embroidery over it.


Then I stitched on some gorgeous little polymer clay beads – more dangles really – that I’ve had for ages.



Next the orchid went on.


Finally I attached a commercial new barrette clip to a piece of grey felt and blanket stitched it to the back…


…before popping it into my Etsy shop here.


So pleased with it – that earring was just too pretty not to have a new lease of life!

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Next to be used was the yoke of the jumper. I thought about needle cases and then somehow made a leap to the idea of a case to hold stud earrings. For my prototype I cut two rectangles of felted jumper and folded them in half like a simple book. I added a silhouette of a woman’s head out of black felt, stitched it invisibly to the front of one piece and then used some fabulous variegated perle to add a decorative blanket stitch to the edge.

Earring cases 1

An odd earring made the perfect accent and a clue to the use of the case.

Earring cases 2

Once I’d blanket stitched all the way round the edge of the front I machine stitched the second piece in half to make a thick central page…

Earring cases 3

…and then stitched it to the spine with a simple running stitch in the same thread as I’d used for the edging.

Earring cases 4

Earring cases 5

And this is how it works: the studs go easily through the double layer of felted wool, you put the backs on and the soft wool covers protect the front and at the back of the earrings.

Earring cases 6 Earring cases 7

I was really pleased with the way the prototype had turned out and there was enough fabric in the yoke to make another two cases.

Earring cases 8

Earring cases 9  Earring cases 9

I want a closure on each one but I’m not sure what would look best. Any thoughts?

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