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Posts Tagged ‘chain stitch’

I’ve just started teaching a monthly embroidery class at Jaylaurs, a fabulous fabric and sewing shop in the nearby small market town of Brigg. I worked with three lovely ladies at the end of last month, all of whom enjoyed experimenting with some new stitches and I hope that they and some others will come along to the next one on the 30th of November. I created some more Stitch Play samples using more basic stitches, mainly based round running stitch, chain stitch and split stitch…

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…but it was the more complex stitches like knotted buttonhole stitch, Pekingese Stitch and feather stitch that they wanted to try out!

Jayne, who runs Jaylaurs, asked me to create some purse flyers to give to people who expressed an interest in the classes and while looking for some suitable images and ideas I found some work I had done as examples of lessons I taught to Y5s and 6s a few years ago based on couching and whipped and threaded variants of running stitch.

They had been doing some batik and I wanted to get them to embellish some of their test pieces. This one is my sample piece with simple leaf shapes.

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I had just bought a load of fancy threads for textile work and threaded and whipped running stitches were great ways of using threads that were far too thick and slubby to be used to stitch with themselves. The chenille thread on the left works particularly well.

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The other sample was again to use the fancy threads, but this time couching them down in various patterns.

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The thread with the fluffy ‘flags’ was very fine, so I remember couching it down backwards and forwards along the line to build up a thicker layer and seeing where the ‘flags’ fell as I worked along the thread. I hadn’t planned it, but they seemed to always end up together in clumps!

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And then I found this: an early bit of found object work, using various bits and pieces that I had picked up around school. It includes an odd stud earring (flanked by two short screws) that was never claimed after PE and finally found its way into the school piano and a broken trouser fastener (centre) kindly donated for use in the piece by the lad in my class at the time. His trousers had suffered a catastrophic fail as a result of an overenthusiastic tackle in football at break and he spent the rest of the day in his PE shorts. The fastener was recovered from the playground following the incident.

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A bit of fun and some good memories of some of the amazing children I have taught over the years.

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After September’s AGM, Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild were back with needles in hand for our October Meeting, which is designated ‘Friendship Day’ in memory of the members we have lost over the years. It’s usually an all day workshop and often, as last Saturday’s was, run by our talented members.

This year, a small group led by Val introduced us to the world of embellished seam treatments and crazy quilting. I have done a fair bit of crazy patchwork, but I only ever use feather stitch along the seams and for me, it’s the embellishment of the patches which is the focus. My patches are also raw edged, unlike the neat seams of crazy quilting, so I was looking forward to doing something a bit more precise than my usual method of working!

It was a busy weekend on the am dram front as I organised both our annual Hallowe’en costumed trail at the local museum on the Friday and our first ever Spook-tacular Scare Walk in the grounds of Normanby Hall on the Sunday, so I grabbed the brown and indigo left overs from the Indigo Diamond quilt I made last June, a handful of toning threads and I completely forgot to pick up any needles! Thanks to Debbie for letting me scrounge some of hers.

First job was to cut three pieces of fabric and to stitch them onto a calico backing. As the block only consisted of three sections, we stitched the seams by hand, which was nice quiet repetitive work, especially when you can chat to friends while you’re doing it. As well as the blue and brown I also picked up one of my rust dyed fabrics for the third colour.  All ready to embellish the seams.

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I wanted to echo the curved lines in the rusted piece, so I used a cotton reel to trace half circles along my first seam, alternating between the blue and the rust, and used a heavy almost corded cotton thread in rusty browns to cover it in chain stitch.

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The thread was almost too heavy to use, but I love the effect.

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Next, to take it a bit further. I wanted something fan-like in the semi-circles so I decided on buttonhole wheels.

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Nice idea, but not happy with the execution. The wheel was a bit uneven, so I tried to hide it by filling the middle with a smaller, woven buttonhole wheel. Then I stitched the second one (on the right) and it came out much more like I had imagined.

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So the first one is in the process of coming out!

It was a lovely workshop. We constructed our blocks in the morning, leaving the afternoon for the creative fun of developing the seam treatments and there were some gorgeous results.

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Really looking forward to finishing this piece now Hallowe’en is out of the way!

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I was very taken with an article in Stitch magazine some years ago (still available online as a downloadable PDF, I’ve just discovered, with a little light googling) about making something called a bushkiri bag from a folded embroidered square of felt. After doodling a design, I stitched one with cotton perle threads on felt.

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It was a nice little project for children and I taught it a few times at school. When I cleared out my sewing things I found I had a few partly worked pieces left, so thought they would be fun and straightforward to stitch while we were on holiday over half term.

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This one had the central woven spider’s web, an off centre line of running stitch and  some of the radiating wiggly pink lines already stitched, so I just evened those elements up, added some chain stitch, lazy daisy stitch and blanket stitch fans in the corners…

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…and blanket stitched a piece of grey poly cotton to the back for a lining.

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The pink one just had a diagonal line of large wobbly running stitches, so I took that out and made it neater before finishing it as whipped running stitch in the cafe at Honister slate mine.

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I also managed plenty of plein air stitching at Stagshaw Garden, with a blaze of azaleas behind me…

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…and a gorgeous view of Windermere in front.

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Despite the midges, I stitched happily on…

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…adding alternate rows of chain and whipped running stitch.

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This one just needs a lining and then I can start on the lighter blue one. It already has a square drawn in the middle so I think I’ll probably go with that and develop it into a pattern of overlapping squares.

Some nice, steady holiday stitching.

 

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Work of course. First a quick update on the current state of the bluework. Not an awful lot, but from this: DSCN8921to this:

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The bunches of flowers across the foot are completed – the far right one needs a bit of tweaking to give it the same balance of light and dark as the others…

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…and I’ve added a partial folk art style flower to the bottom right section.

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I’m working some pulled thread samples as well. I love pulled thread work and was itching to do some again. I bought some large self covered buttons from a charity shop recently and was toying with the idea of covering them with pulled thread work backed with bright pops of silk.

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However, the linen I’m using is too thick to gather properly, so I’m toying with other ideas. I still like the idea of silk behind though.

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Something to experiment with in odd moments.

Lastly, I’ve found a perfect match for a piece of embroidered felt I found when I was sorting through some samples I’d made for felting lessons at school. I added a vintage brooch setting and taking this section out of a bigger (and very busy) piece actually looked better than the whole.

The leaves are an earlier version of the more tightly closed fly stitch leaves I’ve been using recently and they help to frame the lazy daisy flowers with their french knot middles.

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It’s in my Etsy shop here.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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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.

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

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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…

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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…and chain stitch on the underside.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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

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Feather stitch edging with a chain stitch spiral:

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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