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Posts Tagged ‘running stitch’

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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Our branch of the Embroiderers’ Guild is having an exhibition at the end of June and a week last Saturday was the deadline for handing in completed pieces of work from the last couple of years to the organisers. We had very helpfully been given a list of all the meetings and workshops to jog our memories so I went down the list, annotating each one as to whether I hadn’t been at the meeting, hadn’t finished it or if it was finished, where it was. There seemed to be two main outcomes – didn’t finish, or made into a card and sent to somebody! The only finished pieces I could lay my hands on for the last two years were my faux driftwood piece…

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…the Chris Gray amulet…

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…and the Brazilian embroidery rose I’d made up into a card but not sent because I couldn’t bear to part with it!

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So it ended up a busy week, so busy that I forgot to photograph both the nuno felting which I turned from this:

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…into a simple seascape and a piece of the paper stitching we did with Alice Fox recently which I mounted as a card.

The kantha fish…

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…was the first to be finished by stitching him onto a piece of indigo dyed fabric with rows of running stitch that merged into the kantha and then mounting over a 7 x 5 inch canvas.

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I also finished a selection of little stitched fragments for my Alice Fox book.

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But the really big finish was my English paper piecing. I get bored easily with the piecing process and when we did the workshop, I chose small equilateral triangles – probably not the best shape in the circumstances! At the end of the day I had a pile of triangles in shades of browns and indigo and absolutely no idea what to do with them.

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Seeing the workshop on the list I wondered if it was even possible to finish the project, but I had what promised to be a lengthy committee meeting that week and repeatedly stitching together triangles looked like the perfect way of passing the time. It was: by the end of the meeting I had all the finished triangles stitched together and an idea very firmly in my head.

Without using half triangles the shapes you can make with equilateral triangles are rather limited, so I created a diamond which I planned to stitch onto this gorgeous piece of hand dyed indigo with some quilt wadding in between and a plain piece of indigo dyed cotton for the backing.

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My trusty Frister and Rossmann coped easily with quilting through all the various layers along the lines of the triangles.

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Then I joined a number of strips of woodland themed fabric in three different brown colourways to get enough and had a go at a tutorial I found online (where else?!) for adding a binding with mitred corners as you go. It worked!!

 

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I tidied the ends up, wrote (no time to embroider) a label…

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…added a hanging sleeve and couched some glittery thread around the edge of the diamond to hide the line where I had machined it down. In hindsight and with more time I would have appliqued it invisibly to the top.

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From a handful of triangles…

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…to a mini quilt…

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…in about three days. I still can’t believe it!

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I’ve had flu for the first time in years and it’s been a bugger to shift, so my involvement at last Saturday’s Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild meeting was limited to sneaking in half way through the afternoon to hand over Val’s Travelling Book and pick up Sandra’s, staying by the door and keeping my germs well out of the way. Everyone looked like they were happily stitching though, so I hope a good time was had by all.

For Val’s book page I worked a piece inspired by the work of Sue Spargo. I bought some gorgeous heavyweight pure wool felt before Christmas and cut simple leaf shapes in a soft green to go on a cream ground. I wanted to use the uncluttered shapes to showcase the embroidery, particularly new stitches.

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Then I got out a whole pile of books on embroidery stitches and started to stitch! The blanket stitch round the outside of the first leaf is actually called Berwick Stitch in the book I used and is a blanket stitch with a sort of added french knot where the needle enters the background fabric. Very nice to work and the knot gives a lovely finish. Then a row of running stitch and the dark green is twisted chain.

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After I’d worked the line of twisted chain I felt the gap was too big between it and the running stitch, so I added a row of split stitch in variegated perle. Inside the twisted chain I stitched a row of whipped running stitch before finishing it off with a row of closed fly stitch.

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Leaf two was held down with Knotted Buttonhole Stitch. It’s a lovely looking stitch but working the knots at the start took a bit of practise. Then a neat row of chain inside that.

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I wasn’t happy with the lone line of running stitch on the first leaf so at this point I went back and whipped it. Much better.

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Back to leaf two and courtesy of Mary Thomas, Portuguese Knotted Stem Stitch. Another new stitch to me and a gorgeous one (once I’d got the hang of the tension). I really like the way this sits on the fabric.

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The inside was finished with stem stitch, back stitch and Pekinese stitch.

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I mounted it up into the book and added my inspiration page which included a printout of a photo of the leaves labelled with the different stitches.

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This was a complete joy to stitch and a lot of fun finding new and interesting stitches to add to the old favourites.

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We spent a wonderful day at The Eden Project during our holiday. I’ve been before but it was all as fresh and new and even more awe-inspiring this time round. So as a textile response, did I soar to the heights of the tree canopy in the rain forest biome?

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Quite the reverse, but very much in keeping with the Eden ethos, I feel. 

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Near the den building area, one of the friends we went with found a chunky, heavily rusted washer on the grass. Knowing how much I love things like this, and the rustier the better, he picked it up for me.

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I had some rusted soft cotton with me and a scrap of fine, floaty silk in a pale rust colour. They went together beautifully and the washer was attached with long straight stitches in hand dyed turquoise stranded silk thread.

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I did needle weaving around some of the bars and buttonhole stitched others to vary the density of thread to washer.

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Then fly stiches around the outside, lining them up with the straight stitch spokes of the washer…Eden rusty washer 4

…and meandering lines of running stitch in a rusty coloured stranded cotton radiating out from the point of the fly stitches to the edge of the fabric.

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A thing of beauty from a used and discarded object.  A tiny, tiny echo of the ethos of the Eden Project.

 

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Saturday was Scunthorpe Embroiderers’ Guild Showcase – Open Day and a wonderful event it was too, from the hall packed with embroidery displays, sellers’ stalls and tables to sit and drink tea and eat cakes to the two inspirational workshops.

I wasn’t able to attend the morning one but was looking forward to the afternoon workshop “A small garden journal” with Christine Plummer. I wasn’t too sure about the advertised machine embroidery element, not being a sewing machine user, but I loved it and although I didn’t quite finish the cover or the making up, this is what I brought home:

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As you can see, I ended up with a fair amount of machine stitching!!

The process was fascinating. At the bottom, and mostly hidden by the layers, is a garden themed magazine photo. We then ironed a piece of vilene onto the back to stabilise it…

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…and stuck down strips of ready prepared brusho dyed papers and bits torn from magazines across the image to alter it. Then I ripped strips of organza and machine stitched them across the image using a straight stitch before I started to hand stitch into the piece.

Going back to the sewing machine to reattach a piece of organza that was flapping, I discovered that the stitch had been changed to one of the pre-programmed stitches only after I’d started stitching. It was a lovely effect and with a very little investigation, I discovered how to change the stitch.  I know this must make me sound a real techno-phobe but as the only sewing machine I use will be 100 in about 13 years, it’s all a bit new.

But I pick up things quickly and then there was no stopping me!

You can see some of the torn magazine photos (the spiky shapes) just to the right of the turquoise stars. The chain stitch will be finished and threaded with a thicker thread but I’ll be taking the threaded running stitch on the right out and redoing that bit.  

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I love the satin stitched leaf pattern and used it several times. Also the flower and vine pattern, to which I want to add some hand stitching and beading.

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The meandering running stitch and flat turquoise beads worked well too. I really like the contrast between the machine and hand stitching and the crescent shaped swags were another good find.

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Hand and machine feather stitch and another blank space. I really like the paper behind it, so not sure whether to leave it plain or not. I might just whip the machine back stitch with some toning metallic filament. 

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We also had some yummy packs of wonderful papers in the same toning colour range, including a piece for the endpapers, pages with different sizes and flaps, tags etc. all to be added. 

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It’s put together with a simple pamphlet stitch binding so I wasn’t worried about not assembling it at the time.  I’m going to add in some more pockets and envelopes and it’s going to be my Cornish holiday journal for this year. We’re going away with friends so less chance to sew and this will be perfect for fragments, scraps and ephemera.

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I love paisley shapes – one of my favourite parts of my North Cornwall Wallhanging is this little paisley design:

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So after the first failed attempt to attach a reticulate brass disc with shisha stitch I decided to embroider a paisley design with the disc at its centre. I used a design I’d found on the internet that I liked and because the sapphire coloured silk I was using was too dark for me to mark the design onto it, I stitched three elements straight through the paper: a yellow silk split stitch inner shape, running stitch (to whip later) in the middle and yellow silk french knots round the outside.

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The stitches were close enough to have perforated the paper really densely so it was very easy to remove and I could begin to fill in the gaps. with more french knots…

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…chain stitch…

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…and feather stitch.

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I tried the disc in place but with everything else following the paisley shape, it looked wrong, so I cut a piece of reticulated brass to match the central shape.

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Laid in place to get an idea of the finished piece.

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Just some french knots to add, the brass to attach and the finishing to do.

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I’ve changed my mind about these ‘shishas’,  cut from reticulated brass, several times.

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I originally wanted to attach them with shisha stitch but my first attempt failed and then I decided a brass paisley shape would work better than a round one in the middle of the paisley design I’ve been stitching so they’ve been waiting in my box of treasures for the eureka moment.

I was spring cleaning one of my many sewing boxes and a scrap of gold shot greenish blue organza came to light. It was sheer enough for the detail of the brass discs not to be obscured when I laid it over them and it was there that the eureka moment happened.

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I realised that I could sandwich the discs between the organza and another fabric and stitch around them to trap them in place. So after another trawl, I found this fantastic hand dyed silk in purples, blues and turquoises, and when I layered the elements up it made me think of scattered doubloons from a wreck, lying in dappled sunlight on the sea bed.

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Especially when you see the effect of full sunlight on that organza.

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I used lines of running stitch in gold Gutermann machine thread, which I find is very resilient to hand stitch, to trap the discs between the fabrics. And one long, hot committee meeting later…

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…the doubloons were finished.

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The whole thing measures about 4 x 3 inches; the biggest piece I’ve created from my metalworking, so the next thing is to decide whether to finish it as a brooch or a pendant.

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