Posts Tagged ‘running stitch’

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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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.


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


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.


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?

Eden Project rainforest biome

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

Eden rusty washer 1

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.

Eden rusty washer 2

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.

Eden rusty washer 3

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

Eden rusty washer 5

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.

Eden rusty washer 7

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:

Garden journal cover 1

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…

Garden journal cover 2

…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.  

Garden journal cover 3

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.

Garden journal cover 4

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.

Garden journal cover 5

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. 

Garden journal cover 6

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. 

Garden journal cover 7

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:

North CVornwall wallhanging paisley design

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.

Paisley brooch 1

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…

Paisley brooch 2

…chain stitch…

Paisley brooch 3

Paisley brooch 4

…and feather stitch.

Paisley brooch 5

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.

Paisley brooch 6

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

Paisley brooch 7

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.

Reticulated shisha

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.

Doubloons 1

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.

Doubloons 2

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

Doubloons 3

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…

Doubloons 4

…the doubloons were finished.

Doubloons 5

Doubloons 6

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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At last the Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging is finished. I used time waiting on the children’s activities at the weekend to get down to completing the label, which along with the hanging sleeve, as all there was to do.


Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 1


Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 2

And the label – lettering in stem stitch using fine silk on hand dyed cotton muslin which has been softly frayed out.

Completed Bamburgh Beach Wallhanging 3

So that’s finished. I also finally got the turquoise sea glass canvas to the person who had commissioned it this week and she loved it! In fact she loved it so much she’s comissioned me to do another in golds, oranges and browns for a friend’s birthday and a bigger one for her lounge, which is wonderful. I really enjoy stitching these pieces and getting paid for them is even better!

However, the reticulated brass shisha has been a problem. I wanted to attach it to some blue silk shisha-style.

Blue shisha 1

I laid down a collar of overlapping stitches in blue mercerised cotton thread and decided to go for an oversewn satin stitch as an edging.

Blue shisha 2

It went well enough, at least at first. Nice even coverage.

Blue shisha 3

But by the time I got to the end the stitches weren’t extending far enough over the brass to hold it in place to my liking. You can see it more clearly on the left in this photo.

Blue shisha 4

I let it sit while I worked on other things but when I returned to it I still wasn’t happy so out it came – easily enough to vindicate my instinct to rethink it as the centre of a paisley.

I’ve always loved paisley shapes and I came across this one while googling leaf outlines for my friend’s buttons.

Paisley shisha 1

The silk is too dark to mark the outlines I needed so I’ve just stitched straight through the paper, which should come off easily enough when damped.

Paisley shisha 2

Split stitch in the centre, running stitch (to be whipped later) in blue and french knots on the outside edge. I’ll take the paper off when I’ve finished the french knots and should be able to fill in the other layers by eye. The shisha will sit in the very centre and I’ll finish this as a brooch.

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I had a fragment of wide rusted sheet seam about 1″ by 3″  which I wanted to use and finding two small pieces of brown sea glass, another idea came together. The layers of fabric within the seam made it strong enough to be able to take the weight of the glass and neither element was large enough to make the other look small and lost.

I stitched concentric circles of running stitch in two strands of stranded cotton, deliberately letting them overlap.

Rust and sea glass block 1

And going right to the edge of the fabric top and bottom.

Rust and sea glass block 2

I love the texture of sea glass, that gently frosted, pitted surface.

Rust and sea glass block 3

A vicious shard of glass wave-tumbled and tamed into a gentle jewel.

Rust and sea glass block 4

Then the beading.

Rust and sea glass block 5

I have a little tin of oddments of seed beads and it was lovely to dip into it for this, finding beads in the right colour way: browns, oranges, golds and a touch of turquoise.

Rust and sea glass block 6

Rust and sea glass block 7

I was amazed to find that putting this one away, I’ve completed ten blocks for my rusting art quilt so far, with one using copper goldwork threads partly planned and another one being rusted with pins and washers at the moment.

Following on from the big thread clearout I blogged about a few days ago, I’ve been badly bitten by the spring cleaning bug. So badly, even more lovely-but-I-really-will-never-use-them threads have surfaced (you can find them here) and I plan to muck out my big bookcase cum desk later today. I can see the piles of books and papers on it already quivering in terror at the threat…

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