Posts Tagged ‘shell’

One of the stitches that my Stitch Zone embroidery group wanted to explore was Palestrina Stitch; also known as Double Knot Stitch. Palestrina is a line stitch with regularly spaced knots, often looking like a line of beads. It’s reasonably challenging to work initially, but once you get the hang the overs and unders, it has a pleasing rhythm to it. Mary Thomas shows it worked left to right, but I find it much easier to work vertically downwards where gravity helps with the loops you need to work into.

I started off with by stitching a sampler, experimenting with a variety of different threads, different spacing between the knots and varying the length of the stitch through the fabric, which gives ‘legs’ either side of the knot.


I like the chunky knots you get with the heavier perle threads but also was very pleased with the effect of finer threads, such as the very fine perle second from the left in the photo above.

Learning a stitch that gives you a knotted line is all very well, but I wanted to use it in ways that exploited the texture and shape of the stitch. My first experiment was using it to echo the texture of bark and I used a variegated perle-like silk thread to embroider a winter tree.


The stitch worked really well for the bark and I’m curious as to what it would look like if I filled in the spaces between the lines of Palestrina with satin or split stitch in the same thread. Something else to experiment with in the future perhaps.


I also wanted to try beading the stitch and that led me to working a more typical sea themed piece.


I used two pieces of perle to make a really heavy line of knots and then a single piece of the same thread with random seed beads. The bead goes on first and then the knot is formed as normal into the stitch after it. I think you lose the knots to some extent, but it’s an interesting variant.  The feather stitch is to vary the textures and lighten the design.


I also used it to stitch down a holed scallop shell and found it surprisingly easy to work. The stitch through the fabric serves to hold the shell down and then the knot is worked into the thread where it comes out of the hole, exactly as you would on a flat piece of fabric.


It was great to do some experimenting to find just a couple of ways of developing this stitch and I’ll definitely keep it in my repertoire.

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As you’ve probably gathered, I’m a great lover of found objects. I love finding them just as much as I love using them and I was determined to source some debris pieces from the beaches we visited (Polzeath, Hawker’s Cove, Tintagel and Constantine Bay) to go into my journal. But of course, they had to fit in with the colour scheme of blues and greens!

Beach debris 1


I gathered a real selection of weathered and broken oddments, bits of fishing tackle and scraps of shredded rope and a selection of very funny looks as I went grubbing around in the tideline.

Beach debris 2

Back home a piece of bubble fabric in rusty gold with a scribbly pattern of green was the perfect background. I layered it on some hand dyed cheesecloth for extra strength and then began to arrange the (cleaned, scrubbed and dried) debris.

Beach debris 3

Overlapping elements, particularly the fragments of frayed rope, helped to hold other pieces in place as I was using no glue and trying to go for minimal visible stitching.

Beach debris 4

It wasn’t blue or green, but I loved the shape of the grey ring pull type thing at the bottom. The green and red rope was already bent so it fitted perfectly around the edge.

Beach debris 5

Shells, already thoughtfully holed by the dog whelk which ate the occupant, were chosen from my existing collection to be stitched on. The scraped and scoured plastic nuggets are beautifully tactile.

Beach debris 6

I’m so pleased with this piece. It came together quickly and easily and the bubble fabric works brilliantly as a background. It’s satisfyingly substantial in the hand, too.

Beach debris 7

One man’s trash is another man’s treasure, they say.  🙂

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The deadline is still looming so yes, I know this is displacement activity. But it was quite quick. And fun to do. And while I was doing it, my subconscious was working on the deadline activity.


This is a piece I made a while ago, experimenting with an idea I’d seen on someone’s blog ( back to the what is copying? question again…) of laying Angelina fibres over a rubber stamp, covering it all with greaseproof paper and ironing it.

I wanted to add to the glitz of the iridescent image so I stitched it onto black satin by adding toning beads…

…and enhanced the ridges of the shell with straight stitches in gold thread.

Fabulous peacocky colours.

And a quick finish. Guess I really ought to be getting on with that deadline piece now…

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