Posts Tagged ‘whipped chain stitch’

As I mentioned last week in all the side-tracked business with the turmeric dyeing, I’ve actually finished the geode stitch sampler. Last time I gave a progress update I’d got to here. Twelve rows of stitches, finishing with threaded running stitch:

I had decided by this point that I wasn’t going to fill in the middle but I wasn’t sure how many more rows to add. So having stitched a couple of rows where the embroidery was more ‘open’, I added cable stitch, which is like a couple of offset rows of back stitch but worked as one line.

For the next row I wanted some texture and height, and it had been a while since I’d added beads, so I used some iridescent delica beads to stitch a row of Butterfly Oglala Stitch. This is the second attempt as first time round I used standard silver lined seed beads in teal and silver and they were just too bright. I think the matte finish of these beads makes them more sympathetic to the surrounding stitches.

The ruffles of the Butterfly Oglala fall over the neighbouring stitches and were already obscuring the cable stitch of the previous row so although I initially intended every row to be different, I repeated the couched wool roving I’d used in the second row to act as a buffer to the beaded ruffles and help them stay standing up.

By this point the hole in the middle was getting small enough that the stitch rounds were working up very quickly, so I forgot to take individual photos of the next two stitches. The paler one is Pekin Knot Stitch in a mercerised cotton. The knots are much more open/oval than the pictures on the instructions, so I’m not sure whether I’ve worked it wrongly, or just spaced the stitches out further. I like it well enough not to restitch it though.

Inside that is Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch, which I love. I never tire of the awe and wonder moment when I work the final step of the stitch and the tying stitch comes magically down and sits neatly over the two legs.

This felt almost finished, but I wanted to complete it in a way that gave the impression of the crystals you get on the innermost edge of a real geode. So this was going to be beads again. I wondered about quartz chips, but then I found some translucent bugle beads that were a similar colour to the quartz cubes and they fitted perfectly in between the legs of the Up and Down Buttonhole Stitch.

So it’s finished and I’m very pleased with it. I like the balance of beading and embroidery stitches and as well as old favourites, I’ve used seven stitches that were either completely new to me or that I’ve only stitched occasionally, so as a sampler, it’s worked.

I’m not sure what I want to do with it yet, but that’s not a problem. It feels good to have a successful finish that hasn’t stalled in sight of the end.

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The class I teach weekly, In The Stitch Zone, is intended to be accessible to people at all levels of stitching ability and as such I am always trying to create projects that can work at all levels, from a complete beginner to an expert. I spotted a piece of embroidery on Instagram recently which I think was supposed to look like the layers of a geode. What occurred to me was that it could become an interesting twist on a sampler of line stitches, stitched in concentric circles with some beading thrown in for extra sparkle and textural interest. We are starting the project on Monday so I can finally reveal my sample so far, which I started stitching during panto week.

I kept to my favourite shades of turquoise – mainly because I have a box filled with different types of turquoise threads and it was easy to grab and take with me – and a background of rusty gold in a 6″ hoop. I wanted to use quite bold stitches and also to try and utilise some of the fancy threads we all accumulate that you can’t actually stitch through fabric. The first row was Pekinese Stitch which I managed to thread with a very lovely but very slubby pure silk. I think the slub makes it look a bit untidy/unevenly stitched but I love the colour and it is supposed to be based on a natural form after all, so I’m trying to squash my tendency to neatness!

I followed this with a deliberately uneven row of wool roving, couched down with a shiny rayon thread: again something I wouldn’t usually use but I wanted a hint of shine against the wool. It wasn’t too bad for tangling but it was very springy and difficult to get it to pull the wool into place and hold it.

I followed the couching with a straightforward row of chain stitch in a heavy perle…

…and after that, whipped a row of running stitch with a length of hand dyed tubular ribbon. By having a thin thread for the running stitch and using a very thick one to whip it with, I really like the wave effect it’s given to the twisted ribbon.

Next, a knotted stitch and I chose Palestrina Stitch which I worked in two strands of a single strand silk to try and give it enough weight to compete with the chunky row next to it.

Next, time for some sparkle and the opportunity to use up a lovely string of quartz beads I’d had for ages but only just discovered that the holes through the middle are tiny – too small for anything but the thinnest wire and my thinnest beading needle. I couched them down in a circle and then went back and worked French knots over the couching stitches. I love that these cube shaped beads have been drilled corner to corner so they sit up like little crystals on the fabric.

Inside the layer of beads I felt it needed another chunkier stitch, so I used whipped chain stitch, whipped with some sparkly dark turquoise chainette thread – not the greatest photo under artificial light.

And my final row so far is feather stitch in heavy perle. I worked it quite small so the ‘arms’ were quite short but I felt it was a bit too open so I went round again and stitched an iridescent seed bead into the base of each open chain. Much better photos in daylight this morning!

I think I’ve got far enough to give an idea of the concept and I like the fact that the circle now has a bit of a wobble to it, which should develop as I continue into the middle, like a natural geode.

More fun, I think, than just a linear line stitch sampler.

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Slow progress on the Reeds piece for my Kew Memory Journal but still progress – remembering to move forward one stitch at a time.

But other things have been happening. A beach day on the Lincolnshire coast with my youngest before she returned to school.

Experimenting with embroidery on a cut silk cocoon…

…and a chunk of driftwood.

At the moment it looks like an embarrassed octopus but I plan to add bead, pearl and coral dangles to the ends of the ‘legs’ and stick it down close to follow the contours of the driftwood chunk. I love the black scribbly spalting on the bottom. Then, hopefully, it will become a pendant.

I found a couple of commercial pouches when I was clearing out a box and offered them to the friend I made the pouches for a few months ago.

She asked me to add embroidery to the fronts so she could use them for tarot/oracle cards. A triskele on the silver one and a dragonfly on the indigo. Triskele first with a base layer of chain stitch in lovely heavy weight variegated green perle.

Then whipped in a green/pink/copper variegated perle to give it even more weight…

…before blanket stitching it onto the front of the pouch.

I’ve drawn the dragonfly out onto some shibori dyed cotton I did at a course years ago but have stalled looking for a scrap of iridescent fabric I want to use for the wings. I was sure I knew where it was, but am having an increasingly nasty feeling that I ‘tidied it away’ during the recent deep clean of the lounge…

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