Thursday, November 30, 2006

Floundering along.........Personal Library of Stitches Lesson 4.........

Sampler for Lesson 4 - Fish Face! (All my 'thinking' about lines from Lesson 3 spilled over into this one)

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Lines in different weights of stitches and threads on a piece of old woollen blanket dyed in the washing machine. It didn't felt very well, and it still frays a bit, so I think there must be some synthetic fibre in it. I had to use a piece of light backing fabric because I found that it stretched too much in the hoop.

I've tried to put in some texture and density. Some areas I have deliberately left unstitched to provide a contrast. I've overstitched some of the herringbone and cretan stitch with a thinner thread. I've used a heavily textured version of chain stitch for the major lines, lighter colours , thinner threads and more open stitches for the others. There is a heavily encrusted band right across the centre with washers, bullions and French knots and a heavy line of laced and whipped chain stitch at the top, to balance the weight at the bottom. I've used a fine knitting yarn in a colour to almost match the background for the fin, to try and give it a transparent look.

The idea is that the lines lead your eye from the 'points' of the eyes and mouth away to the tail area and beyond, to give the idea forward movement.

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Features: eyes are flat black buttons, white plastic curtain rings, black sequins and white beads. Mouth is a sequin with a piece of black felt behind it.

I had fun doing this. I was watching 'Pirates of the Carribean - Deadman's Chest' - I think you can see the influence!

Tuesday, November 28, 2006

Sampler for Lesson 3

This concentrates on laced stitches, the rows separated with stem stitch to co-ordinate with the rest of the sampler.

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Row 1: laced button hole. Two lines of button hole stitch laced with tapestry wool.
Row 2: raised chain band. Foundation stitches in perle cotton, lacing in lurex ribbon.
Row 3: interlaced chain stitch. Foundation chain in soft cotton, lacing in metallic thread, tied with perle cotton.
Row 4: raised lattice band. Satin stitch in tapestry wool, herringbone and lacing in perle cotton in two weights.
Row 5: herringbone ladder filling stitch. Foundation holbein stitch in perle cotton, herringbone lacing in crepe knitting yarn.
Row 6: laced holbein stitch.
Row 7: step stitch variation. Foundation in soft cotton, whipping in cotton perle, tied down with cotton perle, embellished with French knots in tapestry wool.
Row 8: alternate running stitch. First pass in tapestry wool, second pass in metallic thread.

Joggling along in Chains - Week 3

I'm quite taken now, with doing a sampler in just one stitch. This one is in plain old chain stitch. I've used it as 'point', pattern, lines and blocks of lines.

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I've used different weights of thread, flower thread, stranded cotton, perle cotton and tapestry wool. The fabric is plain dyed skirt weight polyester, I once bought a bag of these bits from a remnant stall and I find them useful for experiments and samples.

Sunday, November 26, 2006

Long time since I was given lines in class - Week 3

Reading through Week 3, I remembered this:

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It was an exercise in light and heavy lines, using some of my favourite raised bands.

This is my first sample for this lesson, exploring lines in chain and stem stitch. I worked it on a piece of dress weight polyester, rather than evenweave and tried to put some movement in this, in contrast to the old sample, but keeping the light and heavy lines.

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Friday, November 24, 2006

Joggling Along - Sampler for Week 2

Latest section completed for the long sampler. This has been going along at the same time as the experiments:

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First Row: Two rows of stem stitch in tapestry wool. Fly stitch in perle cotton. French knots in perle cotton.
Second Row: Two lines of fly stitch, the bottom row reversed. Two more lines worked between, the other way up. All in tapestry wool. Two more lines worked between in knitting ribbon. Line of looped stitches worked through the middle to cover the gap. French knots in perle cotton used to fill gaps between fly stitches. Didn't like the line across the middle. Added beads and threaded with tapestry wool in a guilloche stitch variation, tied with contrasting colour and added French knots.
Third Row: Raised fly stitch using knitting ribbon for foundation stitches and perle cotton for fly.
Fourth Row: Fly stitch in knitting ribbon.
Fifth Row: French knots in different weights of thread. Stainless steel washers, small ones applied with buttonhole stitch and glass bead added to fill centre, large one applied with plaited fly stitch. The fluffy stitch in the centre of the large washer was a happy accident. I wasn't happy with what I had done and snipped the stitches to pull it out. I liked the textured look and applied the washer over the top.

Rows separated by stem stitch to match the other sections.

The bottom row was inspired by a TV item about comets and the weekend meteor shower that we were unable to see because of the clouds here! The big washer is the head of the comet and the smaller ones its tail. I tried to use the colours and tones of the French knots and the stitches applying the washers to bring the big washer forwards and take the smaller ones back. (Stronger, warmer colours advance, paler cooler colours recede.)

This is what the whole sampler looks like so far:

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Thursday, November 23, 2006

Labouring the point - Week 2

I got carried away with the French knots. I think I've overdone it, laboured the point somewhat!! This could be another exercise in 'less is more'. Still, this has given me an idea as to how I can include an example of 'point' in my long sampler.

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Different kinds of French knots worked in different weights of thread.
(Recommended as a diversion from an absolutely dreadful old film being shown on the 'Horror' channel! Yawn, yawn.......(note to self) must get control of that remote!)

This is a better illustration and it took far less time:

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All done in different widths and textures of ribbon. Stitches used: feather, french knots, radiating straight stitch, single chain stitch. Fabric is dress weight polyester, quickly laced on to an offcut of card because it looked pretty.

The yellow bead draws the eye to the large flower in the centre of the posy.

Tuesday, November 21, 2006

Single stitches - Lesson 2

Still in Lesson 2, trying out some single stitches:

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These can all be used singly for emphasis, or grouped together or in combination with other stitches to make patterns or fills. Threads are perle cotton and flower thread and the fabric is Aida.

Bit more fly fiddling and some crowning glory - Week 2

I really like the effect of raised stitches, so I've had a go here at a raised fly variation, with a bit of 'point' converging on a straight line in the centre.

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Going from right to left:

First row: raised fly in lurex ribbon.
Second row: raised fly in coloured tubular knitting ribbon.
Third row: two lines of raised fly in tubular knitting ribbon.
Fourth row: raised feather stitch in tubular knitting ribbon.
In the centre: feather stitch 'sprays' with stem in two lines of stem stitch.
Last row: closely worked lines of raised fly stitch in perle cotton.
Worked on evenweave linen.

I like the raised fly and feather stitch in the knitting ribbon - I can see that being used as decoration on a fine knit sweater or similar. I know which stitch it is as I'm doing it, but sometimes when I look at it afterwards, I'm not sure if I've done fly or feather!

This is mostly crown stitch:

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Across the top: crown stitch variation worked as a border with bead stitch

First row: crown stitch worked as a filling and crown stitch combined with reversed fly and moss stitch

Second row: crown stitch combined with knotted cross, square boss and french knots

Third and fourth rows: reversed crown stitch

Down the left hand side: small single stitches worked in different directions

Down the right hand side, reversed fly stitch. Crown stitch worked with a fly stitch, then another interlaced stitch to form the two 'bottom arms'. I prefer this way of working the stitch. I think the interlacing looks neater than the large needle hole formed by working three times into the same hole.

All done in crochet cotton and tapestry wool.

Monday, November 20, 2006

Joggling along and Fiddling with fly - Week 2

I wanted the bits on my long sampler to sort of 'match' so I've moved over to my odd bits and pieces of fabric for this lesson, to give me more freedom in choice of colour and spacing.

Here is my first exploration with fly stitch.

Different weights of thread on Aida.

And below is my sample of flystitch, including using small and large stitches as 'point' to create movement and focus within the design. Not very pretty, but I think it is quite lively.

After working this, I think I can incorporate a bit of densely worked, over embellished fly stitch in my long sampler after all.

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Sunday, November 19, 2006

Joggling Along - Folder

I have put all my printouts and some of my samples in a lever arch file. It is 'one I prepared earlier', left over from my City and Guilds course a few years ago.

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The folder is covered in calico (muslin) and the small goldwork sample is double mounted, first on card, then on card covered with a chenille furnishing fabric.

It is already quite bulky, I suspect that I am going to have to find at least one more!

Saturday, November 18, 2006

Post as You Go Paisley

I've made a bit more progress on the paisley panel. I have started to fill in another of the sections:

The idea is to have several postcard samples filled in different methods or stitch combinations, but linked together.

Here's the closeup:

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Here I've got circles or spots in radiating straight stitch in the top left. In the opposite corner, padded satin, french knots, fly and woven spider web. The motif in the top left hand corner is filled with seeding stitches. The motif in the bottom right hand corner is filled with lines of small running stitch. Both motifs are outlined with buttonhole stitch embellished with French knots.

The spots and circles fit in nicely with Week 2 in Sharon's Personal Stitch Library class, that talks about using POINT in design. I've also used small straight stitches in different ways as both seeding and running stitch and I have used french knots to emphasis the spikyness of the buttonhole stitch.

You can find out about Sharon's On-line Joggles Class here:

Friday, November 17, 2006

Extra Joggle for Week 1

Single stitch samples

I thought I had finished Lesson 1, but I was inspired by Beth's flystitch:

and dashed off to do this with buttonhole! Thanks Beth!

I've used Perle cotton, stranded cotton, flower threads and double knitting wool on polyester.

That lead to this:

All in cretan stitch. Threads are machine polycotton, flower thread, stranded cotton, perle cotton, tapestry wool, imitation jap and metallic machine embroider thread on a piece of polyester.

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Thursday, November 16, 2006

Still joggling with Week 1

I knew that this would be the problem - I don't know when to stop!

Here is my latest effort. I've gone a little over the top with the embellishment! This is mostly herringbone stitch.

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The first two rows are laced running stitch. The first row, stitches in perle cotton and lacing in tapestry wool, with added sequins and beads. The second row: the threads reversed to see the different effect, embellished with cross stitch in perle cotton.

The third row is a herringbone variation, but I got so carried away with the embellishment that the herringbone stitches are difficult to pick out. It is two lines of herringbone in tapestry wool, then two smaller lines worked across in perle cotton. I tied the stitches of the top line with a contrasting colour to see the effect. Then I got excited and filled in all the gaps with beads, bullions and French knots.

The fourth row is a line of laced double herringbone. The first line was worked in perle cotton and laced in fancy yarn. Then the second line was worked on top and laced, all in perle cotton. Then, inevitably, I added some beads.

The fifth row is a line of herringbone worked through a line of evenly spaced vertical straight stitches. I thought it looked a bit plain so I added some french knots. The straight stitch foundation is in soft cotton, the herringbone lacing and the knots are tapestry wool.

At the bottom is a double row of stem stitch with beads.

I prefer this to the previous sampler. I like the vibrant colour scheme and I do like to fill 'em up, hence the lines of stem stitch between the rows! I really like the effect of the raised stitches they add a thicker, richer texture.

Monday, November 13, 2006

Still joggling - continuing with Week 1

Two happy children clutching paper puppets with pipecleaner hair and pots of 'farty putty' were delivered back to their rested and much more relaxed Mum and Dad by two exhausted grandparents. Ah well, that's what its all about.

And then I did some stitching!

I have divided my long strip of linen into equal sections, each 5" x 4", just a little smaller than a postcard. I doubt if I can be disciplined enough to work each section to correspond with one week of the class! I have 9 sections to fill.

Here I have used a more restricted colour palette, taking out the orange, yellow and turquoise, making for a much more subdued section. I really do prefer the bolder colour combinations.

This is mostly feather stitch:

The first row is running stitch, worked over two lines instead of one, taking the needle and thread to the back on the first pass, and to the front on the second. Worked in perle cotton.

The second row is another guilloche stitch variation, two parallel rows of running stitch, interlaced. Embellished with running stitch and french knots. All worked in perle cotton.

The third row is two lines of alternate running stitch interlaced, embellished with french knots. All worked in tapestry wool.

The fourth row is one line of feather stitch, with another line worked on the top, stitching inside the first line. The small gaps left filled in with straight stitch. All worked in tapestry wool.

The fifth row, back to back feather stitch in perle cotton and french knots in tapestry wool.

The sixth row, back to back feather stitch used as a filling. Added cross stitches. All in perle cotton.

I am enjoying this class. It makes a nice change from all the splashing, slashing, soldering and sewing machining. Its very relaxing to sit down and do some traditional stitches. My only problem is going to be knowing when to leave one lesson and start on the next!

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Sunday, November 12, 2006

One I prepared earlier...........

The grandchildren came to stay this weekend, so my sewing had to put away for safety! Last week I found this sampler of mine when I was digging around looking for bits to use for Sharon's Joggles Class. It is about attaching ribbons and braids, or stitches that look like braids.

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Obviously I must like those kind of colours, although this doesn't have any blue in it.

Friday, November 10, 2006

Textile Tuesday - Red

This is my piece for Textile Tuesday, the word this week is RED. It is square really and mounted in red card, I took the photo at a funny angle. It measures about 8" x 6". It is a poinsettia.

The background is scraps of silk fabric tubular knitting ribbon layered under a piece of organza and bonded to a piece of synthetic carpet underlay (the flat stuff that you use instead of paper, I ran out of craft vilene).

The piece is then free machine embroidered with some hand stitching and embellished with beads.

Here's the close-up:

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Wednesday, November 08, 2006

Joggling Along - Personal Stitch Library - Week 1

Bit more progress on the sampler, slight panic now, because I expect Week 2 to be available tomorrow morning. I know Sharon says we can work at our pace, but I started late and I HATE BEING LEFT BEHIND!

Stitches explored so far are; guilloche, knotted stem and raised stem.

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The fourth row of guilloche stitch was worked with bugle beads to replace the running stitches, then filled in between with running stitches in perle cotton. When I came to lace with perle cotton, I found I had to tie down the lacing stitches, otherwise they would not stay in place. Because the thread was quite thin, there was a gap that I filled with French knots.
For the final row of guilloche stitch, I used buttons and beads instead of knots, perle cotton for the running stitch and omitted the lacing.
Between the fourth and fifth rows of guilloche stitch I tried Portugese Knotted Stem Stitch in different weights of thread. The last orange row is elongated.
I decided to fill in all the spaces between the rows with stem or raised stem stitch, to make a solid block of colour.

That's two down, feather stitch to go!

I have to say, Sharon has done a great job with these classes!

Tuesday, November 07, 2006

Signed up with Sharon......................

I've signed on to Sharon's Joggles Course, Develop a Personal Library of Stitches - find out all about it at:

When I saw others posting the results of the first lesson on their blogs, I just wanted to join in too.

When I got the course details and the first lesson today, I wanted to start straight away. This is what I did:

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Three rows of experimental Guilloche Stitch on low count evenweave linen.

Row 1. Worked as normal except for a double cross stitch in the centre. Cotton perle, wool and fancy yarn.
Row 2. Worked as per normal with a french knot in the middle but leaving out the two rows of stem stitch, all in tapestry wools.
Row 3. Running stitch worked in knitting ribbon, lacing with fancy yarn and bugle beads in the centre.

I'm making a long, plain band sampler that I can roll up.

I am using low count linen so that I can clearly see how I did the stitch. I am saving little bundles of thread from each stitch treatment, to sew against the row, so that I know what I used and how it worked up. I've also got together lots of little pieces of different fabrics in case I get inspired to be more experimental!

I've made just one rule for myself on this project - I can't afford to spend a lot of money on this just now, so if its not in my stash I will just have to be innovative and come up with a reasonable substitute! Luckily, I have all sorts of odds and ends left over from my City & Guilds course of a few years ago.

Post as You Go - Textile Tuesday Lucky - 3

Finished little gift bag.

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Plain green lining bonded to the back. Folded in half and zigzagged edges. Three lengths of machine made two strand cord, applied to side seams and knotted together. Trimmed with beads.

Monday, November 06, 2006

Post as You Go - Textile Tuesday Lucky - 2

It is going to be a small bag.

Choose position for front and back and stitch on machine embroidered lucky charms. Add just two shiny glass beads in the centre of the lacy charms, like dew drops, on each side. Resisted the urge to add more hand stitching and bead embellishment. Decided that in this case, 'Less means More.'

Cut and bond lining to the back of the piece, ready to fold in half, stitch edges and add machine made cord.

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Saturday, November 04, 2006

Post as You Go - Textile Tuesday Lucky - 1

Catching up with Textile Tuesday. This is for 'LUCKY'

I thought of lucky charms and decided to play with my embroidery machine.

Digitised shamrock lucky charm motifs, some on soluble stabiliser, some on green cotton. Piece of hand dyed linen, backed with thick cotton curtain interlining. Green net. Linen and lining quilted with programmed decorative machine stitches.

Piece cut out, overlaid in green net and straight stitched between the rows of decorative stitches.

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Textile Tuesday is here:

Wednesday, November 01, 2006

Mentioned in dispatches

Linda Walsh is passionate about dolls and craft blogs, and does a lot to promote them on her blog. I joined her Toplist a while ago and she has written a nice, kind piece about Smockery. Her blog is here:

go over and find out all about it. There are loads of links to craft-related blogs, reviews of blogs and all kinds of craft-related articles. You'll need some spare time, a cup of coffee and cake!