Monday, January 19, 2009

Stitch Explorer - Chicken Scratch

I'm taking part in Sharon B's Stitch Explorer Challenge. Find out all about it here.

This month it's Chicken Scratch. I've explored the technique in several ways:

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Instead of the traditional gingham, I thought I'd try it on a spotted fabric.
Instead of using one of the 'ground' colours (white or black) for the stitching, I used red.
I varied the type of thread. I've used variegated stranded cotton for the basic stitches, cotton perle and sparkly knitted lurex thread for winding and lacing.
I tried out different ways of winding and lacing.

I think it looks more like decorative stitching than lace. Maybe it's the colour, or perhaps it's the size of the stitches - this was the smallest print I had to hand - corresponds to about 3/16" check.

On the spots, I prefer the 'round' lacing or winding to the 'square'.

Tuesday, January 13, 2009

A bird in the hand.....

I can't stop with these birds! This one started off as an attempt to make a starling. We have lots of them around here, and when they flock before they roost, they make 'smoke' patterns in the sky. They look especially spectacular against the sea and sky when they flock over the pier.

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To get the iridescent spotted effect that these birds have, I used sequinned dark blue jersey for his back and glitter printed fine jersey fabric for his chest and underside. His wings are brown ultrasuede backed with felt, lightly machine quilted with a pattern of feathers. His beak is orange felt and his eyes are sparkly black beads. His legs are gardening wire threaded through plastic tubing.

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Of course, that wasn't enough! I buttonholed around the edges of his wings with variegated perle cotton. A few fly stitches and black bugle beads gave a suggestion of feathers and I fastened them on with star shaped blue shell buttons.

Oh dear! Still too plain for me! I needled on some stripes of silk knitting yarn and embellished the stripes with cretan stitch in variegated embroidery floss. One starling in his Sunday best waistcoat!

Nellie made the pattern available for anyone to use - with a request to send a picture or a link when a bird was made. To see all of Nellie's birds, and others made from her pattern, go to her blog and click on the 'bird' label in the sidebar.

Monday, January 12, 2009


It's official, stitching is good for you!

I think most of us committed stitchers are aware that once we pick up the needle and thread we are often transported to another place, where problems disappear, we relax and time stops. Before you know it, the children are home from school, himself is home from work and there is nothing prepared for dinner! (Not to mention the mess, the coffee cups, the washing still in the machine, no housework done and "Oh my goodness, I forgot to stop for lunch again!") Sometimes, though, this phenomenon can be even more beneficial than you would think. I followed up a comment from Molly
that took me to a post on her blog (not a textile blog, but a very good read nevertheless!) about Betsan Corkhill. Betsan, an occupational therapist, set up a knitting/stitching support group on the internet for people suffering with chronic pain. I'll leave it to Molly to tell you about it. If you are interested you can find her article here.
And here's the link to Bethan's internet support group

Thursday, January 01, 2009

Happy New Year!

It's party time. Here come the girls, and their birds!

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Things have been a bit quiet on the stitching front, and will be for at least another week, as Christmas and New Year have got in the way. Just wanted to thank you all for reading my blog, and for your support and your comments - and a big thank you to all you other bloggers out there for sharing and keeping me entertained!

Wishing you health, comfort, joy and peace for 2009 and beyond!