Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Summer Stitch School Week 2: Colonial Knot

This week's stitch is the colonial knot.  I have been stitching for awhile now, but I have never actually tried this stitch.  Time to change that.  This stitch is a medium difficulty stitch.  It just takes a few tries to get the movement down, but then it's quite fun and not at all hard.  Essentially this stitch can be thought of as two loops around the needle to make a figure 8, but don't think of it as a figure 8 if that confuses you.  This stitch will need of your both hands.  One to hold the needle and make sure the thread doesn't slip off, and the other hand to wrap the thread around the needle.  I left mine out of the photos, but it just doesn't work without them both.  First thing after bringing up the needle is to make the first loop.  You can do so by wrapping the thread around the needle like so:

Next is to form the second loop. Wrap the thread around your needle again, this time bringing it over the first loop and around to the other side.

Now hold the thread with one hand while you push the needle down close to where you brought it up.  If you let the thread slack just a little you will end up with a slightly looser knot with more thread on the top.

Now you are done!  Not so hard.

I made a small sampler with colonial knots and french knots in order to compare the two.  I think you can tell that the colonial knots end up slightly bigger as they have a bit more thread sitting on top the fabric.

You can vary the threads as I have done, depending on the effect you are after.  You can mix two colors for a more interesting coloring - I did this on the bottom two samples with a light and dark green.

Friday, June 17, 2011

Summer Stitch School Week 1: Wheat Ear Stitch

It's already halfway through June, so I am slow, but it isn't too late to start the summer-long stitch school I have been thinking about.  It will be fun.  The plan is to have 12 stitches through the end of the summer - since I am a little behind I will either squeeze in the extra weeks or go into September.  I will pick a different, slightly unusual stitch to show you, then hopefully a few variations or applications of the stitch, as time allows.  The first stitch is wheat ear stitch.  It is an easy stitch that is quite versatile due to it's 2-in-1 nature.  If you want your stitches to be very even, use an evenweave, or you can draw the stitches on the fabric first.  First the stitch:
Make two straight stitches with equal lengths meeting at a downward point:
 Then bring up the needle down a bit and thread the the needle though the 2 straight stitches, be careful to not divide the stitches with the needle or things will get a bit distorted.
 Bring the needle down in the same hole to form the loop.  Next begin a new stitch by bringing up the needle straight down from the first stitch, ideally to make the same angle as the previous stitch.  Then put the needle down through the fabric just below the previous loop stitch.  Make another straight stitch on the other side, and form a loop as above. 
 Continue as long as you like!
Now the variations, which there are quite a number of.
You can stitch them as single units.  Either in a vertical row, or a horizontal row.
Consider using two different colors and vary the ending.  You can continue making loop stitches or maybe add a bit of back stitching or both!

The next variation was sort of cool.  You can do different types of threaded and whipped stitches with the wheat ear stitch, I chose to wrap the thread around the straight stitches:
It's quite an interesting effect.  You can easily add beads.  Just put a bead on in the middle of the loop stitch, or perhaps on the straight stitches.  If you add to the loop, you may need an extra little horizontal stitch to keep the bead straight.
And finally, why not turn the whole thing upside down and make a little tree or flower:

So these are only a few of the possibilities there are many, many more!
This little sampler took quite a bit of time to do, so I may not always have time for this kind of effort, but for now:

Monday, June 13, 2011

Homemade is best!

This is a quick little project.  I didn't do really any stitching last week because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do next.  Sometimes that happens after a big finish.  But I just decided I could find a small project to do that might be fun.  So I picked this since I am making a little collection of food-themed embroideries to put in the kitchen.  I managed to squeeze in 10 different stitches in this little project!  I thought that was quite good.  Saved myself from doing a whole lot of satin stitching, and succeeded in making the project lots more interesting than it otherwise would have been.

I still have to find a new project again.  I got an interim project to work on this time.  Something that is taking a long time since I'm not excited about it.  Maybe I can do an update on it to motivate myself. ;)

Sunday, June 5, 2011

Spring Bluebird

I finished this project on Friday.  It took some time to attach all those little pieces.  I tried a bunch of different things for this project.  The wired needlelace was the big thing.  As you see, the leaves, the daffodil and butterfly are all done in this manner.  They are the same technique but slightly different.  I used three colors for the butterfly, that was a bit interesting with all those threads hanging everywhere.  Plus I used some silver metallic for veins on the wings.  Maybe hard to see, but it sparkles in the light!   (Sparkles are cool.)

 I am happy to have this complete.  It was a bit of a challenge with all the wired parts, but that's what I wanted.  I will be trying some new things with them soon.

Yesterday was a bad day.  My web hosting company deleted my site.  It took all day to get them to restore my account, and then I had to set the whole thing up again from backup.  It's mostly done now although some info is lost.  I have to say it is a challenge to deal with that part of having my own site, but I have a new site in the works that will hopefully solve at least a few of the difficulties I have been having, although the way things go, new problems will probably present themselves instead! ;)

Thursday, June 2, 2011

Finally getting somewhere

I haven't had much time, or maybe I have, just let other things and projects come first.  But this weekend is a long weekend and the bluebird project will be done!  For once, I remember to take a few pics while I was working on something.
Here I have begun the bird's body.  As you can see, I am filling it with long and short stitches. I added a bit of darker blues in the bird for some shading. 

 For the wing, I couched down a 30g wire, then around I go doing buttonhole stitches.    I switched colors because the wing darkens quite a bit on the lower part.

Now I have all the little pieces for the whole project collected.  There is more than one to say the least!  First I will sew on the bird, after that, I will probably do the ladybug and daffodil.  The only stitching left really is the butterfly body.  Soon, I will finally be finished.

I also have worked on two small projects in between this one, pictures of those coming soon.

If you haven't read Susan Elliot's post about time and needlework, then you really should!  Important stuff to think about if you are the kind of person who spends a significant part of your life with a needle in hand! ;)