Friday, August 26, 2011

Summer Stitch School Week 11: Feather Stitch

We've made it to week 11 of The Floss Box summer stitch school. Time flies when you are having fun, and stitching is lots of fun! This week I chose a good, classic stitch: the feather stitch. It's easy to make and very pretty and versatile. Traditionally, it's a line stitch, but pretty much all line stitches can be made into fill-in stitches.

The Feather Stitch
This stitch has a side to side pattern as shown the pictures. With your needle grab a bit of fabric to the right and in the middle where the needle was brought up. Make sure the thread is wrapped under the needle. For reference, I call the individual units "loops".
After you pull the needle through, simply make a similar loop to the right of the first.
 Repeat the pattern down to make your line of stitches.
 At the end of the line just make a small straight stitch at the end. You can of course, make the straight stitch longer or shorter as you like.

Variations 1 and 2
The first variation is the standard feather stitch. Variations marked 2 are different ways to form the right and left loops. They can be made so the loops follow a straight line down the middle, or formed with very wide, shallow loops. The right and left sides can be assymetrical too for an interesting effect. There are many, many more ways to line up the loops, these shown are but a few of them.

Variation 3
This shows two lines of feather stitches with one on top of the other. This layering gives a whole lot of texture to the stitch.

Variation 4
You can vary the number of side to side loops. This shows two loops in each direction. You can do many more or make them with varying number of side to side loops.

Variation 5
The feather stitch can be easily wrapped, threaded or whipped. Here I have threaded the feather stitches with a different thread through the loops.

Variation 6
An example of how you could add beads to the feather stitch.

Varation 7
By making rows of stitches, you can make the feather stitch into a filling stitch. In this example the stitches are lined up so they share holes. An interesting wave pattern emerges when the stitches are lined up like this.

I hope you enjoyed this week's lesson. Next week will be the final lesson. I hope these have helped a few of you out there to be inspired to pick up your needle and try something new!

Friday, August 19, 2011

Summer Stitch School Week 10: Needle weaving

Hi and welcome to another summer stitch school adventure. This week I've selected needle weaving.  It's a little different from the others because it's more like a technique than a single stitch, but the stitches are just variations on the idea of weaving the needle in and out of bars. Needle weaving is very nice for adding textures and interesting details to your projects, so it's definitely worth a little time to learn it.

The needle weave stitch
The basic idea is the same for regular weaving on a loom. First, make a series of vertical straight stitches.
Then with your needle weave in and out of the straight stitches. In this example, the needle is brought down at the end of the row of stitches, and up again for the next row.
 There many ways to use needle weaving to create different effects and types of stitches. The sampler shows a few of these.
1. This is the basic needle weaving stitch in a few different forms. As shown above you can end each row of weaving by bringing the needle to the back of the fabric or you can just wrap the thread around the last bar and start the next row. Note that the more firmly you pull on the thread while weaving, the more edges will bow inward.

Also note the difference that making the straight stitches farther apart makes. This is especially apparent in the irregular shape example.

2. This type of needle weaving is called needle woven bars. This stitch is formed by first making two straight stitches, and then weaving back and forth around them. The sampler shows both a variation with parallel straight stitches and one with nonparallel straight stitches.

3. This variation is known as woven spiders wheel. To form this stitch, you make an odd number of straight stitches radiating out and weave in and out of them.  You can fill the radiating bars completely or leave the spokes showing.
4. This type of needle weaving produces a raised effect. To form this stitch, bring the needle up and down just slightly over to the right of where the needle was brought up. Then with a scrap of thread pull the loop firmly.
 Bring the needle up again at the base of the loop and begin needle weaving. You will have to hold onto the scrap thread while you work up the loop. Gently push the weaving down a little as you go along. Be sure to pull firmly after each turn, but not so firmly that the weaving is pulled upwards.
When you reach the top of the loop, remove the scrap of thread and bring your needle down to the back of the fabric. You can bring the needle straight back so the woven section lies flat, or you can twist it a bit or let it bow over a bit above the fabric.

5. This stitch is called a needle-woven picot. To form this stitch, loop the  thread around a pin. The placement of the pin will determine how long the stitch is.
Then bring the needle up again to the right of the loop and pull it behind the pin. Then begin the needle weaving. Like the previous stitch, pull firmly, but not too much after each turn. At the bottom, bring the needle to the back.
 That concludes another week of summer stitch school. I hope you enjoyed seeing this stitch.Grab a needle and give it a try. It really does help to play around a bit and try the stitches - plus it's lots of fun!!

Friday, August 12, 2011

Summer Stitch School Week 9: Queen Stitch

Welcome to another week of summer stitch school! This week's stitch is the queen stitch also known as the renaissance stitch. The queen stitch isn't one of the more common stitches, but there is nothing hard about it, and it has a nice shape that can be used in a variety of ways. 

The queen stitch
The stitch is composed of a series of straight stitches. First make a vertical straight stitch, then a small horizontal stitch in the middle of the first stitch.
Next, make another vertical straight stitch in the same holes as the first.  Then make a  small, horizontal anchoring stitch to the left.
Repeat on the other side.
Now the stitch is complete!

Variations on the queen stitch
There are of course, a whole wide range of variations for the queen stitch.  Here is shown just a few of them.
1. An example of the standard stitch formed.
2. Addition of more color is just one idea. There are many possibilities for arranging the individual stitches. Here they are lined up on their sides.
3. The queen stitch can be a filling stitch also. If you don't want a zig-zag edge, try making some half stitches to fill in the gaps.
4. Different examples of aligning the queen stitch. You can make your stitches wider or narrower by changing the width of the center straight stitch. For a wider stitch, just make the middle straight stitch wider.
5. This is an example with 3 colors. Each of the colors has its own needle.  Handling all those needles can be a challenge a serious challenge in itself!
6. The queen stitch is well-suited to beading. In this example, a bead is added to the middle straight stitch.
7. In this example a thread is whipped around the middle straight stitch. There are many other possibilities for wrapping and threading the stitches.
8. Another possible alignment of stitches. Lining up two rows can make an interesting line of stitches.

I hope you enjoyed this week's stitch. Grab some thread and fabric. It really is fun to experiment a bit!