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Saturday, April 24, 2010



This stitch was easy to work and offers endless possibilities for variance and additional embellishment like weaving or beading. For this sampler I let the lines of stitches stand on their own, as I wanted the colorplay to be evident.

The background is another swatch of hand dyed cotton. The color is a yellow orange with mottles of burnt orange. The threads are all DMC #5 perle, except for the variegated ones which are Caron's Watercolors.
Mostly I experimented with stitch size and number of wraps. Here's what I did starting from the top:

Row 1 - Smaller stitches, with foundation lines close together with maximum wraps around the bars.

Row 2 - Same as first row except fewer wraps.  I  discovered with stitches this small I was able to keep the   wrap thread entirely on the surface.

Row 3 - Slightly larger length and distance between foundation stitching.  With moderate number of wraps the diamond  and "x" are apparent, offering perfect placement for beads.

Row 4 - Stitches are the same length as 3, but foundation lines are further apart and wraps are limited to 2.

Row 5 - Here I laid down 3 foundation lines not too far apart.  I alternated lines wrapped in each stitch; ie, wrapped lines 1 and 2 the first half of the stitch, then switched to wrapping 2 and 3.  Alternating wraps opens the possibility for additional patterning.  I worked mine to form a zigzag.

Row 6 - Varying the height of each stitch.  I imagine this could be worked with greater irregularity for an abstract or distorted look.  To keep wrap tension even I was limited to the number of wraps per stitch.  I realized a problem when I had finished; some of the threads coming and going from the cloth beneath the wraps show.  I'm thinking about ways the larger stitches could be embellished.  An "X" over the wraps, partially wrapping or faux wrapping the wraps, lacing different fibers or ribbon are some of my ideas.

Rows 7 & 8 - Show the stitch can handle at least a gentle curve.

I have not stitched the sampler onto the sangria fabric, and the knotted snippets are not attached.  I just laid them there for effect.

You can see samplers from other TAST participants (at least 200 from all over the world) at the group Flickr site.

Tuesday, April 20, 2010


ROPE STITCH - Week 7 of Take a Stitch Tuesday 2010.  It took me a couple of days to figure out this stitch.  It's not difficult, but I often have trouble when orienting thread under needle.  Remember I'm the one that has yet to master the very basic picot stitch in Hardanger.  Hopefully you can see my progress.

The background for the stitches is a scrap of hand dyed Aida cloth.  I worked all of the columns from the top and began on the left.  The first two columns are #5 pearl; the only difference is the number of threads.  Boy, the picture sure shows up the inconsistencies, and YIKES!, I moved over a thread about half way down .  Column 3 was loosely stitched with a strand of Caron Watercolours. It looks sloppy.  I think the reason it's uneven in places is that when I tried to take out a stitch or two it was it was
hard to pick up again.  I finally got the hang of it toward the end.

Column 4, I made the coils closer together, and it looks neater.  I had no difficulty creating the circle.  Column 5
looks like a whole 'nother stitch.  For this I made the coils right up against each other.  It's like satin stitch with more dimension. Column 6 was worked with silk and wool fingering yarn, and it behaved beautifully.  Not so with the slippery rayon thread I used  for the first layer of Column 7.  I stitched a second layer with the Watercolours, staggering the start.

Notice anything different about Column 8?  Nothing remarkable except I worked this and the remaining rows in the opposite direction.  See how the coils slant in a different angle?

I stitched the little sampler onto a piece of batik, the colors of which remind me of sangria.  From here on this becomes a work in progress.  I'll likely play with more buttons and threads.

P.S.  In response to Connie's remark that I may be too self-critical, I have to say I do try to be objective. This is a case where the sampler doesn't look that bad in the fabric, but I confess to shock when I saw it enlarged on the screen. Every flaw (just spotted another, but I'm not talkin') seemed to fly in my face. My posts usually detail my personal learning process of which self evaluation is an important part. When I make mistakes, I share them. I suck up the embarassment and remind myself that some muse wants me to learn by trial and error, to keep myself honest, and ego in check by experiencing creative lessons in humility. :-)

Sunday, April 11, 2010


I haven't viewed any of the other samples from the group, but I suspect my flowers may appear a bit different.  They certainly don't resemble anything close to Sharon B's prototype.  Still it was a good experience for me, always nice to add a flower to the stitching repetoire, and it did force me to practice multiple bullions. 

The background is hand dyed silk from Vicki Clayton.  I began with the red petalled flower.  Um, the flower was supposed to have only five petals,  but I don't think it matters how many.  What's wrong with my petals  is I was inconsistant with the number of bullion wraps, so they are not equal size.  I then switched to the three smaller versions.  I did count wraps.  They look askew, but really they are even and could lie flat if I pressed them or tacked them down; I preferred to let them have their more dimensional look.

I got bored with the basic flower, so I surrounded the second large wheel with two rows of flat-lying but curving bullions.  Then I worked the bullion "rose" between the 2 large flowers.  I began with a French knot and used different threads and colors for the petals.  I made bullion clusters next.

Looking at the goofy flowers stitched "naked" onto a piece of cloth, I decided I needed some kind of coordinating element.  This is what happens when one doesn't plan ahead and design first.  I added stems and leaves.  I'm sorry, I have to laugh, and it's perfectly okay for you to join me.  The first flower looks like it's wearing a hat (It's getting close to Derby time here), and the other big flower sprouted wings and looks more like shield backed by crossed spears.  Seriously, what's wrong here is no focal point!  Seriously-er, what's wrong with me?  The challenge does not call for a finished piece of art; no more than the exercise of practicing a new stitch on a doodle cloth is required.  Forgive me.  I type with tongue in cheek. 

The hand dyed (be me!) gauze drape is a nice touch, yes?  I have to brag that the silk perle and ribbon are also hand dyed from  my red cabbage experiment.  I forgot to say the cotton perles used for the flowers were all #5 DMC and the rest is Watercolours.

So what's with the business to the left?  Well, it may or may not be a preview of next week's TAST.  I had in mind to try partial buttonhole wheels as a seam treatment.  I hand stitched on a piece of blueberry dyed linen with the idea that I might continue the colorway next week.  I might -- or not.