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Saturday, March 24, 2012


Barred and alterrnating barred chains are worked with a regular chain stitch between twisted chains.
I found myself wanted to skip the plain chain stitch but realized I'd just be working twisted chain.  It was slightly awkward for me to make the transition between the two stitches, but after awhile I was able to establish a rhythym, although the twists required a bit of manipulation to match the regular chain loops. 

I know these stitches are open to lots of possibilities like length & placement of the bars.  The bars themselves are perfect for couching and lacing.  If you look at my double row with buttons, you'll see I took good advantage of the regular chain stitch and wove the yarn through it as well as the bar.  That's a #5 perle foundation.

To the right of the "Barred Chains" I worked two parallel lines of barred chain.  It's delicate and hard to see because I used only one strand of floss.  I like the potential here to create further design between the lines.

As to the vertical chains -- well, I  was experimenting with irregular placed chains, a zig-zaggy effect.  Once again I felt limited by the Aida cloth.  I know I might have had more fun with spirals and circles and freeform on plain fabric.

With these stitches I completed my second piece of sampler fabric, which includes Weeks 7-12 of  the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge.   You can see it below.

Wednesday, March 21, 2012


When in doubt, read the directions!  I know, I know, you're seeing some woven wheels there.  They are the ones I worked first, but sensed the spokes weren't ribbing.  I decided to leave them in the sampler as as a comparative reference and humbling reminder not to be so cocky.  I worked both 5 and 6 spoke wheels (they impress me more as stars), but they are awkward looking.  I think even tension with the wraps is essential.  I think I might have had better luck if I weren't using the aida cloth and if I were working a hooped fabric.  I personally prefer whipped wheels when they are densely worked with other stitches and embellishments as in Sharon's second example.  You can also see and learn if you check out Sharon B's Sumptuous Surfaces Class.

I was blown away when I viewed Sharon's spotlight on whipped wheels.  Well worth your time to take a peek at these incredible examples.  Wow!

Saturday, March 10, 2012


For this week's Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge, I'm showing variations of running stitch.
At the top you'll find three different pinkish yarns interlaced through 3 rows of staggered running stitch worked in pink silk floss.  Two of the yarns are about the same color, but the textures are quite different.  Next I used #5 perle cotton to make running stitch fillers in 3 orientations and varying stitch lengths.

A row of fishies was my way of demonstrating patterned running stitch.   I added some straight stitches in Kreinik metallic thread to emphasize where the tail meets the body and also the fins.  French knots represent eyes.  I used a #10 variegated cotton.  Were I to do it again, I'd space the fish a little further apart.

The blue rows use 3 strands of DMC floss in a middle blue and #5 perle cotton in light blue. Note that I randomly alternated which thread I used for the running stitches.   Row 1 is  simple laced running stitch, up/down - up/down.  Row 2 is simple whipped running stitch; the lacing enters the base stitch from the same direction each time.   Row 3 is the same , but whipped over 2 lines of running stitch.  Row 4 also uses 2 lines of parallel running stitch, and then laced twice in opposite directions.  Row 5 is a looped version.  The running stitches are again parallel but spaced further apart.  There is a good tutorial for these variations  as well as a visual stitch dictionary at Sarah's Embroidery; click on the picture for the tutorial.  You will have to scroll down to the running stitch family.  Row 6 is my knotted loop variation over 2 rows of stepped running stitch.

The final motif is worked in a single strand of Caron Watercolours.  I kind of followed a huck or Swedish weaving pattern by Deborah K Lauro as seen here.

Thursday, March 01, 2012


I have been nursing the nastiest cold the entire month of February.  I managed to post my weekly challenges on Flickr, but lacked the energy to blog.   I'll show the latest, and if you missed them you can catch the rest here.

 Yarns & strips of muslin colored with the same dyes as the background fabric are couched down with straight, herringbone & cretan stitches.  I attempted applications of Romanian,   Bokhara & Burden couching.  Mostly I just couched with freeform abandon and contemplated Creole Lady Marmelade enticing passersby to embroider.

A couple of notes.  The teal yarn was a tweed and the flecks wouldn't pass through the holes of the Aida cloth, so they look limp rather than taut and straight, which would have looked better with the Burden style patterning.  You'll have to look very close at the couched, orchid yarn.  It is actually structured.  Using a 1-2-4-8-4-2-1 stitch sequence, I used 2 strands of silk floss, also orchid -- a contrast color would have been preferable -- and worked Romanian on the left and Bokhara on the left.  The metallic stitch fillers, I realize, only confuse and detract from my purpose.