What’s Stitching? Where to Start?

windycity18aThis hot little number has been on my design wall for months. It’s next in the Windy City series of quilts. And it is ready for hand embroidery.

windycity18bWhen I add the hand embroidery I always start with the focal point. In this case, it’s the little house. My first step is to outline the house and roof using a blanket stitch and size 12 pearl cotton threads that contrast in color with the shapes. This way the shapes pop out, giving them importance like a focal point deserves.

Next I add a chain stitch around the door to highlight that shape. Little windows are made with lazy daisy stitches in blue with a straight stitch of yellow inside the loop.

And to really make the roof pop, I’ve whipped stitches around the edge of the blanket stitch with blue thread.  A yellow thread is slipped under the tines of the blanket stitch to give a neat little pattern.

Now that the focal point is stitched, I can plan other areas to stitch on this small fused art quilt. Can’t wait to see what happens!

What’s Stitching? A Windy City Quilt

windycity17

Windy City #17 by Laura Wasilowski

Today I’m teaching my favorite class, Tiny Homes, at the International Quilt Festival in Houston. Why is it a favorite?

windycity17detail

About one hour into the class I see my students inventing fun and whimsical designs. These art pieces are unique to each maker and delightful to behold. I can’t wait to see what they make this year!

What’s Stitching? Wheat Ears

wheatear3I’ve recently revisited this fun embroidery stitch, the Wheat Ear. Isn’t it cute? Looks like a little bug waving hello. It’s a looping stitch but pointy at the same time that creates texture when stitched separately. 

wheatear5The Wheat Ear also works as a linear stitch when stacked like this. Fill in the loop with a French Knot and the Wheat Ear gets all dressed up and dances.

wheatear2Learn how to make the Wheat Ear stitch here.

Soft Color for a Beautiful Quilt

wildricesample2It is always a thrill to meet up with those who use my hand dyed threads. Christie brought her beautiful quilt to a meeting of the Prairie Star Guild in St. Charles IL. Here you see a detail of her hand embroidery on the quilt using my Wild Rice pearl cotton threads in sizes 8 and 12.

wildricesample3She did an extraordinary job of stitching and picking out the perfect thread color to match the sashing fabrics. Thank you Christie for using my threads and for sharing your artwork with us!

A Gentle Fabric for Stitching

stitchingonwool1For those of you who love to hand stitch, I highly recommend hand embroidery on wool. Thread glides smoothly through the cloth, no hoop is needed, your hands are caressed by the fabric, and knots (if you use them) hide in the bulky fabric. It’s a rich, gentle fabric ideal for hand embroidery.

Cut out wool shapes with sharp scissors and attach them to the background fabric with a pin or tacking stitches.Usually I stitch a Blanket Stitch around the edges to hold the shape in place.

stitchingonwool3Here you see that the Blanket Stitch in red has a second thread (green) whipped through the top edge of the stitch to give more definition to the outline of the shape. I’m also experimenting with stacking Fly Stitches to make leaf shapes using a variegated size 8 thread called Lettuce. Although the Fly Stitches are stitched closely together, it is easy to stitch through the wool.

tracytrevethanwoolMy favorite source for colorful wool is hand dyed by Tracy Trevethan. The Wooly Ladies also carry wool suitable for hand work as do many of your local quilt shops. In the Rare Songbird project from my book, Joyful Stitching, I use a hand-dyed wool for the background. And many of these free tutorials on my Rare Songbird project from my book, Tutorial Page use their hand dyed wools as well. Give it a try. Your hands will thank you!

A Sheep for Ewe

dyedinthewool

Dyed in the Wool by Laura Wasilowski

Recently I met up with someone who has taken on and finished one of my free Stitch Tutorials called Dyed in the Wool. It makes me happy to know that she found the tutorial useful and was willing to give it a try. Where is this intrepid stitcher from? Why the Racine Lighthouse Quilters Guild in Wisconsin, of course.

sandyandsheepMeet my new best friend, Sandy. She brought her finished Dyed in the Wool project to the guild meeting and really brightened up my day. Her color choices, beautiful free-form stitching, and sunny personality instantly charmed me. Thank you, Sandy, for sharing your work with us!