Pam of Ithaca and her artwork.
I get the best ideas from my creative students. Meet Pam, who attended my class in Ithaca, NY in April. To my delight she walked into the classroom with this gorgeous embroidery of her hand. She says her hand-embroidery on silk was inspired by the Hand of Fortune project from Joyful Stitching.
A tracing of my grandson’s hand, age 3.5.
And then she gave me a gift.
Pam suggested tracing those tiny hands of our children, grandchildren, nieces, and nephews and stitching them too. What a great way to commemorate the growth of a child!
Thank you Pam for sharing your artwork and your stupendous idea.
With a Light Heart by Laura Wasilowski
Soon I’ll be packing my bags to teach in Sisters, OR. Sisters is the home of the largest outdoor quilt festival in the nation called Quilters Affair.
One of the many activities at the show is the opportunity to bid on art work by donors for the charity, Wish Upon a Card. My donation this year, With a Light Heart, measures about 4″ x 6″ and is free- form hand embroidered on wool. Loved making it, love that it’s helping out someone in need, and love that it will go to a good home.
Here is a quick video about this little free-form embroidery. Enjoy!
See that little blue spot on the right of this quilt? That little blue spot is a bird. Or at least it will be a bird after a few hand embroidery stitches make it so.
From head to tail the little bird measures about 1.5″. He’s just a piece of blue fabric cut in the shape of a bird. He needs stitchery to make up the details of his parts. Make yourself a little bird and follow these steps:
- Outline the shape with the Outline Stitch and a few Blanket Stitches for the belly of the bird. Stitches are place on the purple background fabric and snugged right up to the bird shape. Use a contrasting thread colorway like Sunflowers. (Size 12 pearl cotton thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Stitch the front curve of the wing shape with the Outline Stitch and then swing into a few elongated Blanket Stitches to indicate feathers. (Size 12 Evening Greens thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use that same Evening Greens thread and add 2 long straight stitches down the center of his tail for tail feathers.
- Use a fine (50 weight) black sewing thread to make the pupil of his eye. Small straight stitches or a heavy duty French Knot will work. Surround the pupil with tiny Outline Stitches. (Size 12 Aquamarine thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Make the beak with a set of straight stitches that radiate in a triangle shape from the edge of the bird’s head to the tip of the beak. (Size 12 Oranges thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use the same Oranges thread for accent marks and to repeat the color of the beak. Add straight stitches around the wing and 2 long stitches to the tail. Place 3 French Knots to the cap of the wing for decoration. He is a fancy bird.
- Make a jaunty crest for the bird’s head out of 3 Pistil Stitches. (Size 12 Sunflowers thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Breath a sigh of relief and move on to other areas of the quilt.
Rare Songbird (detail) by Laura Wasilowski
And now for a final (and favorite) stitch combination. The Fern Stitch lends itself to many stitch combinations that you’ll find my new book, Joyful Stitching. It evokes the shape of leaves, climbing vines, or even a bird’s tail feathers.
In the Rare Songbird project, three vertical lines of Fern Stitches are outlined in Stem Stitches using the same orange thread. French Knots, in a light blue thread, fill in the spaces between to make a decorative tail for the bird.
I hope the examples of stitch combinations we’ve reviewed in the last few weeks will come in handy and add to your own free-form stitchery arsenal.
May your combinations always rock!
Dyed in the Wool #1 by Laura Wasilowski
You may have heard that a chapter in my new book, Joyful Stitching, went missing. For those of us who are fond of mystery novels, I’m pretty sure it was kidnapped. (Still awaiting ransom note.) The missing chapter called Combinations Rock! covered how combining two or more embroidery stitches added texture, pattern, and shapes to fabric.
And talk about texture! The French Knot is famous for its bulky texture. But combine it with the Bullion Knot, and your thread leaps off the fabric. In Dyed in the Wool #1, the stitch combination of French and Bullion Knots give the sheep a curly fleece you just want to pet.
Tasty Bite of Apple by Laura Wasilowski
It’s true what you’ve heard. A chapter in my new book, Joyful Stitching, was mysteriously removed before publication. Sure, I’m making this all up but the chapter called Combinations Rock! was a great idea! It was all about combining embroidery stitches and included the merging of stitches to create texture on fabric.
A good example of this texture building is found in the Tasty Bite of Apple project. Adjacent rows of Blanket Stitches create small squares like the light green threads above. Each green square is filled in with a red French Knot. This is my favorite stitch combination. I love how the bumpy texture created with complementary thread colors really zings. Don’t you just love a bumpy combination?