This 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.
When 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!
I’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.
The 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.
Learn how to make the Wheat Ear stitch here.
The red wool I’m using for my improvised embroidery is a boiled wool. It is fairly thick, a little fuzzy, and ever so easy to stitch. In it’s previous life it was a jacket. Also, in a previous life, I demonstrated how to make these blue Fishbone Stitches on the wool to a student. I think I did it right.
To me the Fishbone Stitches look like something growing which triggers my theme for this improvised piece- a garden. And what does a garden need? Soil of course! The horizon line made with a Couched size 3 pearl cotton indicates the rich loamy soil of Illinois. Add Stem Stitches with a few Lazy Daisy Stitches and the plants are anchored into place. Now its time to improvise even more plants in my imaginary garden.
Felt Like Gardening #5 by Laura Wasilowski
Soon I’m off to Sisters OR to teach a class at Quilter’s Affair called Felt Like Gardening. Felt Like Gardening #5 above is an example of what my students can make with the many felt shapes they’ll get in their kits.
You may recognize this piece from a similar project found in Joyful Stitching called Folk Art Garden. Using a step-out or stage in the construction process prepared for the book, I changed it up and added more stitchery.
One can never go wrong with more embroidery.
Hope to see you at Sisters!
This is about as far as I go for this hand embroidery on felt. Or is it? Should I fill in the surrounding blue area with more hand stitchery? Or dare I cut it out with a decorative rotary cutter blade and apply the embroidery to another fabric?
Here goes nothing! (My big fear is that I cut into the stitching. Then what would I do?)
So, gritting my teeth and sending a prayer to the St.Ethel of Mertz, I trim the embroidery and place it on a yellow background fabric. Whew! that was close!
Size 3 pearl cotton thread is huge! And by that I mean thick, much thicker than your regular size 8 pearl cotton thread. Size 3 is also a little difficult to stitch through fabric. So how do you stitch this bulky thread to your fabric? Use couching.
is a method of securing thick threads, like the yellow Size 3 pearl cotton thread
above, to the surface of fabric. The heavy thread lays on the fabric and a finer, easier to handle thread, like a Size 8 pearl thread
, is stitched over it to fasten it to the fabric.
Here’s how to add Couching to your fabric:
- Come up at point A with the Size 3 thread using a Size 1 embroidery needle. Come up at B, about 1/4’’ from A, with a lighter weight thread like a Size 8 or Size 12 pearl cotton using a Size 3 or Size 5 embroidery needle respectively. (See the Needle and Thread Chart here.)
- Stitch the big needle into the fabric to hold it out of the way. Bring the smaller needle, used with the finer thread, over the thick thread and insert the needle back into B. Draw the thread through the fabric. The finer thread traps the heavy thread into place.
- Bring the small needle up at C about 1/4’’ from B. Insert the small needle on the other side of the thick thread and back into C. Draw the thread through the fabric.
- Continue to couch down the thicker thread to make shapes, draw lines, or outline shapes. To end the stitching, bring both threads to the back of the fabric and tie them off.
During the month of June I’ll be giving away a skein of hand-dyed size 3 pearl cotton fabric with any purchase from the Artfabrik store. Give it a try!