For a long time, I’ve been a knotty girl. As you can see, I tend to place a knot on the end of my pearl cotton threads before stitching. But no longer! I have mended my unsightly knotty ways.
Now I neatly start and stop my stitching on the back of the fabric. Here are a few tips on being a neat stitcher:
- Take a few back stitches concealed in the back of the fabric when beginning a new thread (don’t let the thread appear on the top of the piece). If you use a knot to anchor the thread, be aware that your needle may strike the knot when stitching and stretch previous stitches.
- To end a thread, run the needle through a few adjacent stitches on the back of the work and snip the thread.
- Snip ending threads close to the fabric. Long threads on the back may tangle with other threads while stitching.
In these interesting times many of us find ourselves on the edge. And by “on the edge” I mean the fear of how to finish the edges of fabric shapes while attaching them to a background fabric at the same time. So I’ve come up with a few suggestions to alleviate your fears. Luckily, there are several ways of attaching fabric shapes to a background fabric. The Blanket Stitch, seen in the first shape, is your basic attachment. It gives a sense of stability along with a jolly little decorative feature. Then there is the Fern Stitch, Running Stitch, and novel Pistil Stitch. All delightful ways to anchor a piece into place.
But wait, there’s more! Place a heavy thread like the Size 3 around the fabric shape and couch or hold it into place with Lazy Daisy, Pistil, or plain old Straight Stitches. The ever popular Fly Stitch gives you a pointy edge and the heavy duty Chain Stitch firmly echoes the circular shape in our last example.
I hope this alleviates some of your fears. Remember, hand embroider is meant to soothe in troubling times. It is a quiet pursuit that gives you something to do with your hands rather than wringing them. Have fun!
Home Again by Laura Wasilowski
This little hand embroidery piece made with felt measures about 4″ x 7″. It is what I call a thrifty stitcher. A thrifty stitcher is made from those odd ends of threads left on the needle when stitching a bigger project. What do you do with 6 or 7 inches of thread left on a needle? Throw the thread away? I can’t do it!
So I use those threads on a small project that I can pick and put down at will. In this thrifty stitcher example, you see a thick size 3 thread couched across the bottom to make horizontal lines.
And it is several sets of size 3 threads drawn from these colors that I’d like to give-away on the blog. Care to join my “get rid of stuff” party? Just leave a comment below and you may be a lucky winner. (Please note that at some point I cut off the comment section, usually just before I announce the winners.)
If you have a pinking blade or pinking shears, you may want to trim your felt fabrics before attaching them to a background fabric. Here you see the light green felt with a pinked edge embellished with festive embroidery. Isn’t that fun! The sequence for stitching these long leaves follows. (See individual stitch directions here.)
- Stitch Blanket Stitches down the straight edge of each leaf securing it to the background fabric.
- Stitch Fly Stitches following the pinked edges of the leaves securing the outside edges.
- Stitch French Knots in the center of each opening between the Fly Stitches.
The sun in my Felt Like Gardening #3 embroidery is a simple round felt shape embroidered with these stitch combinations:
- Fly Stitches (facing in) around the edge of the sun shape to secure it to the background fabric. French Knots on the tip of each Fly Stitch.
- Straight Stitches inside each “V” of the Fly Stitch.
- Chain Stitches around the sun stitched on the background fabric.
- Fly Stitches (facing out) around the edge of the sun stitched on the background fabric..
- French Knots on the tip of each Fly Stitch.
Felt Like Gardening #3 by Laura Wasilowski
I hope you enjoyed seeing how this small embroidery was made. The felt fabric made it easy to stitch and the time doing the embroidery really did give me a feeling of serenity and joy. May you enjoy your stitching to!
Windy City #18 by Laura Wasilowski
Yippee! Now that the hand embroidery on Windy City #18 is complete, it is bound and machine quilted. For this little fused art quilt (14″ x 9.5″) I’ve used a pillowcase binding method.
Then the quilt is machine quilted using a titanium or chrome coated embroidery needle and free-motion stitching. To add free-motion stitching, drop the feed dogs on the machine and guide the needle around all the organic shapes in the design while moving the quilt.
To compare, here is the quilt before stitching. See what a difference a stitch makes? The hand embroidery and machine stitchery bring the quilt to life. This is what sets quilting aside from other art forms: the joining of surfaces with a stitch. It’s all about the stitch!
As I stitch around the sun in my little Windy City quilt, I meditate on the amazing variations of the Fly Stitch. The Fly Stitch is an open looping stitch that is easy to make and has lots of stitch possibilities. Here’s a few you can try:
- Extend the center thread of the Fly Stitch to make a Y shape like branches in a tree,
- Use the Fly Stitch with a pinked fabric and the thread follows the pointy edges and tacks down fabric shapes at the same time,
- Add a French Knot between lines of Fly Stitches (like those on a pinked fabric edge) to build pattern and add hits of color,
- Stack Fly Stitches to make leaf like shapes, or
- Use a French Knot to hold the center of the stitch in place. This is also known by those of us who are fast food connoisseurs as the French Fly.
And finally, surround a group of French Knots with Fly Stitches to make a flower. Ah, the Fly Stitch, so much talent in such a tiny stitch.