It’s that time of year again,Thanksgiving. So put on your powdered wig, buckle your shoes, and grab your knickerbockers! We are about to learn the Colonial Knot. (OK, the knickerbockers reference may not be historically correct but grab something.)
Colonial Knots are faster to make than French Knots and you can easily toss them in as a background filler with the Scattered Seed stitches like those above. (It also gives you an excuse to wear knickerbockers.)
Here’s how to make Colonial Knots: Begin the thread on the top of the fabric at A. Form a small loop like a backwards letter C with the thread. With the needle to the right of point A, slip the needle tip under the thread coming out of A. The shaft of the needle will lay on top of the lower end of the thread.
Shift the needle tip in front of point A. Wrap the thread across the needle and slip it under the tip of the needle. It should look like a figure 8 around the needle.
Gently pull the thread around the needle as you scoot the needle tip across the fabric to insert it back into the fabric. Insert the needle tip very close to point A. Draw the needle and thread through the fabric.
Congratulations! You are now an official Colonial Knot Maker! You may now remove your knickerbockers and invite the neighbors over for Thanksgiving.
My next stitching challenge for this little Windy City quilt is to tackle the looming purple shrubbery on the horizon. But first let me show you the steps to make looming shrubbery from a fused fabric.
- Cut the fabric into a shrub shape.
- Flip the fabric over and cut on the fused side. (This is so the glue does tack to itself when cutting.)
- Wedge the fabric into the crux of the scissors with your finger tip. Remove your finger tip.
- Snip out a wedge of fabric.
My stitch choice for the shrubs is the lazy daisy stitch. It replicates the oval shape of the snip out and adds another stitch texture to the quilt surface. I’ve also chosen a light blue size 12 thread so the shrubs look less ominous. Looks safe to go home now.
Here is the next embroidery stage for my little Windy City quilt. Stitching on the focal point is complete and it is time to move on to the landscape areas around the house. I’ll start with the orange spikes in the foreground. They look like plant life to me.
Using a size 12 variegated pearl cotton thread, I stitch fern stitches down each orange leaf. Why use variegated thread? The shifting of the variegation adds movement to the piece and the green variegation repeats the various green colors in the fabric shapes.
A size 12 thread is also used for the green field. This thread is close in color to the field so it doesn’t draw too much attention from the house. I use it to make scattered seed stitches across the filed creating an active texture. See the pinked edges of the field? Those are outlined with a fly stitch as is the base of the orange spikes. It’s true, the fly stitch and pinked edge were made for each other.
My next challenge is how to stitch those looming purple shapes on the horizon line. Yikes! What have I done! Any ideas?
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.