Thread-u-cation Thursday: Bullion Knot

bullion7There’s a lot of bulk in a Bullion Knot. And on small pieces of artwork it, has many uses. For instance, it takes a Bullion Knot to make cattails growing by the swamp next door.

woolbird18It also takes a large coil of thread like a Bullion Knot to crown the crest of a fancy bird. These concentrated hits of thread lift off the fabric creating texture and dimension to your work. Check out these directions on how to make the Bullion Knot.


Thread-u-cation Thursday: Running Stitch

runningstitch2It’s been a windy, chilly week here in Illinois. How can you tell? Because the trees are turning blue. And, when stitching a sky, your Running Stitches curve and sweep across the fabric like the wind on a blustery day. It takes the humble Running Stitch to make this a blustery or calm day.

runningstitch8The Running Stitch, the most basic of embroidery stitches, is often under rated by the embroidery raters. But after reading these directions for making the Running Stitch, you’ll find a few inventive ways to use it, including a tip on marking the fabric for stitching.


Thread-u-cation Thursday: A Spiky Chain

spikychain7Lately I’ve been exploring a variation on the Chain Stitch that I’d like to share with you. It’s sort of a chain with a little bite to it; a combination of the Chain Stitch and Blanket Stitch.

spikychain6It probably has a name (and please let me know if it does) but I’m calling it the Spiky Chain. It starts out with the straight line of a Chain Stitch then veers off the path and then returns to the path. Here are the directions for the Spiky Chain. Happy Thread-u-cation Day!

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Straight Stitch


Tilty Town #12 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

Welcome to Thread-u-cation Thursday! Our featured embroidery stitch today is the Straight Stitch. The Straight Stitch lives a simple life. It goes from here to there. And sometime from there to here.

straight4The Straight Stitch is plain. It is not glamorous like a French Knot or exotic like the Blanket Stitch. It is just a line of thread on the fabric. But beneath that ho-hum existence beats a stitch of great potential. Here you see it drawing dramatic pink lines. Those directional lines are made with a Size 8 pearl cotton thread stitched on felt in the  Petunias colorway.

Here are directions for making the Straight Stitch. Happy Thread-u-cation Day!

Thread-u-cation Thursday: Chain Stitch

chainstitch1Welcome to Thread-u-cation Thursday! Our featured embroidery stitch today is the Chain Stitch. The Chain Stitch is a linear looping stitch useful in so many ways.

chainstitch3Use the Chain Stitch to draw heavy lines on your fabric like the puffy clouds in this quilt.  This stitch easily depicts the sharp corners and soft curves of clouds. Here the loops in the chain are left rather loose so a peek of fabric appears in each loop adding texture.

chainstitchsample2Line the Chain Stitch up in parallel lines leaving a slight gap between lines to make row upon row of crops in a field. The Size 12 pearl cotton thread is worked on a silk fabric backed with batting. (Check out the Silk Stitch Along to see how to prepare the silk.) The thread colorway is called Lime Frappe. It’s variegation of color ranges from yellow to gold, green, turquoise, and blue adding movement and interest to the embroidery.

chainstitchsample1Place Chain Stitches right next to each other and you conceal the background fabric completely. It is an easy way to create shapes on fabric like the spiral of stitches that make the sun in this quilt. This thread colorway is called aptly called Sunflowers.

Why not add some Chain Stitches to your artwork today? Here are directions for making the Chain Stitch. Happy Thread-u-cation Day!



Needle Tips

needletipsToday I’m writing about needle tips and I literally mean the tip of the needle. The needles above are both a Size 3 embroidery needle but, from different brands.  If you look closely at the image, you’ll see they differ in girth or diameter. And there is a difference between the tips of the two needles too. The top needle has a more tapered point.

chartneedleandthreadYou’ll see this image on my The Thread-u-cation tutorial page. It indicates my suggestions for what embroidery thread size goes with what embroidery needle size. But be forewarned! Not all needles are created equally. And neither are their tips.