Teach a Kid to Stitch

dishtowel Like many of you I began as a child. My mom taught me the basic hand stitches for that time honored craft of embroidery on dish towels. I took to it like a dancing tomato.

kidstitchingNow it’s time to teach our children (or grandchildren) to stitch. Hand embroidery is an art form that deals with color, texture, pattern, and the joy of making something by hand. Instead of a video game, give them a needle and thread.

handoffortunemaxSo here’s an idea. Trace your child’s hand onto cotton or silk fabric. Put it in a hoop or fuse it to batting for stability (this is how the Hand of Fortune embroidery is done). Basic stitches like the Running Stitch, Stem Stitches, and Cross Stitches are easy to learn. Older children can learn Lazy Daisy Stitches and French Knots.

That’s all you need to have fun. Teach a kid to stitch.

An Etui for Youi

etui12Traveling this summer? Then you need a portable sewing kit or etui like this to carry all your sewing needs. It’s easy to make and small enough to fit into your purse, glove compartment, saddle bags, or under the seat in front of you.

etui10This little etui measures about 5″ x 6″ and is made with felt and a stiff interfacing like Timtex. Stitched together by hand, it holds your scissors, thimble, needles, and pins. Click here for directions on how to make your etui.

Paint Brush Stitch Along

brush16Ready for another Stitch Along? Using techniques from my new book Joyful StitchingI’ll show you step-by-step how to make this lively paint brush. It only uses 7 hand embroidery stitches and there is a pattern ready for you to print and trace.

brush19 

There is also a Stitch Kit available for the Paint Brush Stitch Along. You can select one or all of the items to make the brush:  the wool background fabric, hand dyed threads, and embroidery needles.

 

Click here to begin your Paint Brush Stitch Along. If you can’t join the Stitch Along today, you can always find it and other Stitch Alongs here under Tutorials.

How to End the Thread

stitching13When adding hand embroidery to fused art quilts, you only need to stitch through the batting and top layer of the quilt. There are two advantages of embroidering the quilt first before adding the backing fabric. One is that without the backing fabric, you have one less layer of fabric to stitch through.

stitching12And the second advantage is that it’s easy to hide thread knots. Here you’ll see a few knots in the batting where I began a new thread color. And you’ll also see how to end a thread. Just slip the needle under previous stitches on the back and snip. It’s a good idea to snip the threads closely to the back of the quilt so they don’t catch other threads when your working new stitches.

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: Herringbone

herringbone3Welcome to Thread-u-cation Thursday! Our featured embroidery stitch today is the Herringbone Stitch. I must admit that I seldom use this stitch. (Sorry for my lack of enthusiasm but the good old Herringbone Stitch is rather ignored in my embroidery life.)

herringbone4Unless I’m trying to spice up a straight piece of fabric like the green tree trunk above. Then I’m all about the Herringbone. What better way to add zip to a skinny piece of fabric? (Please note that tree trunk is a design detail from my new pattern, The Nut House.)

herringbone2And then there is the ability of the Herringbone Stitch to stretch out or compress to make shapes like this forest of trees on the lake shore. (You have to use your imagination.) OK, maybe the good old Herringbone Stitch deserves another look. Here are the directions. Please let me know how you use the Herringbone Stitch.