Vase on the Table #3 by Laura Wasilowski
The hand embroidery on this little quilt gave me a few challenges. See the fabric edges cut with the pinking blade? So far you’ve seen how to stitch the decorative edges found on the wallpaper stripes and flower tips. But how to stitch the yellow band on the vase and the top edge of the tablecloth?
Why with the Fly Stitch, of course! (I admit it took me a long time to realize that the Fly Stitch was the solution.) The yellow band on the vase measures about 1/2″ wide and is stitched with a variegated size 12 thread. Each little pinked edge is concealed with a strand of thread. You can see the process here.
The top edge of the tablecloth is also completed with the Fly Stitch. In this version, the center stitch is elongated into the fabric to make a Y shape. Thus proving that there is an embroidery stitch that can be adapted to any fabric shape you make.
This is what I like about free-form hand embroidery. It challenges you to discover inventive ways to mark fabric. It’s a creative endeavor using simple tools at a slow pace. It’s a quiet expression of art.
Colorado Cactus #5 by Laura Wasilowski
Colorado Cactus #5 is all stitched up and now provides an example of a woodcut quilt for my Creating Graphic Imagery class. In class, students make their own patterns for original designs and we discuss how hand embroidery enhances the quilt. As you can see, the stitching on this quilt transforms flat benign shapes into spiky cactus plants. That’s the power of the stitch!
If you have a chance, please check out this exhibit in Wisconsin.
If you want to draw a really thick line on your quilt top with thread, use the Chain Stitch. This linked stitch starts out like the Lazy Daisy Stitch but attaches to the previous stitch to form a line or chain of stitches. Here you see the Chain Stitch forming bulky cumulus clouds above the tree tops on a stormy day.
Here’s how I make the Chain Stitch: Exit the fabric at point A. Insert the needle right next to point A at point B. Take a short stitch (about 1/4?) and exit the fabric at point C.
Trap the thread under the needle.
Draw the needle and thread through the fabric creating a loop.
Insert the needle tip at point D to the right of point C and inside the loop.
Exit the thread at a new point C (about 1/4” from D). Repeat the steps above to make a chain of loops connected at the CD point.
After you do a lot of Chain Stitches you can become a member of the Chain Gang. This is a group of embroiderers who are doing time for letting their knots show on the back of their work.
Often when I make my daily quilt designs, my mind wanders. Today it has wandered to Arizona. I’ll be teaching at the AQS Quilt Week in Phoenix in February. I’m looking forward to seeing the desert and all it’s beauty while I’m there. Oh, and warming up too.
This quilt started with a wandering mind and a beautiful turquoise fabric. Sometimes that’s all it takes. See you in Arizona!
Stitching a pictorial quilt like this goofy quilt is very different from stitching a geometric quilt. The ideal method for stitching all those organic shapes found in your design is free-motion quilting. With free-motion you can rapidly change stitch direction to accommodate the various fabric shapes in the quilt.
A versatile free-motion stitch pattern is the MEMEME stitch. To make the MEMEME stitch go horizontally then vertically and repeat. By altering the length or width of the stitch lines in the MEMEME you can nip in and around the various fabric shapes. This stitch also creates a pleasing pattern on the surface of the quilt.
Try the MEMEME stitch and let me know how it goes.