One of the fun things about working with fused fabrics is that you can use decorative rotary cutter blades to cut the fabric. The pinking blade is my favorite to create an embellished fabric edge. Here’s a simple way to add hand embroidery to that pinked edge. It’s the story of two peaks and a valley.
Start with the thread exiting the fabric at the tip or peak of the pinked edge.
Insert the tip of the needle at the top of the next peak. Skim the needle under the fabric to the valley between the two peaks. Trap the thread coming out of the first peak under the tip if the needle. Draw the needle and thread through the fabric.
Insert the needle into the fabric on the other side of the thread in the valley. This stitch over the thread holds it in the valley making a V shape that follows the pinked fabric edge. You can take a short stitch or a long one like the example above.
And that’s the story of two peaks and a valley.
If you have a chance, please check out this exhibit in Wisconsin.
The other day Janet asked how I decided on the hand embroidery stitches used on my small art quilts. Here is a little tutorial on stitch placement for that little blue spot you see on the right of this quilt. That little blue spot is a bird. He’ll be the focal point of this design.
From head to tail the little bird measures about 1.5″. He’s just a piece of blue fabric cut in the shape of a bird. He needs stitchery to make up the details of his parts. Make yourself a little bird and follow these steps:
- Outline the shape with the Outline Stitch and a few Blanket Stitches for the belly of the bird. Stitches are place on the purple background fabric and snugged right up to the bird shape. Use a contrasting thread colorway like Sunflowers. (Size 12 pearl cotton thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Stitch the front curve of the wing shape with the Outline Stitch and then swing into a few elongated Blanket Stitches to indicate feathers. (Size 12 Evening Greens thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use that same Evening Greens thread and add 2 long straight stitches down the center of his tail for tail feathers.
- Use a fine (50 weight) black sewing thread to make the pupil of his eye. Small straight stitches or a heavy duty French Knot will work. Surround the pupil with tiny Outline Stitches. (Size 12 Aquamarine thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Make the beak with a set of straight stitches that radiate in a triangle shape from the edge of the bird’s head to the tip of the beak. (Size 12 Oranges thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Use the same Oranges thread for accent marks and to repeat the color of the beak. Add straight stitches around the wing and 2 long stitches to the tail. Place 3 French Knots to the cap of the wing for decoration. He is a fancy bird.
- Make a jaunty crest for the bird’s head out of 3 Pistil Stitches. (Size 12 Sunflowers thread with Size 7 embroidery needle.)
- Breath a sigh of relief and move on to other areas of the quilt.
Nut House by Laura Wasilowski
One of my many faults is that I can not resist a challenge. That’s why I’ve agreed to come up with a class based on this design, the Nut House. In July I’ll be teaching at Tennessee Quilts and they’ve asked if I would make up a class just for them. (This is no reflection on their sanity.) Being a sucker for a fun idea, I agreed. The workshop description is written and now it’s time to make the step-outs to teach it. Can’t wait to see what my crazy students come up with!
In December, I set aside time each day to make small fused art quilts. And it was heaven! My goal this month? To add the hand stitching to those quilts.
Home Sweet Home #7 by Laura Wasilowski
Here is our first example of what a difference a stitch makes. It’s called Home Sweet Home. Hand embroidery is a slow go. But I enjoy the challenge and using my threads to enhance those little quilts. It’s heaven!
What is it about hand work that is so necessary to the fiber artist? I often hear textile artists say they have to keep their hands busy. It’s impossible for them to just sit and watch the world pass by. If they aren’t creating something, they feel restless and like time’s a wastin’.
Whether knitting or tatting or stitching, textile artists hunger for the feel of fiber in their hands. One friend was so adept at knitting she would stitch in line at the grocery store. I know I long for the needle and thread while waiting at the dentist’s office.
All this month I’ve been hard at the hand embroidery and avoiding the dentist. Hope to show you the results soon!