Simple Stitches that Surprise: Stem Stitch

It doesn’t take an exotic embroidery stitch to make my day. I have found that simple stitches give surprising results.

Here is a good example. To create the bark on this tree, I’m stitching short wavy lines of your basic Stem Stitch with a size 12 pearl cotton thread. The thread is a variegated blue called True Blues. But before I stitch the bark lines, I use True Blues to stitch around the tree trunk with a Chain Stitch. This gives it a finished edge. Chain Stitches are placed right next to the tree shape so I’m actually stitching into the background fabric to outline the tree.

As I continue up the tree trunk to the branches, I swirl the Stem Stitches to make knots and to add echoing lines around the knots. The combination of wavy lines and variegated thread color gives you the feeling that the tree is alive.

A Note about the Fabric

The shapes in this design are made with fused silk fabrics placed on a fused silk background. The silk fabrics are hand-dyed or over-dyed and have Misty Fuse Fusible Web on the back. Why use silk? Silk is easy to stitch through, and although it has a tighter weave, it doesn’t fray as much as cotton fabrics. Also, it has a lovely glow about it.

Colors of Autumn

Fine Line Tree #4 by Laura Wasilowski

The trees in my area are starting to show off their brilliant colors. The colors of autumn with their gold and red capture the eye and warm the heart. I love the change in seasons!

To celebrate the colors of the season, I’ve made this fused art quilt measuring 8″ x 10″. Fine Line Tree #4 is created with hand-dyed silk fabrics that glow just like the autumn leaves. It is lovingly hand embroidered and machine quilted.

If you’d like to add Fine Line Tree #4 to your collection, please click here.

Dyeing Silk Fabrics

I’ll Fly Away #4 (detail) by Laura Wasilowski

Lately, I’ve been dyeing silk fabrics for my bird series, I’ll Fly Away. The designs are made with free-cut shapes that are fused into place using Misty Fuse and then ironed to wool batting. I love the ease of stitching through silk and the fact that it is tightly woven so the edges don’t fray. But mostly I love the glow of silk fabric. It has a special warmth.

Silk yardage is hard to come so I search out silk scarves and skirts and dresses at resale shops. My favorite finds are large skirt fabrics with few seams and some patterning. Overdyeing the fabrics in a variety of colors gives me more colors from which to choose. These fabrics are my latest find. And I can’t wait to start another I’ll Fly Away quilt with them.