Details 655 on my Freeform Embroidery Sampler

Freeform needlework Sampler detailThe photo above is a detail on section 49 on my Love of Stitching Band Sampler.

section 49 of needlework samplerI have turned the photo on its side as this band runs vertically down the sampler and sits to the left just below the tiger.

Stitches Used:

With the exception of the cross stitch used to define the tiger, this area of Vandyke stitch  is perhaps the largest block of stitches in this section of the sampler. I worked it in hand dyed rayon thread.

With this stitch we have covered all the areas on this section of the sampler and next week I will introduce section 50.

Fabric:

The foundation fabric is a hand dyed 18cnt Aida

Date:

This section of the sampler was worked February 2010.

Size:

This area on my  Love of Stitching Band Sampler which is 15 cm (6 inches) wide and currently measures 96 feet 5 inches (2,938.78 centimetres), or  32.138 yards which is 29.3878 meters. It is still growing…

Sampler FAQ
If you want to know more about this piece visit the Sampler FAQ page or you can work back through the series of articles by reading them in the the Love of Stitching Band Sampler category.

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Mini Challenge details

Block 73Last week I asked readers, who was interested in a mini challenge to create a hussif and many people responded to say they wanted to  join in. Today I will answer some readers questions that arose through the week.

What is a hussif? 

A hussif is a sewing roll or sewing kit or caddy but I gave a more detailed answer here 

Will I be providing pattern?

No, the idea is that people design their own hussif that is the challenge! If you do a google image search with the words hussif, or sewing caddy, or sewing roll you will see lots of hussifs and get lots of ideas.

If you lay all your hand sewing equipment out and think of how they might be contained and what shape pockets they need to live in you will soon have a hussif designed. Perhaps readers have tips and advice. If you do leave a comment or if you have written about it on a blog leave your link in the comments as people are turning over ideas as to how they are going to make their hussif.

Can the hussif be in any embroidery style?

Yes any style is acceptable.  Choose a style you like. I am going to make mine of crazy quilting as it is something I have always wanted to do. Make your hussif the hussif you have always wanted to own!

I am a beginner do you think I will be able to join in?

Yes a hussif is an ideal thing to start designing or to use with any embroidery technique, as a hussif can be a made as a roll and be as simple or as complex as your sewing skills can meet.

If you are a new hand dont forget to check out the resources on Pintangle. I have a full list of tutorials and resources and  there is  a  tutorial on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams

For new hands there are 12 Surface Stitches for Beginners (This is a direct PDF download You need Acrobat reader to read it) Also there is my Stitch Dictionary 

How will the challenge run?

It will run the same way I run TAST and WIP Wednesdays.

Every week post on a blog or flickr your progress even if you have worked only a little. Then comeback here and tell us about it in the comments on the Wednesday post. Also leave a link, if you include the http bit of your web address in the comment it will become a hot link and folks can visit and see what you have done.

When does the challenge start?

Reading the comments from last week people were busy over Easter and are finishing off projects and I think I caught a few off guard in proposing the challenge. So I have set start date as the first of May (simply because it is the first of the month) and with a first ‘report in as being  Wednesday the 7th (so that is 2 weeks away from today)

As a side note this start date means I will cool my heals (which is haaaaaaaaard to do) and be a very good girl (can you hear me carrying on in two year old winging voice) and finnish the last block of my quilt…

What is the deadline?

None it is open ended challenge because I want to aim for quality not speed.

For this project my personal goal as I want to include many techniques I have tried (often on my sampler) but due to time have not used often. One of the things I love about crazy quilting is that you can use all sorts of different stitches and techniques in the one project. I want to develop some more techniques, include some of my all time favourites and include many techniques that I like but often don’t work because they are time consuming. It is easy as teacher to spend a lot of time producing samples for classes, and often these sample illustrate simple techniques for those who are new hands but for this project I am going to indulge myself and work some stitches and techniques that take a little longer. Not all will complex because some of my absolute favourites are simple stitch combinations. Since the idea for the project grew into a stitch along I don’t want to set a deadline as I want to allow time for indulgence.

Crazy quilting International has a hussif challenge this year can I combine the two?

Yes of course! The more you share the more your work is enjoyed. For crazy quilters out there who are not members of the CrazyQuilting International yahoo group you might want to join it is a busy group and best of all free!

If I don’t do a Hussif can I still report on my work in progress? 

Yes this mini challenge is not a replacement for my WIP Wednesdays but an addition. For the next few weeks /months I will be reporting on my hussif. It’s my Work in progress but if you are working on a larger project that is fine. For those folks who want to report on a work in progress do so as per my usual.

Join in and leave a comment

If you have made progress on a stitching project leave a comment with a link to your site. If you have further questions leave a comment and I will answer in the comments.

If you want to know more about Work in Progress Wednesdays visit the FAQ. All my Work in Progress Wednesday reports are under that category.

Break week for TAST stitches

Last week I posted instructions for 2 stitches so its a catch up week this week as if folks get overloaded with stitches to do they  drop away. I don’t want TAST to become a  to do list but rather I hope my readers can use it as than a space for experimentation and creative skill development.

I am opening up this page so that if you have worked a sample from  ANY of the stitches listed on the TAST FAQ page  post a comment below and tell us about it.

Once you have worked a sample,  photograph it and put it online at your blog, flickr etc then swing back to the Last TAST post (you will find it under the category each week)  and leave a comment.

Don’t want to miss our on any of the TAST stitches?

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A tutorial on how to work decorative crazy quilt seams

I have an Easter treat for my readers to say thank you and happy stitching over the holiday break. If you celebrate any other religious holiday my best wishes for that day  too!  At the bottom of the article there is a link where you can download this tutorial as PDF and keep it as an ebook on a tablet, or you can print it out to store easily.

Just a quick note about the hussif challenge. I have proposed an open ended challenge to readers. It is not a race to the finnish type challenge but be inventive, creative and do your best type challenge. It is open to new hands and old and you can work it in any type of hand stitchery. In other words it does not have to be crazy quilting. That said mine will be and I will stitch along but I do plan to try and fit some interesting work on my hussif. I have already made a list of over 70 techniques I could try! Obviously they wont all fit on my hussif but I think it might be fun to try give it a a go!

mixed crazy quilt stitchesMany new hands to crazy quilting get stumped when they start to embellish seams. People think you have to be an expert stitcher and I want to say you do not. What you do need to develop is a skill in adapting stitches and shaping them to your needs.  Today I am going to concentrate on how to use some basic stitches to create seam decorations in Crazy quilting. I have put together a few ideas for basic seam embellishments that new hands should find easy to follow.

This is not a tutorial on how to work the stitches. If you need tuition in this I have provided free,  12 Surface Stitches for Beginners. Follow the link for a direct PDF download. You need Acrobat reader to read it.

There are also the free modules in my stitchers worksheets which cover the basic stitches as well. Go get them! They are free and none of my stuff asks you to subscribe to anything or join this or that they are a simple give away. For more stitches can also visit my stitch dictionary.

Most seam embellishments  used in crazy quilting consist of basic stitches combined and built row upon row on top of each other. These are the basic stitches of crazy quilting I recommend all new hands learn. The basic list is: buttonhole stitch, Chain stitch and Detached chain stitch, Cretan, Herringbone, Chevron, Stem stitch, Feather stitch , Fly stitch, French knot and Couching. Other people may add a few stitches but if you have these you will go long way on a crazy quilt before anyone notices you are just using the basics.

Change your stitch direction, size and spacing

As you build your seams think in terms of adding variety by changing your stitches. You can so this by shifting stitch direction,  and changing the size of your stitches such as going from big to small and change the spacing of your stitches from close together to wide apart. You can also work on both side of the seam or flip the stitches working alternately from side to side. All these little tricks add interest to a line of embroidery.

Think about your thread choice

Another tip is don’t forget to change the colour, thickness and type of thread. I see lots of people simply use stranded cotton floss. This thread is fine for cross stitch work but get some cotton perle thread in sizes #8 and #5 as so many of the surface stitches look much better when worked with s thread that has a firm twist to it.  There are no rules in crazy quilting so I am not being dictatorial about it but it is my tip towards creating interesting seam work on crazy quilting. Also many stitches can be threaded and laced so don’t forget that you have option too!

detached chainDetached Chain Stitch (or lazy daisy stitch) is quick, easy stitch that is very versatile. You can work it in all sorts of formations along a seam, along side a piece of lace or a piece of braid.  A simple satisfying embellishment is to add straight stitches and a bead. You can add it to other stitches such as herringbone, or chevron stitch too.

CQ seam pattern 01

Here is an example of working a line of stitching and by adding a few beads in the middle of the motifs it creates a bit of zest.

CQ seam pattern 02You can work either side of the seam, flipping stitches from side to side.

half detached chain daisiesOr you can zigzag the motifs along the seam like these:

CQ seam pattern 03Or zig zag them either side of lace braid or ribbon

detached chainYou can build little motifs up in zig zag bands

CQ seam pattern 04

Once you have tried these techniques ie working a stitch along a line, flipping a stitch from side to side or placing it in a zig zag manner along the line, try building up more complex motifs by increasing the variety of your stitches and adding more rows of stitches.

detached chainThey can be as complex or as simple as you wish.

CQ seam pattern 05These could be worked in stem stitch for the stem, detached chain for the flower and leaf and the middle could be a bead or a French knot.

CQ seam pattern 06This seam pattern consists of a motif made of three detached chain stitches and two straight stitches. If you look at my work regularly you will notice I use this combination all the time. You could finish them off with either a bead or a French knot.

detached chain and beasStitches like buttonhole wheels can be worked as halves or quarters and arranged along a seam.

Half buttonhole wheels You can work them in line or turn them on their side.

CQ seam pattern 07Or flip each half wheel from side to side.

CQ seam pattern 08

Here is another way to arrange them and what they look like stitched up

Half buttonhole wheels or you can quarter the wheels and arrange them in patterns.

CQ seam pattern 09

For instance you can flip them from side to side too!

quarter buttonhole wheels It is simple and effective. You can work two lines face to face.

CQ seam pattern 10

Here is another way to use buttonhole wheels which can be arranged in a different ways. These are interspersed with straight stitch arranged in a ray. French knots, sequins or beads can be placed in the middle.

CQ seam pattern 11

Often, the trick is to take a very basic stitch, work a row, and then add another basic stitch as a second row.

CQ seam pattern 12For instance, you can work two rows of straight stitches in a zig zag formation, with the second row offset to form a line a diamonds. At the peaks you can work a fan of straight stitches, add a bead and you have an attractive seam. All from one type of simple stitch!

Or you could work the foundation row of zig zag stitches using stem stitch or chain stitch. If you did this it would create a more solid line.

This type of seam embellishment where you start with a line to follow (the first zig zag line) is an instance of where Crazy Quilt templates are a very handy addition to your sewing box as you can use them to produce very even lines!

buttonholeHere is another example of how to build a seam layer upon layer

CQ seam pattern 13This foundation row is buttonhole stitch, which is then decorated with straight stitches and a seed bead. It is quite simple, quick to work and made up of basic stitches.

detached chain and buttonholeButtonhole stitch is an extremely versatile foundation row because you can change the height of the arms to form a pattern and Buttonhole stitch will follow a curve well. For instance here we can add a fan of straight stitches to the top of the row and sequins at intervals along the bottom.

CQ seam pattern 14If you flip units of buttonhole stitch from side to side it leads to more interesting ways to combine stitches.

CQ seam pattern 15Here is an arrangement of detached chain stitches and buttonhole stitch.

CQ seam pattern 16This pattern builds on the same idea and notice it is the same basic  stitches which I have used. They are arranged differently to create daisy motifs but they are the same basic stitch.

detached chain and buttonholeHerringbone Stitches have a zigzag like, crossed structure which means you can make all sorts of additions to a line of Herringbone stitches.

CQ seam pattern 17On the top row straight stitches worked in a fan and beads have been added to the spaces between the herringbone stitches. On the second line detached chain, straight stitches and beads have been tucked into the base of the cross.

CQ seam pattern 18Chevron stitch is also a good foundation stitch for crazy quilters as you can add other stitches to the valleys and peaks. Straight stitches, detached chain stitches and beads have been added to the peaks of Chevron Stitch.

CQ seam pattern 19Or you can tuck extra stitches into the valleys. In this case I have added quarter buttonhole wheels.

Chevron stitch Here are some of my chevron stitch seam samples taken from my crazy quilts.

Chevron stitch Feather stitching

CQ seam pattern 20Finally, one of the all time favourites for crazy quilters is Feather Stitch because you can add stitches to the end of each arm or tuck stitches between the arms to create lovely complex patterns.

Since feather stitch follows curves well you can create a lovely organic movement to a block using feather stitch. It is certainly one of my favourite stitches.

As you can see it is possible to build up quite complex patterns using these methods.

I hope this article will give people a few ideas, and that you enjoy working and experimenting with some of them.

cq seams tutorial screenshotYou can right click and  download this article as PDF and keep it as an ebook on a tablet, or print it out easily.

Spread the word and tell your friends, “like” it and  share it on your favourite social network.

Share your favourite embroidered seams

If you have a blog or flickr site and have a favourite seam embellishment you want to share please do!

It is simple, leave a comment that includes  your web address. When you leave a comment include the http:// part of the address then your address becomes a link and readers will be able easily visit and see what you have done.

In the meanwhile I would like to wish all my readers a happy Easter or what ever religion happy holiday . I will take the rest of the holidays off and you will see me again on Tuesday!