Take a Stitch Tuesday

Please read as this is an important proposal to change how the Challenge is run


I know everyone is enjoys the weekly round up of stitching activity. For the most part I enjoy writing it. Early in the week I settle back to read what has been happening but as Sunday approaches it gets more hectic to track each person. Writing the round ups are taking a good chunk of time each week. I fret if people are left out and try very hard to avoid it and as I have said before I think it is a good idea that if anyone gets left out leave a comment with your URL at the bottom of the post then people can visit.


I am aware that I am sometimes skipping people. It is not deliberate. I am using Bloglines to track all updated entries in the blogs and flickr accounts and for the odd feed Bloglines has a hiccup. It does not last long usually and rights itself but can mean that I do not notice someone. Since approximately 200 people have signed up for the challenge it is the only way I track what everyone is doing.


I have something to propose which is an extremely simple solution and I don’t know why I did not think of before.


How would people feel if as they loaded an image to flickr or in their blog they left a comment on the weekly stitch announcement page? In other words when you have done this weeks stitch you come back and leave a comment on this page with your URL so people can click and follow it


That means that through the week as people stitch they can swing back to this page to browse the comments, go to the links and get a little inspiration if needed. One advantage is that it keeps links to all the samples of one stitch together. For those who are new to blogs if you click on the title of this post you will be taken to a separate page. This is called a permalink. It is a permanent link to a single post in a blog. All you need to do is add that page to your favourites and you can return without having to scroll or work your way back through a blog. Also when you are on an individual page you do not have to click on comments to read them as the comments are automatically published at the bottom of that page.


My main reason for writing the round up each week is to make sure people know of the samples other people have done. It is a way of visibly pointing to those who are participating in the challenge. This I think is particularly useful for those people who are not really familiar with blogging communities. Debra Spincic generously runs a web ring for the TAST challenge which is found here and for those who have a Flickr account there is the Take a stitch Tuesday flickr group so between the two I think the network is quite visible.


As I approve comments (I moderate because of spam) they appear in the sidebar. So through the week as people leave a comment about their work the recent comments bar would highlight it.


For those who are in the challenge if the “leave a comment as you stitch” system means there would be no racing for them to post before I wrote the weekly round up, or doing things like trying to figure out the time difference.


If people are a little late under the “leave a comment as you stitch” system there is no reason they can not leave a comment on the stitch announcement that is appropriate. So if you are still exploring last weeks stich just leave a comment on last weeks post.


As I have said writing the round up takes a good few hours and others have offered to help with it. I am quite happy to continue with writing them but I think since the aim is to have a place that links to everyone’s stitching done that week, this is a simple solution it might actually work better. What do people think? Obviously I like the idea as it is back to browsing the blogs rather than hurtling by and worrying if someone has been left out! Leave a comment and let me know what you think.


This weeks Challenge stitch


This week the challenge is a stitch that I know Crazy quilters love. For those who do not know it I hope you enjoy Feather stitch



I was a little pressed for time this week so all samples are worked on Aida using perle 8 thread


As you can see you can add spines to widen the stitch


Spines can be spaced differently.

two rows worked side by side totally changes the stitch


Here is another two rows worked side by side with small straight stitches added


Finally I worked two rows of feather and added detached chain stitches in the spaces.


If you are enjoying this challenge you might be interested in my online class Develop a Personal Library of Stitches which starts on February 20 (next week) .


That’s the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge stitch this week … Enjoy!


TAST round up for this week

Its that time of the week again. Time to settle back with a cuppa and browse the blogs to see what has been happening with the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge but before I do that and while the kettle boils we can squeeze in a little natter.

Life is getting busy around here as the Academic year starts soon. As regular readers will know, I teach at the Art school here in Canberra and I have been putting together a new course. Unless you have gone through this process people are never aware of how much time it takes. Even those that think they can imagine it are always surprised. One thing I have learnt is that teaching success involves lots of planing and preparation. So that is what I have been doing There has been a few 12 hour days put in lately and there is a couple to come!

Back in October when the idea for this course was first discussed I floated the idea of sharing links and resources as I did the research for this course. Yep that is how long it takes to develop a course properly. When it came down to it I found that writing about it here became a little daunting. At first I could not figure out why. It was a real puzzle. What was holding me back? Then one day while doing the dishes – I don’t know why I always have my ideas at the kitchen sink but I do – I realised that writing about such research here made me feel uneasy not because I did not want share, or could not be bothered to share, or even that it was not ‘on topic’ but because the readership for the topic is very different.

Knowing who your readership is very important. I estimate that about 10% of my readers are web savvy and are very interested in this type of research. A huge percentage are also interested in blogging but not the other technical aspects of the area. Others are interested is software such as Photoshop, everyone else could not really give a hoot.

Questions of why we blog, how to blog, the influence of blogs and how blogs might be used are all of interest as I always get a huge response when ever I write about them. People are becoming more interested in RSS but they are fewer. Guided by the questions I get asked on the blog and via email many not so technically literate still have problems understanding what aggregators are about and some have problems using them. Other technical aspects simply do not appeal to many of my readers. That is fine as this blog is about textiles not the internet.

Also a key thing I discovered is that writing for people who have never encountered the technology or aspects of the technology takes a lot of time because everything needs to be explained. To write for this audience in an inclusive manner means I would have to pitch every post at a different level. The course I am preparing is a 3 year university level course not a beginners course. This meant I would be trying to write for two levels of understanding. I decided that was why it felt daunting not that I could not explain it but it took a fair dose of energy to do it well. I did a little experiment. I posted a piece on Vox Blogs which was a fully developed piece with screenshots and description. It took hours to write but I got one comment.

This made me re-think things a little. I knew I need a place to speak to my students at the University, and anyone else interested in the topic. Having to explain the basics constantly would limit what I had time to write. For this reason I decided that trying to cater to two audiences was not a good idea.

The obvious answer was to resurrect Mindtracks which I have done. For those interested in this topic you might like to subscribe as I start teaching in a week or so and Mindtracks will be active again.

That’s my news. The other big news is that it rained yesterday! This for me is more exciting than getting Mindtracks going again as we are still in drought. The birds are singing and so am I this morning.

On the stitching front little is happening. I have started a couple of samples that I will use in the next workshop I am writing for joggles.com. It is a class that focuses on texture as an element of design. I am going to call that class Scrumptious Surfaces. I have one little sample worked for TAST next week and that is it, but don’t worry I am sure the post will not be eye candy free. I am lucky the Encrusted Crazy Quilting started yesterday. I will be able to live vicariously via my students for the next couple of weeks. Watching someone else stitch is not quite as much fun as doing it yourself but it’s a pretty good substitute!

If you are enjoying this challenge you might be interested in my online class, Develop a Personal Library of Stitches which starts February 20.

Anyway without further fuss and bother here is the weekly round up of what people have been doing with the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge . As usual if the technology has let me down and I have missed you out leave a comment with your URL so people can follow the link and see what you have done.

Jennifer of A Garden of Stitches has worked an image using detached chain, Cretan and chevron stitches.

Neki of A Movable Feast really enjoyed working eyelets in all shapes and sizes.

Allison Aller has a new blog Allies in Stitches and it has been great to catch up with what she has been doing and has used Algerian eye stitch on a ‘landscape’ block

Cathy of Altered fabrications has worked a sample of chevron stitch

Pat of Altering thoughts has slipped away into a fantasy world while stitching eyelets

Sarah of And Sew On has an image of her sampler on her blog.

Anja´s Wunschpunsch has worked a sample of Chevron stitch

Annie of Annie’s Crazy World has photographed using waste canvas to work an eyelet in the shape of a heart.

Carol of Art~n~Quilt has worked another page of her sampler book – Chevron stitch

Ati of Ati on the crazy road has worked eyelet stitch samples too.

Penny of Back Valley Seasons has worked a eyelet sample on felt. She thinks it does not work well but it does there is no reason why eyelet stitches have to be even.

Carina of craftblo
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has worked a sample of Chevron stitch and eyelet stitch

Emmy Schoonbeek of Cramzy has works some small samples of Eye stitch

CrazyQstitcher has worked an Algerian Eye Sample

Lillian of Crazyseoulsister has worked another seam embellishment of Cretan stitch and a ‘variation’ of Algerian eye stitch.

Francoise of Creatilfun has worked a sample of eyelet stitch on felt

Doreen of Creative Meanderings has enjoyed exploring Algerian eye stitch

Karen of Creaworx has worked a Chevron sample and transformed her Cretan stitch sample into a wrist band. Check it out wht she has sone is interesting

Dale of Downunderdale has used Eyelet stitch in a contemporary manner – if you are a contemporary embroiderer and were stuck this week don’t miss seeing what she has done

Bonnie of Dakini dreams has used Algerian eye stitch on her latest butterfly mask

Dawn of Dawn’s Icy Sun has worked on her Chevron stitch

Janel of DIY! DIY! DIY!’>DIY! DIY! DIY! describes Cretan stitch as economical.

Jacqui has her sample of Algerian eye on her flickr site Elegant stitch’s

Barbara of Embroidery overlaps has worked a sample of Algerian eye stitch. While on her site don’t miss all the other pictures of her samples so far.

Annica of Fabulous Threads has just joined the challenge and has caught up by stitching ATC size samples

June R of Grandma Ziki’s Stitching has used Chevron stitch on a crazy quilt block

Greenmontanasamuel on flickr has added eye stitch to her scene.

Gunnel Svensson of Gunnel’s blog has really let rip with eyelet stitches

Marianne of Heegeldab continues to astound me with her bag

Helina as used Algerian eye on a Crazy quilt block

Bibliotecaria of Inside my head has been exploring Cretan stitch

JoWynn has been working eyelets on net

Christine of Lady Jane’s Journal enjoyed exploring Algerian eye stitch

Lori of Laeroport has mad a brooch using the TAST stitches

Laura Lea has worked eye stitches over prints with some interesting results

Margaret of Life, needlework and everything has worked an unusual design inspired by a vintage pattern

Luci joined the challenge this week and has a fantastic contemporary interpretation of eye stitch on her flickr account. Anyone who is looking for ways to move off the grid with this stitch should take a look at these samples.

Patricia of Magic Indigo joined the challenge this week

Mary Anne of Magpies Mumblings was at first uninspired by Algerian eye then as she explored it a little she discovered how interesting it could be which is just what the challenge is about!

Sara of Mainly Zaz has produced a really interesting contemporary sample of Chevron stitch exploring combining it with layered fabrics.

Mariyarn has worked a freeform sample of Chevron stitch on a check background. It sets up some interesting contrasts take a look at it and you will see what I mean.

Mary of Mary’s Witterings has produced a light breezy sample of eyelets

Beth of Meandering Threads has produced a sample using Chevron stitch to couch down ric-rac on a background of hand painted and stamped fabric

Mady is Mehdc on flickr and has loaded a sample of Algerian eye stitch

Mary Corbet Needle’nThread posted a video tutorial of Chevron stitch this week and has explored a 6 pointed version of Algerian eye.

Fiona of Neverending lists is playing catch up and posted her free form Cretan stitch sample

Odile B has a very interesting sample of eyelets contrasted against vintage lace on flickr

Lin Moon of Purple Fan has been stitching up a storm don’t miss her samples posted this week

Lynda of Purple Missus has described the process she used to create her sample. She stitched with a paper thread on paper then a metallic Markal paint stick was rubbed over the surface before being treated to a light wash of red drawing ink. From this she took a monoprint. Her next sample was made of paper pulp, dyed with Procion dyes. Read her post for details

Elizabeth of Quieter Moments has been posting all week – don’t miss any of it. She has interesting explorations of Algerian eye stitch and step by step instructions on how to do another version of Chevron

Helen of Quilts and ATCs has worked a sample of Algerian eye stitch

Dy of Random Applique has done a fantastic little scene in Chevron stitch

Rene O has worked Algerian Eye stitches into paisley designs

Connie of The Scoop, Score and Deal has worked a small sampler of Algerian eye and various versions of the stitch

Gerry of Sewing Southpaw is playing catch up this week and has use TAST stitches to embellish crazy quilt blocks

Kim of Skybell arts has been playing catch up posting samples all week – or so it seems.

Kay Susan of Smockeryis bitten by the postcard bug and has presented her samples as fabric postcards and is being overly self critical of her samples

Sue Wild is suewilduk has her Algerian eye sample on flickr (It made me smile)

Sunshine of Sunshine’s Creations has added Algerian eye to her sampler

Susan of TextileXplorations has worked some of her samples on paper then given them a wash of colour.

Thelma of Thelmas Sew’n Things has been using the TAST stitches to embellish crazy quilt seams

Carol-Anne of Threads Across the Web has worked a very pleasing sample of Chevron stitch.

Tina has worked a number of interesting versions of Algerian eye stitch

Andrea of Up too late, as usual … has once agin worked an interesting sample

Véro de La Fare has her sample on her flickr site

Vivian has a flickr site Vivian in stitches has posted a sample of Algerian Eye

Charlene of When This You See, Remember Me has worked Algerian eye stitch on check like print

Wilma of Wilma goes crazy has used TAST stitches on a crazy quilt seam

That’s the round up this week … Enjoy!

Take a Stitch Tuesday

When I decided to feature this stitch as the stitch of the week for the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge I thought to myself I bet people take one look at this a run a mile.

I must admit that the stitch does look pretty pedestrian until you play with it. One thing I have learnt is the simpler the stitch the more interesting it can be.

The stitch this week is Algerian eye stitch or a similar stitch Eyelet stitch. Since both stitches are structured the same I grouped them together.

On Sunday while I was writing the weekly round up this week I noticed that some people are looking for stitch dictionaries in order to learn how to do the stitch. At first I did not pay too much attention then I realised that these people had not discovered my stitch dictionary.

I had assumed that all readers knew of it. Also every week when I announce the stitch I link to the step by step instructions in my stitch dictionary.

The second assumption I has made was that people would click on the link. Anyway people do not need to buy a stitch dictionary to participate because the information is online.


On first glance they look a little boring and I must admit that unless you are totally wrapped up in traditional stitchery done on even weave fabric they can be.

However the stitches become interesting when you play with them in arrangements.

Or you can elongate part of them, which is where I got the idea for the little flower motif at the start of this post.

Or you can work part of the stitch and produce different effects again.

Here I have worked a quarter of the stitch in each corner of a square.

This arrangement could be worked on a curve “off the grid”. All the samples above are stitched on 27 count hand painted Lynda fabric in thread from the Sassa Lynne range.

If you change the shape you can produce things like hearts or any other simple shape.

This is very effective particularly if you work the stitches arranged in a pattern

This sample is stitched on 26 count linen using the Sassa Lynne Jumbo perle from Winifred Cottage.

I have recently discovered these threads sent to me as a gift from Myfanwy of Nuvofelt. If you want to hear more about how Sassa Lynne threads stitch up

I think people will find this sample interesting as it is Algerian Eye stitch with a bead stitched in the middle.

This sample is stitched on 26 count linen in perle 12 cotton

It is not difficult to do. As I worked the stitch each time I went back into the center I took the needle through the bead.

The bead has a wide hole. I think it is more of a spacer than a feature bead as such, as it is more like a little ring than a bead but being quite small it is very effective placed at the center of each stitch.

If a bead has a wide hole you can incorporate them in all all sorts of creative ways. It is one of the techniques I teach in my online class Develop a Personal Library of Stitches.

Of course many of the samples above are just crying out for a bead or two.

What would a heart shape look like with a bead? What would the squares look like with a bead? Once you start imagination runs and I am sure you can think of all sorts of things to do.

If you pull the thread as you stitch you can produce eyelets. This is a sample worked of different eyelets and I have included a couple of beads. This idea can be pushed in all sorts of directions as the holes produce one pattern while the sttiching produces another.

The final sample is worked on Aida and created by working rows of stitches stacked on top of each other.

If you are enjoying this challenge you might be interested in one of my online classes, that are open for bookings. I am offering two separate classes Encrusted Crazy Quilting which starts February 9, 2007 and Develop a Personal Library of Stitches which starts February 20, 2007. Both links lead to details about these classes.

That’s the challenge stitch this week … Enjoy!