Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge

I am not sure if anyone has noticed but isn’t it interesting how cultural norms quickly kick in to group dynamics. On the round up this week I was really interested note that people were frequently concerned about meeting the deadline. In a society dominated by time this is normal but what I found fascinating was that the challenge is to push the stitch not meet a deadline. I have said in the guidelines that commitment to this challenge is flexible. People can join in and stitch as their life dictates yet still the idea of a deadline that must be met dominates.

Those cultural habits of competition, comparing yourself to others, judging others and deadlines I would love to push to one side. All of these modes of thought and habits can stifle creativity and pleasure. I want to remind people that the real challenge is to simply take the stitch of the week and explore it – that is the creative challenge.

It’s not a complicated challenge but for some it is very hard to do, as all sorts of expectations are activated and before they know it something is being produced but they themselves are not satisfied because they have boxed themselves in to the cultural norm. This is just my 2 cents worth for today. 

On a slightly more serious note for me anyway, I think people are so wrapped up in the challenge that it has severely effected my class bookings. They are at about 10% of normal. Since this is the third time the encrusted crazy quilt class has run I can understand it but take up of the stitching class is very slow. I think people are busy with the challenge. I am often asked in email enquires what is provided in the classes that is not already online I think that people ask themselves why take a class when they can get it for free online. I want to stress that the material in the classes is not the same material I put online for free.

At the end of this post I have written full descriptions about both classes. Perhaps some of my old students might like to leave a comment and let people know that the material students receive in my classes are far more than what is already online. Obviously this possible perception and the class bookings will effect any future challenge I propose as this perception will hit the hip pocket hard.

The other aspect I get asked about is the price $60 (US). These classes run for 6 weeks so they work out at $10.00 (US) per week which is cheap for what people receive. I am sure old students will back me up on this too and while I am at it if you are on discussion lists please spread the word about them. I would like to think that the challenge is not effecting class bookings but with nearly 200 people joining in and bookings suddenly at 10% of previous levels I can only think that this is the case.

Now on with the stitch. Drumroll please!

The stitch of the week for the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge is Cretan stitch. Some people call this Open Cretan stitch others refer to it as simply Cretan

Cretan stitch can worked in all sorts of ways such as stacked.


Here is another sample of two rows of Cretan stitch stacked to create a pattern.

Two rows can be worked on top of each other to create different patterns.

The arms of the stitch can vary in height.



Here is another sample of this type of variation.

This sample is two rows of Cretan worked close together and the arm height of one side varied to create a pattern. 


Cretan stitch can be worked in a circle to create floral motifs.



This is the same sample beaded.



So if you are enjoying this challenge you might be interested in taking one of my online classes. My online classes explain both the design process and the practical “how to” aspects of stitching. Both workshops are structured so that you move from stage to stage in coherent manner. They include step by step instructions and photographed illustrations about the process.


Develop a Personal Library of Stitches

Develop a Personal Library of Stitches which starts February 20, aims to assist students in discovering their own language in stitches and is for those who would like to push their hand stitching and design skills a little further.

In this class I provide instructions on developing the basic stitches and exploring them while also presenting some of the more unusual stitches not in my stitch dictionary. For those thinking about taking this class the course is structured in such a way that each week I take a principal of design and apply it to stitches. Students work samplers which are a size and shape of their choice.

The first week introduces the course covering such things as deciding on what format for your sampler might take, suggestions on how you might think about and choose a colour scheme, and I talk about equipment needed and how it is used. I cover how to start and finish your embroidery and finally I look at a few stitches that can act as borders.

In week 2 I look at Point as an element of design. Most people understand what we mean when we talk about a point of emphasis in a work but many people do not understand that the concept of point is applied in numerous ways in design. In design language a point the simplest unit or fragment of design. When you apply this to stitching, the concept of a point can be a single stitch or part of a stitch. We examine isolated stitches and look at how to break stitches into fragments and change various parts of a stitch in order to develop new stitches.

Week 3 we examine stitches that lend themselves to a linear treatment. What is a linear element? How can lines be represented in stitches? There are obvious stitches such as stem stitch and outline stitch but what other stitches can be used as a linear element? How interesting can you make a line? When we vary our threads what sort of line does it produce? What sort of line is created with couching?

Week 4 we examine scale and density as design elements. Stitches can be worked far apart or closely together even overlapped. What happens when we think about these design considerations and apply it to various stitches? What happens when we introduce lacing these stitches, threading or whipping them with another yarn. What do they look like and what can you make from this exploration?

Week 5 we will be looking at direction, movement and shape. Your stitches can be worked back-to-back or flipped. When you do this you are changing the direction and angle of stitches. How does this influence the look of a shape? What happens when we think about these design considerations and apply it? Can these same design considerations be applied to beading?

Week 6 we look at texture and building textured surfaces. What happens when we combine stitches with beads or found objects? In this last week we pull all these elements together and further explore textured crusty surfaces a little more exploring more stitches such as Cast on stitch, Double cast on stitch, Drizzle stitch, double drizzle stitch and Woven stitches.

Encrusted Crazy Quilting

One of the delights of crazy quilting is that there are no rules. This is liberating on one hand but for those who are beginners they often get stumped as to where to start and how to control what they do to start! Encrusted Crazy Quilting which starts February 9, offers students the opportunity to learn how to piece, develop and heavily hand embellish a crazy quilt block with hand embroidery, beading and exploring different embellishing techniques while solving design, composition and colour issues. This class is suitable for beginners to intermediate crazy quilters.

The first week introduces the course and I cover things such as fabric selection and block assembly. Dealing with colour and applying basic composition tricks to a crazy quilt block are covered. In week 2 students start to embellish the block. Hand embroidered seam treatments and embroidery that consolidates composition is covered. Building on basic hand stitching techniques, developing combination stitches is covered.

By the third week students are working with motifs. Motif selection, size, balance and placement is discussed. Different possible hand embroidery techniques and treatments such as silk ribbon embroidery and using textured stitches are covered. In week 4 we take the eye on a journey by building up visual texture. Working with lace, ribbons and braids and further embellishing the crazy quilt block.

In the fifth week we work on further encrusting a block by building up texture working with buttons and beads. The implications of highly textured areas for the composition and design elements of a block are discussed. The final week covers more possible embellishment techniques and combinations of techniques. Many of these are methods to pull the block together. General tips, tricks, advice on balancing the many elements of design active on a crazy quilt block are offered.

How the classes work

There are two major components of online classes, the lessons themselves, and the forum. The lessons are the guts of the class. The lessons are an Adobe PDF document are disseminated to the students by joggles.com. Each student is given a User ID and password as well as the URL to the class webpage where they are expected to go and download each lesson. There is a one lesson per week. I have designed the lessons so that people can work at them as much or as little as they choose. Some people have more time to put into them others do not. I understand this, for this reason I have designed the lessons to be self paced.

The expectation is that the students download each lesson weekly and progress through the class. They can choose to just do a few hours stitching or more. It’s up to the student.

Each student is invited to register at the forums which is where all class communication takes place. While not real time chat, you can post messages. I check the forum daily to answer questions and join in on the chat. Students can post images of their work online so I can give them feedback. Participation in the forums is totally voluntary but I think this is the fun part of the process as it is where students get feed back from me, bounce ideas off each other and share pleasure in learning a new skill.

Well that is all from me this morning – enjoy this weeks stitch!



Take a Stitch Tuesday weekly round up

After drinking too many cups of coffee I have done the TAST round up this week. I hope this week all the feeds are now working particularly those from blogger which seemed a bit glitchy this week. I hope I have not missed anyone out. If you were left out, by any chance, please leave a comment so people will visit your site and I can check that my feed is working. With nearly 200 people signed up to this challenge it’s a challenge for me keeping up and keeping track! For all that it is fun and here is the round up for the week.

Firstly for everyone who reads Allison Aller’s blog she is currently offline because her server was hit with spam bots the same as mine was a few weeks ago. Allison dropped me an email yesterday to say what had happened and I will keep you posted as to what happens as she is thinking of shifting her domain. In the meanwhile Allison Aller has set up a flickr account to host her TAST photos.

Jennifer of A Garden of Stitches has completed her buttonhole stitch sampler

Neki of A Movable Feast has created a wonderful free flowing interpretation of detached chain stitch

Marge of The Adventure Begins has worked a sample of herringbone stitch.

Angelcat of the Adventures of Angelcat has worked a smapler of buttonhole

Allison Aller has used detached chain to frame a polymer clay disk on her latest quilt block

Cathy of Altered fabrications has worked a sampler of buttonhole in various threads

Pat of Altering thoughts has worked a sample of detached chain after working out her ideas in a visual journal. Pat has also posted an image of the page which is interesting to see.

Anja Wunschpunsch has a delightful sample using buttonhole and chain stitch.

Annie of Annie’s Crazy World has featured some details of her crazy quilting projects highlighting buttonhole stitch and detached chain stitch.

Odile has posted images on her flickr siteof the most delightful sheep worked in detached chain stitch!

Susan of Art of Textiles has worked a sample of herringbone in a free form manner.

Beth of Artist Perpetually in Progress- Mixed Media Art by Beth Robinson has featured chain stitch in her latest piece which includes using stones. Beths post on using a visual journal to document this challenge is worth reading as I am dealing with the same problems. Beth has also worked a sample of detached chain stitch.

Carol of Art~n~Quilt has featured a detail of a tree in which she used detached chain stitch

Ati of Ati on the crazy road is another crazy quilter who has incorporated detached chain stitch in a seam treatment.

Penny of Back Valley Seasons has worked a herringbone sample

Gail of Big Horn Mountain Creations has been exploring creating small motifs using detached chain stitch.

Emmy Schoonbeek of Cramzy has created a wonderfully coloured freeform sample using detached chain stitch on a background of hand painted fabric.

Susan of Crazy Quilting for Fun has created a motif suitable for a crazy quilting project using detached chain stitch.

CrazyQstitcher has created some samples that made me smile. They are totally delightful interpretations of detached chain stitch.

Lillian of Crazyseoulsister has featured a number of details from crazy quilt blocks that incorporate the stitches that have been in the challenge so far.

Francoise of Creatilfun has worked a number of samples using detached chain stitch

Karen of Creaworx has worked a highly textured sample of detached chain stitch and has worked out a design to use it.

Sandra of Croque-choux has joined in the challenge a little late but is playing catch up. This week she has been exploring buttonhole stitch.

Don’t miss the masks that Bonnie of Dakini dreams has created using detached chain stitches.

Delores Lyon’s photos for all three weeks are published on flickr. Do check them out as they demonstarte a free easy going style.

Jacqui has a flickr site for her photos under the name of Elegant stitch’s has some fantastic samples on her flickr site don’t miss browsing the lot!

Elizabeth Dee has worked a sample of bttonhole.

Barbara of Embroidery overlaps has worked a sample of buttonhole stitch and another of detached chain.

Jade Rose of Enter the stitcher has been exploring detached chain stitch even though she has a tooth abscess.

Dianne of Faery Di’s Fibre Feat is exploring all sorts of techniques on small squares and has included buttonhole on some of them.

Micki of Fiber Art: If I Create It, Will They Come? has worked a sample of buttonhole stitch.

Melissa of Frog Stitch has worked a detached chain stitch sample.

Pat Winter of Gatherings has featured a number of seam treatments using detached chain stitch.

LouAnne of Getting to Crazy has worked both buttonhole and herringbone stitch on a crazy quilt block.

June R of Grandma Ziki’s Stitching has worked a sample on a crazy quilt block

Greenmontanasamuel has her sample worked for TAST up on flickr

Marianne of Heegeldab has worked a sample of buttonhole on felt and then gone on to add detached cahin to her felted bag. Don’t miss this wonder as it develops.

Elizabet of Her eyes shone like emeralds of the deepest hue has worked a small sampler of buttonhole stitch.

Amy of In the Fold has used buttonhole to emphasise some fruit/flower motifs.

Bibliotecaria of Inside my head has been exploring buttonhole at different heights and on the curve.

JoWynn on flickr has been exploring buttonhole and detchd chain stitches. Jo’s latest sample includes the use of gold sadi

Judith Green of Judith’s Material Musings has been exploring buttonhole stitch and used it on a UFO project.

Katie Jayinpa of Katie’s New Place has worked a sampler in herringbone.

Karen South of Karen South’s Crazy Quilting World has featured a seam embellishment on a crazy quilt block using detached chain.

Christine of Lady Jane’s Journal has worked some interesting samples of detached chain over sequins, rings and beads.

Margaret of Life, needlework and everything has posted images of how she has used detached chain stitch to create garden scenes.

Linda known as Lindamh on flickr has explored detached chain and in the process created some interesting patterns.

Linda of Lindas Creations has worked a small buttonhole stitch sampler

Mariyarn has applied detached chain stitch to creating floral motifs.

Mary of Mary’s Witterings has used herringbone to explore lettering.

Beth of Meandering Threads has a sample which evokes a landscape. Do check out how she has used eye lash thread.

Mady is Mehdc on flickr where you will find floral motif s inspired by both buttonhole and detached chain stitch.

Don’t miss Morgan’s sardine can which can be seen on My Amphetamines and My Purls

Nuvo Felt on My Efforts for Take a Stitch Tuesday has worked a buttohole sampler.

Virginia of Needle and Thimble has worked a sample of buttonhole stitch and detached chain on crazy quilt block.

Norma of Norma’s Needleworkz has worked a series of samples of buttonhole stitch

Juli of Orange Rug Yarn Musings has also explored detached chain stitch producing some interesting texture and floral motifs. Juli has also created another motif inspired by the challenge.

Pam Kellogg of Pam Kellog’s Kitty and me designs has highlighted a detail on her latest block which uses detached chain stitch and has published a small motif which is suitable to use with this stitch.

Peggy of Peg’s Place has used a detached chain on a small card.

Carol Taylor of Postcards and stuff has worked detached chain stitch

Lin Moon of Purple Fan has worked detached chain stitch on a small sampler

Lynda of Purple Missus has worked some really interesting samples of buttonhole stitch. These contemporary interpretations of the stitch and what she proceeds to do with them are not to be missed.

Elizabeth of Quieter Moments has worked detached chain stitch combined with sequins to produce floral motifs. Her series of samples are wonderful and indicate the versatility of this stitch.

Helen of Quilts and ATCs has used buttonhole stitch in order to appliqué on paper and detached chain stitch over simple and delightful felt floral motifs

Elke of Quilterin has worked a crazy quilt seam treatment

Dy of Random Applique has worked a fantastic floral motif which starts with an appliqué base and works out from there. Don’t miss this original interpretation of lazy daisy stitch.

Rene O as worked a basket of detached chain floal motifs including some great cat tails

Renea is renmedema on flickr and has loaded images of her latest crazy quilt hearts on which she has used detached chain.

Connie of The Scoop, Score and Deal has worked a floral motif in detched chain stitch

Carol of Selketine has created a sampler in buttonhole stitch

Don’t miss Sequana’s photos on flickr as her interpretationof detached chain stitch has lead to a delightful bunny in a flower garden.

Gerry of Sewing Southpaw has worked her stitches on crazy quilt hearts

Chriss of Sheep Space has an image of her sampler of buttonhole stitch on her site. Like me she is taken by how many variations are being discovered by people as they work this challenge.

Kim of Skybell arts has worked a freeform sample of detached chain

Kay Susan of Smockery has explored some very interesting arrangements of detached chain.

Betty known as Squarequilter on flickr has loaded photos of her crazy quilt block on which she worked buttonhole stitch.

Vicki of Stitch n’patch is keeping notes in a visual journal and has published an image of one of her page spreads.

Christine a member of the Stithcing Post discussion list has posted images of her chain stitch samples on the Stitching Post Blog

Stop by with Di has posted an image of her explorations of herringbone.

Sue Wild is suewilduk on flickr whereshe has posted images of her buttonhole explorations.

Susan has covered a journal with a crazy quilt block and used detached chain on it.

Sunshine of Sunshine’s Creations has worked a sample of detached chain stitch on wool.

Marty of Textiles in Time has worked both a herring bone sampler and a buttonhole sampler. Marty has also organized a scrap book to hold the pieces. Those who are wondering how to store their samples may find this interesting.

Susan of TextileXplorations has explained how she makes her buttonhole rings in order to act as shisha mirror surrounds

Carol-Anne of Threads Across the Web has worked a beautiful sampler of buttonhole

Andrea of Up too late, as usual … has been exploring herringbone, buttonhole and detached chain on felt.

Véro de La Fare has a basket of flowers worked in detached chian on her flickr site

In the last week Vivian has a flickr site Vivian in stitches has posted 3 samples she has worked of herringbone, buttonhole and detached chain. Also don’t miss her free style samples.

Emelyn of Vivid Dreams has samples of buttonhole and herringbone on her site.

Charlene of When This You See, Remember Me has worked a peacock motif using detached chain stitches.

Wilma of Wilma goes crazy has outlined a print in buttonhole stitch.

Laura of Woodsprite Cottage in catch up mode has samples of both buttonhole and herringbone on her blog

Don’t forget that for those who have a Flickr account there is a group you can join. It is called the Take a stitch Tuesday group.

I feel after that little lot as if I am puffing and panting somewhat. We are now off to browse the bookshops have coffee and cake somewhere and enjoy our Sunday.

Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge week 3

I know I am running late this morning so this post is dash hurried but here I am and the stitch of the week for the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge is detached chain stitch. This is an easy stitch, which is often taught to children. Worked in a circle to form a flower motif it is often known as lazy daisy stitch.

As with last week, I settled down with thread and fabric, thinking I would suggest people explore the chain stitch family of stitches and found that I became totally absorbed with just one of the family members – detached chain. The sample above is worked in perle 8 thread with this the tie stitch pointed inwards and a buttonhole ring worked in the centre

People are free to explore all the chain stitch varieties but what I am finding with this challenge is that by focusing on just one stitch for the week I am discovering more about it. Instead of working a few obvious examples the challenge is making me think up something different or explore something I have not done much.

For instance this sample is detached chain worked over sequin waste. Once again it is worked with the tie stitch pointed inwards this time I wove a metallic thread under the spokes and stitched a bead in the middle.

This next sample the elongated tie stitches point outwards. The stitches are worked in wool over sequin waste.

As you can see just by arranging the spacing and size of each of the chain stitches there is a lot you can do with this versatile stitch.

This stitch has many arrangements, particularly once you include beads or something like sequin waste that I am sure people will find that its satisfying trying to discover just how many you can think up.

If you want to give a little extra zest to daisy flowers worked in detached chain stitch you can do with them is to pad them with felt.

This raises the flower off the surface just a little.

This means they are slightly more textural and therefore noticeable.

This sample was worked in hand dyed perle 8 cotton thread on 32 count linen

To pad this stitch simply cut out a small disk of felt and stitch it to the fabric.

When choosing the felt select a colour that will not clash too harshly if little bits peek through the stitching.


When stitching the felt in place use a sewing thread that is the same colour as the felt.

I have a different colour in the sample so that you can see what I have done.

Once the felt is stitched in place simply work around the ring with detached chain stitches.

Fill the centre of the disk with French knots or beads.


This is an example of padded detached chain worked in wool. The first row worked was the outer row and then the middle row stitched in the centre.

The leaves were worked in Oyster stitch which of course is a variety of detached chain

In many ways this challenge is a ‘taster’ for my online class. So if you are enjoying this challenge you might be interested in taking one of my online classes Develop a Personal Library of Stitches which starts February 20, 2007.

The other class that is open for bookings is Encrusted Crazy Quilting which starts February 9, 2007.

Both classes have a design emphasis and material in the class is not published online. Both links lead to details about these classes.