Take a Stitch Tuesday Week 1

After all the drama with technical difficulties in the last week or so it is good to settle down with a cuppa and be writing about stitching.

As you can see the first stitch for the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge is Herringbone stitch. This engagingly simple stitch is considered one of the basic stitches but like all the basic stitches it is extremely versatile.

Herringbone can be used to hold down other threads, (couching) or you can weave threads through it.

In this sample I worked herringbone in hand dyed DMC pearl 5 on linen.

The top row is laced with a pearl thread, the next row is laced with a rayon ribbon floss, the third row has a metallic braid woven through the top section of the stitch.

The bottom row is double herringbone was worked in hand dyed crochet cotton and has been tied with small straight stitches.

Rows of herringbone can be stacked one on top of another. The next sample is worked on Lynda 27 cnt. The first row is double herringbone worked close together. The second line of embroidery, consists of three rows of closely spaced herringbone stitch, worked in DMC pearl threads

The final row on this sampler is a single line of herringbone which has been tied with small straight stitches. The row was worked using DMC pearl 5 thread.

Stacking rows of herringbone can create interesting patterns. This sample is tied herringbone worked in DMC pearl 8 thread.

Herringbone is a useful stitch for building up patterns. It can be stacked in a number ways and you can make use of the spaces created between the stitches to create a secondary pattern. This sample was worked on hand dyed Aida and the herringbone was interspersed with crossed stitches.

In this sample I simply added some beads to the spaces in between the stitch.

Herringbone can be worked diagonally too! It is simple if you stop and think about it as you simply step each stitch downward working on a right angle line along the row. As the each stitch steps downward it builds up a very interesting pattern across the cloth.

Changing the size of individual stitches can also produce some interesting results.

By changing the size of the stitch you can also create the impression of a curve. This sample is worked on hand dyed Aida cloth which has a hard grid like structure but simply by changing the size of the stitch a curve is created.

Herringbone is often seen on crazy quilt blocks. I often treat a foundation row of herringbone as a base for weaving a second thread in and out of the V shapes. You can see two rows of this technique employed on this 8 inch crazy quilt block.

The challenge is to try out the stitch on any fabric you choose and using any thread you choose. See what you can come up with and experiment with variations. Some ideas include could include to see what it looks like layered, stacked and repeated. See what it looks like laced with thicker threads and see what patterns you can discover by changing the spacing and stacking herringbone in different ways. See how many different ways to work this stitch you can think of. Post images on your blog or flickr site I will be looking forward to seeing what everyone does with the stitch and doing a link round up next Tuesday.

The challenge is on! What can you do with Herringbone?

A back up plan for Take a stitch Tuesdays

Once again I have had trouble with this blog. I hope it is the last time. With the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge starting tomorrow I have put a backup system into place. I have started a free blog over on WordPress.com under the title of Sharonb . Bookmark it, as if this inaminuteago goes down again, I will post to that blog. I am tired of writing about this topic and everyone must be tired of reading about it!

So to summarize if you come here and the site is down I will post to Sharonb as an emergency back up. That means if I am having technical problems people don’t miss out on important posts. Particularly those posts that relate to the Take a stitch Tuesday challenge. I won’t use it unless there is a problem. Normal blogging will continue here – keep your fingers crossed for me!

On another note…

While Australian crowds in Sydney welcomed in the new year we celebrated in the rain with friends and neighbours. That’s right we had rain! Although damp no one was at all disappointed to see rain in fact we raised our glasses to it. Lets hope that in 2007 breaks this 6 year drought.

Happy New Year everyone!

Materials list for Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge

I have had questions about what threads and materials people will need for the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge (TAST) which is starting on January 2nd 2007.

Put simply you do not need to go out and buy special threads or fabrics. You can stitch on anything you choose, anyway you choose using anything you choose. The idea is explore the stitch in as many different ways as possible. Each week I will suggest a stitch and post some of my explorations. If you are participating all you have to do is read the post and take the stitch in what ever direction you like. The full details of the challenge are here .

As to format it is totally up to the individual. Some people are working postcards, some are working samplers, some are stitching on crazy quilt blocks, some will be making stitch books in fabric. I will be fixing my samples in a visual journal created to document the year. I have started to prepare pages for it.

Since there are over 100 people signed up for this challenge there will be plenty of sites to visit and see. I will be doing a weekly round up of sites and linking to participants acting as a sort of hub. People will be exploring stitches in their own way and for this reason there will be plenty of examples of different threads, fabrics and interpretations. Before you hit the shops you may want to see how the challenge develops because I bet in seeing other peoples work you will get ideas, you will like some interpretations and possibly want to try out fabrics and threads that others using are using. A challenge such as this is great way to be introduced to new threads and materials. For this reason I suggest that you wait and see what happens and what other people do as you are bound to see some thread or fabric that sparks you so much you simply must buy some! Also if any vendors have sales etc please leave a comment as I am sure within the group there will be bargain hunters out in force.

Through out the year I will demonstrating stitches on various fabrics using various threads as I see fit but if you really want a ‘recommended requirements list’ or simply want a Christmas list to wave in front of someones nose, take advantage if the January sales (as I plan to do) or just an excuse to treat yourself you may want to consider buying some threads and even weave linen.

If you plan on working small samplers linen is not necessary but I always encourage people to try it. I usually recommend that people start with a small piece of with a 26 count as this is easy on the eyes but it is not necessary . These are the main linens I use: Cashel Linen (28 count) Cork Linen (18 count), Dublin Linen (25 count) , Melrose (28 count), Quaker Cloth (28 count). While you are in preparation mode dig out some fabrics to experiment on such as scrim, wool felt, flanalet, and cottons. Hand dyed silks and cottons are great to experiment on too.

Ideally you will have a range of threads to experiment with. I feel it is safe to say that you will definitely need a range of colours in DMC pearl threads. In sizes 5, 8, and 12. If you feel like going shopping there are plenty of interesting threads on the market, look for rayon ribbon floss, overdyed and hand dyed threads, Caron Watercolors, and Caron Waterlillies, crewel wool yarns, gumnut yarns, metallic threads for both hand and machine stitching, Kreinik fine braid, Kreinik 1/16th inch ribbon, DMC Broder Special Coton a Broder and DMC Flower Thread. There are numerous interesting threads on the market which all behave in different ways the idea is experiment with them. You do not need every thread listed just explore a few and then as you see what others use (and blog) if you like it you can invest in the thread. Have a selection to hand as large or as small as you can afford and dig out a few scraps of textured knitting yarns and thicker threads to experiment with too.

Nymo or Silamide thread is ideal for beading and you might want to splurge on a range of beads including seed beads, bugles and novelty beads. Once again no hard and fast rules here just think about what you will enjoy using.

You will need a range of needles which can be bought in mixed sizes. This is the list I recommend
Chenille Needle (size 22 – 26)
Tapestry Needle (size 20 – 26)
Embroidery/Crewel Needle (size 7-10)
Milliners/Straw Needle (size 3-9)
Beading needles

Another question
On another note entirely when I first discussed this challenge I was thinking and assumed people would be interested in exploring mainly the surface embroidery stitches but of course there are many other types of even weave stitches too. Are people interested in the pulled and drawn stitches, and canvas work stitches? Stitches and embroidery styles from different traditions and ethnic backgrounds? Leave a comment and let me know as I am developing a list for the year. On a personal level I am tempted to range far and wide as this gets the creative juices going. The challenge is fairly open to interpretation and I guess if people don’t like a stitch or style they can simply not work it that week. I would like some feedback as to hopes and expectations of readers. What are your expectations for this challenge? Leave a comment and let me know.

As people sign up for the challenge I am adding them to list of participants on the Take a stitch Tuesday Challenge . Throughout the year there will be those that join in too as I have said people can join anytime. There is another 20 or so people who do not have blogs or flickr sites. I have a hunch however that once they see the activity a percentage of these people will roll up their sleeves and at least post images of what they are doing on flickr. They too will be added to list as this happens.

Classes next year

This brings me to the next topic as yesterday I too a quick poll on what class I should write. I offered to write one on either silk ribbon embroidery and developing your own silk ribbon and floral motifs OR a class focused on stitching working with highly textured stitches. This class would look at texture as a design element in embroidery, particularly contemporary embroidery. I can only write one class at a time so I asked people to leave comments as to which they preferred. To my surprise the class on textured embroidery has won out hands down. I had thought silk ribbon embroidery would have been more popular but this is a perfect example of misreading what people want. I wonder how often the publishing industry does this?

I have been in contact with Barbara at Joggles.com and at the moment the year as it stands is that we will run the Encrusted Crazy quilting class and the Develop a personal library of stitches classes again in February/March for those who missed out or did not sign up because of time. I am not sure how many takers we get for these as the crazy quilting class has run twice and the stitching class has run once. I have had enquiries however for both classes so we have decided to run them again.

Mid year we will run the textured embroidery class. I think I will call it something along “Applying Texture as an Element of design in Embroidery” or “Using texture with a capital T “. I will have to think of something. It will take until mid year to develop this class. I have heard some people say that these are expensive classes but actually they are not. They sell at $60.00 and run six weeks so it actually works out a $10.00 a week. That is not much for what people get in the lessons and even more of bargain when you consider I login daily to the forum so people get one to one attention. I am sure that anyone who has taken any of my classes would agree with me when I say you get more than 6 weeks worth of class materials to chew over or perhaps I should say stitch over. I am sure those who take them will refer to the class materials often and would agree with me that the classes are cheap for what you get.

To summerize
Encrusted Crazy quilting class will run again in February/March final details to be announced soon
Develop a personal library of stitches class will also run again in February/March final details to be announced soon
A new class on texture as a design element in embroidery will run mid year (beginning in late May, through June, and through July). So save your pennies for that one.

In case you are wondering the small graphic is a detail from this piece . It is a piece which uses texture as its main design element and an interpretation of using traditional stitches in a contempoary manner. It was stitched on Quaker Cloth (28 count) using DMC pearl sizes 5, 8, and 12, linen thread, wool threads, and wooden beads. I used a mix of surface stitches and pulled thread stitches.

Another example of embroidery that uses texture as a key design element is here and here . Another piece in the same style can be seen here.

For a completely contemporary use of texture in embroidery take a look at this postcard or this piece or

I think this postcard might be in between the two styles I am not sure. Either way I am sure you can see what I mean as when I say Texture with a capital T in other words it is the key design element with this type of work and aspect of design is what I would be exploring in the new class.