A Web Ring for Take a Stitch Tuesday

After an email exchange Debra Spincic of Debra’s Design Studio generously offered to set up and administer a web ring for the TAST challenge. The blog associated with the ring is Take A Stitch Tuesday Challenge and the ring itself is found here. If you are participating in this challenge you might want to join the ring its a great way to surf the blogs that are stitching along.

A note added later: If you have trouble getting the link on to our blog please contact Debra as she is administering this ring not me.

Take a Stitch Tuesday week 5

I hope everyone will enjoy exploring Chevron stitch this week as it is the stitch of the week for the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge.


Chevron is very versatile and is a favourite with many crazy quilters. The image above is a row of Chevron over Herringbone stitch. Both rows are worked in perle cotton and the rose buds are worked in wool.


I feel as if I have been racing since the challenge has started but the admin is settling down and for the first time I felt that I could relax a little. Can you believe this is week 5? I know this year is going to fly by and in part it will be because of this challenge. This week rather than race to simply produce a few samples I enjoyed the process of exploring the stitch a little myself.



This stitch can be stacked to create patterns. Above it is stacked back to back.



In this case Chevron is simply stacked repeated row after row.



By changing the spacing and height of two rows of Chevron stitch you can create more interesting patterns.


I thought that people would work Chevron in a circle and on a curve so I decided to experiment with working it in square.



The final sample is chevron worked in squares and repeated. Different threads have also been used one is silk the other (the yellow) is wool. Crossed sttiches in the middle of the squares finnished off the little pattern.

That’s the challenge stitch this week … Enjoy!


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!