Feather Stitch

Feather stitch sampleFeather stitch is a wonderfully versatile, decorative, surface embroidery stitch that is also known as single coral stitch and briar stitch. Feather stitch is found extensively on traditional English smocks, Dorset embroidery and on crazy quilts.

Feather stitch sample on crazy quilting 1The traditional uses of feather stitch are easily given a contemporary twist particularly if you use modern variegated threads or add a bead or two.

Feather stitch sample on crazy quilting 2Keep the center of the stitch on the curved line you want to follow and you will find that Feather stitch will sit on a  curve easily. This ability to hold a curve means the stitch ideal to use in any motif that is organic in feel, such as, floral sprays, vines and twisting twiggy like stems. It also looks great in underwater scenes as the flowing lines are very suitable to represent corals and seaweed.

Feather stitch sample underwater marine sceneFeather stitch can vary greatly depending on the width of space between the two tops of Y, angle of your needle, spacing changes in the the length of stitches and regularity of stitches.

Feather stitch sample 1It really is one of those stitches you can experiment with for years and still discover new ways of using it. As you can see in the sample above I have worked 3 arms to one side and 3 to the other creating a totally different look to the stitch.

Feather stitch sample 3

You can also work it row against row to create wonderful patterns and designs.

Feather stitch sample 2

Instructions on how to work feather stitch 

When working this stitch imagine or mark with a dissolvable pen 4 parallel lines.

Step by step instructions for feather stitch 1Bring the thread up through the fabric at the top left of where you want to create the stitch. Hold the thread down with the left thumb and insert the needle to the right and a level of where the thread emerged. Make a stitch on a downward angle so that the needle emerges between the two points as illustrated. With the thread wrapped under the needle, pull it through the fabric to make the stitch.

Step by step instructions for feather stitch 2Insert the needle to the left and a level of where the thread emerged. Make a stitch on a downward angle so that the needle emerges between the two points as illustrated. With the thread wrapped under the needle, pull it through the fabric to make the next stitch.

Step by step instructions for feather stitch 3Work these movements alternatively down the line.

Step by step instructions for feather stitch 4Hopefully there will not be too many tangles!

Feather stitch sample on crazy quilting 3

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How to work Buttonhole Stitch

buttonhole stitch sample 9Buttonhole stitch or blanket stitch as many people call it, is actually the foundation stitch for many varieties of buttonhole. This stitch is often used along the edge of projects – often blankets hence the name. Never underestimate a stitch like buttonhole as it is a marvellously versatile stitch. Buttonhole can also be worked in freeform manner with rows stacked to create texture. The illustration above is worked in a fine woollen yarn which was hand dyed. Other textures and patterns can be created if you experiment with changing the spacing and height of the upright arms.

How to work Buttonhole Stitch (Blanket stitch)

Buttonhole stitch is worked from left to right along two imaginary lines. Bring the thread out on the lower line. Insert the needle on the upper line making a straight downward motion.

buttonhole stitch step by step 1Loop the working thread under the needle point. Pull the needle through the fabric to form a loop. Repeat this process along the line.

buttonhole stitch step by step 2

You can create many interesting patterns with this stitch by varying the arm length you can create shapes.

buttonhole stitch sample 1If you change the baseline you can create interesting variations too.

buttonhole stitch sample 3It can be fun to work out different patterns

buttonhole stitch sample 2Some become little motifs in their own right

buttonhole stitch sample 4Or buttonhole sttich can be worked back to back.

buttonhole stitch sample 6You can build up interesting patterned bands

buttonhole stitch sample 5Play with the spacing working the upright parts closely together, or work them further apart.

buttonhole stitch sample 10This sample is buttonhole worked in various threads. Try working it different threads, on different fabrics, or fabrics that have been hand dyed or add beads,  overlap lines of the stitch, or use it to couch down another thread or ribbon.

buttonhole stitch sample 11Here I was experimenting with leaf shapes

buttonhole stitch sample 8Of course this is popular stitch used in crazy quilting.

buttonhole stitch sample 7No matter what you do with it explore the stitch.
Crazy quilt template set 2 Have you seen my Stitchers Templates?

As someone who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to apply to your stitching and crazy quilting projects. They are easy to use, totally clear so you can position them easily and they are compact in your sewing box.

Templates set 1 you will find here 
Templates set 2 you will find here 
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How to work Fly Stitch

Fly stitch sample 9Fly stitch is a simple stitch that can be used for many things. For instance in Fly stitch is used in the sample above. In this piece of contemporary embroidery I worked fly stitch in stranded cotton floss, perle #8 cotton, perle #12 cotton over layers of chiffon and net to produce a watery effect.

Fly stitch sample 2This is a more traditional example of fly stitch. In the foliage of this floral motif fly stitch is stacked to create leaves. You start small and work to a larger fly stitch. In this sample I used a dark green wool, 1 strands of light green cotton floss and a green metallic machine embroidery thread. I threaded a needle with all three threads and proceeded to work fly stitches close together in leaf like shapes.

Fly stitch sample 4Here fly stitch is used to represent the leaves of a rose bud. I worked the fly stitch in cotton perle #5  and the bud itself which is is made up of 2 bullion knots is worked in a hand dyed silk that is about the same thickness as cotton perle #8.

Fly stitch sample 5On this sample  I have used the same technique to secure a strip of lace on a crazy quilt project. This time however the bullion buds are worked in wool and the fly stitch is cotton perle #5.

Fly stitch sample Not only can you use it in foliage and floral motifs you can repeat the stitch to create geometric patterns. This is fly stitch worked using wool overlapping herringbone also worked in a wool thread.

Fly stitch sample6

This is a very versatile stitch. In this case the ties of the fly stitch are not straight stitches but detached chain stitches. Of course this means it is no longer fly stitch but a variation but it is an attractive adaption to explore and play with. This sample secures a braid to a piece os crazy quilting and  is worked in hand dyed rayon thread.

How to work Fly Stitch

Fly stitch step by step 1Bring the thread up through the fabric at the top left of where you want to create the stitch. Hold the thread down with the left thumb and insert the needle to the right and level of where the thread emerged. Make a stitch on a downward angle so that the needle emerges between the two points as illustrated.

Fly stitch step by step 2With the thread wrapped under the needle, pull it through the fabric. Secure the ‘V’ in position with a small vertical straight stitch.

 

Fly stitch sample 8This is is another contemporary interpretation of the stitch. On this sample I used knitting yarn, novelty yarn (thats the hairy stuff) , stranded cotton floss, perle #5 cotton, and wool.

Fly stitch sample 7In this sample I used fly stitch for the stems to little floral elements in this floral motif used on a patch in a crazy quilted block.

Fly stitch is also know as ‘Y’ stitch, and open loop stitch.

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