Just as other things in our life run in and out of fashion so do the use of a particular stitch. A particular stitch that is popular in one decade sometimes falls out of favour and is rarely used in the next. I have no idea why this happens. Perhaps people tire of it and move on to using other stitches.
Oyster stitch has been enjoying a renewed popularity in the last few years but it does have a poor cousin called Rosette. I have no idea why Rosette chain is not as popular as oyster stitch but at the moment that is the case. I only see it being worked occasionally but Rosette chain was very popular in the 70’s and 80’s as it produces a great braid like appearance which can be used in both contemporary embroidery or traditional work. You can often see rosette chain used in borders and perhaps that is one of the reasons that it is not used as often. What is referred to as border stitches were often used on domestic linens such as table cloths which few people embroider today. There is still a place for border stitches however as they can be used to outline larger motifs or create an interesting linear element to contemporary designs.
Oyster stitch is based on Rosette and can be useful in floral motifs. Contemporary embroiderers can also find it useful as produces a raised nobly spot. Both stitches are worth exploring as experimenting with different weights and thickness of thread yields interesting results.
To add extra sparkle both stitches can be combined with beading techniques. Rosette chain looks great with seed beads embedded in the braid and oyster stitch lends itself to beads at the base of placed in the center.
Contrasts in texture is one of the key elements in contemporary work so both these stitches are highly useful. Both look complicated at first glance but are actually not difficult to work. Needless to say I have added them both to the Stitch Collection today.
The illustration on the right is a detail taken from a crazy quilt block of Oyster stitch tucked between the prongs of feathered up and down stitch. Both are worked in silk.
Within the chain stitch family there are numerous varieties and types of chain. This morning I added two more stitches to the Stitch Collection Barred chain and Alternating barred chain.. Now that is living dangerously isn’t it! Two stitches loaded in one day is only possible because it is the Australia Day long weekend.
Just like chain stitch both of these varieties can be easily worked on all types of fabrics and equally effective when worked in straight lines or following curves. This means that both stitches can be used as thorny outbursts in floral motifs if you are a traditional stitcher or do crazy quilting. Both are easy and quick to work – as quick as chain stitch itself. To work you need to be familiar with chain stitch and twisted chain stitch for it is simply a line of a single chain stitch followed by a twisted chain stitch. In Barred chain the spike of the twisted chain is on one side and with Alternating barred chain the spike of the twisted chain swings from side to side.
Both stitches follow a curve well and can be worked in a large variety of threads from the finest silk to thick cotton. The size of the stitch will be influenced by the weight of the thread used and your spacing. Since their appeal is based on their textured nature they can be successfully combined with other textured stitches. This factor in combination with explorations varying the length of the spines, or the size of the chain, spacing of the spines, width of the line, weight and texture of the thread, should keep most contemporary embroiderers intrigued. Explore the scale you work in with stitch and I am sure you will have interesting results.
Twiggy lines are sometimes a girls best friend, particularly if you are a traditional stitcher and enjoy floral motifs.
Up and Down buttonhole stitch feathered is one of those stitches that once you learn it you will draw on it all the time. It is a variation of buttonhole stitch which is easily worked on all types of fabrics and equally effective when worked in straight lines or following curves. This means it is ideal for those who are interested in Crazy quilting.
Although I have introduced Up and Down feathered buttonhole as a traditional stitch if you are not interested in “cute” you can push this stitch to form strong interesting linear elements and textures in a design. Explorations into variation in the length of the spines, spacing of the spines, width of the line, weight and texture of the thread, and size should keep contemporary embroiderers busy. Changing the weight of thread and overlapping rows of this stitch in an irregular manner produces an interesting effect. Also you can play around with the direction of the spines.
It is great fun, try it out. Needless to say I have added it to my stitch collection.