TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkThis week I would like to introduce you to and other TAST participant Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework. Queenie tells her own story but I wanted to point out that this innovative lady has joined in and revisited the TAST challenge a number of times. I have always enjoyed her Stumpwork ladies and her avatar photo (above) is the image that comes to mind when I think of Queenie and her blog.  Queenie has gone on to create her own Sunday Stitch School. There is a huge thrill for me when I saw this, as for a teacher to see students teaching others is wonderful. This is how hand embroidery will stay alive. Anyway off my soap box and on with the interview!

TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework

Why do you like hand embroidery and hand work? How has it influenced your life?

Oh, I like the movement of the needle, the touch of fabric and thread, the slow tempo, the fact that you can stitch almost anywhere, in the park or a waiting room as well as at home… I like how the needle leaves a trail of thread in the fabric… I like the 3D image made by knots, loops and couched lines…

From an early age I have had a need to create, and I think needlework satisfies that urge.
I also find it both relaxing and energizing. My days usually contain little ‘me time’ so when I do have some, I will turn to hand embroidery to slow down and charge my batteries at the same time.

How did you start? Were you taught by your mother, school or taught yourself online? If you taught yourself what attracted you to embroidery?

I started by looking, very early in childhood, at the exquisite silk embroidery cushion on Grandmother’s sofa, at my mother and her needlework friends monogramming tea towels, and I wanted to join in. I was shown how to make some simple stitches on waffle cloth.

When formal needlework lessons at school started I was ten, and by then knew the most basic stitches.
The first projects (a luncheon mat and a serviette case) were set for the whole class, but the teacher let me go on and design a tea cosy by myself. It featured a peacock and its open tail feathers were made up of different stitches – a kind of sampler.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIn adulthood I have taught myself from books, but when I stumbled on TAST in 2012 I knew it was something much better. This idea of learning a stitch a week, by just adding it to a scribble cloth or building a serious project, blogging about the process and result, sharing it with others online, being free to skip a stitch… I’d say TAST is the best thing that has happened in my needlework life. Thank you Sharon!

Do you use TAST to make samplers or incorporate the stitches into projects as you go. Or what sort of projects most attract you ?

I have made several TAST samplers, as well as a very useful TAST reference chart. Also I often use the stitches to create small greeting cards, add features to stumpwork portraits or when making Swedish wool embroidery clothing.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkCan you talk about your last project and/or your current project?

The last TAST project was a sampler, called TASTy Tuesday Second Helpings, where I wanted to repeat the stitches I had learned two years earlier and begun to forget.
image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkAt the moment I am making a bed size quilt out of thousands of small green triangles, machine stitched over paper.

When TAST came to a halt at the 140th stitch in 2014 and I still wanted to learn more, I decided to make use of my many stitch dictionaries, and pick a stitch a week. By posting the ‘lessons’ and ‘homework’ on my blog as Sunday Stitch School I spur myself on. As there are so many stitches yet to learn, I might never graduate!

What is the project you are most proud of?

Difficult question! I like the Swedish Cushion (TAST sampler) and the Swedish wool embroidery purse as well as some of the stumpwork portraits, an appliqué quilt with bias tape that I embroidered on, some small cards of a dress made of Open Based Picots or the ‘knitted’ cardigan of Magic Chain stitches….

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkDo you have any UFO’s ? If so, fess up to how many?

Believe it or not, at the moment I don’t have any slumbering half finished projects, but I have a dozen new plans (UFP’s?) Among them are a Mola bag, a map of Stockholm quilt, more parts of that Swedish wool embroidery folk costume… I have all the material, just want to finish the Work In Progress first.

Do you work purchased designs or do you design your own projects? Or do you do both?

I have worked a number of kits, mainly in Cross stitch, Canvas and Blackwork. I find it convenient to have everything prepared and it is relaxing for a holiday project. However, I much more enjoy designing my own projects as it satisfies my cravings to create.

Do you have a creative design process? If so what is it? Or do you work intuitively?

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIt usually starts with an idea and a rough plan, then I make a sketch. That will set me off, but as I move along I often make changes. I have tried several times to make a journal for each project, but find that I give up on it half way through. Instead I try to record the process and progress on my blog.

What stimulates your creative process? What inspires and sparks ideas for you?

The sparks often come from something I see, at an exhibition, on TV, online, or even on a tea cup. I have made two quilts where the inspiration came from the patterns on china.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkLots of people have trouble starting a project. What makes you start a project? Do you have any tips to get you from blank fabric to stitching?

I start with a sketch, collect the material, mark the fabric and decide on a starting point, pick a stitch and jump in.
Or I start with a stitch I want to try out, then make a sketch of a design where this stitch would look good.
Maybe the best way to go from blank fabric to stitching is to decide where to start, isn’t it like kicking off the bicycle and as it starts rolling you just peddle along?

Do you have stall points? If so how do you get past them? Do you have any tips to share about this.

Nearing the end of a project I do find that my interest and enthusiasm wanes. In the past I tended to shelf projects, but these days I push myself to complete them. I might slow down but have a rule that at least 10 minutes per day must be devoted to that project until it is completed. The satisfaction of having seen it through is so rewarding!

Do you have ‘go to’ stitches. In other words stitches you use frequently that you return to using over and over. If so what are they and why do you think they are so successful for you.

Yes, I do. They are Stem, Chain, Buttonhole and Feather stitch as well as French (or Colonial) knot. I know them well, using them is stitching in autopilot. You could also call them ‘Lego’ building blocks; combined with other stitches they give many possibilities.
However, the TAST samplers and reference chart constantly remind me that I should ‘think before I stitch’ and pick a more unusual stitch instead.

Do you have a favourite embroidery thread, or something you use all the time? If so what is it?

Pearl cotton shows off the stitches well. Stranded floss is found in many shades and the six strands can be divided. I also love the feel of wool.
The beauty of ‘difficult’ threads like chenille, thick cords, metallic has tempted me into buying too much, the challenge is now to find ways to use them.

What advice would you give to new hands?

Join TAST!
or any other online course/stitch-along,
or take part in a beginner’s workshop at a show/shop,
or buy a small kit,
or make a pin cushion, it is small, easy to assemble and gives instant results

For free style embroidery, get a boldly printed fabric and stitch along the lines.
For counted work, start with Aida fabric where the grid will help you find the right holes and spacing.

image for TAST Interview with Queenie Of Queenie's NeedleworkIs there anything else you would like to add?

In the past, and in school education, a PERFECT result was the goal. In today’s needlework and fibre art, it is more important to ENJOY stitching and embrace the FREEDOM of expression.
Give needlework a try, and if you feel it is not for you, don’t be afraid to walk away with your head held high.
Of course, I hope you will have found a new life with fiber art. Happy stitching.


I hope you have enjoyed this TAST Interview with Queeniepatch of Queenie’s Needlework. I certainly enjoyed discovering more about Queenie’s approach to embroidery. If you have enjoyed this interview pop over to  Queenie’s Needlework for a visit as I had lots of fun on her blog browsing and selecting images for this article.

This interview is part of series that will run during 2017 as the Take a Stitch Tuesday Challenge has been running for a decade. Throughout the year I will interview stitchers about their hand embroidery and feature their work.
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Take a Stitch Tuesday Stitch 77

Take a Stitch Tuesday Stitch 77 sampleYay time for Take a Stitch Tuesday Stitch 77. I love Tuesday mornings as there is always a sense of anticipation wondering how people will react to the stitch of the week.

This week in the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge is a bit of doozie as I think it’s lots of fun. Pistil stitch is a French Knot with a long tail. You can use Pistil stitch for the centre of flowers or arrange it in a circle as flower motif. If you experiment with threads you can have fun as the thread thickness will determine the size of the finished stitch and look of the flower. You can work this stitch using lots of different threads such as cotton perle #8 and #5, fine braids, some knitting yarn and silk ribbon. Experiment with Pistil stitch as that is the challenge!

As Usual I have tutorial for Pistil stitch in my stitch dictionary. I hope you have fun with Take a Stitch Tuesday Stitch 77.

How to join in on the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge

If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitches. If you are an experienced embroiderer push these stitches in creative manner and share with beginners what can be done with a little imagination.
Where to share

Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, flickr site, share it on Facebook or where ever you hang out online, and leave a comment on the Pistil stitch page with your full web address. Don’t forget the http bit of the web address so that your address becomes a live link so that people can visit your site and see what you have done.

Feel free to join the  TAST facebook group and leave your photo there.  For Flickr people the group is Take a Stitch Tuesday. Hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on places like Instagram etc.

If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.

a tangle of pinsFollow Pintangle and have it delivered to your inbox

You can have Pintangle delivered to your inbox by using the follow feature in the sidebar. Just enter your email address, and when you get the confirmation email make sure you say yes and you are all set!
If you are on a mobile or tablet you will need to scroll to the bottom to find the follow feature.
Crazy quilt template set 2

Have you seen my Stitchers templates?

As a stitcher who loves crazy quilting and embroidery I designed these templates with other stitchers in mind. With my Stitchers Templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to embroider on 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 

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2

Last month I shared with readers how I had been doing a daily stitch challenge. I have been having a ball working a piece that is heavily textured with embroidery and beads. This year these challenges are all over Facebook and as you can see I have been having fun with them. I have shared details about the two I am doing at the end of this article.

Daily Stitch Challenge progress 13When I left off last month I had explained how apart from selecting a colour scheme my aim was to commence in freeform manner and respond to the stitching as go designing on the fly. When I do this type of embroidery in order to prevent the project becoming a hodge podge of stitches and visual mess, as some stage in the process I pull out what I call my design tools and using my knowledge of design I respond to what I have just stitched. I compare it to Jazz. This technique is an improvisational process.

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2-17In last months article I had explained how I started embroidery, then decided it would be the header piece for my sampler this year. New readers to this site may want to check out my nearly 100 ft band sampler which you can read about here. I had two issues to deal with. The wall of stitching needed a bit of visual break and I needed a point of focus. The date, which consists of voided numbers solve both these issues.

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2-16A third issue was also developing and that was that the viewers eye got stuck on the textured stitches rather than traveling around the piece so I needed to provide a path for people to travel along. For those non-design folks this is not a literal path but the path the eye takes as it looks at the piece. I did not want to turn this into an exercise in composition but I did want to have the viewers eye move around a bit. So this past month has been working on subtle almost subconscious paths in the piece.

There are three main vertical lines that run down the piece. The first I had started last month when I created a scattered line of brass beads. These are actually little brass disks that are used as spacers in necklaces. (I am pretty sure that is what they are)

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2 left sideDown the left side of the piece I worked a number of buttonhole wheels, cast on stitches and french knots. The main thread I used is a hand dyed cotton perle #5 thread. Since the same stitches worked in the same thread are repeated along the edge they form an informal line or boundary to the side of the piece. They are still freeform but at almost a subconscious level the viewer reads a line.

On the right side of the piece I used once again I used the design device of repetition. This time the stitches I repeated are whipped wheels French knots, Bullion knots and a scattering of small blue bugle beads. Basically I have been working on these three ‘invisible’ lines that run down the piece.

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2 right side

So now its time for the great reveal – this is what I call the header for the year (on my band sampler) ended up looking like.

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2 done

And here for readers enjoyment some eye candy in the form of detail so you can see how closely packed the stitches and beading is.

Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2 detail

Stitches used

The rest of the time has been spent packing the spaces with stitchery. So far in this piece I have used chain stitch, oyster stitch, buttonhole wheels, cast on stitch, bullion knots, French knots, a whipped spoke stitch, and whipped wheel.

Threads used

Threads used are hand dyed cotton perle #5 and #8, stranded cotton floss of 3 strands, hand dyed silk thread that is the thickness of cotton perle #5 and #8. Also I used a thicker silk thread which is thick like 6 strands of cotton floss and some rayon ribbon floss

Designing on the fly is certainly a fun way to stitch. I hope you have enjoyed reading this Daily Stitch Challenge Part 2.

The two challenges I am following are “A Year in Stitches” run by Susan Sorrell and “Just One Stitch” run by Deena Beverley. Both Facebook groups encourage stitching daily for a year.The hash tags for these challenges are #ayearinstitches and #justonestitch.

If you are embarking upon any of these challenges don’t forget that my Stitch Dictionary of hand embroidery stitches is free online and hopefully many of the samples will give you some ideas of how to use a stitch in your own stitching adventures.
Sharon B's CQ templates” width=

Have you seen my Crazy quilters templates?

As a stitcher who loves crazy quilting I designed these templates with other crazy quilters in mind. With my Crazy Quilters Templates you can create hundreds of different patterns to embroider on 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.

Crazy Quilt Templates set 1 you will find here 

Crazy Quilt Templates set 2 you will find here