This is more than a hand embroidery sampler

As I sat to write this, I thought this is more than a embroidery sampler. It is not just the size which is 96 feet long it is that I have lived with parts of this cloth sitting in my sewing box for years and years as I started doing it in 1996. If you are not aware of the whole back story you will find it here. The reason I say it is more than a regular hand embroidery sampler is that I always enjoy experimenting with hand embroidery stitches even  the very basic ones, but as time went on I added more and more snippets of text that marked events in my life.

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In this area I was playing around with basic stitches. In this case I was working back stitch using a hand dyed thread. This is a blackwork filling pattern but the hand dyed thread gives it a modern twist.

hand embroidery sampler detail 715This is also back stitch worked as a chevron pattern. Hopefully beginners will see what is possible with some of the basic stitches.

hand embroidery sampler detail 716

The next band of my embroidery sampler is running stitch worked row upon row.

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The band after that echos the chevron pattern. It is running stitch worked in a zig zag formation.

hand embroidery sampler detail 718

This is mainly stem stitch worked in various weights of thread. Some are cotton perle #5, others are 3 threads of stranded cotton floss, other threads are wool. There are also French knots and the beads are secured with straight stitch.

hand embroidery sampler detail 719

The next area is mainly worked in chain stitch in different threads. There is some hand dyed cotton perle #5, some  wool and some linen thread. I also used  French knots and once again the beads are secured with straight stitches.

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I often stitch while watching the evening news. Often snippets are incorporated in my stitching. I was pleased to hear that we were declared to be finally out of drought when the next news story was that there were floods in Pakistan. I added this using a dark green perle #8 cotton to work the letters in back stitch.

hand embroidery sampler detail 721

This is another area of back stitch that is worked in cotton thread. I added  big chunky beads and woven cross stitch worked in wool.

Needlework embroidery sampler section 51 cI hope you enjoy seeing these are details of my hand embroidery sampler. They are bands 714 to 721 of a section of the sampler which was worked between June and December of 2010. The sampler itself is only 6 inches wide but it is 96 feet 5 inches or 29.3878 meters long you can read about why it exists on the Sampler FAQ page

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My newsletter!  is written every few weeks with a summary of what has been happening or when there is BIG news to share.

Waving at the start of a new week and of course since it is Monday it is time for a round up of the TAST (Take a stitch Tuesday) highlights.

First of all of course in my “featured” article this week, I want  to say thanks to Annet  as the TAST logo stitched by Annet on Fat Quarter is an example of stem stitch.

Every  week choosing what to feature is hard as the examples are so good. So make a cuppa and I will share with you some of the samples that caught my eye.   Do make sure you visit the comments section on week 15  and take a look at the links people have left because there is a plenty of more good stuff to see. Although I try and keep the featured sites to 5 in total if you visit the sites you will see why I ran over the number, every week!

stem stitch sample

Luiz Vaz who is active on Stitchin fingers but has a new blog Embroiderland worked this sample (It’s worth adding this blog to your RSS feed as Luiz does some great work.)

stem stitch sample Severine Allais stitched an image on a postcard.

stem stitch sample

Raphaela on Textile Explorations worked this lovely composed work that incorporated buttons!

stem stitch sample

Over on Claudias blog you will find another scene worked in stem stitch.

stem stitch sample

Anneliese worked her sample of stem stitch on a piece of hand printed fabric.

stem stitch sample

Jane Lyttle on Stitchin fingers worked this sample on a crazy quilt block and added a bright pink bird!

I hope you enjoyed seeing these few samples dont forget to check out the comments on TAST week 15, follow the links and see what else people have been doing

Stem Stitch

stem stitch sample 1Stem Stitch is considered a basic stitch used most often for stems or organic shapes and floral patterns. You can use it to outline just about anything. It is quick and easy to do, which is always a plus, but most of all it is incredibly useful because it can hold a curve really well. If ever you have any text that is full or curves or something with a tangle of tendrils and flourishes stem stitch is your best choice of the linear stitches. It also looks good in variety of threads. The sample above I used cotton perle #5 and #8, wool, linen and silk.

stem stitch and cast on stitch hand embroidery sample

How to work stem stitch

stem stitch step by step 1Even though our line will be hidden by your stitching if you need to mark a line use a air dissolvable pen or a quilters pencil.   Work from left to right. Bring the thread up from the back of the fabric on the line.

With your working thread under your needle, point the needle to the left, pick up a small piece of material to make a small stitch as illustrated. Pull the thread through the fabric.

Make the second stitch forward along the line, bringing the needle out a little behind the first stitch. Pull the thread through the fabric.

stem stitch step by step 2Repeat this along the line. Keep stitches the same length and the tension even. Closely spaced stitches make a tight line, and a looser line is created by lengthening the spacing.

If the thread is worked above the needle, the stitch produced is slightly different, and is known as outline stitch.

stem stitch sample 2

These Stem stitch samples worked on a crazy quilt block are both worked in #5 perle cotton thread.


stem stitch hand embroidery sample

Stem stitch is also known as crewel stitch, stalk stitch and South Kensington stitch.