First off, Happy New Year! and it’s the start of a new TAST challenge — TAST week 1. First, let me welcome you all to Take a Stitch Tuesday for another year! I hope everyone is energised and up for it. I am certainly looking forward to seeing what everyone does this year.
For those who are new to TAST, the first 20 or so stitches are the foundation stitches of hand embroidery. If you are new to hand embroidery, it is a good idea to learn these 20 stitches and master the hand movements associated with them. This will give you the skill to pick up most other stitches in TAST or in any other embroidery challenge.
So try to hang in there for at least the first 20 weeks. Hopefully, by the end of 20 weeks, you will be so addicted to stitching that to not complete the rest of the stitches in TAST would feel like a huge lost opportunity in your life!
Just to give everyone the heads-up there will be 48 stitches this year and 4 catchup/break weeks.
Also, Beyond TAST for those who have done TAST before, or are intermediate stitchers, will have a stitch each week. My idea is to feature some of the more interesting stitches that currently languish in the stitch dictionary.
Anyway, let’s dive in and get started! Grab your embroidery box and here we go!
TAST Week 1
Week 1 for Take a Stitch Tuesday is Chain stitch. This is a tremendously useful stitch that is quick and easy to do. Chain stitch is a foundation stitch for a whole family of looped stitches. The trick with all the chain stitches is to not pull the stitch too tight, as a tight tension will pull the loop of the stitch tighter causing a puckered line.
Chain stitch will hold a curve well and is ideal to use to outline a pattern or for lettering. The sample above is a sample worked in cotton perle #5 thread
This sample is worked in a fine knitting yarn that has a metallic blended thread in it. It is worked on 25 count linen.
Beyond TAST Week 1
For those who have done TAST before, or if you already know the basic embroidery stitches I hope you take the opportunity this year to enjoy Beyond TAST. Every week there will a stitch announced for people who have either done TAST or are intermediate to advanced stitchers.
So what is the first stitch? There are many varieties, versions, spin-offs and riffs on common Chain stitch. In fact well over 100, but for this week, I am going to point people in the direction of Linked Chain stitch. Linked Chain is like many of the varieties of chain stitch which make an interesting linear stitch that follows a curve well. The beaded version is fun too! Try it and see how you go.
Where to share
Stitch a sample, photograph it, put in online on your blog, or share it in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Flickr group, or in the TAST facebook group or where ever you hang out online. Hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on places like Instagram etc. If you have a blog leave a comment on the stitch page with your full web address. Don’t forget the HTTP(S) bit of the web address so that your address becomes a live link. That way, others can visit your site and see what you have done.
If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.
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Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. So I have made up my thread twisties which are a combination of different threads to use in creative hand embroidery. These enable you to try out stitching with something other than stranded cotton. For the price of just a few skeins, you can experiment with a bundle of threads of luscious colours and many different textures.
These are creative embroiders threads. With them, I hope to encourage you to experiment. Each Twistie is a thread bundle containing silk, cotton, rayon and wool. Threads range from extra fine (the same thickness as 1 strand of embroidery floss) to chunky couchable textured yarns. All threads have a soft and manageable drape so that twisting them around a needle makes experimental hand embroidery an interesting journey rather than a battle. Many are hand dyed by me. All are threads I use. You may find a similar thread twist but no two are identical.
You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here.