TAST Week 1

TAST Week 1

chain stitch sample 1


First off, Happy New Year! and it’s the start of a new TAST challenge β€” 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

chain stitch sample 2

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 be 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 it online on your blog, or share it in the Take a Stitch Tuesday Flickr group, or in the TAST facebook groupor 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.

Thread Twisties!

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.

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  1. Hi Sharon, I hope your New Year will be a very good one in all ways. Due to troublesome eyesight I’ve not done much needlework but hope that changes soon. 2020 was a good year to de-stash the craftroom. I’d like to join in TAST again this year, if I may.

    Maureen Bond
  2. Hi Sharon and Happy New Year! Looking forward to another year of learning new stitches and reading your interesting blog. The 2020 challenge saved my sanity while we were in lockdown during 2020 as it kept me busy and entertained during the long solo days. Lets hope that this year is a vast improvement on the last one.

    Joan Flynn
  3. Hi Sharon, thank you so much for doing TAST again. I discovered your amazing stitching several years ago and am excited when I get an email post from you. Your idea of a beginner level and an advanced level is genius. I hope you never stop these ongoing embroidery lessons. I am eternally grateful for you sharing your incredible talent with us to keep this art form alive …love from Canada

    Kathleen Sundby
  4. Hi there, Sharon! Hope I can join in again some of this year. It’s about time I did some more learning of stitches, and I’m not sure I could even remember how to do regular chain stitch!!! I’ll have a go at both later on, especially as I have a crazy quilt style wedding ring cushion project in the design process and chain stitch would be a good seam treatment, methinks.

    I’m also trying to get my blog back up and running. Apart from a review of 2020 projects that I posted last week, the last post was in July 2017 when you did me as one of your TAST participants! =)

    All the best to you and Jerry

    1. HI Elizabeth – great to see you swing by enjoy your blog again I thinkmany people are returning or have returned to bloging since COVID – lockdowns has meant many quiet blogs have popped up again.

  5. Here I go again, love doing this though the last two years things happened to interrupt me, this year things are going to be different. (well I hope so). One thing I can say for sure is my stitching always improves and I come back often when I get stick on a stitch to the stitch dictionary. Thanks for hosting.

    1. Have fun and let’s hope you manage a finish this time. If not no worries, to be honest it is the process that is the main thing. If you learn a little each time thats fine! I hope you enjoy it and have loads of stitching fun

  6. I’m going to start stitching now, after lurking for several years. I have some crazy quilt blocks ready to embellish, so I thought I would do each week’s stitches in order; by the end of the year I will have a number of blocks done. When I run out of stitches, I’ll start over again!

    Joyce C. Szoladi
  7. Hi Sharon

    Do you have an Etsy and/or Brick and Mortar shop you work with in the US so you may both compensate for threads?

    Thank you! Here in the US I commonly buy embellishment threads through Sue Spargo and Artistic Artifacts and Thread Gatherer. Importers I buy direct are House of Embroidery in South Africa. Others are small scale dyers.

    I just bought your new book and love it! Thanks!!
    Sandy Costello

    Sandy Costello
    1. Sandy I just removed your phone number and email as I am sure you dont want it public for every spam harvester to collect. When you leave you email in the email field only I see it- when you leave your email in the comments field everyone sees it. So I hit delete on that part of the message. The shop is on the website. On the top bar you can see “Pintangle Shop” also in the the article there is a link where it says “You will find my thread twisties in the Pintangle shop here” Click on the bold text to be taken there. I am in Australia. You can use any threads – I buy Sue Spargo threads too – not that I need threads but I love threads and having different threads inspires me. Hope all of that helps!


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