TAST Week 1

TAST Week 1

chain stitch sample 1


Happy New Year! 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 is 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 stuff 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.

My book for creative stitchers

Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery book cover

If you enjoy my site you will gain real value from my book:  Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery: Visual Guide to 120 Essential Stitches for Stunning Designs

Feeling stale? Wondering how to add sparkle to your embroidery? I have aimed Creative Stitches for Contemporary Embroidery to be suitable for both beginners and seasoned embroiderers. It introduces techniques to encourage your creative interpretations of stitches. I guide you towards discovering play-points in your embroidery by varying the height and width; by stacking stitches; or by filling multiple rows with the same stitch. With creative variations and demonstrations of tiny tweaks, You will be ready to head off down your own creative path and, of course, illustrated with plenty of eye candy!

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  1. I have just decided to follow the TAST for this year and have just discovered that I have been doing the chain stitch wrong. It looks so much prettier when you do it correctly. Thank you for your generosity and knowledge, I look forward to the rest of the challenge.

    Karen Welsh
  2. I did TAST a few years ago, and will enjoy repeating it. The previous one was done on plain muslin since I didn’t even think how I would enjoy seeing these stitches to use again and again. Will you suggest some base cloth that is appropriate for several weights of threads? Also, how large a piece or pieces, since I ran out of space on my cloth and had to sew on another strip to the main piece. Not the prettiest, but I use it as a memory nudge when thinking of a stitch I want to use on a quilt or wall hanging.

    1. HI Joan How much fabric you use really depends on how much stitching you do. So I can’t suggest size. There are 48 stitches in TAST and 48 in beyond TAST. I reach for linen when ever I am trying stuff out but some people don’t like it. It is really up to you what you use – its part of the experimentation. Check out the FAQ as there is an article about supples there. Some people are working a band sampler roll others tags. Take a look at what people are doing in facebook group as it will give you ideas. Most of all have fun

  3. Hi Sharon, Thank you from the bottom of my heart for doing this series again this year. Thank you so very much. I have watched for years, and I am extremely excited to actually be participating this year. We will never get bored of your stitches because you are a master stitcher and we learn from you. Please keep posting the beginner and advanced styles like you do as it is extremely helpful. Extremely. I look forward to your posts and have purchased your creative stitches book. Your work is mind blowing. Please never stop sharing your talent with us

    Kathleen Sundby
  4. Yay—week 1! I found out about TAST in the middle of last year so stepped in halfway, but didn’t do everything. This time, I’m all in from Day 1! Very excited to do this and learn more about the craft/art that helped me get through lockdown. This is such a great community to join. And I have so enjoyed your other posts and website. Truly an honor to learn from someone like you. Maybe I will finally make a velvet crazy quilt like the one my grandmother made back in the early 1900s. So much fun!

    Amy Bird
  5. I noticed that the chain stitch is the same as you lead with last year. Are you planning to repeat all the stitches this year or will you have new ones?
    I have enjoyed following the stitches (new and those that I have done before) even though I haven’t stitched them all yet.

    Lorri Ferguson

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