For TAST Week 20, I will introduce two stitches that are a bit different. The first is known as Basque Stitch, which is also known as twisted daisy border stitch. It is a sort of twisted chain stitch worked in a line or circle — a bit like a buttonhole stitch. You will find a tutorial for Basque Stitch here.
Basque stitch is known by that name because it is found on old embroideries from the Basque region of Spain. Of course, Basque stitch is not confined to the one area, as it can be seen in Portugal and southern France.
Basque culture on the Camino
As regular readers know, in 2016 and again in 2018, I walked the Camino de Santiago across Spain. The route is 500 miles long (or 800 kms) and we walked following the ancient pilgrimage route. We stayed in hostels and carried our packs. As we crossed the Pyrenees mountains we passed through the Basque country. One of the treasures of my Camino was to encounter a local fiesta purely by chance. This fiesta was a local event, not something put on for tourists or bus tours. Indeed, bus tours did not go through this village. I think it was probably a wedding — I am not sure, as I do not speak Spanish! This crowd had just tumbled out of the church. And everyone was so busy talking to each other they did not notice us walking by. The bagpipes were amazing, and the costumes even more so.
I noticed that many of the women — of all ages — still wore traditional costumes bearing complex hand-embroidery. The fiesta was lived culture rather than a cultural display for tourists. I thought I would share these photos taken by my husband Jerry of The Fogwatch so that readers could see how, in parts of the world, embroidery is still very much alive and costumes such as these, are still worn on a special day.
OK, back to TAST! Basque stitch creates a line of twisted loops which looks good on a curved line. Once you get the hang of the rhythm it is fun. I hope you enjoy learning it. As usual, the tutorial for Basque stitch can be found in my stitch dictionary.
Beyond TAST Week 20
I have another interesting stitch for the Beyond TAST crowd. I am suggesting you explore Bonnet stitch. Once, a reader wrote to me as she thought I had invented it, but it is not the case as Bonnet stitch is an old stitch that has been revived. It was originally documented in a 1923 copy of Embroidery Magazine, then in the 1950s, it was published in Jan Eaton’s Complete Stitch Encyclopaedia which was published in the 1980s. Then when Jan Eaton revamped Mary Thomas’s Dictionary of Embroidery Stitches she included it in that book too. (page 43). I know…a bit stitch geeky … but I am an addicted stitch spotter! Anyway, it is an interesting stitch and I think readers will find it intriguing. Over past TAST challenges, there have been some great interpretations of this stitch.
You can create patterns if you work this stitch row upon row, or in this case, in rows back to back but Bonnet stitch also looks great worked in circles and spirals.
Visit the Bonnet stitch tutorial for instructions on how to work the stitch and ideas on how to use it. Bonnet stitch looks best in a thread with a firm twist, like a cotton perle. I really recommend that for surface embroidery, people try using some cotton perle thread. If you don’t have a needlework shop near you, there are many online outlets that you can use. Learn to experiment with other threads as often what looks flat and listless in stranded cotton floss comes to life if you use a thread with a firm twist.
Where to share your stitching for TAST week
If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitch and share what you have learnt. If you are an experienced embroiderer, enjoy Beyond TAST and give your work a modern twist and share it online so beginners can see what can be done with a little imagination.
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 Basque Stitch page, or the Bonnet stitch page. Don’t forget your full web address, including the HTTP part of the web address so that it becomes a live link. It means people 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
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!