May Design challenge and TAST week 17

May Design challenge and TAST week 17

Algerian Eye stitch sample of patterns 1

For TAST Week 17, we have two stitches that can be worked on a grid. Algerian Eye Stitch is often used in even-weave embroidery techniques. These include canvas work, pulled work embroidery, and forms of counted thread work. However, it has a simple structure which means it is easily adapted to many forms of surface embroidery. You can be very creative with it. If you use it to make a shape in free-form embroidery, it can be very effective. You can add beads, scatter them across an area, or build up patterns and designs. You will find a tutorial for Algerian Eye Stitch in my stitch dictionary and it is not difficult, so enjoy experimenting with it.

Week 17 Beyond TAST

The stitch for Beyond TAST week 17 is Eastern stitch which is another even-weave stitch normally worked on a grid but this stitch will follow a softly curved line too.

Needlework Sampler band 643

Since Eastern stitch forms a squarish shape, it is often worked in regular patterns. For example, cross-stitch designs can be easily adapted and used. The beaded version is the same. Because it fits into a square it sits well on a grid. This makes developing your own patterns fun and easy. Eastern stitch is made up of units that you can orient in different directions to create other types of patterns. The above sample is worked on Aida using hand-dyed cotton perle thread. I turned each stitch and elongated the stitch a little, and worked blocks of 4 stitches to create little motifs that can be used to form a pattern. It was very easy and very quick.

The Design Challenge for May 2023

For the month of May, I am asking you to think about Scale. Normally when you are taught about design, people think about the size of one thing against another thing in the composition. Scale and proportion go hand in hand. One aspect of design for embroidery, rather than design in general, is to think of scale and apply a sense of scale to threads and stitches.

TAST week 17 design challenge sample of threads

Threads can be a big fat thick lumpy thread set against a fine thin thread. Or it might not be so extreme you could simply vary the thickness of your threads to create a visually interesting embroidered surface. You can change threads within a row, particularly if your stitch is worked in two journeys — such as this sample below — which is double herringbone worked in a variety of threads.

TAST week 17 sample of different threads

The other way you can use scale in your embroidery is to make your stitches larger or smaller. There is no law saying everything has the be stitched at the same height. Here, Herringbone is worked in various heights.

TAST week 17 herringbone worked at different scale

Another example of changing the scale of your stitches is in this sample that uses closed buttonhole that is worked back to back from large to small.

TAST week 17 stitches worked at different scale

My last sample changes the height of stitches in this case tied herringbone and changes the thickness of the thread. The bottom line of stitches is worked with cotton perle #5 and a fine metallic thread. I simply threaded them both in the same needle and stitched the line of tied herringbone.

TAST week 17 stitches worked at different scale

What is the challenge this month?

The challenge is to create your own design abstract or representational piece, and change the scale of your thread and change the scale of your stitches.

Where to share

If you are new to hand embroidery the challenge is to learn the stitch and share what you have learned. If you are an experienced embroiderer, enjoy Beyond TAST and give your work a modern twist. And of course, share it online so beginners can see what can be done with a little imagination.

If you are doing the design challenge you have a month to work a design and stitch it up.

So the idea is to stitch a sample, photograph it, share it in the Take a Stitch Tuesday facebook group or use the hashtags are #TASTembroidery and #PintangleTAST on Instagram.

If you need more information the challenge guidelines are on the TAST FAQ page.

Previous TAST design challenges are found here 

Thread Twisties!

Experimenting with different threads can be expensive. You would normally have to buy a whole skein of each type of thread. My thread twisties 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. 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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