Welcome to New Explorations in 2017

Welcome to 2017 – I have been asked again to be our guest blogger and share my explorations.  2015 was the year I explored different things with Bargello and different types of finishing techniques.  2016 was the year I decided to focus on exploring all kinds of stitches, their variations, and how I might make my own variations.  I also wanted to explore the impact of different types of threads and ground cloth on various types of stitches.

For this year’s exploration, I want to focus on layered and composite stitches.  This exploration will include how the stitches change based on the type of thread used.  In particular, I want to focus on the impact of overdyed threads on these types of stitches.

The other area I will continue to explore is new ways to finish my needlework.  My main focus here is how to create three-dimensional objects as a means of finishing my stitching.

 

For my stitch explorations, I will be sharing the following type of information:  descriptions of which stitches were explored since my last post, what types of threads were explored, what techniques I think the various options would be good for, any tips or “lessons learned”, and photos.

For my finishing explorations, I will be sharing the type of 3-D object I explored since my last post, what types of ground cloths can be used for that object, what types of stitches and/or techniques can be used with that object, any tips or “lessons learned”, and photos.

 

The first stitches I will be exploring are: Waffle (aka Norwich), Herringbone, Sprat’s Head and the Chilly Hollow Stitch, along with their variations.  I hope my explorations will be inspirational and helpful to some of you and that you will join me in my explorations.  Please feel free to ask questions, provide recommendations, share your experiences, etc.

I will try and post something every week so that you know what I have been exploring.

Karen Anthony

 

 

 

Journey Continues – Exploring Jessicas & Crescents

As I mentioned in my last post – this month I have been exploring all kinds of Crescent Stitches (and their variations) and all kinds of Jessicas – both by Jean Hilton.

My two favorite Jean Hilton books for exploring these two stitches are:

  • The Hilton Sampler
  • Jean Hilton’s Stimulating Stitches

Let’s first discuss my exploration of Crescent stitches.  First I took the basic shaped Crescent stitch and explored layering them as shown below on the left.  Next I explored what Jean called a “Double Crescent” (shown below in the middle).  Then I started to explore some of the different shaped Crescent stitches in my books.  She has several shapes that she lapeled “Exotic Crescents” – one of them was the Curved Leaf Crescent (shown below on the right)

Overlapping Crescents 2

Double Crescent      Curved Leaf Crescent

The next type of Crescent stitch that I explored was variations of the Fleur-de-lis Crescent.  The first one was the Fleur-de-lis Heart – this is putting two side by side but flipping the one side so they join to form a heart (shown on the left), next was putting two end-to-end to create what Jean called a “Serpentine Crescent” (shown in the middle).  Lastly, I explored a portion of what she called “Topsy-Turvy” which was a circular type shape made by joining curved crescents tail-to-tail and back to back (shown on the right).

Fleur-de-lis Heart  S-Crescent    Piece of Topsy-Turvy

The last type of Crescent I explored is one Jean called a “Loop-to-Loop Crescent”.  I tried several of these as shown in the photo below.

Loop-to-Loop Crescents

Next I explored various types of Jessica stitches.  The traditional Jessica stitch creates a circle.  The “size” of the center hole for the circle depends on where you start – in other words, where you put the 1-2 stitch.  I first explored several examples that Jean had changing where the first stitch went.  The results of this exploration are shown in the photo below on the left.    Next I explored different shapes, the first of which was the triangle and looked at both tall and short ones as shown below on the right.

Jessicas with different starting points     Triangle Jessicas

The next shapes I explored where a polygon (slanted square) and ovals.  I tried the ovals both horizontally and vertically as shown below in the photo on the left.  Then I tried her Lacy Diamond Jessica – shown below in the photo on the right.

Other Shape Jessicas     Lacy Diamond Jessica

Lastly, I explored overlapping Jessicas to make a chain of them.  The photos below show the results of that exploration

Interlocking Jessicas       Second Overlapping Jessicas

I hope you enjoyed by explorations with these stitches and all the varieties.  I am going to continue exploring stitches that Jean Hilton used in her designs – next will be the Sprat’s Head, Walneto and the Amadeus stitches.

2016 – Year of the Stitch – This month’s journey progresses

As I mentioned in the last post – the first stitches I am exploring are the chain stitch and the long & short stitch.

Let’s recap the highlights of my initial findings about the long & short stitch:
• Primarily used for shading and thread painting
• Multiple types of fabrics/ground cloths can be used
• Shape can just be filled (like I did) or outlined first and then filled

Mary Corbet of Needle ‘n Thread and Trish Burr both have wonderful tutorials about doing the Long & Short Stitch.

Here are photos of my attempts at shading and thread painting using the Long & Short Stitch. I used it to begin creating a pansy using these stitches. My ground cloth was white Congress cloth again with #8 perle cotton in three shades of purple and two shades of yellow:

Beginning Pansy               Thread Painted Pansy
Beginning of Stitching Pansy                 Finished Petal of Pansy w 3 colors

Close-up of Pansy Long & Short                                                                   Close-up of Shading

 

I hope you enjoyed by explorations with this stitch and the chain stitch (and some of its variations). Starting next weekend (3rd weekend of the month), I will be starting exploration on two new stitches – Crescent Stitches/Variations and all kinds of Jessicas – both by Jean Hilton.

2016 – Year of the Stitch – The Journey Begins

As I mentioned in the last post – the first stitches I am exploring are the chain stitch and the long & short stitch.

Let’s first discuss my initial findings about the chain stitch. I was amazed at the number of variations for the chain stitch. The specific ones I stitched were:
• Basic Chain Stitch
• Open Chain Stitch (aka Ladder Stitch)
• Heavy Chain Stitch
• Zigzag Chain Stitch
• Double Chain Stitch
• Feathered Chain Stitch
• Magic Chain Stitch (aka two-colored chain stitch)

For my ground cloth, I used both white Congress cloth and Victorian Red 18-ct canvas. For thread, I used 3 different weights of perle cotton (5, 8 and 12). Here are some photos of my stitches:

Lighter Weight Chain Stitch Variations on Congress
Double Chain       Zigzag Chain  Heavy Chain    Open Chain (aka Ladder)             Chain
Congress Cloth with Heavier Weight thread            Feathered Chain Stitch
Heavy            Open Chain                                                Feathered Chain
Heavier weight thread - chain stitch               Magic Chain Stitch
Chain          Heavy Chain           Magic Chain (aka Two-Color)
Here are some other chain stitch variations you may want to explore:
• Twisted Chain Stitch
• Cable Chain Stitch
• Broad Chain Stitch
• Russian Chain Stitch
• Rosette Chain Stitch
• Butterfly Chain Stitch
• Raised Chain Stitch
• Singalese Chain Stitch
• Whipped Chain Stitch
• Crested Chain Stitch

Lazy Daisy and Long-tailed Daisy are also variations of the Chain Stitch.

I found some very interesting things as I was researching the Long & Short Stitch. I found three different opinions about it and what ground cloths it could be used on. As I thought, the primary ways I found it used were for shading and thread painting. One “camp” believes that it can only be used on a linen-type fabric like muslin or tablecloth type material. Another “camp” believes that it should be done on an evenweave fabric . The last “camp” believes it can be done on any type of fabric or ground cloth.

The next thing I learned is that depending on how you want to use it determines if the shape should be outlined first before filling with the Long & Short Stitch. I also learned that the name is sort of a misnomer since the only time you have stitches of different length is the first row. In that first row you have a mix of short and long stitches. For all subsequent rows you only use long stitches but they vary in length depending on the first row.

Mary Corbet of Needle ‘n Thread has a wonderful free lesson on doing the Long & Short Stitch. She also has a wonderful tutorial on chain stitch variations.

I hope you enjoyed exploring these stitches with me. I will post some photos of my attempts at shading and thread painting using the Long & Short Stitch in the next few days.

On the third weekend of this month, I will be starting exploration on two new stitches – Crescent Stitches/Variations and all kinds of Jessicas – both by Jean Hilton.

2016 – The Year of the Stitch

Last year was the year of exploration for me with trying different things with Bargello and different types of finishing techniques.  This year I decided to focus on exploring all kinds of stitches, their variations, and how I might make my own variations.  I also wanted to explore the impact of different types of threads and ground cloth on various types of stitches.

This exploration will also include stitches associated with several techniques, such as Hardanger, Pulled Thread, Drawn Thread, Japanese Embroidery, Brazilian Embroidery, etc.  I will also continue to explore new ways to finish my needlework – especially three-dimensional type ways of finishing.

I will be picking a minimum of 2-3 stitches each month to explore, and post photos, tips, etc each week.  For the next month, I will be exploring the Long and Short Stitch and the Chain Stitch.

For the Long and Short Stitch, I will also be exploring the following:

  • Long and Short Stitches used in different shapes
  • Differences between Long and Short Stitch and the Satin Stitch
  • Differences between Long and Short Stitch and other types of “straight stitches”
  • How different threads change the look of Long and Short Stitch
  • How different ground cloths change the look of the Long and Short Stitch

 

For the Chain Stitch, I will be exploring the following:

  • All kinds of variations (such as Open Chain Stitch, Heavy Chain Stitch, Twisted Chain Stitch, Double Chain Stitch, Crested Chain Stitch, Cable Chain Stitch, Feathered Chain Stitch, etc)
  • Composite chain stitches
  • How different threads change the look of the Chain Stitch
  • How to use multiple colors in the Chain Stitch
  • How different ground cloths change the look of the Chain Stitch
Look for some photos of these first stitch explorations next weekend.

 

I hope you will join me on this journey.  Please ask questions, share experiences – I will also gladly take suggestions or requests for stitches, threads or ground cloths that you would like to see explored.  I hope you have fun with me on this journey and enjoy our year of the stitch!

 

Karen Anthony

The Year of Exploration – Current Status

It has been quite a while since I have been able to post so I wanted to take this opportunity to bring you all up to speed.  Unfortunately life has gotten in the way and I was unable to continue with my explorations in June and July.  However, I am now able to get back to it.

Realizing that the summer is coming to an end and that 2015 is already more than half over, I decided there are two major areas that I want to explore over the next few months.

  • Different finishing techniques – as I begin to determine what all I want to accomplish for the holidays (especially creation of ornaments) – I want to focus on the following types of finishing:
    • Biscornu – all kinds – especially a 15-sided one
    • Pyramid Ornament – I saw this with one of the petite projects and really liked what I saw
    • 3-D Ornaments – I have done a few of these and really enjoy them so want to explore some other ways to do them
    • 3-D Cube – I have several projects that are “blocks” which I have decided to turn into “cubes”
  • The other area I want to explore are motifs that I can use to represent snowflakes and Christmas ball-shaped ornaments (or filler for the “O” in words like JOY for my bellpulls).  I also want to see if I can find some motifs that represent Victorian shaped glass ornaments (similar to some of the ones I posted about in May)

I hope my explorations will be helpful to some of you and that some of you will join me in my explorations.  Please feel free to ask questions, provide recommendations, share your experiences, etc.

I will try and post something more often to share how these explorations are progressing.  Look for photos as well.

The Journey Continues – Exploring Ribbons & Four-Way Motifs

I have been exploring different types of patterns for ribbons for my Holiday bellpulls.  I wanted to explore both the pattern and color options for creating the pattern.  I first used a pattern that looked like a twisted ribbon from Toni McKelley’s Florentine Fancywork.

The threads I used were:

  • DMC #8 Perle – 319, 368, 815, 498, 321
  • Caron Wildflowers – 025 (Holiday)

The picture on the left is where I just used the DMC Perle – so just solid colors.  The picture on the right is where I alternated between the Perle and the Wildflowers overdye.

Ribbons with solids                                                                Ribbons with overdye

The next ribbon type pattern I explored was a wavy one from Loretta Spears’ Florentine Fantasy.  For this one I used the following threads:

  • DMC #8 Perle – 890, 368, 367, 321
  • Wildflowers – 025 (Holiday)

Wave Ribbon with Overdye   I am still trying to decide if I want to add the remaining three rows in the original pattern – they will be three reds (815, 498, 321).  If I add them – still trying to decide if I will add them above the three greens or below the overdye section.  In other words, deciding between having the overdye on the bottom or having the overdye in the center.

Then I decided to try a 4-way motif in the design.  For this one I used the following threads:

  • DMC #8 Perle – 367, 368, 815, 498, 321
  • Wildflowers – 065 (Emerald)
  • Rainbow Gallery Hi-lights – H629
  • Kreinik #4 Braid – 202HL

4-way motif in progress - 16 MayGCC 4-way motif in progressThese photos were taken as it was in progress.  Below is the completed motif.

Completed 4-way motif in spot sampler

Next I will be exploring some motifs that I can use to represent snowflakes and Christmas ball-shaped ornaments (or fillers for the “O” in words like JOY).

I hope you will join me as I continue on my journey.  Please ask questions, share experiences – I will also take any suggestions on patterns, types of Bargello motifs, color schemes or thread types that you would like to see explored.  I hope you have fun with me on this journey!

Karen Anthony