Wednesday, 29 September 2010

God's Eye Stitch

Here is a rather unusual stitch called God's Eye Stitch. God's Eye's or Ojo de Dios are commonly made by the Huichole Indians of Mexico and remind us of God's watchful eye. It is a weaving technique which uses two sticks formed into a cross and then woven with colourful threads and wools, you can find lots of tutorials on Google for them. They are great fun to make with children to learn simple weaving techniques. The God's Eye Stitch is worked in a similar way with a cross of straight stitches woven with a spiral of backstitches. The stitch can be worked on plain or evenweave fabrics and can be used as an isolated stitch or scattered as a heavy filling for a shape.

Ok, to work a God's Eye Stitch you need to first form your cross. Bring your needle up at 1, down at 2, up at 3 and down at 4. 

Begin weaving the four arms of the cross with a spiral of backstitches. Bring your needle up at 1 to the left of the top of the cross you just made. Insert the needle back over the top of the vertical stitch and under the horizontal stitch as shown below. Do not pierce the fabric. Continue working backstitches over the four arms of the cross until the top part is covered. Try working this stitch in wool threads to give a really textured effect.

Tuesday, 28 September 2010

New Egg Cosy Collection

I am currently working on a range of egg cosies the first in the series is Red Berries hand embroidered on natural coloured linen fabric with a vintage fabric lining. The design is from a watercolour illustration I did sometime ago and have always wanted to use. There will also be a set of matching tea cosies too! I am really enjoying making my new collection of products and this is certainly a different avenue for me. Red Berries Egg Cosy is now available in my Etsy shop and Folksy shop and will be in my new online shop on my website soon.

French Knot Border Stitch

French Knot Border Stitch is one of those stitches that is created using a combination of stitches. In this instance French Knot and Fly Stitch so you need to know how to do these two stitches first. This stitch is really easy to work and can be worked on either plain or evenweave fabrics. If you want to keep a really nice even border then I would opt for the evenweave fabric while starting out in embroidery.

Ok, to work a French Knot Border Stitch, you are going to first work a Fly Stitch loop. Bring your needle up at 1 and down at 2 up again at 3, with thread beneath your needle, pull through. Next instead of anchoring the loop of the Fly Stitch with a small straight stitch you are going to work a French knot as shown below. Wrap your thread around the needle once, twice or three times depending on how raised you wish your knot to be. Now insert your needle back into your fabric just below the Fly Stitch loop and pull through gently. The knot will hold the stitch in place. Carry on repeating stitches along your row. If you are not fond of French Knots you could work a bead instead!

Monday, 27 September 2010

The Perfect French Knot

The good old French knot is sometimes the bain of newcomers to hand embroidery but it is I assure you really easy to do. I know when I started embroidery I kept pulling the knot through and got really frustrated that I even cheated and used a bead! Which is not a bad idea if you just haven't got the patience! Once you master the French knot though you can use it for flower centre's, as a single dot or eye, as a textured filling stitch and for shading designs. French knot's can be used scattered, packed or evenly spaced. However you work it French knot's are great and get my thumbs up! Have a go at mark making with French knot's today, try variegated threads, thick and thin threads and wooly threads to create different textures.

Here's how to work a French knot!

Bring your needle up a 1. Holding the thread taut between your finger and thumb of your left hand, wind the thread around the tip of the needle twice. Still holding the thread taut insert the needle close to 1. Pull the needle through to the back of the fabric so that the twists form a knot on the surface of the fabric. Don't pull the thread through the fabric too hard or the knot may follow! Why not try out the mark making exercises in the last photo!

I am having a problem replying back to comments on the blog at the moment so I would like to say thanks for all your comments about my tutorials. It is great to hear that the photos are clear and that the explanations can be easily followed! I think some embroidery how to books just don't show enough steps or are not close enough, so I am glad that I can help especially if you are beginning embroidery or just getting back into it again!

Thanks Sarah xx

Friday, 24 September 2010

Fly Stitch

Here is a tutorial for a really easy stitch to learn fly stitch. Fly stitch is also known as Open Loop Stitch, it can be used scattered randomly on plain or evenweave fabrics, in horizontal or vertical lines or as a filling stitch. It also makes great foliage effects and birds in the sky! Fly stitch can be made with a short or a long tail hence the reason for it also being called Y Stitch.

To work Fly stitch you can work in any direction. Bring your needle up at 1 and then down at 2 leaving a loop of thread. Next bring your needle up at 3 inside your loop of thread and then down at 4 creating a small stitch to hold the loop in place. Repeat as required. If working in a line (see photograph 4) bring your needle up at 2 again to start the next stitch. If you wish to have a longer tail make the distance from 3 to 4 longer. You can also create a lattice filling by positioning the stitches as in the last photograph. 

Another Bug Cushion!

The next bug or beetle in the collection is stitched in grey thread on fine cream linen fabric. I think this is one of my favourite drawings as I love it's shape and the seeding stitches look like studs which remind me of an antique marcasite brooch I have in silver of a badger.

Bug Hand Embroidered Cushion available in my etsy shop ArtyThreads

Tuesday, 21 September 2010

A New Collection

As mentioned in CrossStitcher Magazine I am working on a series of homewares and gifts based on my insect drawings. Beetle Cushion is the first in a series of cushions made in linen fabric. The collection will be extended to include tea towels, tea cosies, egg cosies and bags etc. I am also working on a new website in conjunction with my very talented hubby Andrew who is creating me an overall brand for my hand embroidered products.

All of the products will be available to order through my etsy shop ArtyThreads until the new website is up and running.

Sunday, 19 September 2010

Fishbone Stitch

Fishbone stitch is often used as a filling stitch for leaves and petals. It can however be used as a border stitch as well. To work this stitch it is better to mark the fabric with the outline of the shape (or leaf) and with a centre line, which can be either straight or curved.

Working from the tip of the leaf shape to the bottom start by creating a small straight stitch by bringing the needle up at 1 and down at 2. Next bring the needle out at 3 on the left hand side of the straight stitch and insert back into the fabric at 4 overlapping the base of the straight stitch slightly. Bring the needle out at 5 on the right hand side of the straight stitch and insert back into the fabric at 6 to the left and overlapping the previous stitch slightly. Continue criss crossing the stitches by bringing the needle up at 7 and down at 8. You continue in this way till the whole of the shape is complete. If you get stuck there is a video of fishbone stitch on the blog too.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

Fern Stitch

Fern stitch as its name suggests creates the impression of fern like foliage. It can be worked as a single motif or follow a line either straight or curved to form a branch. Fern stitch is a really easy stitch to work as it is just a series of straight stitches radiating from the same hole. It can be worked on both eavenweave fabric and plain weave fabric in various thread thicknesses. If working on plain weave fabric it maybe easier to follow a drawn line using an air erasable pen as in the bottom two examples.

Ok here's how to work the stitch: First form a straight stitch by bringing the needle up at 1 and down at 2. Then bring the needle up again at 3 slightly to one side of the first straight stitch at an angle. Then take your needle back down at 2 and then up at 4 again slightly at an angle. Complete the stitch by taking the needle back down at 2, the stitch is now complete.


To work a row of fern stitch along a curve position the first three stitches at the tip of the line then bring the needle up slightly below at 1, then take the needle down again at 2. Bring the needle up again at 3 and then back down again at 1. Bring the needle up at 4 and down at 1 to finish the stitch. Work along the line in this way. The angle of the straight stitches can be altered in size and length to represent the foliage.

Friday, 17 September 2010

Feathered Chain stitch

Feathered Chain stitch is a decorative border stitch with a vine like appearance. It basically consists of small chain stitches at the end of straight stitches. I have to say though it's rather nice and quite easy to master. Feathered Chain stitch can be worked on plain and evenweave fabrics in any thread type. I think it looks really pretty in shiny and metallic threads.

Here's how to work Feathered Chain stitch.

Work from top to bottom. Bring your needle up at 1. Insert the needle again at 1 and bring it up at 2 below and at a slant. Make sure the thread is beneath the needle as in photograph 1. Pull the needle through. Next insert the needle at 3 (note that 1, 2, and 3 form a straight line), bring your needle up at 4 (level with 2). Take the needle back down at 4 and bring it up again at 3, make sure the thread is beneath the needle again (see photograph 3). Then take your needle down at 5 (note that 4, 3, and 5 also form a straight line) bring it out again at 6 level with 3 to start the next repeat. Continue is this way alternating from side to side. Finish the last chain with a small stitch.

Thursday, 16 September 2010

Ode to Miss Haversham

Miss Haversham's Vow is a hand embroidered pillow in blood red thread and is my ode to the character Miss Haversham in the novel Great Expectations by Charles Dickens. The inspiration behind the pillow is that Miss Haversham writes a vow in blood after being jilted at the altar! She vows that she will stop the clocks and freeze time, sitting in her wedding dress and letting the wedding feast rot before her until her beloved returns!!! Drops of blood frame the embroidered text, a poem I wrote myself!

Feather Stitch

Feather stitch is also known as Briar Stitch and Single Coral Stitch. It is a decorative line stitch which can be used on plain or evenweave fabrics for borders and straight or curved lines. Feather stitch is also used as an edging stitch and for appliqué and crazy patchwork. It makes a lovely feathery line which once mastered is quick to do!

Ok to work Feather stitch you begin at the top and work downwards. If you find it easier mark three lines with fabric pen to act as a guide as we have done in the photographs below. First bring your needle up at 1 and then down at 2 and up at 3, with your thread beneath the needle. Try to keep the distance between 1 and 2 equal to the distance between 2 and 3. Pull the needle through. Next take your needle down at 4 and up at 5 again with the thread beneath the needle. Pull through. Continue to create stitches working from right to left. When you get to the end of your line finish the last loop with a small stitch below as for chain stitch. Have a go in different thread thicknesses or maybe layer rows over each other to create dense foliage or coral effects. You could also add other stitches like French knots to create a rambling rose effect.