Ideas and Inspiration Challenge Continued

Barbara Blankenship © 2008

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Our ideas and inspiration challenge continues with some really great techniques. I hope you enjoy browsing through the seam treatments and motifs and incorporating them into your own work. Thank you to those who took the time to email me with your beautiful work. Please continue to submit your favorites for publication in upcoming issues.

Several have sent links to their blogs where they have posted some fabulous stitching. I would love to include your work but cannot take it directly from your blog. You will need to email me directly with your image files (jpg format) and directions. We will be glad to add the link to your blog in the article when it appears.

HOLLYHOCKS by: Lynnis Burt, Sweeny, Texas

Begin with a stem stitch in green DMC thread. Make the proper curves in the stems as you stitch. The hollyhock petals are made with 7mm silk ribbon using the loop stitch.

Use an awl under each loop as you pull the ribbon through the fabric. This will keep the ribbon from twisting. You will be using a second needle to attach a #11 bead in the center of each loop. Leaves are made with 4mm or 7mm silk ribbon and the leaf stitch.

FEATHERED FLY STITCH by: Jo Newsham, New Zealand, 

The humble Fly Stitch; humble, but versatile. Here is a version I use often:

Because I wanted a curved line in this patch, I used a disappearing ink pen to mark a guideline  where I would like the stitch to travel.

Lay down your first Fly Stitch along the line.

As this is a ‘feathered’ variation, each stitch will start from the opposite side. Here is the second stitch. I eyeball my starting point from the base of the ‘v’ of the previous stitch.
The third stitch, starting on the opposite side.
On this picture I have marked the angles of each stitch to show how I get the curve. Varying the angle enables you to get the curve in your seam. The first two red ‘v’s show the angle is quite closed. Working down the seam and the angle gets wider, allowing the seam to swing back around.  If you were working this stitch down a straight seam, then you would try and keep your angle (distance) consistent.

Here is the completed seam, with red and green detached chains added for leaves and flowers.

Below is an example done on a round robin block, embellished with SRE and beads. You can see that this is a straighter seam.

So, there is one of my favorite seam treatments. Give it a go, and consider submitting your results to the Readers' Showcase. As always, we would love to see what you create.

BULLION TIPPED LAZY DAISY by: Julie Yonge, Angleton, TX,

This is a fun and easy stitch and has quite a different look whether done in thread or ribbon – both have fantastic results. Most people who embroider are familiar with the Lazy Daisy Stitch and this stitch begins just the same as a regular Lazy Daisy and then just adds a bullion (wrap) for the tip.  The photos below show the steps and I have included a couple of examples of how I have used the stitch (the number of wraps can be increased as desired).

You enter from below the fabric where you want the base of your lazy daisy to be. Once you have pulled your ribbon all the way through, be sure to “broaden” your ribbon by running the needle horizontal to the ribbon and straightening and smoothing the ribbon down to the point of entry at the fabric. Then take your needle back into the fabric right next to where you brought your needle up and bring the tip of the needle out where you want the tip of your lazy daisy flower. This will determine how big your flower will be so the spacing is up to you. When you have about ½" of the tip of the needle out of the top of the fabric, take your ribbon and move it behind the tip of the needle, so that the ribbon is headed toward the right, and make sure your ribbon is not twisted. Wrap the ribbon around the tip of the needle by taking the ribbon to the left across the front of the needle and then behind the needle and the ribbon will be headed to the right again. (You have wrapped the needle with the ribbon once.) At this point, put your thumb on top of the wrapped tip and your forefinger underneath the fabric at the same spot and gently pull the ribbon on through. You should now have a lazy daisy with a bullion tip – to finish the stitch, take your needle back into the fabric where the very tip of the bullion will lie comfortably.

The Crested Chain Stitch by: Julie Yonge, Angleton, TX,

This is a favorite of mine and I don’t see it done too often, but I like the texture it gives in both thread and ribbon. I have even done it head to head on a seam for a really nice affect. The photos below show the steps and I have included a few examples of how I have used this stitch.

You will be working the stitch right to left. The height and width of the stitch is up to you. Begin by starting a Chain Stitch that will be looping to the left. Bring your thread up from the back of the fabric and make a small loop to the left, then insert your needle right next to the spot where you entered the fabric and take the needle back into the fabric. The needle will come back up through the fabric at a horizontal spot to the left about ½" (or whatever you prefer), making sure the loop is on the outside of the needle as it comes up to hold your loop in place…this is your first Chain Stitch. Now to do the little crest. You take your needle about ¼" (or higher depending on your preference) above (north of) the spot that you just came out of the fabric to hold your first Chain Stitch and take a tiny bite of fabric with the tip of your needle. Be sure to have your thread go from the Chain Stitch on top of the bite of fabric and then behind the needle (this is probably the most important part of this stitch). Now, hold that bite of fabric and thread with your thumb above and forefinger below as you slowly pull your thread through….it will form a small knot under your thumb. Take your threaded needle around the top of the knot and under the vertical thread where you left your chain stitch and put your knot and slowly pull the thread all the way through. You are now ready to do another Chain Stitch and add a crest to it, etc.


MINIATURE TABLE SETTING by: Jan Campbell, Lake Jackson, Texas

Jan has used a 3" Battenburg Lace doily. A large button is the plate with small knife, fork and spoon charms. Embellish with several spider web roses and French knots.

WREATH MOTIF by: Janet Hoxie, Sheridan, Wyoming

The steps below outline the process of making a wreath motif. Mine are all heart shaped, but yours could just as well be round or oval, or any shape you want. The same technique could be used to frame silk prints or any other special motif.

Step 1. Basted outline of the heart shape. I originally used chalk, but I knew it wasn't going to last.
Step 2. Two shades of brown perle cotton, one in size eight, one in size five, couched down with three strands of DMC floss in yet another shade of brown. I twisted the two perle cotton strands together to get a twined look before doing the couching. You can see a tiny wisp of white at the base of the heart, which was my basting thread. I removed it before continuing.
Step 3. I've added green perle cotton, twining around the brown thread, in two different shades.
Step 4. Lazy Daisy leaves, all around the wreath, in the darker of the two greens. Note that they aren't too close together. I'm leaving space for the other leaves, in lighter green, which I will add in Step 5.
Step 5. More Lazy Daisy leaves, all around the wreath, in the lighter of the two greens. When layering in this manner, I always put the lighter colors on top of the darker ones.
Step 6. Now I've added more Lazy Daisy Stitches, in a thread that at the time -- and in daylight in my dining room -- looked pink. Later in the evening, under different light, this thread looked decidedly orange. I wouldn't willingly put orange thread on a pink background, so I was left with two choices: either take it out or just move forward with it. I decided to embrace the orange and work with it.
Step 7. I've added the final Lazy Daisies, this time in a light-medium pink. The scan doesn't do a very good job of getting the color right, as the thread looks variegated. Upon reflection, maybe a variegated thread would have been good here.
Step 8. And the final step! I've added beads, which I agonized over for quite a while before choosing them. The beads that went with the thread just disappeared, so I went with something that should never have worked in this spot. They are a black-lined transparent red; very strange with orange and pink, but I like the way it turned out. They look black in the pictures, and much better in person.

SPIDER WEB: by Chris Strickland, Lake Jackson, Texas

Chris has made her spider web with Bijoux metallic thread. The spokes are long straight stitches couched at random. A spider charm is attached.

SNAIL by: Melanie Hollenshead, Brazoria, Texas

Melanie has used a Chain Stitch to create this cute little snail. Her inspiration is the 1999 Piecemaker’s Calendar

SMYRNA CROSS SEAM TREATMENT by: Janine Franc, Pittsburgh, PA

It starts with a row of Lazy Daisy Stitches in sets of three (one left facing, one next to it upward facing, and a third next to the upward facing but this time facing right) each set links to the next set.

The second step is a mirror image of the first step running parallel to it about 3/4 inch away.

Third step- place a Smyrna Cross between the two rows at about the point of the upward (downward) facing Lazy Daisy.

A Smyrna Cross is a traditional Cross Stitch followed by a Straight Stitch in the center from bottom to top. A horizontal stitch from left to right in the center completes the stitch.

Fourth step: Place a French Knot or bead between the Smyrna Crosses.

Fifth step: Place an upside down elongated 'v' between each set of three Lazy Daisies, on both rows.

Sixth and final step: Place Crow's Feet Stitches at the top of each point of the elongated 'v' stitches on both rows.

I love this stitch combination. It comes out beautifully every time and is receptive to all different types of threads. And I love to substitute beads for the French Knots.

Janine’s inspiration is the "CQA Newsletter for Crazy Quilters" Vol. 1 Issue 3.

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