Continuing work on the knotted cable chain

November 30, 2007

I have no special focus in this group of samples with the knotted cable chain stitch. But these are various trials that came up as I’ve continued working with the stitch this week.

Below I was considering possibilities for alternation without detaching the stitches.



I tried concentric circles. The Perle 5 didn’t photograph very well. But was fun to work and actually looks ok “in person”. I slipped the last knotted cable chain’s large loop under the beginning stitch of the first knotted cable chain to complete the circles more neatly.


The double looping that I’d  “off grid” wanted to try “on grid”. It adds more texture, I think.


Some beading with intertwined or interwoven chains. The darker thread is Perle 5, the lighter, Perle 8.



Detached knotted cable chain stitches

November 29, 2007

Today’s samples deal with detached knotted cable chain stitches. I saw them as a way to couch other threads and to bead a little. I also experimented with adding more loops.






Beading added within the knot


Beading added at the end tip of the stitch


Adding loops


Below is a twig I had fun making. The stitching sort of folds back and forth on itself. I see a lot of room for doing more with this. There may be an expanded idea in Monday’s post.


The Indian edging stitch from Anne

November 29, 2007

Last week I mentioned the new stitch that Anne Gailhbaud taught me. I first saw it on a photograph of some embroidery she emailed me. Then I saw it on a piece of embroidery that she had sent me. She had many outstanding things on this embroidery like the detached flower petals and the center work in the flower. But I was fascinated with a stitch that formed the lower edge. And she taught me how to do it. While Anne hasn’t given the official approval of the step by step because she is away, she’s seen some of my stitching with it and given that the OK. And she encouraged me to go forward and post this.

Here is a step by step. Please keep in mind that I’ve used a very short thread to help make the needle’s movements more apparent. I’ve tried to make the pictures tell the story so it may seem long but the movements are very fast and for the most part you can move into the beginning of the next step as you are finishing off the previous one.






iestep3b.png iestep3backside.png (back side)




iestepbeginnewstitch.png Starting the next stitch.

Update: It just occurred to me that perhaps I should include a row of of finished stitching here.


I hope you enjoy this change of pace post. If anyone wishing to try this stitch is feeling lost because there is no text, please let me know and I will try to put some of the steps in words or answer any specific question.

If you know this stitch and work with it or a variation of it please let me know. Somewhere in the next few weeks I plan to take a post or two and show ways to vary this stitch and post examples of Anne’s use of it, too.

Thank you so much for teaching me, Anne. I’ve enjoyed learning this new-to-me stitch very much.

Off grid with the knotted cable chain

November 27, 2007

Before I get into the knotted cable chain stitch samples today, I want to take a moment to mention that I changed a couple of pages yesterday. The “about” page has been transformed into “a word of welcome” page. Since Sharon b has spelled out the 2008 challenge, I decided that it was high time to change that page from “Where is Sharon b blogging these days?” to “Sharon b’s challenges”. If you’ve not read about the challenge for 2008 please do check out that page for links. I’m looking forward to the challenge and hope many will be joining Sharon in it.

If you have any suggestions for making either of these pages more helpful or effective, please don’t hesitate to let me know. Sometimes I’m the last one to notice when I haven’t written clearly or made a mistake, so I appreciate extra sets of eyes taking a look. Thank you.

All my samples for today’s posts are stitched on felt. And I worked on some curves and circles.

tstc48bdewdrop.png I marked out a circle for these detached knotted cable chain stitches. Before I could get the four stitches done the markings were gone. The poor thing is decidedly lopsided.

tstc48bflight.png This was the first attempt at stitching the curves.

tstc48bflower.png In the lime green thread I’ve done a double loop in the chain. I will take that idea “on grid” for some more trials.

Below are some closely stitched lines. I would like to try beading these before the week is out. And, yes, the bead store was open today!


tstc48bsprig.png A straight knotted cable chain using detached stitches to simulate alternating leaves.

TSTC Week 48: The knotted cable chain

November 26, 2007

I remember working with the knotted cable chain stitch some time ago. So perhaps this will be an easy week for me with the TSTC experiments. SharonB has written a great step-by-step introduction to the stitch.

If you haven’t read her post yet please do. This post not only lays out this week TSTC stitch but also details Sharon’s 2008 challenge, Take it Further. Please do consider joining in, I think it will be even more inclusive than TSTC since Sharon will include visual journal pages as an acceptable format.

These are the samples from my work with the knotted cable chain stitch. I didn’t do too many experiments since I was just getting reacquainted with the stitch. Perhaps in the next few posts I’ll branch out a little more. My apologies for the poor quality of these photos. By the time I realized I should retake them it was too dark.

I tried whipping the stitch. I liked the one side experiment better once I saw the two sided whipping.



I also tried a more dense knotted cable stitch and then threaded it.


The above samples used a pima cotton. Look how delicate the stitch is with a Perle 8 below. I wasn’t sure if this thinner thread would work, but it was easy to stitch with and the work seems to be holding up ok. However, I may make smaller loops next time to stabilize it even more.


I also tried working with the Petite Very Velvet thread. It softens the knotted area and leaves the color.


In the experiments with Perle 5 I tried using two threads together.


My last experiment was detached knotted cable chain stitches. I wish I had beads that matched the thread for this. The bead store hours and my schedule have not meshed lately. I swung by Friday or Saturday and they were closed probably due to a holiday schedule.


Circles and a bit more

November 26, 2007

I tried several more circular shapes with the thorn stitch. I definitely had to use templates for two of them. And I wish I’d used a compass for dividing the circumferences more evenly. But perhaps it gives a rather organic look.

tstc47gspiralflower.png I used a contrasting thread here so the stitches could be seen in the sample, but it would be ideal to do the tie downs with a matching thread to make them almost invisible in normal work.



I also tried to perfect one of my ric-rac experiments.


This is an “off grid” grid where I tried lacing the thorns.

When I found my green beads I started in again on this sample from earlier in the week. It still needs a bit of tweaking before I’m going to feel satisfied but it on its way.


Below are the results of taking a grid, putting it on an “off grid” ground and then threaded between the thorns.


Grids and the thorn stitch

November 24, 2007

It seems like a long time since I’ve done many grid patterns when experimenting with a stitch. For me the thorn stitch is perfect for exploring on a grid. I took advantage of it a few days ago and did the following samples.

tstc47fgrid1.png A mirror image with an overlap. Here, and in the last two samples below, I’m playing with the length between the tie downs on the straight stitches.



The two samples directly above are “on grid” (counted fabric/ground) experiments that came to mind due to some of the curves I stitched “off grid” (non-counted ground) earlier in the week.

tstc47fgrid2.png Here I think the distance between the tie downs got too long. But this pattern may easily be adjusted to shorten that length.


Lines and circles with the thorn stitch

November 23, 2007

Many thanks to those of you who visited the post about Anne Gailhbaud and especially to those who left comments for her. I was delighted myself to be able to see her work up close.

I’m still in the midst of my experiments with the thorn stitch. I’m getting so spoiled since this stitch is so easy to work with. My only real challenge has been trying to use it with in a circular form.


I want to fill in the other half but can not find my green beads at the moment. It didn’t seem like anything else would work. This sample was freehand, no markings. But as you can see I must pull out a marking pen and templates next time.

As for lines, here is some of my “on grid” work.

tstc47dunevenlinevert.png Once I saw this single line, I had to try mirroring it.


tstc47dunevenaltvert.png I loved what Anne did with the interlacing of the thorns on her trees. It re-inspired me to try to work on that area a little more after my rather disastrous attempts with the sun earlier in the week.


The last two samples use ric-rac as the straight stitch line. I did take some liberties in piercing the ric-rac in the second sample, but the principle is the same.



Anne Gailhbaud

November 21, 2007

I have special thorn stitch samples for you today. These are stitched by Anne Gaihbaud. She has been reading SharonB‘s blog for years and recently started stitching some of the TSTC stitches that she wasn’t familiar with.



One of the benefits of blogging along with SharonB’s TSTC has been meeting other stitchers from around the world. Sometimes they are fellow bloggers, but not always. Anne Gailhbaud does not have a blog, but she has a website that shows some of her needlework, quilts and so forth. She says a blog must wait until she has more time. I suggested flickr, but “no” for the time being to that as well. As she says, she must preserve time for creating and connecting with her family and friends. She teaches French in France and is married to a doctor. They have four children most of whom are grown and out of the home.

Anne has recently sent me a packet of lovely things that she has done. Her grandmothers and great grandmother taught her to embroider. She says that her grandmothers were excellent embroiderers. Anne has made two quilts from their embroideries. She dyes fabric and thread as well as doing many handcrafts. I asked her if she would allow me post some of her needlework to give others the opportunity to enjoy them. She said yes. These are smaller more sample type works than appear on her website but the needlework may be seen more closely than those pieces. Unlike my usual photographs, please see the detailed view by clicking on them.




I would never have meet Anne except that she left a comment for me. Through this means, I have meet an number of very good stitchers who do not blog or use flickr. And unlike Anne they do not have a website. From the little work that I’ve seen, I sometimes think that some of the best and maybe the larger portion of the hand embroidery work that Sharon has helped facilitate through the TSTC may be that which is not showing up some place on-line. What do you think?

Perhaps what we see on-line is like seeing the tip of the iceberg. That is a very exciting thought to me. I wrote this up yesterday for Anne’s review and was just polishing it up when I clicked over to see Sharon’s new post reminding us that there are many people interested in and no doubt doing wonderful handwork. And that is only the portion that we may perceive because they are pursuing their interest on the internet.

Next week I will be posting about a new-to-me stitch that Anne has taught me. Anne, thank you very much for sharing your beautiful embroidery with me and for teaching me both just as I see the work you have done as well as more directly as is the case with this stitch.

Going forward with thorn stitch experiments

November 20, 2007

These are my trials with the thorn stitch. It does seem ideal for making tree like structures as SharonB suggests in her post. I had fun pulling the couched thread out of the straight line look on some of today’s samples.


In some cases you will see that I’ve used a previous thorn as the straight stitch to add yet another thorn stitch. This increases the branching possibilities. Although I’ve used it very limitedly here, I’m sure others may be taking much larger advantage of this very adaptable stitch. The sample on the left I call my long leaning tree, on the right, my spring tree.

tstc47clongtree.png tstc47cspringtree.png Oops, I missed moving a stray thread out of the way.

Since the first of November I’ve been doing more with expanded and displaced squares. Out of that work I’d stitched all these green lines and then realized they would work for this week’s thorn stitch.