Double back stitch trials and errors

January 31, 2008

I had such a nice surprise in my mail from Paula at The Beauty of Life (much missed and not available any longer) –beautiful silk threads from Australia. Sparkles and shine are hard to capture in a photograph but this is my best efforts with the photograph. Totally unexpected and totally delightful. Many thanks, Paula.


Last week I began working on some pulled work that was based on the double back stitch. I was trying to do a staggered double back stitch. And it turned out to be a pulled chevron stitch. I still can’t find what I did wrong, but I know somehow I missed a step. I looked at the back side of the work and liked it so I stitched the pulled chevron stitch on the back of the fabric so it could be seen. I’ve been working with two other stitches that remind me of the chevron stitch and the sorbello stitch. While looking through another book this morning I found another similar stitch connected with the herringbone stitch.


Here is a double back stitch with little to no pull and then below the same pattern with a firm pull.



Sorbello stitch: Day 2

January 30, 2008

Two words and then today’s sorbello stitch samples. First, yes, I’m still stitching on my January TIF project. And I’m still going to be stitching in February. I’ll post a progress photo in the next day or two. Secondly, I’d like to say a word of thanks to those who have recently honored me with a You Make My Day award. My thanks go out to Kate at Every Day Revelations, Tenar’s Cave, Christine at Lady Jane’s Journal. If you’re not familiar with these blogs, please take a moment to swing by and see the work these ladies are involved with. Many thanks ladies!

And now the samples of the sorbello stitch.

I stitched this sample the opposite way that I photographed it. When I saw it while editing I thought perfect for teeth of a threatening animal or the edge of a saw.



This photograph is not showing exactly what is happening as clearly as possible. Two longer legged stitches on each side are  meeting to overlapping on a smaller stitch.


The looping is version three from yesterday’s post but the stitching was done upside down. I liked this look as a little border stitch. But it is harder to stitch in this position, so I did end up switching the fabric around while I stitched.



This looping is from version one in yesterdays post. While some what unstable, I love the texture of this little line.


Sorbello stitch: Day 1

January 29, 2008

The sorbello stitch is another hand embroidery stitch that I wanted to try. It popped up on a list of stitches Anne Gailhbaud suggested, too. Last week I actually had a chance to work with it. However, with all the rain, no pictures until this week. And I’m so happy to report that we actually had sunshine today in the central valley.

SharonB’s stitch dictionary has an excellent photographic step-by-step entry on the sorbello stitch. If you prefer a hand drawing, there is one on-line at Classic Stitches. As usual I seem to take off in all directions from the basic. The basic loopings that I tried are from left to right; both legs under the loop in the first, both legs over the loop in the third and the first leg under the loop and the second over the loop in the fourth (standard) way of making this stitch.


The second stitch? It is a stitch that is not at its best; I redid in the third stitch. Now, I confess the first stitch is an unstable stitch and I didn’t try the reverse order of the standard in the fourth stitch. I’m sure I will address the latter in some mirror images soon. Concerning the former, I see no way to improve the stability when the stitch is attempted this way. I wouldn’t use it on any thing that has to be washed. I would avoid using it on anything that is handled frequently, too. I do have a couple of other ideas for addtional variations that might make it more stable. In the meantime, I’ve enjoyed the texture and some lines will be popping up in some future post where I’ve put it to use.

Here are some other samples. The first one is worked the standard way as shown in the fourth sample above.


A ring worked as in the fourth sample.


Alternated stitches.  All the upside-down stitches are worked as in the fourth sample above. The right side up stitches are worked as follows from from left to right, stitched as in the third sample (twice), as in the first sample and then as in the fourth sample.


This spot is stitched as worked in third sample except both legs of the stitch use the same center point.


Swedish split stitch

January 28, 2008

I’ve been having some fun with a couple of new stitches that Anne Gailhbaud from France introduced me to. One of them is point Fendu Scandinave or Swedish split stitch. I thank Anne so much for being on the out look for some great stitches for me to try. And for this one she also sent me a photograph with one of her samples. She has kindly allowed me to put on the blog. If you haven’t visited Anne’s own website to see her various hand work, please take a bit of time to see it.

Here is the inspiring sample that Anne sent me to see.


The Swedish split stitches are the red and yellow stitches with the tie to the one side. To execute them one threads the needle with two threads and works the beginning of a stem stitch. Rather than going on to work the next stitch the needle is inserted between the two threads and stitched down very close to the first stitch.

As I said I had lots of fun playing with this stitch.


Here I began to exaggerate a little too much, trying to make some curves with the stitch.


Then I tried an orderly and mirrored row.


Rather than doing a detached stem stitch I continued the stitches. This is not exactly a trial at doing a stem stitch because the stitches are slightly zigzagged.



Multiple threads and ties.


A more organic look and multiple threads


Alternating the thread on the split.


Well, these are just initial trials. There is a lot more to do with this stitch and I’m looking forward to having more time with it later. Again many thanks, Anne, for bringing another great stitch to my attention!

Lines: a page from my studies 3

January 26, 2008

I’m trying to out wait the rain. I’ll post again as soon as I have new pictures. In the meantime…

I’ve been thinking about a post that Gwen Magee did near Christmas on Symbols at her blog Textile Arts Resources. I haven’t explored the list of resources in this post fully but it’s one that I keep going back to everytime I have a little spare time. Many thanks to Gwen for putting together such a great resource.

One thing my design teacher wanted me to realize was that even a simple line may hold symbolism that will convey a meaning. The color of the line definitely impacts that symbolism but a plain black line may convey some symbolic meaning.

The basic lines are stitched an labeled in the first photograph below. The vertical line tends to makes me think of spiritual things. The horizontal represents stability. A diagonal tends to convey movement and direction. When I look at the free form line I stitched it looks like calm seas; the erratic, mountains. Especially the last two lines seem to be so easy to move into something else. If I’d stitched them differently, I can imagine them conveying threatening waves and unstable conditions, respectively.


This second photograph is one of the pieces I did on lines for my design class. My teacher assigned the characteristics that the lines were to convey. I tried to stitch these lines with appropriate colors. The photo cropping and colors are a little off. The decisive and growing line looks black on my monitor but it is actually green. The creeping line is a dark gray. Prickly is a deep purple.


Double back stitch patterns continued

January 25, 2008

I’m continuing to do a lot of work with the double back stitch. Unfortunately, weather is keeping me from photographing much of it. The wind was so strong that I could not keep my fabric anchored long enough to photograph more than a few things. I’m hoping we will see a few sunny, calmer days around here before any more rains.

Because I had so many comments inquiring about what fabric I like to use for pulled work, I tried to take pictures of that. But I couldn’t manage that today. I’m going to try and explain what type of fabric I like for my pulled work. And it is not the kind you are seeing in these photographs. The fabric I prefer to use has more space between the fabric threads and has a nice stiff feel.

When I do regular embroidery I prefer the fabric threads be fairly close together and a more pleasant–firm but soft–feel to the fabric. The closer fabric threads, allow less worry about back threads showing up if I carry them. And this also means when I frame it or use it in some small item. There is less show through to what ever is behind the fabric, whether it is a mat board or batting. The thing I try to balance here in considering the work is how many threads and what type of thread will be commonly be stitched in to one hole in the fabric. Only if the pattern is dense or uses a lot of heavier threads, do I consider getting fabric with more room between the fabric threads.

When doing the pulled work a high contrast background is generally used to help make the pulled work design more apparent. I look for a balance between two things. I want the pulled work pattern to show up easily. If the fabric fibers are close together, the pattern holes created will be smaller. I tend to compensate by pulling the fabric threads too close and pinching them rather than holding them together with the stitch. However, the further the fabric threads are apart the more of the fabric or mat board behind the pulled work fabric will show through, not just where the pulled work design is but everywhere. In my mind this detracts from the overall appearance. Everyone has there own comfort level with this type of thing. For me stitching a little test and laying it against the final background allows me to adjust before hand and then to anticipate the finished project correctly.

Please don’t hesitate to ask any additional questions. However, please keep in mind I’m not an expert in this area, just a fellow stitcher.  Also if you have something that would be helpful for me or others to consider please feel welcome to leave a comment. I would appreciate it.

Now to turn a corner for samples.

A small grid with little to no pull. I see a flower center just waiting for embellishment.


There is little to no pull on the back stitched ric-rac patterns and firm pull on the satin stitching between them.


Medium pull on this grid pattern. I double wrapped some of this work. The camera reveals I missed a lot of it, too. since it was an after thought.


Little to no pull on the same pattern with a colored thread.


Tete de boeuf: Day 5

January 24, 2008

With rain in the central valley and no opportunity to take pictures, I’m thankful I took extras of the tête de boeuf stitching I did last week. Here is a selection of spots and lines.

This is a spot that should perhaps be worked up into a grid. It would bring in two alternating levels of density. That generally adds interest to the grid.


I’ve not threaded this line but I’d like to try that. Perhaps it will make a reappearance.


The photograph below is another possibility for a grid. This one would lend itself to several interesting patterns. Thinking about negative areas, what if another diamond were placed at each point? Then again what would happen if a diamonds were stitched so it was a staggered half row pattern? I can also see this turning into a nice line for a border. It would be easy to turn the corner with this pattern, too.


French knots were added here.


A dense little star flower. I should have been stitching in purple again. I’m out of photographs and “what ifs” for this post. Many thanks for visiting the blog and all the kind comments I receive. I appreciate them all.