The lock stitch: Day 1

April 30, 2008

A news item before the stitch:

And exciting news to me. Needlecrafter’s stitch dictionary is available again. I appreciate this one so much and have been missing it often. Many thanks to them for continuing to provide this resource. If you haven’t seen this site before a link is available on my stitch dictionary page.

I’m in school girl mode with a new-to-me stitch, the lock stitch (This link puts you on the right page to scroll down to the stitch and then click the illustration for a pop up window.). Its one of the stitches that I found while looking through a box of books that arrived a couple of weeks ago. It was in a stitch dictionary book by Anne Butler. I love the stitch and I’ve been having fun with it in between my other stitching.


The lock stitch is another stitch worked on a base of straight stitches. I was laughing to my self about how I got into exploring these stitches this year. It was all due to my January TIF design and trying to find a good stitch for table and chair legs. The locker stitch doesn’t help me there. But it is an useful stitch in its own right.

I was pleased with the lines I could make in a hurry with it and it seems ideal for a fast border. I’ve experimented a couple beads ideas, too. Photos on those should be up tomorrow.

  A one sided lock stitch?

The lock stitch is not a precise stitch. It allows for a variety of tensions on the thread. This changes the appearance of the stitch as you may note in some of today’s samples. Some tensions will not work for certain application and fabrics and threads involved may limit suitability, too. These samples were using a pima cotton thread and fairly sturdy 28 count linen. I was getting close or a little beyond the limits in some cases.

Many thanks go out to Arts and Designs for their glossary with the lock stitch.

Late and at a stand still

April 29, 2008

I’m late with this post and at a stand still. Last night I thought I needed to stop working on the piece because I had the wrong purple. This morning when I went outside to take my photos and check my purple threads,


I thought perhaps I have the wrong green, too.

Looking at things in the daylight does make a difference. I stitch using a daylight type bulb but nothing beats being out of doors on a good light day and taking a look. 

I’m longing for quiet moments to sit and stitch later today. It won’t be this, however.

I’ve got to rethink my second green. So far nothing in my stash looks very promising.

Same shape…more patterns

April 28, 2008

I still like this shape and I’ve been working with more patterns. I keep saying to myself, I’ll try this one more thing and then I’ll move on.

These are close ups of some of the fill ins I used for the empty space inside the shape. Also, directly below, you may notice in the dark green thread the shapes are fitting into the other diagonally but not over lapped. This reduces the amount of empty inside space. I am eager to try this is either two tones or colors. Oops, I see now a stray thread peeking out. Better pictures should come up next time.

In some areas I’ve left out portions of the shape and continue the pattern.

  This light purple stitching is a pattern where the shapes over lap one another.


Finding pattern

April 26, 2008

Darning patterns are a favorite for me. When all my other experiments crash and burn. It seems I can beat a safe retreat to a darning pattern. Here is what I turned to last night.

I got carried away with this one little shape. However, this is not a simple shape but a compound shape.

It’s comprised of four identical shapes in a certain relationship to each other.

Finding pattern.

I found three patterns in the green stitching of the lower sample. Perhaps you’ll see more. In that piece it is just a matter of shifting your eyes’ focus.

What if I start to stitch in a way to emphasize one of these patterns…

And here I broke the shape apart to see this third pattern.

What if I took that initial shape and broke those four shapes out into a different relationship to each other?

What if I only work with three identical shapes to make the compound shape?

Or what if I go back and play with the initial shape more?

That a glimpse of the seemingly endless fascination and joy of pattern for me.


Eastern stitch daisy

April 25, 2008

This is a very quick step by step for the eastern stitch daisy I did the other day. It presupposes knowledge of the eastern stitch itself and focus on the variations. If you are not familiar with the eastern stitch Arts and Designs carries a nice group of illustrations in an easy to print pop up that you may access on this page. Many thanks to them for a useful glossary!

Here are the two straight stitches at an acute angle rather than at a right angle in the regular eastern stitch. Let the thickness of your thread and your desired fullness for the daisy govern the size of the angle.


Then I move out a little from the edge of the straight stitches to start the next part of the eastern stitch. Other than that this part of the sitch is worked normally.


I make the next two straight stitches for the next petal. The first of these stitches falls in the same spots as the second straight stitch of the first petal. I easy over one fabric thread, if the embroidery thread I’m working with is too thick to allow this comfortably. In this example, I’m using pima cotton on a twenty something count linen.

The start of the looping in the second petal.


Continue until you complete the number of petals desired for your daisy. I used straight stitches to fill in the center.


In common

April 24, 2008

This post is full of some thoughts on stitches more than of examples of stitches. Yesterday’s post mentioned Anne Gailhbaud‘s question and comment about the similarity between the eastern stitch I’m working on

and the Indian edging stitch that she taught me and the sorbello stitch.

The step by step post on the Indian edging stitch shows the initial stitch and the caught loop and the second angled stitch making it like the eastern stitch. The eastern stitch, the Palestrina, Basque knot and the sorbello stitches are all worked on the same princples. I think the Mountmellick stitch bridges any small gap between the Indian edging stitch and the sorbello and it’s neighbors.

You may also see some of my early sorbello experiments anticipated something close to an eastern stitch before I knew or perhaps recognized that stitch.

The more I experiment with stitches and learn from other stitchers’ work, the more I attempt to understand the underlying structure of the stitch.

It reminds me of when I was just beginning to learn about specialty stitches. I did so many experiments with modifying the queen stitch that I unknowingly crossed over to what would be fly stitches. The fly stitch could make one think of the very beginning of a sorbello stitch. These stitches seem to belong to the looped family in some way.

I’m only starting on a journey to understand some of the larger stitch families over the past year. Does any one have some thoughts on this subject or could you recommend some books or articles on stitch families?

Tomorrow I will do a quick step through on making the daisy using the eastern stitch.

School girl mode with the eastern stitch

April 23, 2008

I’ve been doing everything I can think of to this eastern stitch. And having a lot of fun with it.

I’m definitely working in a school girl mode with this stitch now. Here are some of the details.

And when Anne Gailhbaud caught sight of these stitches she recognized them. For French readers she has provided their French names in a comment to yesterday’s post. She also posed two interesting questions. I will be answering them in a post tomorrow. I’d be happy to hear other thoughts on the second question, too.