Trials and tests

December 10, 2008

Still working on couching, spiral trellis and detached buttonhole stitches. All I have is trials and tests. Need a lot more practice to get up to speed on these stitches.

Do you ever see something in your doodles after the fact that you didn’t see at the time? It is cold and foggy in the valley so perhaps that’s why I was thinking of a nice hot cup of tea or chocolate while snapping the photo. When I was stitching, it it was rotated ninety degrees counter clockwise. 

The last drops all tumbling out.


School girl exercises.



Couching…oops day dreaming too much

December 8, 2008

I enjoy couching threads. From thin threads in patterns to fill up an area quickly to thick threads to form a line or border, I have fun with it all. The piece I’ve just been working had a number of experiments on couching thicker threads.

I did a couple of diagrams. The black lines represent the threads being couched. Oops! Update: Day dreams aren’t allowed when writing instructions. I woke up with a start, realizing I need a new diagram. It is coming soon!  Update: It is here now. The diagram below is the corrected version. To anyone who tried the original version and ended up with a frustrating mess, please accept my apology and forgive me.


The middle thread isn’t couched but threaded though the stitches numbered 3-4, 9-10 and 15-16.


Below is the same basic couching pattern for this experiment but no middle thread was used. It looks much more like the way the diagram above should look.


The second diagram is a Chevron variation that I’ve been using lately.


In this sample the stitching is mirrored.


In this next sample the stitching is more like the diagram but I caught it at a strange angle. I placed a small fly stitch above the flat part of the stitch. I would love to try beading the small place between the flats. And it would be easy to eliminate the small gap between the flat stitches.  Perhaps that’s why I like couching threads, there are so many options.


So much can be adjusted. I’m usually thinking about how much color from the couched thread I want showing up in the piece. I move stitches closer together or further apart based on that. Or perhaps I chose a thread that is very thin and matches the color of the thread being couched.

Next scheduled post: Wednesday (us, west coast)

The chained bar in school girl mode

December 22, 2007

Isn’t is just like me to be a school girl mode with this week’s stitch, the chained bar, just in time to get out for the holidays. I don’t know what sent me into this more experimental mood for this last post. But I had fun trying out various materials.

The hard thing about it is that none of the experiments are up to snuff in one way or another. I was almost thinking it was a good thing that Photoshop Elements balked on me and that posting was not a good idea. However, when I gave it another try, I tricked it into opening for me. So here are the experiments.

A ribbon where unfortunately the cooper thread wasn’t able to hold the angle I was working with so there is a little slippage.


In the photo below, I loved the sparkles. The blue cord is very fat and firm but the cooper thread failed to hold up under pressure. I think I may need a cooper cord or braid. I need to hunt up my gold cord and see if that does the job. Gold might be prettier anyway.


With those two disappointing trials I switched to other materials.

Petite Very Velvet with woven chain couching.


Perle 5 using the same color thread for couching as the middle couched thread.


Then I began my felt experiments–couching felt to felt? That is what I tried. I don’t have any felt on hand to make something with a large contrast to the background but this was a lot of fun. The straight strips of felt were thin; they laid flat and curved very well. I didn’t go as far as finding out the breaking point with them. However, I’m going to definitely try more experiments with them.



Merry Christmas!


I’m on holiday and will be posting again the day after Christmas (usa, west coast).

More with the chained bar

December 19, 2007

I tried to work on curved and circular chained bars but I honestly didn’t make much headway. Maybe it’s the holiday mood but I’ve just been relaxing and enjoying this stitch.




Below is the only full circle I tried. Not exactly successful, but it give me something to practice on in the next few days.



The photo below shows how I stitched this little doodle…


but when I was editing the photo I wondered if it should look like this instead.


It seems like if I put some light blue lines and a few short yellow lines of thread I could make a sunset or sunrise scene with trees or some growing “thingsoutlined against the horizon.

After two great suggestions in comments yesterday, I’m off to see if I can turn yesterday’s green circle into a Christmas wreath. My thanks go out to Maureen and Karen for a great idea!

Fun with lines

December 18, 2007

Today’s post reflects the fun I’ve had making chained bars. I’ve been busy stitching some other things and just relaxed when I got to these. But I have some of the trials from yesterday and a few more things that I tried out today.



A series of rose over green.





Per my usual, the difficulty is with the circle. (And a few slipping chain links due to the angle.) Those circles and curves will be my challenge for tomorrow.


TSTC Week 51: The chained bar

December 18, 2007

Today’s post has a couple of “on grid” samples from some work I did about a year ago on chained bars. Because of the gray, close to rain weather here I couldn’t do much new work on the bars today. Sharon b announced the chained bar and the Spanish feather stitch as TSTC stitches for weeks fifty-one and fifty-two respectively. If you haven’t dropped by her blog to see it yet please do. She’s done great step-by-steps for both stitches.

I remember what challenging fun the chained bars were last year and apologize for these of you who are seeing some of this work again. I consider it a couching technique so my posts will be mounting up in that category this week.


A small variation in the chain and on hiding some of it behind the bar. I’ve done a few more samples along this line today. However, it was in time to photograph them.





Now I need to turn my attention to another matter. JoWynn had tagged me for a meme earlier in December. I promised to do it and some how it flew right out of my mind until yesterday morning. I felt so badly and emailed JoWynn apologizing and promising to do it. I don’t want to fail to follow through this time. I’m warning you that it’s probably more fun for me to think through than for you to read through.

When JoWynn tagged me she said “Elizabeth I hope you will come out from behind your stitches and show us some of yourself.” I count her as one of my good on-line friends and I realize in some ways she’d made a valid point. I’ve done away with my about page in favor of a welcome page. I think I’ve done only one other meme that let others know a little about myself.

Despite what may seem like some evidence to the contrary this last week, I really do want to keep the stitches front and center. I don’t work at that, it’s just my own focus and perhaps my natural tone or bent. Sometimes I see far too much of myself coming out in comments I make along the way. Please feel perfectly free to skip on to another blog if you don’t care for this type of thing. But here it is for those of you who would join in with JoWynn’s wish.

Jobs I’ve had: a bit of everything with a strong current of investigation and co-ordination running through everything I do.

Films I’d watch over and over and TV shows I watch: I don’t do film or TV. I love the Bible. I’ve found it bears reading and re-reading. When I’m stitching I listen to classical music, audio books, sermons and lectures except during those times when I must put all my attention on the stitching. I love the sound of silence, too.

Places I’ve lived: central Vermont, central Ohio and central California. My dad worked in state government so that’s why the word “central” plays a part in the first two locations. Central California? No reason known to me.

Favorite foods: This category made me laugh because every item except one specifies color. And as to the exception in my book the only credible color for broccoli is green. Ruby red grapefruits, sweet red peppers, red potatoes and broccoli. I’m not a vegetarian like my sister, but I could probably happily be one.

Favorite colors: I love color but I also love black and white along with the gray scale. I don’t notice any partiality in myself. But I’m aware of some things I avoid because of problems photographing the finished product.

Places on earth I would love to be right now: sitting in the kitchen table at my grandparent’s Vermont farmhouse talking with my mom an aunt or walking in and out among the sheep and the barns. Or I’d enjoy being in New Jersey visiting my design teacher and seeing her work in person. Maybe visiting my sister and a couple of other good friend that live away. I’m pretty happy where ever I am. I love to travel and don’t mind going by myself. A good thing since I’ve not married.

Names I love but would not use for my children: The last sentence is a dead give away about this question since it must be all supposition. I suppose I would give my husband the right to name each child. Not that I’m saying I wouldn’t voice my opinion about a name. I know myself too well to say that!

I’m not sure who to tag next. If anyone would like to take on this meme, please do. Thanks!

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.