On the way to needleweaving

June 8, 2009

Hemstitching is my normal preparation for needleweaving. On the way to doing this preliminary work for Sharon b‘s May Stitch Explorer, I was sidetracked by substitutes. All sorts of thoughts about other stitches that could gather threads began to swirl about in my mind. Here is a quick look at some stitches I’ve been trying.

A sorbello variation, I think. If it’s some other stitch whose name I forgot, please let me know. I will correct it.



double back stitch 
This has created a raised ridge, unfortunately not detectable in this photo.


feather stitch


As you can see I double wrapped some of the stitches to gather the threads of the ground fabric more tightly. I didn’t do this in all the experiments. And the decision to go to the double wrap seems to me to be based more on the ground used than the stitches. All my first experiments are cream on cream and didn’t seem to lend themselves to good photos for explanation.

This and that with the feather stitch

June 12, 2008

These are the last of my feather stitch photo posts for a little while. Something new has been catching my eye. And I need to start the hard work of putting the the feather stitch sampler together. I still don’t have a great alphabet for the sampler. I’m thinking of going to a script or going to a space for family initials.

My grandmother was a great letter writter and kept a daily diary for probably more than fifty years. A script alphabet would remind me of that. I thought of trying to do it in a hand similar to what she wrote in. However, I can see this taking up more time than I figured. I’ve thought about going to family initials. In the diary and personal letters to the family she consistantly used initials for immediate family members and the farm itself.

Here are some odds and ends of the feather stitch experiments.

A couple of the grids


I’m debating about all these heart shapes. I’m not sure if they belong in this sampler or not. The feather stitch certainly lends itself to creating them.

This little doodle to the left I can’t seem to repeat. I’d like to make it a line somewhere in the sampler.



More experiments with the feather stitch

June 11, 2008

There are still a few more experiments with the feather stitch to post.

The line second from the right shows some of the problems I have in extending the stitch too far. It’s not stable in respect to the looped diagonals heading into the center of the line. While I like the idea, I’ve not found an adjustment that works yet. That is calling to me for more experiments.

I could try couchng or a series of diagonal feather stitches. I’m leaning toward couching because the line is cleaner. I’m also curious about the stitch done directly before it. It seems like that stitch is pushing against the limits, too. I’m not sure if a different stitch there would produce a better result for the diagonal one.

These next samples are a series of small experiments playing around with staggering or overlapping. I was initially trying to do some more fern like stitches. But those experiments got side tracked when I started playing around with the texture caused by the overlapping.

One of these experiments are showing where I went beyond the limits of this stitch in some

Memories of butterflies in feather stitches

June 10, 2008

Well, perhaps these aren’t close enough to the real butterflies to be called butterflies. But they reminded me of butterflies.

My grandmother enjoyed the butterflies as they fluttered about the yard on summer days. I’ve already put some birds in the sampler. I don’t have courage for the lambs or calves yet.

Perhaps these stitches above will find their place in the sampler. I”m thinking of doing them as detached units and attempting to improve them in a few places with some satin stitches.

I’m not sure if this fabric is stained or dyed with tea or coffee, but the variation is showing up in the photo above.

Here are some school girl rows…just testing various alternatives.

The top two are new ideas. The others are variations on a theme from some of the stitching done during SharonB’s 2007 TSTC.

I believe they have a new group started at her stitchin’ fingers community. For any one not familiar with that already, I’ve tried recently to update my page on her challenges with some of that news. Many thanks to Sharon for all wonderful work she does in behalf of hand embroidery, crazy quilting and in so many related needlework fields.

Feather stitching again

June 9, 2008

A new week and I’m back on the feather stitch sampler again. I’ve been doing a lot of samples. Here are a few of them.

This first glance contains a few more renditions of the dog paw pattern (the two samples to the right). And at the top a little leaf pattern that reminded me of my grandmother’s ferns. She always had a bed of various ferns along the north porch. Oops, I guess you have to flip that sample about one hundred and eight degrees to get the effect of the ferns. The two samples to the right are part of the pattern I’m working with in the second photo.

The pattern to the left is what originally got me started on the two samples to the right in this photo and and in the one above.

In the last sample in the second photo I had to couch the long center stitches. The long stitches to the right and left are difficult to couch because of the angle of the stitches. They are perhaps stable enough for framed work but not for something that will be washed or handled a lot.

The third sample in the first photo is a smaller version of right and left sides of the last sample. It was done in an attempt to improve the stability of those long stitches. Definitely, not as graceful.


More on feather stitching

May 31, 2008

I hope I’m not tiring my readers, but I am finding out so much more about feather stitches that I can’t bring myself to quit working on them yet. If you’re feeling that I’ve been on the subject far too long, relief is in sight, I plan to post something else next week. 

I think I may be dreaming about this stitch. Some of these ideas are products of early morning stitch times. 

I reach for a needle and thread like some people reach for a pen or pencil, trying to jot down an idea before it gets away. And then I still can’t capture it like I wish; it is too fleeting.

I have only a long narrow scrap of this fabric from somewhere. I think it has been stained or dyed. The fabric is very soft.





May 30, 2008

I’m still taken up with feather stitching and an idea pestered me last night. The sample below shows the results of two very different ways of stitching this.

I’m not sure which way is best. The one on the left is stitched as you go and the one on the right is a second pass. I’m still thinking a little bit more about it. I’ll be planning more experiments with this idea over the weekend.

I got serious about adding to the samples from yesterday’s post. And one of the comments I received was just so good that I that it gave me another idea as I was working with them.

Many thanks to Marjorie Holme at Moonsilk Stithes for enlightening my thinking in this post by way of her comment about a Japanese embroidery “fuzzy” technique. I’ve experimented based on a little clip I found about it. I tried both on the petal work (experiments not shown today) and on the feather stitching work shown below. I’m sure is it would be far out of it’s intended range with this sample.

Unfortunately, 100/3 silk is not easily dividable so the couching thread is too thick.  I’d like to work on this concept with some other threads and try the diagonal couching, too.




No break from feather stitching

May 29, 2008

I’m still working on feather stitching. Finding it hard to go very fast because my ideas don’t stitch out as expected. They seem to so easily fall over into a blanket stitch or a Cretan stitch and then I pull them out and start over again.


Red leaf alert: Imagine my delight when I spied this red leaf at Garden Journal. Many thanks to Karen for the refreshing photo.

Feather stitching

May 24, 2008

Yes, I’m still translating from my “off grid” work. Some of the “off grid” work I still wasn’t able to capture with a camera because it has been rainy or gray all day long.  The moss green felt it’s stitched on requires a bright sunny to capture much of anything. 

I did finally try a bead or two. These were the only ones on hand that matched the threads I’m using.

My internet connection went down at about 10am this morning and only came back up about 7:30 pm. So please do excuse this late post. This is my third attempt to publish this post. Something is still terribly wrong.  It keeps dropping so much of what I’ve typed.

On another note, I’m still trying to turn off the clickable indicator for the photos. My apologies for the false indicators wp is throwing up.

Second thoughts

May 23, 2008

I’m having second thoughts on the upper case alphabet for the feather stitch sampler. The alphabet is all done in theory. I’m going to have to stitch it before I can decide. It’s taking up more space than I wish. I can’t seem to fix on a good style for the space. Perhaps that means something other than an alphabet is needed there.

Fortunately, the work with translating the “off grid” feather stitch variations over to “on grid” trials is going a good clip. I tried four versions of the puppy paws feather stitch. Now I see it as a useful way to couch a thicker thread and poise a bead or flower on the elongated spine.

I think my grandmother would enjoy the beads. She had a bead-fringed pincushion about a foot square. She used it constantly. I was able to chart the needlework several years ago but no one remembered the bead work pattern well enough for me to reconstruct it authentically.