Shifting gears

January 18, 2009

I was busily working my long cross samples when Sharon b‘s January Stitch Explorer post popped up. I knew I wanted to start learning and experimenting with chicken scratch. But for some reason, I kept stitching those long cross stitch samples and thinking about how I should be pulling out fabric for chicken scratch. And suddenly my mind engaged with my stitching. Why not try rice or boss stitches for cross stitches and double cross stitches. They give places for loops to slide through, too.

Here is the photo of where I shifted gears in my sampler and started running with the chicken scratch.


The photo below shows where I was trying various loops. And in the top area (right side of photo above) I have a grid prepared for testing more.



So many other ideas are popping into my mind, I must do more trials and see what happens.

Now I have saved the best for last.

My friend Anne Gailhbaud sent me an email with cheery, inspiring photos of her work with chicken scratch. Anne’s embroidery is so bright and full of good ideas. I love the beads added to these hearts. It is my joy that she shows me her work and increases it by giving me permission share these photos with others. If you aren’t familiar with her work please swing by her website where you may see a fuller range of the work she does.


A close up



Please do keep checking back with Sharon b’s post. As I’m finding more people working on this January challenge, it is so exciting. I love the energy of the ideas that are flowing from so many fellow stitchers.

Long cross: diagonal

January 14, 2009

Last night I was wishing for a tiny delicate plaited stitch for a border. I began working with the basket stitch, but it was too bulky. So I started playing with an old idea–one quarter of a rice stitch or a cross stitch with one long arm. It was the right kind of chilly January evening to playing with a thread that always reminds me of winter’s tans and purple-grays.


The second band is the basket stitch. I should have probably pulled up some old samples on the rice stitch. But some times its nice to revisit an old trial to see if anything fresh comes to mind. 




One single stitch by itself? I ran out of time but I’ve marked it to try something more soon. 

As these photos show this is more like a spot sampler. Each row is no more than about an inch across on 32-count linen. I put down just enough to give an idea of the pattern developing and then move on to the next line.


Rice stitches and circles

September 17, 2007

I’ve had some fun with rice stitch circles and more, but no fun trying to get good photos. I’ve had to retake some this morning to round out the post. And I think I should have retaken all of them.

Here are the “on grid” circles.



“Off grid” circles.



As you can see I definitely had my challenges with this off grid work. I had to take to drawing circles and even then my judgement was poor. I need a lot more practice here.

Following an arc or a curve.






tstc37fdiamond.png Oops! I see a tiny triangle, too.

A crooked line.


I’ve enjoyed playing with a familiar stitch this week. And find I have so much more to learn about it. Plenty to keep me stitching for years to come.

Follow up experiments on the rice stitch

September 15, 2007

I’m still in school days mode with the rice stitch and learning a lot along the way.

Following up on a line from Friday’s post, here it is in two grids. On the left I’ve off set the second row and would continue to alternate with each line of the fill. The fill on the right seems like it could also be used as a very nice vertical line with room to embellish the middle area as well as each edge.


One of the reasons I like using the rice stitch as a fill is that it has so many places to make clean breaks at the edges of the fill area. I’ve also used it in an alphabet and found it very nice to work with.

Here are some other tests. I anticipate combining the two on the left as flower petals in future projects. The ones on the right I want to try in grids and lines. I had so many ideas that I couldn’t stitch them all out. But from these small units my imagination just flies unhindered and I see flowers, lines, fills and various shape including circles.


I played with asymmetrical patterns in the second layer both on the cross stitch and the upright cross stitch bases. The next two photos show the results. I’ve not stitched these out in grids or lines. But I see potential in these ideas. Since they are square bases they are easily flipped vertically and/or horizontally when putting together a grid.



I’ve been thinking about what a crazy quilter might do with this stitch. While I can see it being used in a motif, I have a harder time knowing whether it would be useful on seam treatments or not. I see some real draw backs to it. But I’ve been thinking about going off grid to experiment along those lines. The other thing I want to do is follow a curve and do some circles with this stitch. In the past couple of days I’ve been thinking of ways this might done. Now to put it to the test.

School girl’s tests on the rice stitch

September 13, 2007

I’m working happily away on the rice stitch. It really is one of my favorite stitches. Perhaps I don’t enjoy it as much as the queen stitch but it is still very near the top. I think part of the appeal for me is the square with the diamond shape superimposed over it. At the very end of this post there is a sample where the square is almost brought to a circle.

These photos today are testing various changes in the stitch for both pattern and texture.  I hope you enjoy them. I’ve put the single rice stitch above or below a pattern of four. Hopefully this is enough to give an idea of what a line would look like with out stitching it, where as the fills I’ve tried to draw out with the grouping of four stitches together.



Here are a few ideas with lines using variations of the rice stitch. I’ve included the last trial from the photo directly above for comparison’s sake.

tstc37dadditionallines.png  Upon reflection, I think I like the top two patterns better flipped upside down from the way they are photographed. The bottom one is my favorite line. And there is a lot of room to play with it as a fill. Maybe that will be in tomorrow’s samples.

Below is the beginning of some work with more than two stitches in the initial layer of the rice stitch. I’ve not explored too much more than what I’m showing here in previous work with this stitch. My imagination is working but the practicality of it has to be put to the test with stitching. I foresee being a school girl a little longer with this stitch.


Rice stitch – something old, something new

September 12, 2007

Sometime as I sit and stitch I think about the long centuries of stitching history and wonder about the who, when and why of the first rice stitch. Of course, I have no answers. It is such a simple and useful stitch that it seems to me that it must have been a very early stitch. My history with it is very short. But here are a couple of things from my first rice stitch sampler.


As you see even then I was experimenting. The rather sketchy dark green leaves show two different stitch sizes on the initial layer. On the second layer at the outermost edges of the cross stitch, I saw no reason to make the stitches meet in the middle or to complete the fourth stitch to round out the layer.


Above is another experiment. The initial layer is the traditional cross stitch. But on the second I worked two sets of stitches one very close to the center of the cross and a second at the extreme edge. While these stitches in the second set don’t meet in the middle, I completed all four stitches.

If I was stitching this today I probably couldn’t resist using beads in the center of the white fabric squares made by the stitches. But back then I hated beads in needlework since I thought them both distracting and detracting. My thought now is that beads may be useful. Although I’ve certainly found myself using them to bad or poor advantage many times since allowing for their use.


Now, to turn a corner for some of the things I stitched a day or two ago. Here are a few of experiments in texture.


In these next two some play with color also.



Experiments with the rice stitch

September 12, 2007

Here are some of my experiments on the rice stitch. I call them my italicized rice stitches. This is how I thought to myself, does every stitch on the rice stitch need to cross the one it stitches over at ninety degrees? No, I am free to play. May opposite stitches the in the second layer be a different sizes? More areas to explore.

tstc37bsq11.png tstc37bsq2.png

No crossing at 90 degree angles in the second layer. And the second photo is only showing what happens when moving from more open to denser stitches.

tstc37bsingle1.png tstc37bsingle2.png

Differing sizes of some opposing stitches in the second layer. Also differing sizes in the base stitches, but not uncommon and also used in yesterdays samples.

Below I tried just what ever came to mind.

tstc37bgroup1.png tstc37bgroup2.png



There is a lot to challenge my thinking about this stitch.