Stitch Exercises week 4

January 23, 2008

This stitch exercise post is coming up a little early this week. Due to rain later in the day I wasn’t able to get photographs for pulled work.

For any one who is a new visitor to this blog I’d like to take a minute to say, welcome. If you have time to explore the blog a bit, there is a welcome page to help orient you. And for those who landed here in an attempt to find out how to do a particular stitch, there is a page with a brief stitch dictionary list. Except for a few rare cases where I’ve provided a step-by-step, stitch examples are all I have here. But perhaps I can at least direct you on to some helpful information. Many thanks to all of these maintaining such valuable resources for others.

The work on this stitch exercise with the fly stitch is going slowly. This exercise is loosely based on some in Stitch Magic by Beaney and Littlejohn. I’m currently reading Stitches: New Approaches by Jan Beaney. While not reflected in my work, I’m learning more with each reading. I’m eager to finish up this second exercise so I may start another.I’ve included day 4 from the previous post for comparison.


Day 5 This photo shows weaving together the tails of the fly stitches. The fly stitches are in pima cotton; the weaving, in Perle 5.


Day 6


Day 7


I’m not sure how many days are ahead now. In some areas I’ve held off beading until more of the pattern is worked. At this point, I see two different ways to go with the pattern. One is very typical and the other, an unexpected twist. It’s probably time to sketch each in order to decide.

Stitch Exercises week 3

January 17, 2008

I’m in the process of reading Jan Beaney’s Stitches: New Approaches. I’m definitely doing a slow read on this. There is not a lot of text but there is a lot to think about. The stitch sketches and the photographs of the work are nicely arranged together. I was surprised that she had one page dealing with back stitch. I’m looking forward to taking that stitch “off grid” once I’m better acquainted with it.

Most of the samples that Jan deals with show one stitch with its variations used through out the piece. It has made me laugh over my own work because in my “on grid” pieces that is what I’ve often done when studying a stitch. My results, however are very different than the primarily “off grid” samples pictured in this book.

Below is one “on grid” piece with the Indian edging stitch and it’s variations. While there are back, detached chain and straight stitches in the sliver that I photographed, the Indian edging stitch is the central stitch throughout the whole piece.


Here are my “off grid” exercises with the fly stitch, day 3 and 4 respectively. I plan six more days, if I remember to take my photographs at the various stopping points.



Stitch Exercises week 2

January 7, 2008

I think I’ve finished the “on grid” exercise that I started working on last week. And I’ve an update on the “off grid” piece, too. But I’m still working there. These are exercises I made up for myself to explore some of the concepts I’ve found in Stitch Magic by Beaney and Littlejohn.

And concerning that book I’ve received a thoughtful comment from Susan Lenz at Art in Stitches. As I told Susan, it way beyond my highest hopes for the feed back that would be helpful to me and visitors to my blog. So if you’ve been interested in that book, please pop over to the post here and read her comment. She has read both Stitch Magic and another book by Beaney and Littlejohn besides the one that she most highly recommends by Jan Beaney, Stitches: New Approaches. Susan, thank you so much for taking the time to write such an informative comment. If you’ve not looked in on Susan’s blog, please do swing by and see her work. I’ve been enjoying my visits to see her work on the Elements in Blue series and many other works in progress. There is an on-line gallery of her work here.

Turning back to the stitch exercises, I tried expanding the free form line of pink to purple fly stitches and then reoriented the design so that line moved from left to right across the area in a more diagonal direction on day 3.


Day 4 I added a few more stitches so that the triangle at the top left wouldn’t seem to float so much. That detracts a little from the triangle shape I wanted there. On the other hand, it seemed to mirror the purple line on the right a little more. The balance is not perfect in this piece, but I plan to put it away for now.


Day 2 with the “off grid” exercise. This seems to call out for more work. So I want to see what I might do .


Stitch Exercises week 1

January 5, 2008

Today’s post concerns some of the stitch exercises that I’ve set for myself this year. I’m a little worried if this type of post is very useful to anyone or not, but I’ll try posting it for a few weeks at least. I’m sure what type of things on my blog will be in flux for a little while until I get into the rhythm of this year’s stitching.

Last year I read Stitch Magic by Beaney and Littlejohn. You can not imagine how much this goes against my grain since I started off as a fairly traditional stitcher. But my design teacher the year before had an almost constant theme in her words of admonition for me. It was, learn to use one stitch through out the piece, learn to build up that one stitch and use it to convey shape, line and texture. It will help unify your piece, she said. Some how her instruction and the subsequent reading of Stitch Magic meshed in my mind.

But reading is not enough, I know myself all too well. I need to train myself to think and understand the concepts by working with them. I still may end up scrapping this as a method of stitching for myself. But I don’t want to do that without knowing what I’m rejecting. So this year I’m plunging into various kinds of exercises. If there is any fault in the exercise plans or the execution of them. It is my fault. There is nothing wrong with the book, Stitch Magic, or my design teacher’s instruction either. If anything seems amiss it is my expression of what they were trying to convey. In fact, if you’ve read Stitch Magic and have any thoughts that would be helpful to increase my understanding, please leave a comment. I would appreciate it.

I think with the exception of using some couching, I’ve stuck to my plan. This week I’m using the regular fly stitch for my exercises. I’ve been trying to remember to take pictures every day as the exercise progresses. However the last day’s work on them is missing because we had such a stormy day here in the central valley. To the “on grid” piece I’ve now added a few more stitches and changed the orientation. The “off grid” right triangle has more stitches and is beaded now.

Day 1 “on grid”


Day 2 Unfortunately, I think, I made a big color mistake here. Please excuse the threads on the left. I’m just thinking about my border.


Day 1 “off grid”