A variation: thoughts and samples

June 21, 2007

My boss asked me to vary my hours today. Sometime in the late afternoon (west coast USA) I should have another post with the long and short stitch.

I’ve been doing a lot of thinking about a variation that came up when Sharon b assigned the wheatear stitch for TSTC week 23. The wheatear which is a composite stitch. According to Sharon’s stitch dictionary it is two straight stitches joined by a chain stitch. And her instructions are for the straight stitches to be set at right angles.

This is the normal wheatear, I think.


This is my variation.


I wasn’t sure if this was a variation of the wheatear or if I’d wandered over into another stitch or a variation on another stitch. There are two straight stitches at right angles joined or about to be joined with a chain stitch in both my pictures. In both cases the needle is sliding under the two straight stitches. If you go back and see some of my earliest explorations you will see I didn’t start out with that kind of slide. But in experimenting to make the variation stable this was the only thing that seemed to work–clean, simple and stable. To me it looked like an arrowhead stitch with a foop or chain. However, passing by that thought, the main differences between them are where the join is happening and that the straight stitches in the regular wheatear look like the top half of a cross stitch while in the variation, the bottom half of a cross stitch. More on this at the end of the post.

When Sharon asked for others to help me with identification, Deepa brought to our attention the Ceylon stitch here. Here are some side by sides here. And I did limit the stitching on the Ceylon stitch to a single vertical or horizontal row to keep it to the bare minimum and matching the variation more closely.


Ver 1 and ver 2 are referring to two versions of the variation. The two unlabeled rows at the bottom are ver 2 running horizontally (left) and a completely unnecessary trial of ver 1 running side by side (right).

I began to explore the Ceylon stitch. How was it made and how was it used were two of my major questions when I started out searching? While I researched and read more material, I began to wonder if a reversed chain stitch had anything to do with the total picture. When I mentioned to Sharon a possibly similarity between it, the Ceylon stitch and the variation, she suggested looking at the twisted chain, too. She said it was the reversed twisted chain stitch worked horizontally that would would make up the Ceylon stitch. I tried working a reversed twisted chain. I’m not sure that I pulled off working it correctly, but the side by side is interesting to me.


Well, all of this has give me a lot to think about and so many not even named here, have helped further my thinking as I searched the web and pulled out some of my stitch books. While it would be my ideal to find an exact match, that doesn’t always happen. Or perhaps it just hasn’t happened yet!

Now back to the cross stitch thought from earlier in the post. While I was experimenting the cross stitch had appealed to me as a base for a mirror image border. But I couldn’t pull it off. Everything was too unstable. I was writing an email to Sharon about that early this week. A little while later it dawned on me that I hadn’t taken the fabric into consideration. A tighter weave might hold the thread in place and help stabilize everything. If the thread was thicker and would hold its shape better, that would help, too. I had a lot of fun trying this. I hope my labels won’t seem to confusing. Feel free to ignore them. Oops, I just noticed that one of my label doesn’t tell all! The “diagonal sides of a cross stitch” (mid right) should read “diagonal sides of upright cross stitch”.


all diagonals on an upright cross stitch


Thanks for sticking with me to the end of the post. I know that this type of post is probably not everyone’s cup of tea. I wish I could think and express my thoughts more clearly, too. Please feel free to leave a comment or a question.

Blogs and ending of review

June 18, 2007


As many of you know from reading Sharon b’s chatter, Deepa of This and that…my random thoughts has been looking to help identify the variation that Sharon posted about earlier last week. She posted about her findings here. While not an exact match of the variation, this Ceylon stitch that she brings to our attention may help us classify the variation properly. I’m still hopeful that we may yet find some place where my variation has been documented and used by other needle workers either now or in the past. I’d like to say, “Thank you!” to Deepa, to Sharon and to others who have been giving so generously of their time to help with identifying the variation. I appreciate it so much.


I hope any of you unfamiliar with Deepa’s blog will take time to see some of her work connected with Sharon b’s TSTC. I found much of interest as I first went through her blog myself perhaps in May. Just to highlight a couple of the many things I’ve enjoyed, here are links to her chain work and Cretan and feather stitch samplers.

Naturally, I’ve also been scouting the web a bit looking into what information there is about the Ceylon stitch. I came across some beautiful work with it done by Bobby of Robyne Melia is Bobby La. Bobby does have an number of blogs so the first one is in connection with her crazy quilt work and the other, I think, is her primary blog. Also Beth of Mixed Media Art by Beth Robinson, whose work I’ve loved since finding it through Sharon B’s PLofS class last fall, did some interesting Ceylon stitch samples. Beth’s samples are in connection with some other needlelace work. These are the links: Ceylon stitch and a variation called the ladder (last two samples in the last photograph) and another variation here (top right sample in first photograph). While at these blogs please do look around if you are not familiar with these ladies’ work. They both have lovely things.


The last of my slivers and slices review of Sharon B’s TSTC stitches with French knots! Sadly, I’m concluding that my work with French knots this week has not resulted in any decided improvement in my execution of them. They are too useful to ignore, so I’m thankful for the practice time.

Week 21 crossed buttonhole stitch


Week 22 satin stitch


Week 23 wheatear stitch


I know the stitch is named wheatear but somehow I saw a cactus. No doubt, green thread would have been better.

In regard to the wheatear, my variation and the Ceylon stitch Karen of Karen South’s Crazy Quilting World has an interesting post showing where she used the herringbone stitch as part of a variation she did on a seam treatment. It’s exciting to see how via the net our ideas can spark each other on to further explorations in our stitching. Thanks for posting about this, Karen!

This post is long but rather short on my own work today. I decided to make a separate post on some more of the sample work I’ve been doing on the variation. Hopefully, that will be ready in the next few days. Right now, I’m looking forward to what Sharon B will have for us as the next TSTC stitch.

Blogs and Wandering a field

June 11, 2007


As a word of welcome to newcomers and to help you get acquainted with other needlework and textile blogs, I’m mentioning one or two that I enjoy each week. I’ve been regularly stopping by Kay Susan’s blog, Smockery since I took one of Sharon b’s classes at Joggles last fall. I’m sure most of my regular readers are already familiar with Kay Susan’s blog, but if not please do check it out.

As I write this she has just done a beautifully illustrated post on satin stitches. She makes many of the fabrics that she stitches on. One of my recent favorites is here. She has a good variety projects that keep me fascinated. And I’m always smiling when I head over to visit her blog because she has a nice sense of humor that shows up in many of her posts. If you want an overview of her work, she has a flickr account. Not too long ago, she got started making some adorable dolls for her grandchildren and is now experimenting with more. Thank you for a wonderful blog, Kay Susan!

Wandering a field

We use to have an expression, maybe it was a Vermonterism, “wandering far a field”. I’m not going too far from wheatears but I wandered over into this variation or some other stitch that I don’t know or remember, yet. Please feel free to enlighten me by leaving a comment and I will correct everything accordingly.

tightened down

This is perfectly nice as a stand alone. And when I posted this the other day, I conveniently didn’t indicate where the next stitch would start. I had some fun with this aspect and many others over the weekend. My mind is just flooded with more things to do with this variation.

Side by side

Playing with the size of the chain stitch. The first one is a double chain.

alternating direction

back to back and single line

End to end

Please, skip this paragraph about the numbers below and just look at the photo, if you’re not into counted thread. Maybe even if you are! This just isn’t as helpful as I anticipated. The first number indicates of number of threads under the straight stitches where the chain stitch starts (Some time this is a negative number because the end to end is started above where the straight stitches end.). The second number is the height of the straight stitches in number of threads. The third number represents the number of threads the straight stitches move away from the center. Second and third numbers are repeated for multiple prong variations.

more experiments — btw, the fabric is not stained, I merely had problems photographing and adjusting for this fabric. Unfortunately, no time to wait for good light and retake the picture. Finding a solution for my lighting problems is still on my “do” list!

Flowers and

June 9, 2007

I still hate my “off grid” wheatear stitching!

Some of that stitching did yield ideas for “on grid” work. And that’s what is posted today. I did have fun actually stitching both the “on” and “off grid” work. I think I just need to go in a different “off grid” direction. The ground is very dark. Perhaps I need to use white and maybe gold threads on it. Now there is an idea.

Where did these come from?

Grids and more

June 8, 2007

I hated my off grid work wheatear work, so I’m on grids again. Here are a few of them.

I kept this next one a little bigger than it deserves for the sake of showing the details. Not a very stable a design, but I had pity on it and didn’t throw it away.

Oops, I’m not sure what happened to those first two French knots on the left!

Here is my extreme turn on the straight stitches. I’m not sure if I’ve wandered out of wheatears into something else. Please don’t hesitate to let me know, if I have. I’ll amend the post accordingly.

Pulled and tightened down.

The next couple photos show some use I made of this. In the first making a straight bottom (Note, the stitches in brown under the green straight stitches are worked like normal wheatears just slanted in towards each other by twos.) In the second photo is the start of a border up and down the six straight stitches. All stitches there are using the principal shown above.


June 7, 2007

I’m still working on wheatears but my time before photos was seriously curtailed. I have started on off grid work but had to rush off to work before there was any decent light for the photos. I did get a box and I’m pricing flood lights. So perhaps I’ll soon be able to snap a picture anytime I want. This will be my third attempt to solve that problem and I hope it works.

These are a few more patterns that have come flowing out of playing around with this stitch. When I’m stitching away I sometimes think, what is an extreme limit for this portion of the stitch? And then I try it to see if it will hold up or fall.

Straight stitches open

Straight stitches closing

Working on curves

A grid — not my best idea. I didn’t abandon this one soon enough.

Two colors and learning

June 6, 2007

I’m still just learning to work with the wheatear stitch. I used some more two color ideas last night. I need to venture out into some off grid work and make myself deal with curves and circles today. On another note the spell checker wasn’t working this morning, please excuse any mistakes. I’m a terrible speller left on my own.

A few of my experiments posted today grew out of reading Sharon b’s introduction and seeing her third photo. In one of these I took a square and set a second square on top of it like a diamond. I interwove the second square into the first as I stitched it. This resulted in a nice ridged area for embellishing the center. I could imagine beads, French knots, satin stitches or woven straight stitches in the center. It would be easy to fill in more petals around the outside with detached chain stitches, too.


The rest of the samples are just playing around with a few elements.

Here I put the loop on every “V”, alternating the direction back and forth. Some of the samples posted yesterday used that same idea. However, this was actually the first attempt with the idea. It didn’t get posted it yesterday because the photo was so bad; this retake is still not the best.




I also did some one colors trials. Using one color still appeals to me. Two colors can at times be distracting. Now that I see their basic structure, it would be fun to use two colors on some of them. This first one I would like to try couching with. The chains could take a small thread and the straight stitches a ribbon or fatter thread. Interlacing seems like it would be worth a try, too.



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TSTC Week 23: The wheatear stitch

June 5, 2007

The introduction SharonB wrote for this week’s TSTC stitch, the wheatear, is excellent. The next to the last photo in the post showing her work is very inspiring to me and I love it. The grid pattern in third photo, is fascinating. I’m going to be trying that!

The stitch is one I know but have rarely used. I learned so much from working my way through Sharon’s introduction. I used a thin thread so that it was easier to see what is going on with patterns. Once I get more familiar with the stitch, I will probably be back to using a thicker thread. This composite stitch is one where a contrast in color and size of thread is so easy to do. Although I haven’t posted any pictures today, I did play around with two threaded needles going on the same pattern.

Here are some of my first samples.


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