Trellis stitching: friends, thoughts and reflections

March 1, 2009

My friend, Anne Gailhbaud, in France emailed me the most delightful scan of a flower she made using the spiral trellis stitch. I love the contrast between the center and the petals of this flower. And I asked if I could share this photo on my blog and she graciously allowed me to do it. Please keep in mind that the scanning squashed the stitching  to some extent, but I think much of the beauty remained.


If you aren’t familiar with Anne’s work please do take time to swing by her website. She does many other types of embroidery, beading and other hand work.

Many thanks to Anne for her willingness to share photos of her work so frequently. She is doing so much more with this stitch, too. And I’ve been seeing other wonderful things so many stitchers are doing as I travel the web.

A few of the blogs I read have been involved in the “Today’s Title is…”.  This challenge grabbed my attention with the first title, blue chair, because of the immediate a memory that flooded in. My grandfather’s chair at the supper table was painted blue. From there he presided over a lively table. He loved to tip back in his chair when he was finished eating. I think over the years it became a standing joke with my grandmother about how far he could lean before gravity overcame him and the chair. I never heard about any crash, but my grandmother continued to express her concern for his safety. And from that chair, as others were washing up the dishes and things were tidied up in the kitchen, my grandfather would read aloud a book or pieces from the newspaper in his strong, clear voice with the Vermont accent.

But I’ve digressed, back to trellis stitch–one of the other titles in the challenge has been ‘meeting of opposites’. And it brought to mind the acorn. I assume that in the past embroiderers may have used the trellis stitch with the satin stitch to illustrate the meeting of opposites found in the acorn. I can still remember my fascination with the little acorns; the caps so rough and dull and the hulls satiny smooth and shinny with sharp little points at the bottom. I had to try one.


Practice does help with this stitch. I tried the trellis stitch on the diagonal and you can see the first stitching on the upper triangle in comparison to the second trial on the lower triangle. The diagonal stitching is not needed, the shape would more traditionally be filled horizontally.  But it was just a fun challenge for me.


This last photo about contrast is one I noticed while working on editing the spiral trellis stitch flower photos. 


Do you see the shadow? Most of my embroidery doesn’t cast much of a shadow. Perhaps that’s why I’m having so much fun with these spiral trellis stitches.

Many thanks to Sharon b for Stitch Explorer’s February challenge. It is half over. I haven’t done half the things I’ve thought of. I’d love to see more headway on this stitch before March 15 arrives.


Trellis stitch lines

February 23, 2009

In new work with the trellis stitch I’ve mostly been concentrating on lines rather than shapes. Although I will admit that there is one shape sample at the end of this post.

022309aDifferent view, same sample. Tacked to twist.


Leaning in opposite directions around the curves.  


A graduated stretch.


For some reason I got excited about this line experiment with the trellis stitch below and it lead to the other experiments with lines that became a rather jumbled mess in the photo following.


A jumble of lines.


The most exciting part to me was the upper left corner where the lines have various heights and angles.

My flower using the reverse chain stitch as the base  for the center and making petals. The petals are done in two different colors to show the way I began to develop them. I’ve tried a few completely detached from each other as well as a few other experiments. More in the next post.


Trellis stitch: out and about

February 22, 2009

Just taking a moment to point out some exciting things happening with the trellis and spiral stitches due to Sharon b‘s February Stitch Explorer challenge.

Annie at Annies Crazy World has been doing wonderful things–a tree, a cup and saucer and a hat. The hat is darling and she’s issued an invitation to others to make and decorate trellis stitch hats. I’m looking forward to seeing all that will come out of that invitation. And hope everyone who makes one will link back to Annie’s post. And if you haven’t seen Annie’s recent series on the feather stitch please do take time to look through that as well.

Annet at Fat Quarter has also been doing great things in adapting the stitches to various shapes.

Another of my favorite sightings on the trellis stitch is a leaf that Conni at The Scoop, Score and Deal made. She’s been working on felt and has made a fun flower, too.

More comments keep popping up on Sharon’s post from others involved in the challenge, so please do keep looping back there to see what new works are being done with the trellis and spiral trellis stitches. They are fascinating stitches. If you haven’t been involved in the challenge yet please consider it. Sharon’s explains it here.

Spiral trellis and trellis stitches

February 19, 2009

Sometimes it is humbling to look back at work attempted and find it less than one would wish. That is the case for me with the spiral trellis and trellis stitches. I didn’t post some of the work I tried with it last year. And now Sharon b‘s February Stitch Explorer is urging me back to take another look at it. Please keep checking inon Sharon’s post for links to what other needleworkers are doing with this stitch. I’ll be leaving a comment there as soon as I post some current work. And I hope everyone else will continue to use that means of staying in touch with what is going on. I believe Sharon’s post also mentions a flickr site that helps, too.

To those of you who saw my first post on the February challenge before Maureen of Moonsilk Stitches left me the comment about using the reverse chain stitch rather than the chain stitch for the foundation: please do check the post for her comment and explanation of why it works better than the chain stitch. Many thanks to Maureen for this thoughtful comment. Please do swing by her blog and the Plimonth Plantation work if you’re not familiar with them.

Here are some photos of the work I did year. I was struggling with the smaller circles and my final resolution was to use the regular trellis stitch to making them.

The cooling of the liquid as it flows out of the cup and begins to pool.


Headlong  — an excuse to try more of the spiral trellis stitches. The multicolored ones at the left started as squares and moved into the spiral. The all green shape rises into a nice little peak. The photo angle just doesn’t capture that.


Another attempt at spiraling the smaller circles.  The background texture is the detached buttonhole stitch, I think. It was surprisingly simple to move around the shapes with that technique and get fairly good coverage around the edges. This is just a small portion of a larger piece I’m working on. I can’t remember if I posted photos of it or not. I’m hoping to finish off the whole thing in the next week or two.


Winding up and what next?

February 16, 2009

Winding up

Winding up chicken scratch has been fun. I loved the round up post Sharon b did on the January Stitch Explorer. I thought I had been keeping up with all those participating. But I found some new participants and some posts from others that I’d not seen. 






What is next?

Sharon b’s February’s Stitch Explorer Challenge is the trellis stitch. If you haven’t joined in the challenge yet, why not try this stitch? As Sharon says, it adds texture. Please click on her link in this paragraph to learn more about the stitch and the SE challenge.

I learned this stitch last year after reading Jeanne‘s stitch study posts on the spiral trellis stitch. Jeanne recently finished a beautiful sampler using the spiral trellis stitch in three different spots, I think. It is well worth seeing as is her tutorial that Sharon mentions. Many thanks for teaching me, Jeanne.

The stitch fascinated me then and I did a few tests. But I didn’t do a lot of exploration at that time. I did have a lot of ideas about what I wanted to try…sometime.

One interesting thing I found out yesterday is that the chain stitch may be used as the base stitch. I found this information in Darlene O’Steen’s The Proper Stitch. Many thanks to Darlene for that book that has been so useful to me for a number of years now.

The reason I like the thought of using the chain stitch is that then there are two useful loops around the shape. The outside loop may provide a fininshed look to the edge with out additional stitching. Or it may be used for the start of additional shapes in the opposite direction. For instance, petals surrounding the center of a flower.

Improvements? always a questionable subject

February 12, 2009

If something states “new and improved” on the box, it’s always an open question in my mind. I’m no doubt mumbling, I see for myself. And just the case with my embroidery, I’m always questioning if I’m making improvements or not. Perhaps the boxes at the store should be labeled: Alert! Changes made. That’s the state of my embroidery today. I’m not sure everything was an improvement but changes have been made. I’ll let you judge the improvement angle for for yourself.

Here is a line from my previous post.


I only made a minor adjustment at first and did the peaks and valleys opposite of each other.


I thought it played up the check pattern better but I’d noticed that the only way to have the red stitching fall in the same colored square each time was to stitch it into the mid-value squares that would naturally accommodate the pattern.

I did that and changed the looping. this is one of my favorite changes. I see so many possibilities in it, both as a fill and a border.


Now remember this row? The area between the four petal flowers looked awkward to me.


I tried two ideas on this. I liked the first better than the second. I just didn’t know that until I tried it.


And the final one drawn from the last post for today’s post is below.


What did I think could be improved? The separation of the thread in the figure 8 looping. Would it be possible to eliminate the double looping by using a Perle 5? And then I got this additional idea that really changed things. What if I used a red double cross stitch rather than a boss stitch.


This reminded me of a snowflake and a stormy February day.

Improvement and improving

February 9, 2009

My chicken scratch samples from the past few days are needing improvement. I thought it would be fun to take some of those that didn’t turn out well and see what could be improved in the next few days.

Here are the samples.


This is one above is going to be my top target for improvement. The one below I’m not sure what to do with yet. I’d been wanting to try some dots in the middle of the squares for loops. This was my first try. Definitely room for improvement.


The little design below appeals to me but it has no spark. It may be the ground or … I just thought of an idea. I have to dig out the needle and thread and see how it works.


Back to borders again with this line below.  I’m out of my red perle 8. The substitute which is the thread I was using on the fabric above doesn’t seem sufficient for this blue check fabric or the white perle 5. But I like the basic border idea. And more could be done with that, too.


Next is the one attempted improvement in today’s post. It is a corner from the last post. I can see it working as a fill. Still not thrilled over the eights.  I think they may need to be reworked. It may be a place for my dot in the middle of the square. And scrapping the interweaving would help. 


The last one? I tried a new thought out on this. The wrap on the cross stitches is to carry the color more fully. I woke up having dreamed of a very simple improvement for this. I’ll have to see if it helps. The middle is made up of fly stitches and cross stitches top and bottom rows. The white squares in the middle don’t have cross stitches only intersecting fly stitch tails. Maybe I could change them to cross stitches and use a dot in the middle…