Thursday, April 28, 2011

Butterflies in Chains

A couple of years ago, I bought a set of stamped cross stitch pillow cases. This was before my daughter became a teen and she still wanted to do what Mom was doing. She put in about 5 stitches and the pillowcases have been sitting since.

Today, I dusted them off and decided to use the set instead of letting them go to waste. I've never really cared for stamped cross stitch and didn't want to follow the stamped pattern. As I was looking at them, I had an idea. There are no stamped cross stitch police! I can use the outline of the pattern but use another filling stitch.

Not too long ago, I completed a different butterfly where I used stem stitch to fill in the body of the butterfly. I was really pleased with the look but didn't want to do the same thing. The pattern has a few Detached Chain or Daisy Stitches
which I thought would be a good opportunity to practice
Oyster Stitch. I have been wanting to improve my chain stitch and decided this is the time.  I can do the entire pattern in Chain Stitch and it's variants.

Here is a picture of the naked or unembroidered pillowcase:

Here is the picture of the pillowcase that has been started: 

I will have a visit from the frog (rip it rip it) this evening!  It is filling in the shape but doesn't have nicely uniform chain stitches that I want to see.

I have been researching chain stitch and there is a lot of information available on line. Wikipedia has an entry on Chain Stitch which is complete with pictures and diagrams.

A good place to see the stitch being made is at Needle N Thread. The Embroidery Stitch Video Library is impressive! You can find the video for chain stitch here.  Another resource is Sharon b's Dictionary of Stitches for Hand Embroidery and Needlework. The Chain Stitch entry can be found here. A third resource could be Needlework and Embroidery tips and techniques from Carol Leather. You will find her entry on Chain Stitch under Surface Embroidery Stitches.

What I need to do to improve my chain stitch is to be sure and return the needle to the same hole it emerged, not pull my tension so tight, keep my stitch length more uniform and be sure not to twist the loop which is an altogether different stitch.

If you would like to see some photo's of chain stitch used in a variety of projects a visit to the Flickr from Yahoo's Chain Stitch photo stream is in order.  Warning! you may spend more time than you intend too!

Monday, April 25, 2011

Weaving In Ends 1298 Times

I have a finish!  My table runner or dresser scarf is finished.
I am very pleased with the result but feel a little sad that the project has ended. It's like that with a good book too. You invest some of yourself into the book and hate to lose touch with the characters. I've spent a lot of time with my project and it went everywhere with me. I considered this project my “take along” project. Most of the time a ball of thread, crochet hook and pair of scissors were all that was required, so the project was small and easily portable.  A lot of people would see me work on it and comment.

A work place friend of mine had commented on my runner when she saw me working on it in the lunch room. She complimented the piece but said she didn't personally like to work on projects where there are a lot of joins. Her words were, “It doesn't matter how careful you are, you can always see the joins”.

I did some research online. I wanted to find out how to properly weave in the ends of my yarn for a nice look and also so that the piece would last. One resource was Nex Stitch, where I found a video tutorial demonstrating the process of weaving in ends. This was an important part of the project.

This runner had 108 motifsFirst there was the inner blue flower that had a start and ending piece of thread. Then a round of white with a start and end. Another round of blue with it's start and end. Then sewing on another center flower topped with a bead for two more starts and ends. The piece was a join as you go and added another start and finish to the number of threads needing to be woven in. That 's 12 times of weaving in ends per motif. The border had just one beginning and ending. I calculated that I had to weave in ends 1298 times.

I put the supplies I was using on this project away.  Soon it will be on to the next project.

Theresa E.

Sunday, April 3, 2011

Blue and White Dresser Scarf

Have you ever noticed that the closer you get to finishing a project the more time and effort you spend to finish it?  That is where I am now.  I started this Blue and White Dresser Scarf in August of 2009.  It was a day spent at a theme park subsidized by work.  They gave out discounted ticket prices.  I knew that I was not going to run all over the park taking rides with my daughter and her friend so I decided to take a project.

The pattern for this scarf came from the Book, "Favorite Throws & Table Toppers to Crochet".  It is titled "Dapple Blossoms".  The original pattern is not made with just 2 colors.  It uses 7 colors.  I loved it with all the different colors but I am making this dresser scarf for my own bedroom.  I am using JP Coats Royale Classic Crochet Thread #10 on Bridal Blue and White.

Here is a close up. I love the join as you go pattern. I have about 20 more squares to add and then the pattern will have a white border around the whole piece. I am almost to the white border. Even though there are a lot of threads to bury, you cannot see the joins.  I know that the pattern is not going to come loose because I buried the threads going one way and then back another.

It is really pretty and everytime I work on it in public I get marvelous comments. 

I can hardly wait to finish because then I will get to work on a new project.  I'm thinking about some bookmarks.  I am also thinking about some new pillows.  I am hunting for just the right pattern.  It might be one of these patterns:

Theresa E.