Friday, May 24, 2013
Although it's a proper stitch in its own right, long-and-short stitch is also a great alternative to satin stitch. When your shape is a little too big and you feel that satin stitches would be too long - resulting in puckered stitches or loose stitches that don't stay in place - long-and-short stitch saves the day!
It looks kind of intimidating though, doesn't it? Like it really takes a long time to be good at it? But it really doesn't! The truth of the stitch is that the less you think about it, the better it looks.
1.) First, draw your shape:
2.) As mentioned in our earlier satin stitch tips post, outline your shape in split stitch for a sturdy, even line to work against. You might also want to draw yourself some arrows (in a removable transfer pen) to help you keep your stitches moving in the direction you want them to:
3.) Long-and-short stitch works in rows across your shape, but succeeds by keep those rows very loosely defined. In other words: work your first row of stitches by coming up through the fabric at random places in the shape, then coming back down outside (and tucking around) the lower outline of the shape. Keep the length of your stitches as random as possible - some very long, some very short and some all the lengths in between:
4.) On the next row (and for the rest of piece), you'll work in the opposite direction, your needle coming up through a previous stitch, like split stitch, and the down again somewhere above. Again, keep your lengths random and make sure you come both up and down at varying points. You are trying to avoid a visible line across your shape which would be caused by all your stitches coming up and down at the same level in your shape. Also keep moving in the direction your arrows indicate:
5.) Continue in this way, working in rows (or waves, as I think of it) across your shape, from one side to the other, then back again. Keep your lengths and placement varied. This is a great stitch to work on if you're distracted, because it will be more successful the less you think about it. Don't worry too much about each single stitch, you're going for a larger effect here. Tuck a stitch or two around your outlines as you reach them:
6.) As you get to the top of your shape, tuck your last stitches around the top of the outline, and that's it! Because your stitches came up and down at random places, you should see a smooth, solid fill and no obvious lines where they grouped together. If you notice any bits that could be smoother, don't be afraid to just plop another stitch over it to even it out!
I hope you enjoyed playing with long-and-short stitch today - and if you do any practice, please come show off in the &Stitches Flickr group!
Tuesday, May 21, 2013
Aloha! Last year we really enjoyed the Summer Bloggin' posts which were written by guest bloggers. We thought it'd be fun to repeat the series this year!
So if you'd like to a post or two in July or August, get in touch!
Here's what we're looking for:
Ideas for posts about or related to embroidery and stitching. For example, share a top ten of novels featuring embroidery, interview your favourite embroidery designer, share your collection of vintage thimbles. Or share a stitch or technique tutorial.
We prefer original and quirky over ordinary; fresh and vibrant over stuffy and dull. A quick scan through our blog posts should give you a taste of what we like.
Good photos are important (they say more than a thousand words!): clear, uncluttered and well lit.
If you'd like to be part of the &Stitches team over the summer, drop us an email: firstname.lastname@example.org Do tell us a bit about yourself, your idea and include a link to your blog or Flickr profile.
Please get in touch by June 9th. We'll get back to you shortly after that date!
Sunday, May 19, 2013
In the past few days I've been exploring the Satin stitch with a (still) small Satin Stitch Doodling project. I love the look of the Satin Stitch but find it's hard to get a great result every time. I also wanted to try out some variations with the Satin Stitch I had not tried before.
I stopped using water erasable pens for my regular Embroidery projects (as I suspect it can sometimes leave stains on your fabric) but for this Doodling project the blue pen is my friend. I just draw shapes directly on the fabric as I doodle along. I grabbed some floss to start with (and added more colours later) and started with a simple circle (1) . With Julie's tips in mind about outlining with a split stitch and how to prevent 'egg' shaped circles, I started filling from the middle of the circle with two strands of floss. I'm normally a one strand of floss kind of person but found that I could achieve a rather smooth result with two strands as well.
I then added a 'waterdrop' shape (2) with my blue pen which I outlined with a split stitch and filled in with a diagonal Satin Stitch. I drew a few extra guidelines as I always have trouble keeping my Satin Stitches parallel. The other problem I encountered was keeping the sides even, that's something I definitely need to practice more! Adding a backstitch all around the shape fixed that somewhat but I'd rather have a Satin Stitch without an outline... The small black circle was added 'freehand' and it showed so I added an extra outline as well. Luckily stitching with black floss is quite forgiving and an extra stitch here or there doesn't really stand out. :) The orange triangle shape (3) was meant to practice keeping the sides even. Still not entirely successful with that, I'm afraid.
The Padded Satin Stitch (4) was a new stitch to me. I chose to outline and filled the shape with the chain stitch (see photo, before filling obviously) and then covered those with the Satin Stitch. Again the sides ended up quite uneven and I was slightly disappointed by the 'height' of the padding. A tutorial for the Padded Satin Stitch will be up on this blog later this month and I'm looking forward to Carina's tips! The length of the Satin Stitch at it's widest point (in the middle) was just about what I felt comfortable with when making Satin Stitches. When your stitches are too long they will not lie flat on the surface and as a result your stitching will not look as smooth as you probably like. There is also a bigger chance that when stitching your needle catches a too long Satin Stitch and it will pucker.
An alternative for filling larger areas is the Long Short Stitch (5). Julie's tutorial for the Long Short Stitch will be on the blog later this week! I got a bit carried away with the Long Short Stitch and as I am a big fan of shading in embroidery I attempted to do a bit of shading using the Long Short Stitch (6)
I'm quite pleased with the overall look but I can definitely use more practice with the Satin Stitch.
Hope you enjoyed my explorations of the Satin Stitch! Later this month I'll be back with some Satin Stitch variations. If you decide to start your own Satin Stitch Doodling (or any other kind of Doodling really) please share it with us in our Flickr group.
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Today I'm going to show you three basic tips for smoother and easier satin stitch. I can't speak for anyone else, but these three simple tips helped me so much when I learned them - I hope they help you as much as they did me!
1: Before satin stitching anything, outline your shape in split stitch (the left triangle). Although most of us would prefer to outline in back stitch (the right triangle), split stitch leaves a very sturdy, smooth line for your satin stitch to work around. If you look closely at the spot where two back stitches meet, they leave a little indentation in the line. When you satin stitch there, there will be an indentation in that too, and it will be more difficult to achieve an even edge.
2: As you work, try to come up and down around that outline at a slight angle, almost as if you want to tuck your satin stitches around the shape. Again, this will help keep a nice even edge.
3a: Start in the middle of your shape and then work outwards from there to each side. This helps keep your stitches straight across the shape; many satin stitchers end up frustrated with stitches that gradually start leaning as they work. If you start with a nice straight base to work from in the middle, you will find it much easier to keep your stitches standing up straight around it.
3b: Many stitchers (including myself, for many years!) find themselves annoyed that they've satin stitched a little oval when they wanted a little circle. If you've outlined your circle as described above, you'll find that you don't actually have to satin stitch all the way up to the end of your circle to achieve a circular shape. It's the ever-shortening little stitches right up to the sides that create that oval effect. Instead, try stopping a few stitches short of a true circle, more like a square with a rounded top and bottom. The split stitch outline below will peek out just a tiny touch (can you see it on the right of the circle in the photo above?) and fill out the side curves. Of course, I've outlined my shapes in a lighter thread to make it easier to see, but using the same thread for both outline and satin stitch will make the combination of them seamless.
And, lastly, two unofficial tips: firstly, don't be afraid to draw lines with a wash-out transfer pen below to help you keep your direction as you stitch. It's not cheating to have lines to follow! And secondly, if you notice an area that's not as even as you'd like, don't unpick, just stitch over it! Satin stitch is pretty forgiving that way, it's easy to add a stitch here or there without having any big effect.
These are just basic tips and tricks and I'm sure many of you already use some of them as you work, but I hope there's at least a little something here to help you with that ever-tricky satin stitch!
Monday, May 13, 2013
I'm happy to introduce a new monthly feature today: our Wish List picks, straight to your screen! Each month, one of us will share a few items that we love - and that we think you'll like, too. Today I raided my own Etsy favorites to bring you these gorgeous bits and pieces.
One: The Owls Are Not What They Seem Cross-stitch pattern by PyroDogPins. I'm not even a cross-stitcher, but I am a massive Twin Peaks fan, and this pattern is an absolutely perfect tribute.
Two: Could there be a more fitting pincushion creature than the hedgehog?! This one from Ladysnail is so sweet!
Three: I love this pretty, dainty needlecase, made from vintage fabrics and a vintage button. By Graciemay Textiles.
Four: I've wanted some of these blank pin setting frames from Kailea for ages now, perfect for making your own stitchy or fabric brooches!
Thursday, May 9, 2013
Over the month of May, we're going to be investigating satin stitch here at &Stitches - it's such a beautiful stitch, but so many of us have a hard time with it. Definitely a love / hate kind of stitch! Over the next few weeks, we'll be bringing you tips to help get your satin stitch just right, look at styles and related stitches, and just celebrate some wonderful examples. Get your needles ready!
So, what are your loves and hates with satin stitch? Do you have trouble getting it the way you want it? Tell us what you'd like to know and we'll do our best to work it into our special satin stitch month!
Tuesday, May 7, 2013
Do you embroider on clothing or even shoes? I have done both in the past but nothing as spectacular as this dress by Caroline (Sewsewcial on Flickr). Caroline silkscreened the sewing machine and measuring tape on a dress, dyed it and then embroidered the details (like the lettering) on. And look at the wonderful finish on the sleeves!
P.S. If you are looking to make your clothes a little (or a lot) more interesting with embroidery take a peek at the class Carina is currently offering.