Do you want to learn a lot about stitches? Join TAST! It stands for Take A Stitch Tuesday and the course leader, Sharon Boggon, introduces us to a new stitch every Tuesday on her website Pintangle. We then try the stitch and write a blog post about it, leave a link to our own blog on Sharon's website (comment box of Pintangle) so that others can share. Everyone has something to contribute and we learn so much from each other. It is also great fun! This week it was time for stitch number 134, the Fern Stitch.
Although I have often seen this stitch and know how useful it is for making stems, branches and twigs, I have actually never learned it. It comprises of three simple straight stitches, and you would think that working them in any way would be OK. Do we really need to learn this?
I had some time on my hands one day and sat pondering about my needlework teacher in primary school. She had fixed rules and beliefs, one of them was 'although the result should be as neat and perfect as you can make it, it is the process that is important; you must learn to do the stitch the right way'. The question I was now contemplating was, is there a right way to do a stitch. The instructions vary from stitch guide to stitch guide. Just for the fun of it I took out my collection of books to see how many ways there were for the Fern Stitch.
A purple B yellow left C yellow right D green left E green right
I found these five ways.
A is from a Japanese book. B is worked as a cluster of three lines and would be a good detached Fern Stitch. C is Ms Totsuka's method (see note of Kiko's Flower). D and E are a left-hand and right-hand variation of the same instructions.
From the front they look quite similar. It is when you see them from the back that you notice the difference. (I have started and ended the stitches with a knot to have as little obstacle as possible for the photo.)
We can see that each method uses different amounts of thread and if sewn on a sheer fabric you would sometimes see the thread on the back showing through.
Here the fabric was held up against a window and you can clearly see the shadows some of the stitches make.
I came to the conclusion that my needlework mistress in school was wrong about there being a universal 'right' way of stitching. There is, however, a right way for each of us!
Now what do you think?
Time to stitch the samplers.
On the Aida practising cloth: