Sunday, 19 October 2014

TAST #134 Fern Stitch

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.
As I was working I soon found which instructions suited me - my way of holding the needle, the angle and direction of the movement and which stitch gave me the most 'flow'.

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:
On the sampler
A question for you, which of the five methods did I find to be the right one for me?

A purple      B yellow left       C yellow right      D green left      E green right


margaret said...

so many versions but must own up to not knowing which you settled with, rather similar to feather stitch I feel but not as flowing somehow if you know what I mean I do prefer feather,

Chris(craft) and Dave(photos) Richards said...

Not a stitch that I use very often.........I think C YELLOW RIGHT is certainly the neatest and does not seem to show through from the back ! Unless of course if you are left handed then it would be D GREEN LEFT !
My mother -in-law has been embroidering for most of her life but still has not mastered the 'French knot '.........She cheats by tying a knot in the thread and pulling it through into position ! I think its what the end result is....not the execution of the stitches ! Have a great Sunday Queenie,
Chris Richards

Julie Fukuda said...

Rule #1 ... If it works, it is the right way.

Queeniepatch said...

Rule #1 rules!

Queeniepatch said...

Feather stitch has a soft look, the Fern stitch is spiky and sharp. Few stitches can beat the Feather stitch for 'flow' and 'auto pilot' stitching.
I'll announce the correct answer to my quiz later.

Queeniepatch said...

It is funny with stitches. I used to dislike the French knot and 'cheated' by doing Colonial Knots instead, as I found them super easy. Then I learned from Sharon how master the French Knot and now do them 'in my sleep'.
Ms Totsuka's Fern Stitch (C) looks neat, requires little thread and leaves no shadow. However it is worked from bottom and up, which to me is 'backwards'...
I'll reveal which of A, B, C, D and E I used later.
Have a great Sunday, what is left of it.

Annet said...

Like you I know fern stitch from my books, but never stitched it. I already flipped through my books to find directions how to stitch it. They are on my workdesk, so I can start stitching when I finally have time. It's fun to see the difference at the backside. I'm not sure which way you prefer, maybe A purple? said...

I have done this stitch before but I can't remember which method I used, probably different for each stitch! I think you used A.

Queeniepatch said...

I am amazed to hear you have no old Fern Stitches to show us! I am sure you will fall in love with it - when you have found your favourite method. Wishing you plenty of stitching time this week!

Queeniepatch said...

That sounds like you, Linda, 'different for each stitch'. I can't imagine you being tied down to a 'form' a former formidable form teacher once taught you! I need to learn to loosen up more, too.

Janie said...

Fern stitch is very versatile.

Queeniepatch said...

Yes, isn't it?

Anonymous said...

wonderful samples. thanks for sharing these different versions. may be you used B.

Queeniepatch said...

It was an educational experience. Answer will be revealed later.

carorose said...

This isn't a stitch I use much but if you turn it the other way up it would make great Xmas trees.

Queeniepatch said...

It would indeed make a great fir tree.

Renee said...

What a fun exploration of the fern stitch! Hmmm.... did you choose D? It is impossible to tell from the front. Love the variety of colors you used!

Queeniepatch said...

Ghis has fast become a favourite stitch and I have already put it to use on my various WIPW projects.
I agree, from the front it is hard to know which stitch directions I used. Answer to come!

Barbara M said...

Just to let you know, I'm thinking of you and hoping the stitch therapy works its magic on you.
Extra-special wishes(the ones reserved for excellent stitchers) and thanks for taking time to comment.
Barbara M

Queeniepatch said...

Dear Barbara, you are so kind. I will use some of my orts in a Sumptious Surface Embroidery to deal with the emotional stress I have got at the moment. That is the only thing I can do. Healing stitching!