Sunday, 22 May 2022

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 211: Holly Braid Stitch

It is time to set out on another stitch adventure - I have five new stitches for us to explore.

The first one will be a challenge, but is it well worth the effort of trying. It is called Holly Braid Stitch. 

I first spotted it in Jacqui Carey's excellent book 'Elizabethan Stitches' (a fantastic study of historic stitches)

where today's stitch is shown as a true BRAID stitch. With that I mean a stitch made with a stiff 'thread' like gimp, purl, wire or similar. Such threads are suitable when you make a wide stitch and the result will be similar to a length of upholstery braid.

My second encounter with Holly Braid Stitch was on a blogpost at VirtuoSew Adventures where Rachel had experimented with different threads, some that made, not a wide braid, but a narrower line. I now really wanted to try the stitch with Perle Cotton, one of my favourite threads, to see if it could be a useful linear stitch for freeform embroidery.

Proof that that is possible I found in a floral design Rachel made on this blog post. DO check it out as it also contains an excellent video Rachel has created of how the stitch is worked.

THANK YOU Rachel for the help and constant inspiration you give me.

Following is my set of photo instructions for Holly Braid Stitch:

You need to follow this diagram to start the stitch line.

Don't pull the thread too tight, instead leave a loop.

When you take a bite of the fabric (F-G) lead the needle through that loop.

Now tighten the loop over the needle.

Pull the needle through and stretch the working thread upward to the left.

For the next step, take the needle underneath the three threads on the right (without biting the fabric).

Pull the working thread downwards, pull the needle though to create another loop.

Once again, you need to stretch the working thread up to the left.

Take the bite of fabric, and lead the needle through the loop.

Pull the thread to 'strangle' the needle, and take the thread to the left,

and then down underneath the needle.

Pull the needle through, and stretch the working thread up and to the left

and hopefully you now remember what to do. Yes, go through those three threads

pull through until you have a loop...

bite and though the loop...

'strangle' the needle...

lead the thread down under the needle...

three threads


bite and through the loop....... and so on.

Anchor the final stitch at the top for a pointed tip.

As you can see, I still have to work on tension and evenness. I also want the group of stitches at the start (that diagram) to be closer together.

Isn't this a real stitch adventure?


Friday, 20 May 2022

Friday Revision Homework - Stitches: 206 - 210

 I like monochrome prints, you know, blue on blue, yellow on yellow, blue on blue. That is why I first coloured Sunbonnet Sue's clothes with wax crayons, set the wax with a hot iron and then embroidered on top of in the same colour as the crayon.

Sue is walking with heavy steps into a future of uncertainty ... Hopefully she will find solidarity, hope and peace along the way.

Other stitches used: 
Stem Stitch for the outlines and movement of skirt and scarf, 
Straight Stitch to add extra petals on the sunflower, 
a triple Star Filling Stitch for the centre of the flower.

Wednesday, 18 May 2022

WIPW - Slow Progress

It has been another week of slow progress, so not much to report on for Work In Progress Wednesday.

Velveteen Cushion

The assembly has started, and one seam connects the front with the back of the cushion. Only hand stitching on this cushion so the seams will take some time.

Sunday Stitch School Stitch Sampler

There are five more circles, all appliquéd, among the previous circles. They are still bare, but ready for being decorated with embroidery stitches from the SSSS collection.

One of the circles has been edged with a machine-made braid.

Sunday, 15 May 2022

Sunday Stitch School - Revision: Stitches 206 - 210

Time to look back at the five most recent stitches and then make a Sunbonnet Sue sampler.

Click on the title to get the instructions.

206 Rapid Stitch

Great on Canvas, but can also be used for individual stitches

This really is a great stitch to strengthen and/or adorn an edge, even a raw and fraying one.

I have used this stitch on endless projects, yet for years I failed to add it to the Sunday Stitch School's collection. Why, I wonder...
This is such a pretty stitch. Play around with different thread!

I called this cheating, because it is so easy just to double the stitch. 
Actually I should  say it is well within 'legal limits' of what we can do to a stitch, in my opinion anyway. Or is there a stitch police out there who disagrees?
After all a Berry Stitch is just a doubling of a Lazy Daisy Stitch, isn't it? We really should be able to do a 'Padded' Running Stitch, Fly Stitch, Wheatear Stitch... Indeed any stitch could be 'padded'!

Here is another stitch that should have been introduced LONG ago. 
Dear Closed Fly Stitch, please accept my apologises for keeping you in the shadow for such a long time. Please come out and SHINE!

Let Sunbonnet Sue show off these five stitches as best she can.


Friday, 13 May 2022

Friday Homework for Lesson 210: Closed Fly Stitch

It is nice to have Closed Fly Stitch added to the collection of stitches at Sunday Stitch School. I have used this stitch so often I had taken for grated it was already covered! 

They say you can't see the woods for all the trees, well obviously you can't see the individual stitch in a large collection either.

Aida Sampler

This is a stitch you can twist and tweak a lot.

Sunday Stitch School Reference Chart

Mottled Wool Sampler

Wednesday, 11 May 2022

WIPW - Stitching Completed

Phew! At last I have a stitching completion to report on Work In Progress Wednesday.

Velveteen Cushion

Yes, I have finally completed the embroidery of both sides of the Velveteen Cushion. 

It had been my intention to have the work done by the end of January, and what is it now? Middle of May!!! Am I such a slow worker? Or has it been so fun to just add more and more details? I want to think it is the latter reason it has taken this long.

Now what remains is of course the construction - to join the front and the back, to add a zipper and find a filling for the cushion. I wonder how long that will take?

The last of the twigs with Closed Fly Stitch were done.

So here is the front.

This is the back, or should this be the front?

Sunday Stitch School Stitch Sampler

The circles appliquéd last week have now been decorated with embroidery.
#202 Fly Stitch with Twisted Ties in pink, #205 Glove Stitch in yellow and some more of #208 Star Filling Stitch (purple and pink) were used.

Sunday, 8 May 2022

Sunday Stitch School - Lesson 210: Closed Fly Stitch

Today we are looking at Closed Fly Stitch, the perfect stitch for simple leaves.

I have used this stitch so many times, and most recently on the Velveteen Cushion, that I had forgotten to add it to Sunday Stitch School. Well, let's rectify that today!

Work the Closed Fly Stitch just as you would the original Fly Stitch - simply stack the stitches neatly together.

To make a leaf, draw the outlines and start with a Straight Stitch.

Then get going with the Closed Fly Stitch.

Anchor with a longer straight stitch.

Or make a wonky Fly Stitch with one of the arms longer than the other.

Work the stitch in a curved line.

Endless possibilities!

You can find instructions in several books, like: The Essential Guide to Embroidery and The Embroidery Stitch Bible.

Shami at My Craft Works has a beautiful design where she used this stitch for both flowers and leaves. 

Mary Corbet over at Needle 'n Thread has a beautiful tutorial, too.


Add here to these samplers.