Category Archives: tutorial

Tutorial – Handmade Hem on Aida Fabric

I did stitch a lot and am almost done with chatchup, but I’m away from my scanner and don’t have good light for photographs right now. So I show you what else I’ve been up to.

I like that sampler better now than in the beginning, but I long for some on grid work anyway, to make things easier and faster. So, my next sampler is going to be a sampler an aida band. So I bought a ready-made band, but of course the short sides need some finishing anyway.

I’m showing you how I’ve done it.

First, I secured the edge with nun stitch, but you coulod as well glue or machine stitch it. I know it doesn’t look good but it will be invisible in the finished piece.

I wanted to create a sort of tube where I can insert hardware for hanging the samokler. So I folded the fabric to create the tube. I made the piece inside the tube as wide as the tube, otherwise it might show.

Next step is to draw out the threads for the drawn thread hem. For that, I cut them in the middle of the fabric strip and carefully drew them out of the warp going from the middle to the sides. On store-bought aida bands it is almost impossible to draw the threads out of the woven sides, so I glue the weft threads there later to secure them. this will be on the back of the work anyway.

Next, I pinned the fabric in place before the stitching.

For stitching, I turned the work over to stitch from the right side. Usually you do the hem stitches from the wrong side for a cleaner look, but on aida and other easiely countable fabric, I never manage to hit the correct holes in the fabric on the side I’m not lookfing at, so it won’t slook clean at all.

Well, here’s how the plain hem stitch is done.

Now this s the finished thing. It still needs cutting off the loose ends, I want to glue over them once more before that. I know there’s a mistake in it, but can’t be assed to undo it.


TAST – Whipped Wheel

This week’s TAST is whipped wheel. Of course I have done this before. As old inspiration, I show you a little tutorial. I’ve taken the pics for it long ago, but never got round to writing up the tutorial. This is a good time to do it.

For another old example, look at my gallery, and Waiting for Spring

Also look at whipped and woven wheels on glued jute fiber.

But now to the tutorial. This is how I do padded whipped wheels when I’m on the commute and have no padding material availiable. You could do the same by stacking felt, that would be less expensive but would probably take longer than this method.

First, draw a circle as big as you want the stuffed woven wheel, then smaller circles inside that. I space them about 1mm apart, or 2-3 on rough material like this.

Now, fill the smallest circle with satin stitches going round and round like a spider web. They will pile up.

Do the same with all circles exept the outmost one.

Next, do the spiderweel you will actually whip. For this one, use the outmost circle as guidance. When you are done come out with the needle in the middle of the wheel and start whipping.

This diagram shows how to do the spiderwheel.

This shows how the whipping is done. If it’s not clear enough, look at regular whipped wheel in a stitch dictionary.

And now look at a cool shot of the finished thing, showing the dimensional effect.

Tutorial – Nun Stitch

Maybe you have already noticed the frayed edge of my new sampler. It was done in nun stitch, my very favourite way to secure the edges of coarse fabric. When it comes down to very coarse fabric like my sampler, it’s about the only good way I know if the edges will be visible in the finished article. When they will not be visible I glue or machine zigzag the edges of hessian and such and either frame it hiding the edges under a mat or add some fabric binding for frameless hanging. (not that too many of my works reach such a stage of finish LOL)

On very coarse fabrics like hessian or canvas, I add a dash of fabric glue to the backside of the nun stitched edge, especially if the piece is going to be laundered or used in any way. On medium thread count, tightly woven embroidery fabrics such as hardanger a nun stitch edge is pretty secure in my experience when it is done properly. Of course it is not secure enough for clothes or anything else that will be machine washed or otherwise mistreated.

It will be insecure on slippery fabrics like rayon, some manmade fibers and some silks. It is not secure on needlepoint canvas which is too stiff to pull the fabric threads together.

Also, on very open fabrics such as linen usable for pulled thread work and all forms of scrim or mesh this stitch will not produce a secure edging, there are various better options for such fabrics.

On anything with a substantially higher thread count than hardanger this stitch works but is tendious to do, and there are various other options for finishing those.

Funnily, when I was a young teen I invented a variant of nun stitch. I did it like the real one but only did one backstitch – one overcast stitch instead of doubling them. I had no access to a sewing machine and was desperate for a way to keep coarse fabrics from fraying. Guess how surprised I was when I aquired a copy of Therese Dilmond’s Encyclopedia of Needlework and found the real nun stitch in there. By the way, on fine countable fabric or when the edges will be bound or overstitched later I still use my method, it’s faster and in these cases just as durable.

I also invented a crochet version of this back in the day, but that is (maybe) for another post…

But now to the stitch

As preparation, cut the fabric to shape following the threads of the fabric exactly. remove a few threads arround the edges, producing a fringe of the desired length. Use a fine strong thread like pearl cotton, buttonhole sewing thread or mercericed crochet cotton. Floss will not be strong enough.

Work on the front side, working in the direction most comfortable for you. When doing this stitch it is important to pull the working thread hard so that the fabric threads over which you work are bound together in little bundles. Be careful not to pull the whole fabric out of shape.

Secure the thread on the backside 2 threads away from the edge. Do a backstitch over 2 threads.

Do a second backstitch over the first, doubling it.

do an overcast stitch over the edge of the fabric as shown.

overcast the same thread bundle once more

Do another back stitch as shown, then double it again (not shown)

Do the next overcast stitch as shown, then double it

That’s it. Remember to pull the threads hard. if the edge feels insecure, glue the backside of the edge.

And finally, this is how a corner is supposed to look like. For them, just do double back stitch – double overcast stitch – double overcast stitch on second edge – double back stitch.

Meh that was a lot of typing and pic inserting. If this leaves any questions open just ask.

Stacked Sorbello Stitch

Oh yeah, yet another sorbello Variant! Play with it and enjoy! Kudos go to Sharon Bogon, her tast challenge was my inspiration for playing arround with sorbello stitch.

This variant is worked in columns top down, for rows just turn the fabric.
Start with a sorbello stitch like shown. the legs of the stitch should be long and stick out to the sides.

The straight stitch in which the next sorbello stitch is anchored is worked over the legs of the first stitch. It should be as long as the first straight stitch.

A row of stacked sorbello stitch. Of course the legs can be shorter to stick out less.

Connected Sorbello Stitches

This is another Sorbello variant I explain in detail because it might be hard to figure out. I was inspired by the tast challenge to play arround with it.

I think you can do connected sorbello stitches following the same principles in other arrangements, anybody up to experiments?

I think the pics are self-explanatory on this one. Sorry their bad quality, they were taken on the train to work.

This is a row of a finished stitch.

False Sorbello Stitch

Sorbello stitch really is a very versatile one. It sparked my imagination so much that I decided to explore it further and neglect the next stitches of the tast challenge somewhat in order to find time for that. I did say I won’t get stressed out about the challenge this year.

Many of the things I did are obvious on my sampler, I think those which are not will be shared in detail.

I’m calling this false Sorbello because it is done like sorbello but doesn’t look like it. If anybody knows this stitch by any other name please tell me.

You work this in columns top down, for rows just turn the fabric. Start the column with a regular sorbello stitch. Then do the next sorbello stitch like a normal sorbello stitch, just don’t do the straight stitch you would do as the beginning of a normal sorbello stitch. anchor the next knot in the “legs” of the first sorbello stitch.

Please note that the legs should be about half as long as shown for an orderly result, but that would have made it hard to figure out how to do the stitch.

The next knot is again anchored in the legs of the previous one. Work the stitches as close together as possible to get a rope-like line. I have tried it more spaced it didn’t really look good.

The last pic shows a row of it closeup. Note that the “rope” the stitch forms is two-sided, experiment with orientation before using it on a real project.

Cable Stitch in Surface Embroidery (Rose in the Rain Making Of II)

Cable stitch is a useful and beautiful stitch in pulled thread work, but I never got why it should be used in normal surface embroidery. I mean, it produces lines of stitches you can easier create with back stitches or holbein stitches.

My work on Rose in the Rain, an embroidery on mulberry paper, taught me its use. It produces more bulk on the right side than on the wrong side, which the other methods for creating lines of stitches don’t.

Here is an example from the piece. It shows a line of cable stitch and an additional row of back stitch.

Here is how the stitch is done. Sorry there is no second image, I forgot it. You work the next stitch like the first, always alternating between the two rows of straight stitches. If you don’t understand it just say so and I take more pictures.

One line of the stitch finished.

Two stacked lines of the stitch. It can make a nice filling this way.

The backside. You see the little stitches you create while going from one line of stitches on the front to the other. A very clean backside, but still enough thread to hide loose ends under.

By the way, this was my second making-of posting on Rose in the Rain. In a third one, I will soon describe one more new-to-me stitch I have used, and that’s it then for my part. Do you have any questions on that work you want to be answered? I’d be happy to do so in the next part.

Adventures in Monoprinting (Rose in the Rain making of I)

When I posted my finished piece Rose in the Rain I promised to post a making-of. I know it took too long for the tastes of most readers but here you go. Warning: I’s image-heavy.

When I feel like messing arround with paint there is no better thing than monoprinting with acrylics. I wanted this piece to be kind of intuitive, so that looked like the way to go. Also, you can create additional texture with this technique when you use lot of gel.

For my technique, I cut up a plastic shopping bag and paint on the inside. the acrylics get heaviely mixed with regular glossy gel medium and some water, I used a no name product from a German painting supply house, Boesner. Fluid gel medium is even better, but I want only so many expensive paint bottles arround when I don’t know when I’ll use them.

This is how my pallette looks when mixing the paints, you see I’m using lots of gel:

This is how I apply the mix to the shopping bag. It should be applied rather thickly so that it can form additional texture later.

This is the whole painted plastic surface. it is then put on the paper, GENTLY pressed with hands or foam roller and carefully peeled off.

Well, and this is how the result looks when you press too hard. And yes, this was the big piece of precious paper that later became my rose embroidery.

Of course I didn’t want to throw it out, so I painted over it until it looked acceptable. Looking at the finished thing now, I think this failure was an amazing case of serendipidity.

This is an example for yummy gel texture. You only get this with monoprinting.

Of course, after this I had to try my luck again. I did a small tryout print, and it turned out just as it should. I still haven’t done anything further with this one, maybe I should. But not sure what, it looks so, well, orderly.

Sorbello Stitch II

I played with sorbello stitch a lot on my sampler and want to share more of my experiences than a simple look at the sorbello section of my tast sampler will show.

Sorbello stitch as cross stitch surrogate

Firstly, I found an interesting blog post. At Vijis Craft There is a posting about using sorbello stitch in chicken scratch instead of cross stitches. An interesting idea that is probably worth trying, thank you Viji!

Generally Sorbello stitch can be used as a fancy replacement for cross stitch. To do this, make sure your stitches are exactly square and use a yarn that is covering the groud well. This is good for small and simple designs. Another thing that I still need to try is combining it with regular cross stitch.

Working sorbello stitch to and fro

Sorbello stitch has a direction, for an orderly look you need to carry the yarn back to the start on the wrong side and always work all stitches in a piece in the same direction, execpt when you consciously play with the difference.
When you have to do many rows this will get annoying. Here I show you a way to work it to and fro.

Sorry the bad oictures, they were taken on the train. I hope you still get how the stitch is done.

This is how the classical sorbello stitch is done:

And this is the reverse one for the back rows:

Freestyle Weaving Tutorial Part 6: Going Wild with Weaving

For the time being, this is the sixth and last instalment of my tutorial series on needleweaving. See my page all about needleweaving for links to the first 5 parts and related stuff.

One of the most beautiful aspects of needleweaving is that the warp doesn’t need to be straight. Here I show how to do a piece with circular warp, but it can go any direction. Also, the cardboard frame and therefore the shape of the finished piece can be any shape.

I have been using the same cardboard frame I used for my last piece. Here you see the circular warp anchored in the backstitches at the sides.

Fix the warp in place by weaving arround the middle a few times.

At the bottom of the piece, I added straight threads. They will act as warp, so the weft will go up and down not from right to left in this area. I wove those threads into the spiderweb. All layers should be interwoven so that the finished piece won’t fall apart.

Next I started weaving the black frame. You don’t need to do such a frame, I wanted it for the look. About one centimeter should be done in canvas binding arround the whole piece for stability, but this can be done using the normal working threads as well, especially when these borders will be hidden in the finished article.

The middle of the spiderweb was not filled with circular weaving, I wove spokes which are meant to be sun rays. Note how some on them project into the border. The black border was woven at the same time in these places.

The finished Piece. Note the weaving direction in the part representing the ground. It goes up and down over the secondary warp in brown thread. The violet and yellow above the brown soil was woven to and fro into the warp coming from the spiderweel.

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