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
Thursday, May 2, 2013
By Gracie's Garden Bazaar on Flickr.
Tuesday, April 30, 2013
Orange, a gallery on Flickr.
In my home country of the Netherlands it's Queensday today. On this yearly event a lot of Dutch folk dress up in Orange, the national colour, and visit jumble sales and Queensday festivities. This year It's also the day that the Queen abdicates and Willem Alexander becomes the new Dutch King. So whatever your thoughts on Royalty may be, I thought a Dutch-Orange-Royal themed mosaic was appropriate today. :)
Monday, April 29, 2013
There are atleast a couple of approaches to backs here. I'm curious, do you worry about the back or do you stitch without giving it much thought? Share in the comments! :-)
Let's see what these three stitchers have to say!
...as for messy...well you've seen the state of my floss box but personally I think it's all part of the charm/working process...that's my excuse and I'm sticking with it! Mimiloves
This embroidery is typical of how by backs turn out although the bird is stitched on a separate fabric, so you don't see the whole backside. I don't spend a lot of time worrying and stressing about the back, but I do make some effort to avoid getting lumps of threads and knots. I consider even the imperfections that come out of our needles to be part of our self-expression, so we have to allow for them.
I find having a backing fabric helps a lot. Occasionally I forget to pull the thread all the way through, so it helps to have an extra layer to fasten down the loose bits when needed. In general I try not to skip over more than an inch or so between stitches. It does happen from time to time in which case I take a few small stitches into the backing fabric along the way, so there isn't a bunch of loose threads hanging around. It also helps prevent pulling too tightly and adding puckers to the fabric. Emily at The Floss Box
I have to say I don't worry about the back of the work as far as APPEARANCE goes. I'm not concerned with the way it looks, however I am concerned with doing things 'correctly' as in starting and finishing of threads, so that the finished piece is crisp and professional - especially as I am working for private clients or to sell on my website. So that means I start using the waste knot technique, and finish by weaving the end of the thread in to the back or by securing with a couple of stab stitches and trim at the front of the work (hope that makes sense!).
I also try and work in a methodical way so I'm not having to trail thread across large areas on the back, and don't use too long a thread to avoid tangling etc. All this is more out of a need for my work to be 'heirloom quality' - I want my work to have longevity and for my customers (and me!) to know that the piece isn't going to deteriorate over time because it's not been finished securely.
Overall I think if you care about your work, you will see the results in the back and the front! Katie at Mother Eagle