SewArtsy Embroidery Supplies

Embroidery stablilizer backing

SewArtsy Embroidery Supplies - Embroidery stablilizer backing

Embroidery Machine Stabilizer

$T2eC16V,!)!E9s2fB+2)BQ(MrI6wZ!~~60_35One of the most important elements in producing perfect results is choosing the right supplies, like embroidery machine stabilizer backing for your project. This quality embroidery stabilizer backing is perfect for 4″ X 4″ hoops and comes in tearaway pre-cut sheets of 8″ x 8″, 100 sheets in a pack.

Buy it at a discount at Amazon

Our tearaway sheets, unlike similar products, provide extra stabilization for the fabrics you choose and are able to withstand the repeated perforations of any project. Sewartsy stabilizer backing tears easily and cleanly in either direction with minimal effort and without distorting the embroidery.

Our stabilizer backing is perfect for projects such as jackets, woven materials with light to medium stitch counts as well as denims, linens, and broadcloth. It is heavy enough to keep embroidery from puckering on t-shirts when using it with no-show mesh.

If you’re trying to decide on quality embroidery supplies and you value your finished product, you’ll want to use the best stabilizer backing available to you. That’s where ‘Sew Artsy’ comes in! You won’t be disappointed.

Buy it at a discount at Amazon

National Embroidery Month Book Give-Away!

Well, I haven’t said a lot here on Needle ‘n Thread about National Embroidery Month.

Yes, February is National Embroidery Month! Yay!

The thing is, I don’t really get into the generic naming of months or days for the awareness of things. Like “World Nutella Day.” What does that mean? Are people supposed to eat more Nutella that day than any other day of the year? Or are they just supposed to be aware that Nutella exists? I already struggle with the fact that Nutella exists! I don’t need to be reminded!

Does it really matter that November 6th is National Basketball Day? Or that March 1st is National Pig Day? Or that May 4th is Star Wars Day? If more people knew that January 23rd is Handwriting Day, do you think they’d have better penmanship?

And, really. Do you want the world to celebrate National Naked Day?

If I tried really hard, I could probably elaborate many reasons why I don’t get into these kinds of things. Among them, I might mention their arbitrariness, their (often) superficiality, their lack (in most cases) of clear foundation or reason for existence (Count your Buttons Day? National Absurdity Day? Tell a Lie Day? My mind boggles!), and, when it comes to things, the little inkling that they smack of marketing ploys. I bet more Nutella is sold at the beginning of February than any other time of the year.

And while I can get behind the notion of a more intensely embroidery-focused day or month, the fact is, every month is National Embroidery Month in my mind. I’m always asking myself how we can make others more aware of the art of embroidery, how we can pass the art on, how we can preserve it, enhance it, spread it, explore it…

Still, all that said…. ok! I’ll bite! It’s National Embroidery Month, after all! And to celebrate it – as it draws to a close – let’s have a give-away!

And, more to the point, let’s make it a give-away that helps promote the learning of embroidery and the beauty of embroidery!

Thanks to Search Press, which offers a vast array of beautiful books devoted to embroidery, needle crafts and textiles, today I’m giving away three embroidery books to one winner. The books are A-Z of Embroidery Stitches, A-Z of Embroidery Stitches 2, and A-Z of Embroidered Flowers.

If you’re not familiar with the A-Z Series of embroidery books, check out this article that describes what the series is all about, and its advantages for beginning stitchers and beyond. It also lists what books are available in the series and where you can find them.

Give-Away Guidelines

To join in today’s give-away, please follow these guidelines:

1. Please leave one comment below. Multiple comments, comments received via email or left on other articles on the website, are not eligible. If you’re not sure where to leave the comment, you can follow this link directly to the comment form.

2. On the comment form, please make sure your email is entered correctly. It’s not seen by anyone else, and it is secure. Also, on the comment form, you can leave the “website” line blank. This is for those who write their own blogs or websites. If you don’t write your own blog or website, just leave that line blank.

3. In your comment, please answer the following question:

Did you manage any stitching in February? If so, what did you work on? If not, that’s ok, too! Just tell us what you’re hoping or planning to work on!

4. The give-away closes at 5:00 am central time (Kansas, USA) on Wednesday, March 1st. The winner will be randomly drawn that morning and I’ll announce the winner in that day’s article. I’ll also contact the winner by email.

That’s it!

Now, go forth and celebrate National Embroidery Month (or what remains of it!) by leaving your comment below! Can’t wait to hear what you’re working on!

Friday Instagram Finds No. 89 with Errant Hart


Anna Hart Turner is a mixed media embroidery artist whose art is intricate and bright – I love it! You can find her on Instagram @errant_hart and her Etsy shop Errant Hart. Her use of color and texture make me want to reach through my computer screen to feel the fabrics and stitches she uses. Check out some of my favorites below, and then head over to Anna’s Instagram account @errant_hart.

March 20, 2017 is the two year anniversary of Friday Instagram Finds – woo hoo! I’m going to switch things up a little bit, so you might want to start tagging your photos with #feelingstitchyfridays  🙂

Day 35 #1yearofstitches building up this area some moreA photo posted by Anna Hart Turner (@errant_hart) on Feb 5, 2017 at 4:48pm PST

Finally finished my portrait of @florence ! Check it out in the shop : http://etsy.me/2k7Mrxr Who else do you want to see a portrait of?A photo posted by Anna Hart Turner (@errant_hart) on Feb 4, 2017 at 10:12am PST

This cute pup arrived in her home this week! Definitely one of my fave pet portraits I’ve done so far. You can order your own ! Check out the link in my profile 🐶😻http://etsy.me/2kbdKJCA photo posted by Anna Hart Turner (@errant_hart) on Feb 3, 2017 at 4:01pm PST

Modern Crewel – Tips on Twists & Needles

Ah, Embroidery Project Rotation! It can drive you nuts or keep you sane, depending on how you look at it!

These days, I have several embroidery projects going, and I work them in a kind of rotation schedule. I showed you earlier this year how I organize multiple embroidery projects at once. And as the year ticks along, things are working out ok with all of them, although, admittedly, some projects are getting more attention than others.

We’ll chat later on about the pros and cons of working many projects in rotation (and I’ll show you a couple more that I’ve added into the mix), but today, I want to update you on Modern Crewel, this project kit that I reviewed here, featured in Inspirations Magazine issue 90.

There are two tips I want to share that surfaced while I was stitching along the other day. I think they’re worth knowing, whether you’re working this kit or not!

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

The last time we visited Modern Crewel, I had finished the central pomegranate, all the main trunks or stems, and had just started on the leaves, by padding them.

My next stitching session with this project focused on finishing the leaves and working all the little stems and tendrils.

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

The leaves are pretty straightforward padded satin stitch, outlined with stem stitch. They’re worked in an overdyed cotton so you get kind of a stripy effect with each of them.

I’ve never been too fond of satin stitch in overdyed threads, because I don’t really like that stripy effect. And with satin stitch, you can’t manipulate the color placement like you can with other stitches.

But on this piece, with all its vibrant color, its textures and movement, I find I really love the overdyed leaves! They add a certain what’s-it. A little pizzaz. Something different, and a little unexpected. Not the typical solid satin stitch or shaded long and short stitch.

Yep! It works!

Needle Check

I ran into a little snag while working the satin stitch, and it took me a moment to figure out what was frustrating me and – worse yet – frustrating my threads!

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

Sigh.

I do hate to see flaws in a needle.

After very little stitching with this magnified beauty above, the finish began to wear off the needle. Usually, you don’t notice right away when this happens – often, it’s hard to see a spot where the finish has chipped or rubbed off.

But your thread notices. Subtle snags as the needle passes through stitches can become an increasing frustration if you don’t find the source of the problem.

Tip: If your needle is not passing smoothly through your stitches, if you’re noticing a little roughness in the passage, if you’re noticing a slight pulling or snagging as you pass through other stitches, or a slight hairiness left behind after your needle passes through… check your needle!

Also, if your thread is wearing faster than normal around the eye of the needle, check the eye carefully for burrs.

Substituting a new needle in good condition can definitely reduce thread wear and stitching frustration.

On Thread Twist

This topic is going to get a wee bit complicated. For those of you who have the kit and are stitching along, this is just a heads up. It’s a good tip for any stitching, actually!

I received an email from a reader who’s working this project, too. She ran into some problems with the stems and tendrils, and since I hadn’t gotten to them yet, I wasn’t sure what she was talking about and I couldn’t help much.

But, as soon as I got to the stems and tendrils myself, I knew exactly what my stitching companion was talking about, and this is specifically for her (sorry I couldn’t help you earlier, Rebecca!) and for anyone else getting to this point in the project.

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

The brighter green stems and tendrils on this piece are supposed to be worked in stem stitch, using a thread from Clarence River Rainbows. I’ve never used these threads before, and although I did a quick search for further information online, all I could find was a Facebook page. I couldn’t find a page with complete product descriptions.

I assumed that the thread (described as “P4 perlé 40”) was cotton. There are two perlé threads in the piece – a size 10 and a size 40. Everything else is cotton. So I figured they were cotton, too, and just numbered differently from the standard cotton perle number sizes.

But when I finally got around to taking out the thread to start the tendrils, my first thought upon feeling it was, “Oh, this is silk?” There’s no mention of silk threads in the materials list, so I was a little surprised.

It’s not shiny enough to be a synthetic, but it is shiny. It’s a bit bouncy (but then, it’s put up in a very tight twist on the thread card), and it has the feel of (and it’s about the weight of) a nice buttonhole silk.

Does it really matter if it’s cotton or silk? Well, sometimes it does.

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

I’ve written pretty extensively about s-twisted vs z-twisted threads here on Needle ‘n Thread.

There are some instances in stitching when it’s important to know if a thread is Z- or S-twisted.

If you’re working only with cottons, it doesn’t usually matter, as most common cotton threads made for hand embroidery are s-twisted.

But with other threads, like buttonhole silks, synthetics, and the like, the threads are often Z-twisted. And the twist of the thread makes a huge difference in the outcome of some stitches.

If you’re not sure what the difference is between s-twisted and z-twisted threads, you can read more about them – and see the differences between the two – in the following articles:

S-Twisted vs Z-Twisted Embroidery Threads

S-Twisted vs Z-Twisted Embroidery Threads, Stitched

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

If you’re working with a z-twisted thread and you’re trying to achieve a ropey stem stitch – like the one seen on the tendril above – it isn’t going to happen if you follow the regular instructions for stem stitch that you’ll find just about anywhere today.

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

If you follow the standard stem stitch approach, where, when working from left to right, the needle comes up into the fabric above the working thread, your stem stitch with a z-twisted thread will look like the top line in the photo above. The thread will lose its twist and all the stitches will blend together.

If you want to achieve the ropey stem stitch look that we’re used to achieving with s-twisted cotton following the standard instructions for stem stitch, you actually have to work an outline stitch, where the needle comes up in the fabric with the working thread above it instead of below it (when working left to right).

These instructions vary depending on the direction of stitching and whether you’re stitching with your right hand or left. If you want a thorough understanding of what’s going on with the thread twists, you’ll find the information in the articles on s-twist and z-twist linked above, and in the articles on my stem stitch video page (and watch the video) and on my outline stitch video page.

In most books today, the instructions for stem stitch are the same as the instructions I use in my video and in the many articles on stem stitch here on Needle ‘n Thread. That being said, there are some books – especially older books – that don’t distinguish between stem and outline stitch, or that actually call them just the opposite (they call outline “stem,” and stem “outline.”) So that may be the point of confusion in the instructions.

In any case, there are no instructions for stem stitch in the article in Inspirations, as it’s such a basic stitch, so if you want the ropey look of stem stitch with the thread called for in this kit, you’ll need to work the outline stitch instead of the stem stitch.

Modern Crewel - Surface embroidery project progress

And that’s where I ended that stitching session – leaves, stems, and tendrils complete. Next time, I’ll tackle the flower, the dragonfly, and the two little berries. And then it’s just a matter of the hillocks!

It’s a fun project. Every time I take it out to work on it – especially on gray February days! – it’s like taking out a bit of sunshine!

Stitchy Snippets – On The Button


A real master of buttons, artist Ran Hwang, constructs awesome art works made up of hundreds of buttons, pins and yards of threads. Hwang takes something so ordinary and turns it into something extraordinary by manipulating and arranging these common household items into stunning, colossal images.



Ran Hwang likens her artistic process to meditation as she labors for many hours with intricate precision which requires focus, calm and fluidity. Each button is accurately attached to the flat surface with a pin, also many of these buttons are handmade from paper.



Subtle meanings are key to Hwang’s work which she explains: “pins hold buttons that remain free to move between the surface of the wall and the pinhead. The constricted movement of the button, an everyday object as numerous and “ordinary” as people, as it is caught within the confines imposed by the wall and the pinhead, suggests the tension between the human desire for freedom and the limitations imposed by society.”
Hwang’s incredible collection of work is displayed worldwide and can be seen in many international museums. See more of her work here.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Dillmont Rose #2

Happy Monday!

To get your creative juices flowing for the week, here’s a cleaned up version of another Therese Dillmont design! This one is similar in some ways (we’ll talk about those below) to the Dillmont Rose I shared with you a few weeks ago, though a little simpler.

The design was originally intended as an embroidery design. It is from Dillmont book on Colbert embroidery, which you can read about here. It would also make a wonderful design for quilting and for crafts like paper crafts and card making.

Let’s chat a little bit about Colbert embroidery, to clarify some ways this design could be used for that style of needlework.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Dillmont Rose #2

Colbert embroidery is a style of embroidery that incorporates somewhat simple, open designs that are usually fairly bold. The designs are outlined in a bold stitch – like a stem stitch worked in perle cotton or something similar. The type of thread and its weight, though, depends a lot on the size of your design and the type of fabric you’re using.

In both of the Dillmont patterns (today’s and this one), then, the line parts of the design would be stitched in a line stitch of some sort, and then all the open space in the backgrounds would be filled with colorful geometric patterns, usually based on counting.

Colbert designs as presented by Dillmont in her book on Colbert embroidery, which I wrote about here, are meant to be somewhat large. The designs she offers in the book are supposed to be either enlarged, or, in the case of these two, repeated to create the whole pattern.

The patterns would make excellent cushion designs, but they’d also work equally well for table toppers, runners, placemats, and so forth. And I think they’d make neat quilt squares, if they were embroidered in Colbert style and then incorporated in a quilt pieces from fabrics in the same color scheme as the embroidery.

In the article about Dillmont’s book, I drew a little bit of a connection between Colbert embroidery and Wessex stitchery as presented in this book. The concepts presented in both books, combined, would work well together.

To use the design in the PDF below in Colbert style embroidery, as printed at 7″, you’d have to use a very fine ground linen and fine threads, approaching the whole thing as more of a miniature design.

But you could enlarge the design to a standard 14″ cushion size, for example, and work it in bold lines with bold threads and bold background designs.

Other Ideas

Both Dillmont patterns are perfect springboards for other embroidery ideas. Goldwork, goldwork and blackwork combined, silk shading, crewel embroidery, whitework with pulled or drawn thread areas – all of these would work well on both designs.

Additionally, they’d works as a nice quilting pattern or appliqué design for quilting.

Free Embroidery Pattern: Dillmont Rose #2

Here’s the PDF for the design. It will print at approximately 7″ if you choose “no scaling” or “100%” on your printer options. If you want to enlarge it, you can do so easily on a copy machine.

Dillmont Rose #2 Hand Embroidery Pattern (PDF)

Looking for More?

If you’re looking for more hand embroidery patterns, you’ll find a slew of free designs to stitch right here on Needle ‘n Thread.

If you’re looking for stitches to stitch them with, why not take a browse through my how-to videosand stitch dictionary, or my Stitch Fun! series here on Needle ‘n Thread?

Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork – New Edition!

Oh dear.

I promise this isn’t shameless self-promotion here. There’s nothing about this book that has to do with me, except for the fact that I love the book…and the fact that my name is on the cover.

There’s a new edition to Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork by Ruth Chamberline out. I wrote the forward. Why? Because I love the book!

I reviewed Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork a long time ago, way back in 2007. It became hard to find for a while, and now it’s been re-issued – a great boon to embroiderers everywhere, because now the book is widely available again, and affordably so!

There are many reasons why this book nestles deep within the cockles of my heart, but there’s one reason in particular. I’ll share that with you today, because if you’re anything like me when it comes to your embroidery journey, you’ll understand!

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

Besides the book being a practical instructional guide, and besides the book housing some really stunning goldwork embroidery, and besides the book featuring a drop-dead-gorgeous silk and gold embroidery sampler to work – all of these being good reasons for loving the book and wanting it on your shelf – there’s a much Bigger Reason that I love it.

To understand the reason, you have to come back with me to the very beginning of my interest in the art of embroidery.

Rewind to the first half of the 1990’s. I was in college. I saw stuff at museums. Goldwork. Silk. Magnificent embroideries. And I saw stuff in books, too. Mostly in old books. Sometimes, old stuff in new books.

I wanted to know about that stuff. I wanted to know how it was made. I wanted to know who made it. I wanted to know where all the people are who make the same stuff today! I wanted to know where to find the threads. I wanted to know … ! Well, I wanted to know everything I could wrap my brain around about this gold embroidery that I saw in these old books, in these history of art books, in these museum exhibits.

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

But you know, back in the 1990’s – sooooo verrrrry loooooong ago – we didn’t have easy access to the internet as we know it today. Instead, we had these buildings called libraries, that you actually walk into with your legs, and these buildings had these things in them called books.

And the research you could do in those libraries was limited in many ways. The most obvious limitation was that the library that you had easy access to was usually limited in their collections to topics that were pertinent to the patrons of the libraries. To actually find one particular book on goldwork in the 1990’s in a college library in Kansas – or even in a public library – was nigh on impossible.

Enter: the interlibrary loan. I was able to get my hands on some books, but nothing that told me about the art of goldwork embroidery today.

And heck, I was in Kansas. No offense, Kansas. But cross stitch and quilting just didn’t do it for me, and that’s all you offered!

But I did what I could, collecting books, visiting used bookstores (we have some good ones out here), putting my name on search lists and want lists through those bookstores. And eventually, I amassed my own little collection of old books.

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

I began dabbling with needle and thread, using supplies that I could get ahold of locally, because I really didn’t know anything about how or where to find fine embroidery supplies.

The results of my first trials at “goldwork,” with cotton floss and metallic threads, were a bit underwhelming, to say the least!

In any case, during that same time, my sister subscribed to a new Australian needlework publication (called Inspirations Magazine!), and it was actually through Inspirations that I started to learn something about fine embroidery, about what I would call the art of embroidery. I also discovered that there were places you could get ahold of something other than cotton floss and metallic thread.

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

The years went by, and I learned stuff. And I collected more books. And I played around with my needle and thread.

But I was forever intimidated by goldwork embroidery. No matter the publication, no matter the book, it always seemed to me that goldwork (and the often-connected silk embroidery that comes along with it) was placed on a pedestal.

In practically every publication that I had access to, goldwork came across as the Inaccessible Height of the Art of Embroidery, only for Those Who Scale the Mountain and are Endowed by the Gods with The Gift.

And deep pockets.

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

And it wasn’t until I had Ruth Chamberline’s book in my hands one day – in 2007! – that I realized that my impression of goldwork – and the “intimidation factor” that hovered around goldwork – was all just bunkum.

See, goldwork is just a matter of stitching. And if you can take your needle and thread up into fabric and put it down into fabric, you can do goldwork!

Beautiful, real goldwork.

Beginner's Guide to Goldwork

And that’s what this book taught me. Not to be intimidated by goldwork. It isn’t just for the Specially Endowed, the Ones who Climb the Mountain. It’s accessible to anyone who has an interest in pursuing it.

And this is why Ruth Chamberline’s Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork nestles deep in the cockles of my heart! And this is why I was happy and honored to write the forward for the new edition.

Where to Find It

If you’d like to add Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork to your needlework library – and I think you should, if you have the slightest interest in goldwork embroidery – you can find the new edition through the following book affiliates:

In the US, you can find Beginner’s Guide to Goldwork here for pre-order, through Amazon.

Worldwide with free shipping, it’s available here now, through Book Depository.

It’s a beautiful book. It’s full of instruction. It will show you the wonders of goldwork and it will teach you – like it did me – that goldwork is accessible to anyone who has an interest in it!

Friday Instagram Finds No. 88 with Maryke Dolls


I was looking through our #feelingstitchyig hashtag when I came across the beautiful dolls that Robyn Maryke creates. You can find her on Instagram at @marykedolls and her online shop Maryke Dolls. Robyn’s handmade dolls feature recycled wool, and they are beautiful! I don’t have a daughter (unless you count my three female dogs 🙂 ), but I want one of these for myself! The Frida, in particular, is my favorite. Take a look at some of my favorite pictures, and then go check out her Instagram feed @marykedolls.

On March 20, 2017 we have our two year Friday Instagram Finds anniversary – woo hoo! I’m switching things up a bit, so you might want to start using #feelingstitchyfridays on your best needle art photos on Instagram  🙂

This 70s icon doll has needle-felted eyes and lip colour for a softer look. What do you think? Can’t reveal her in entirety just yet; she’s part of something really cool coming up in about a month from now. See #beboldmakedolls for more sneak peeks from other makers. 🙈A photo posted by Maryke Dolls (@marykedolls) on Feb 3, 2017 at 1:43pm PST

Perched and looking delightfully defiant 🙅🏻😉💐A photo posted by Maryke Dolls (@marykedolls) on Jan 22, 2017 at 1:09pm PST

Warm enough to get outside and snap some photos today. Love outdoor dolly pics! We go on some thrilling adventures 😉 #inthebackyard #wearallthebabies #magicofchildhood #motherhoodrising #gnomesweetgnome #gnomes #kinfolk #adventureisoutthere #exploremore #littleredridinghood #dollmaker #babylove #oureverydaymoments #bigcartel #fibreart #handmadecanadaA photo posted by Maryke Dolls (@marykedolls) on Jan 25, 2017 at 8:50am PST

5 Braid-Like Embroidery Stitches for Textured, Bold Lines

Sometimes, there’s nothing better on a piece of embroidery than a bold, textured line!

A bold line draws the eye, and texture keeps the eye glued. Often, in embroidery, you want the eye drawn to a specific area. And once it’s drawn there, the texture of a nice, chunky braid-like line can engross the viewer.

Braid-like lines – bold or delicate – can be used effectively in hand embroidery in a number of ways. They make great outlines, they’re terrific for stems and tendrils, they can stand on their own for lettering. On samplers and such, they add texture and interest. So it’s always good to have a nice arsenal of braid-like line stitches in your stitching repertoire.

Here are my five favorites, with links to tutorials so that you can try them on your own stitching projects!

Embroidery Stitches, Braided, for texture and bold lines

5 Tutorials for Braid-Like Line Stitches

If you’re hankering to try adding some bold textured lines to your embroidery, try these stitches! They’re fun!

Incidentally, if you’re engaged in the “Year of Stitches” challenge that I mentioned in this article, these additions to your stitch year would not go amiss!

1. Spanish Knotted Feather Stitch – this is the stitch in the top left of the photo above, in purple. It’s an easy stitch to learn (it’s a combination of twisted chain and feather stitch), it works up with a nice rhythm, and it looks great in compact form!

You’ll find the video tutorial for Spanish Knotted Feather Stitch here. And here’s the Stitch Fun! article that shows you how to make the stitch compact, so that it looks braided. You might also find this article on starting a new thread with Spanish Knotted Feather Stitch useful.

2. Plaited Braid Stitch – this is the stitch in the top right corner of the photo above.

It’s a slightly more complex stitch, but my how-to video for plaited braid stitch will walk you through all the steps. You might also find this instruction guide for plaited braid stitch invaluable for conquering the stitch. It has several practice projects in it and a lot of trouble-shooting tips.

Plaited Braid Stitch is an excellent stitch to master, and once you have it, it’s yours! Once you get the stitch down, you’ll realize it only looks complicated.

3. Cable Plait Stitch (or Braid Stitch) – shown in the lower left corner of the photo above, Cable Plait Stitch (also called simply “braid stitch”) is an easy stitch to learn. It works great on more delicate, narrower lines. You can find my how-to video for Cable Plait Stitch here.

4. Interlaced Chain Stitch – this is the stitch in the lower right in the photo above. It’s braid-like look depends more on color choices than anything else. If you use contrasting colors to create the line, the stitch might not look like a cohesive braid, but it certainly produces a nice, textured, interwoven line!

You can find a step-by-step tutorial for interlaced chain stitch here.

5. Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch – Easy and fun, Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch works up quickly and makes a beautiful, compact braided chain stitch.

Here’s my how-to video for Hungarian Braided Chain Stitch, and here’s a little “stitch glitch” article that discusses joining Hungarian Braided Chain in a circle. You can also see this stitch effectively used in this Redwork Runner project.

Other Stitches to Consider

When you’re looking for braided line stitches, there are many stitches you can consider! The ones above are my five favorites, but you might also take a look at these:

Raised chain stitch: it creates a braid-like raised band

Heavy chain stitch: it can be used to create very delicate braid-like lines, depending on the weight of your thread

Raised buttonhole stitch: though it doesn’t braid together, it can look like a very textured, interwoven band

Chinese knot stitch: when worked in a compact line, it can look somewhat interwoven and textured

Basket stitch: it creates a braided looking, flatter line, and can be used effectively for filling

Ladder stitch: if you work the sides of the ladder close together (with narrow rungs), it creates a kind of connected, double braided line. (Sorry about the old video on that one – wow! Ancient!)

What About You?

What’s your favorite stitch for creating bold, braid-like lines? Feel free to chime in below, to help other folks who are looking for stitch ideas!

Happy Wednesday!

Would You Bee Mine? Playing with Monograms!

Oooooooh! I’ve been playing with monograms again!

You know what I love about embroidered monograms? I love the fact that they are self-contained projects that don’t take very long to work up into their finished glory. They can be stitched on practically anything textile-related, and voilá – you have a Finished Thing!

Fairly simple monograms – like the ones I’ll show you today – can be whipped up in no time. A weekend of intermittent stitching will easily get you to the finish line!

With Valentine’s Day tomorrow, I thought I’d share a glimpse of the two latest letter styles I’ve been playing with. Admittedly, there’s a bit of sugar shock going on here, but…now and then…we all need a little something sweet in our lives, don’t we?

Heart Monogram B - Hand Embroidery on Needle 'n Thread

These concoctions started out as an adaptation of an old monogram alphabet from Alexandre. The original one was rather plain and I thought it was a bit boring.

But when I started thinking about it, I realized that it could be fairly easily adapted into all kinds of fun approaches.

So I started with hearts…and that lead me to other things, like the bees, below.

The re-drawn letters have been sitting half-finished on my computer for the last year or so. Finally, I started stitching samples last week.

Heart Monogram B - Hand Embroidery on Needle 'n Thread

To work up the first sample in the heart design, I rummaged through my linen boxes and found a pre-finished blank cotton towel with red and white trim – a perfect canvas for some quick stitching that would develop into something giftable.

I used floche for the thread, which made the whole process very pleasant! (If you’re not sure what floche is, you can read about it here and here.)

Heart Monogram B - Hand Embroidery on Needle 'n Thread

Knowing that some folks don’t have access to floche, I also started a sample using regular floss, mixing up the stitches a bit. This is as far as I’ve gotten on that particular sample, but I plan to finish it today.

Bees and Blossoms Monogram - B - hand embroidery on Needle 'n Thread

Once the first heart sample was finished, I launched into my second idea for these particular letters.

Bees.

I love bees!

This sample was such fun, and I can’t wait to work up more of them! I think it’s the activity going on in it. It just makes me want to keep stitching!

Coming and More!

I still have a lot of work to do on this alphabet and a couple more interpretations I want to play with before making it available.

I suppose I was just so excited about actually finishing a couple stitched samples, that I couldn’t resist showing you. I feel like I’ve actually accomplished something for a change!

Besides, it seemed like a good day to share something a bit heartsy and sweet.

If you want to know how heartsy and sweet I am when it comes to Valentine’s Day, you can read my own poetic masterpiece about Valentine’s Day here. You’ll also find a free hand embroidery pattern for a pretty little heart in the same article.

And if that doesn’t do you for Valentine’s patterns, you might enjoy this Heart o’ Flowers design. You’ll find a gorgeous stitched version of the same design here, worked in silk and goldwork.

Wishing you a cheery Monday all around!