My new book, Joyful Stitching, has six free-form embroidery
projects with step-by-step directions to create the designs. There is even a
section on how to make 21 hand embroidery stitches.
But did you know there is one chapter missing from the book?
Sadly, the chapter (with the cheerful title Combinations Rock!) was dropped from the
book due to lack of space.
explored the combining of different embroidery stitches to create texture,
pattern, and shape on fabric.
But fear not! I have a few examples of that missing chapter to
The missing chapter, Combinations
, included the merging of embroidery stitches to create texture on
fabric. A good example of this texture building is found in the
Tasty Apple project in Joyful Stitching. Adjacent rows of blanket stitches
create small squares like the green threads above. Each green square is filled
in with a red French knot. This is my favorite stitch combination. I love how the
bumpy texture created with complementary thread colors really zings.
The French knot is famous for its bulky texture. But combine
it with the bullion knot, and your thread leaps off the fabric. In
Dyed in the Wool, the stitch combination
of French and bullion knots give the sheep a curly fleece you just want to pet.
Embroidery stitch combinations also create pattern. Repeated
stitch motifs or patterns are useful for filling in large background areas like
the table in
Embroidered Pear. This pattern of embroidery begins with rows
of linked cross stitches in blue thread. The blue threads make diamond shapes
across the fabric. French knots (in yellow thread) fill in the diamond shapes
to complete the pattern.
Stitch combinations can also create recognizable shapes like
flowers. The spiky yellow blooms in
Garden of Flowers are made with five fly stitches placed in a circle with
the points facing out. A mound of French knots in turquoise thread fills in
each center. Notice how the blue background fabric also plays a role in
creating the shape of these sweet little flowers.
Like sketching on fabric, combining a few stitches can
suggest a simple leaf shape. The leaves lining the
Red Belly Bird’s nest are a combination of the fern stitch and straight
stitches. Each branch of fern stitches is trimmed around the edge with straight
stitches to make an enclosed leaf shape.
The fern stitch lends itself to many stitch combinations that
you’ll find in the
Joyful Stitching projects. It evokes the shape of
leaves, climbing vines, or even a bird’s tail feathers. In the
Rare Songbird project, three vertical
lines of fern stitches are outlined in stem stitches using the same orange
thread. French knots, in a light blue thread, fill in the spaces between to
make a decorative tail for the bird.
I hope these few examples from the lost Combinations Rock! chapter will come in handy and add to your own
free-form stitchery arsenal. To learn more about free-form embroidery, please
see my book,
Joyful Stitching. You will also find the hand-dyed pearl cotton threads used in these examples and free embroidery
tutorials on my blog,
May your combinations always rock!
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