Sunday, August 21, 2016

Crazy Quilt Embroidery School - Lesson One


Welcome to the second installment of Embroidery School! Are you ready to go crazy? I hope so because we're going to work through some incredibly beautiful stitches used along fabric seams in crazy quilts.

If you haven't worked the lessons from the original Embroidery School series, you can still do this one. All the stitches are explained, the "old" ones and the "new" ones. 

Here are some links to other useful lessons:

Transferring the design to fabric 

Knotting and not knotting your thread

You're also welcome to go back and review all the lessons of the Embroidery School series. Just click the page tab above conveniently labeled "Embroidery School".

Let's Get Crazy!

This series comes with a free downloadable sampler pattern to work on (click on the link in the materials list). I have provided the pattern of a patchwork crazy quilt block with the stitching drawn on so you can just follow along and make what I made - like walking in the snow and stepping where I've stepped. But I have also provided the crazy quilt block pattern without stitching drawn on, so you can go wild and practice and create your own designs.

Now don't get nervous. Many crazy quilt seam embellishments are a single stitch, such as feather stitch, but those complex ones can be daunting. Guess what? They are actually combinations of very simple stitches and we'll do some of that, too.

Lesson One covers seams 1 and 2. 
Lesson Two covers seams 3 and 4. 
Lesson Three covers seam 5.
Lesson Four covers seam 6.
Lesson Five is a surprise!

Materials needed:
  • sampler pattern template
  • cotton or linen fabric suitable for embroidery ( a homespun calico or muslin works well) - 10" square
  • embroidery hoop - a 9" hoop will allow you to work the whole piece while a smaller hoop can be moved as you stitch
  • cotton stranded embroidery floss (I used DMC)
  • embroidery needle or sewing needle with an eye large enough to thread a 4 strand length of floss
  • scissors
  • a method for transferring the pattern
Choose you favorite colors or use the same colors I used:
  • Seam 1: long and short blanket stitch; DMC 936
  • Seam 2: chain stitch, straight stitch (running stitch); DMC 3821, 825
  • Seam 3: feather stitch, straight stitch, french knot; DMC221, 988, 3833
  • Seam 4: chevron stitch; DMC 154
  • Seam 5: cretan stitch, lazy daisy stitch; DMC 921, 154
  • Seam 6: herringbone stitch, straight stitch, lazy daisy stitch, french knot; 826, 472, 3835, 988, 825




Use your favorite method to transfer the pattern to the fabric. Place the whole thing in a 9" hoop or place the area you want to work on inside a smaller hoop.

Work with a 4 strand length of embroidery floss for all stitches. 

Seam 1: Long and Short Blanket Stitch

You might see this stitch called buttonhole stitch, but don't be confused as the two are basically the same stitch.

This seam is decorated by a simple blanket stitch, but here, one prong is longer and one is shorter instead of them being all the same length.

Because I thought the beginning had room for one more prong, I've added it here without drawing it, as you can see in the photo. Just follow in my footsteps!

Thread the needle and bring the thread from the back to the front at the left end of the seam. Insert the needle as shown making sure to wrap the floss behind the tip of the needle.



Pull the needle and thread through to make the first stitch.



Insert the needle at the bottom of the long prong and bring it back up at the top, with the floss wrapped to the back of the needle.



You can also stab stitch (bring the needle to the back, bring the needle to the front, etc.) one step at a time. Here I have taken the needle to the back of the fabric at the bottom of the next prong and am just bringing the needle to the front at the top of the prong. The thread is still wrapped to the back of the needle.



Continue stitching along the lines until the end of the seam. Tie off the thread or weave it in the stitching at the back. 



Seam 2: Straight stitch and Chain stitch

Bring the needle to the front of the fabric at the bottom of the little fans.



Take the thread to the back at the top of the line on the left.



Bring it back up in the same place or a thread away from where you started. Be careful not to split the first thread with the needle as it comes through.




Make the second stitch over the next line and continue making the fans in this way.



To make the chains, bring the needle and thread to the front at the start of the chain on the left. Pull the thresd through to the front.



Insert the needle into the starting place and bring it back out at the other end of the individual chain. Wrap the thread around the back of the needle.



Pull the thread through. Insert the needle right next to where the thread is coming through to the front.



Set up the next stitch in the same way, bringing the needle point back out at the other end of the little chain and wrapping the thread behind the needle. Pull the thread through. Continue to the end of the seam.




 Here is the seam completed.



Look what you've done! You've completed two seams of your faux crazy quilt block! Well done and see you in Lesson Two.

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