Saturday, December 27, 2008

Christmas Crackers Revealed!

Remember the Christmas Crackers I received a little while back from my friends in the CQI Christmas Cracker exchange? Well, finally Christmas came and I could open them! What wonderful goodies I received - I am tickled pink! The one above is from Simona in Italy. You can see the crazy quilt block that was the outside of the cracker as well as the goodies that were concealed inside. There are is a lovely crochet fan to embellish with as well as a beautiful bejeweled crochet angel for my tree. These are so welcome because I myself do not crochet. The wonderful threads you can see here are perle #8, hand dyed from South Africa, and I can't wait to use them - they are so lovely! There were also buttons, ribbons and beads all picked especially to coordinate with the cq block so I can embellish it to my heart's content. Thank you Simona!

This second cracker is from Meg in the US - another beautiful crazy quilt block to embellish! Meg included a chocolate bar from Europe which I will admit did not last until Christmas because it was outside the cracker and I am very weak willed! lol I did wait to open the cracker itself up though and it was well worth waiting for! There is extra fabric, beads, trim, metallic thread and the most wonderful ribbons. One very generous length is dyed pink with lovely gold edges. I will find something special to do with it. Thank you Meg!

Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Stitch Explorer Challenge for 2009

Sharon B at Pin Tangles has announced another challenge for this upcoming year. On the 15th of each month Sharon will be posting a little known stitch or style of embroidery, or both, for the participants to explore. I have just signed up - it looks like a wonderful opportunity to stretch and grow. To read more about the challenge, check out Sharon's Pin Tangles blog at:

Sunday, December 21, 2008

Build a Seam - Week 12

I had a great suggestion that the Beaded Feather Stitch would make a good Week 12 for the Build a Seam Challenge so I'm making it official! Here are two variations of it from previous posts and you can find a tutorial on how to do it a couple posts back too. This will give us something to work on during the holiday season, before the next one in the new year. Seems appropriate to be using beads for a bit of glitz and glamour during the holidays!

Thursday, December 18, 2008

Build a Seam

Hi there! I am going to take a brief break from the Build a Seam challenge over the holidays - sorry this week's never got posted! I will be back and raring to go with this right after the New Year. In the meantime, I would like to wish everyone a wonderful holiday season and all the best of everything in 2009! Stay warm!

Friday, December 12, 2008

Beaded Feather Stitch

Several people had admired the beaded feather stitch that I enjoy using on seam treatments so I have decided to write up a little "how-to" on it. And since one picture is worth a thousand words I went a little crazy with the pictures!

So, you will need a beading needle for this stitch , some seed beads and thread. I like using Fireline now for the security of it but since it shows up better in the pictures I have just used regular DMC (one strand). I have used the floss on this seam many times in the past with no problems.

After securing your thread well on the back come up to the left of your seam and then thread six beads onto your thread. You can use more beads but the key is to make sure they are an even number (6, 8, etc).

To complete the first stitch you put your needle down to the right of where you came up and then come back up at the halfway mark a bit lower. Pull your thread through and then hold it between the two center beads. This is why you need an even number. With three beads on one side and three on the other it keeps the "V's" nice and uniform.
The second stitch is done the same way - after bringing the thread up and holding it in place in the center of the beads of the last stitch you thread on another six beads. Put your needle down directly to the right where you came up, go down to the right and come back up in the center below. Pull your thread through and hold it down through the space in the center of the beads - three on one side and three on the other.

Carry on the same way for the next stitch.

You now have three stitches stepping down and to the right - time to start working back to the left.

The next stitch is made in exactly the same way except you are moving downwards and to the left this time.

After making two stitches downward and to the left you have completed this leg. Time to head back to the right again.
Keep working back and forth in this way until you have a seam of the length you want.

You will find it helpful to use your thumb to hold the thread between the beads as you make each next step to keep it laying in the center where you want it.

Your seam is done - now just make sure you secure the thread well on the back of your work. Don't want the beads escaping! lol

This beaded feather stitch also looks very nice when worked back and forth only one stitch instead of as shown here. The previous post that had been commented favourably on was in fact made using one stitch to the left, one to the right, one to the left, etc.

There are a lot of the basic embroidery stitches we use that can easily be adapted to bead embroidery - this is just one. Have fun!

Thursday, December 11, 2008

Meg's Block - On the Seamy Side Round Robin

I have just finished my work on Meg's On the Seamy Side RR block. This go around was buttonhole stitch and spider webs.

I managed to come up with a small motif of three buttonhole stitch circles, adding the odd bead to them.

The second motif I did on Meg's block was the requisite spider web. This time I chose to do a corner one for a change, anchoring the strands of the web to the beads in the adjoining seam. The spokes of the web are done in Japanese Buttonhole Thread and Glissen Gloss and the connecting strands are of Glissen Gloss alone. Both of these threads I received in the recent Threads of Friendship Swap at Crazy Quilting International. I built a spider for the web from some pearl beads.

Next I did a couple buttonhole seams. The top one is a curving row of buttonhole stitch with the purple grape bunches added.

The second seam was Woven Buttonhole Stitch made of two rows of buttonhole stitch facing each other and with Japanese Gold Thread woven through the two lines of stitches.

The last seam is a Pyramid Buttonhole Stitch with two rows of the stitches mirroring each other on either side of the seam and silver spacers, beads, and detached chain stitches to dress it up a bit. If it looks familiar it is because it was my Week 11 Build a Seam sample.

So, here is a picture of Meg's block as it was ready to go into the mail. I was the last one to work on it so it is heading home to Meg now. I think she will be pleased with it. Everyone did such lovely seams!

I know everyone in the round robin enjoyed working on this cool colour palette of Meg's.

So this is my last block to work on in this round robin. Now I only need to wait for mine to come home to me. I am quite anxious to see it!

Tuesday, December 9, 2008

My Week 11 Build a Seam Sample

Sorry for the awful picture but here is my sample for the Week 11 Build a Seam challenge. I took the Buttonhole Pyramid stitch and then mirrored it underneath, leaving a space of about a quarter of an inch between the rows. Each peak of the pyramids was topped with a french knot and three detached chain stitches. Then in the center between the peaks went silver spacer beads attached with a seed bead. On either side of the spacers are more detached chain stitches.

The quality of the picture is awful but hopefully if you click on the picture to enlarge it you can see the details.

Saturday, December 6, 2008

Build a Seam - Week 11

Well, here's a surprise - I'm early instead of late this week! Here is this week's seam - a pyramid buttonhole stitch, called so because the stitches go and and down in a pyramid shape obviously. Other than that it is just your regular buttonhole stitch. You might notice that mine is above the seam line and wonder why. It is because I will be doing a second row under the seam line mirroring it and then using the space in between for further stitches or embellishments. So, have fun - I'm looking forward to seeing the results!

Tuesday, December 2, 2008

On the Seamy Side RR - Jeanne's block

I have just had the pleasure of working on Jeanne's block in the On the Seamy Side Round Robin at CQI. This round robin dictates which stitch we use each go round of the round robin. This time it was the feather stitch so I used that both as a beaded feather stitch seam as well as for the basis of the silk ribon florals etc I added to the lace already on the block.
I also threaded some gold braid through the lace above and below the floral design. Below this I added my first attempt at a Beaded Hedebo Edge that I found in A - Z of Embroidery Stitches 2 book. This edge shows in the picture of the whole block but not in the detail picture above.

I really enjoy doing feather stitch in beads as shown. The stitch seems to lend itself so well to being embroidered with beads.

Monday, December 1, 2008

Build a Seam - Week 10

Here is the starting point for this week's seam. It is sort of a vine looking thing - loops above and below the seam line done in stem stitch. I hope you enjoy it!