Thursday, November 27, 2014

Tutorial: Duplicate Stitch

Today we have a tutorial for a special stitch to add embroidered elements to knit fabric. You can, of course, use traditional embroidery techniques with knitwear, but traditional stitches do not have the same stretchiness that knitted fabric has.

Enter the duplicate stitch. This is a stitch that essentially duplicates the knitted stitches, giving you the look of knitted color work. The stitch is easy to learn but can give you lots of creative options.

Materials & tools:
Knitted sweater or other piece of knitwear
Darning needle with an eye big enough for your yarn
Erasable fabric pen or pencil (optional)

Start with a piece of knitwear that has a relatively chunky knit. The stitch works best on stockinette stitch fabric, which looks like many rows of "V"s, so make sure your chosen fabric has enough of that stockinette stitch for you to create your design.

Choose a yarn in whatever color or weight you'd like to work with. When choosing a yarn weight, keep in mind these two elements:
One, a yarn in a lighter weight than the yarn your knitwear is made of (like the pink yarn above) may not entirely cover the existing stitches, meaning that your background fabric will peek through your stitches.
Two, a yarn in a heavier weight than the original fabric (like the brown yarn above) will cause your design to be very bulky.

Both of those options will work just fine, but you may want to experiment to make sure you like the look of the yarn you choose.

1. To start the stitch, bring your darning needle up through the base of the first "V" you want to stitch. You can see in this photo that I have highlighted where this stitch will be.

2. Pass the needle through the back of the stitch you are covering.

3. Bring your needle back through your original entry point at the base of the "V."

4. And that's the completed stitch! Just keep working that stitch to finish your design.

A few tips:

To maintain the stretchiness of the original fabric, try to work your stitches in horizontal rows and don't carry your yarn over more than a couple of stitches. Start and stop your working yarn if you need to skip a large area.

Be mindful of the tension of your stitches. You want the tension to match the fabric you are knitting.

To make it easier to follow your design, I recommend marking the stitches you will duplicate using an erasable fabric marker. I wasn't quite able to both focus on the stitch and keep my design in mind, so I found this to be very helpful.

This can be a great way to use cross-stitch patterns, but keep in mind that the ratio of the size of the stitches in knitwear is a little different than in evenweave or Aida fabric. To help you create your design, there are a lot of printable knitwear graph papers available, like this one here.

I hope you enjoyed this tutorial and will give it a try. Feel free to share your creations in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see them!

Tuesday, November 25, 2014

Colour Inspirations: Winter in one thread


Usually we feature several different skeins in our Colour Inspirations posts but today's floss is special. DMC 4010 is host to a whole palette of different colours. Soft, misty, frosty, winter colours that change subtly from one colour to another. You can notice the different shades more distinctly when you place them close together like in a bunch of French Knots or in a stitch like the Raised Herringbone Stitch.

DMC 4010 is part of the DMC Colour Variations series: over-dyed threads that can have several colours in each thread. Not to be confused with the Variegated colours that usually feature gradual shade changes within one colour.

I really enjoy using these threads for their subtle effects. Do you use Colour variations or variegated threads too?

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Sunday, November 23, 2014

Found on Flickr: Chaotic-Stitched Snowflake

snowflake step by step

Anne from the blog Pumora has shared a lovely tutorial entitled, "The Absence of A Snowflake" - she shows you how to stitch your own chaotic - but so delicate! - negative-space snowflake. I love how she starts with the paper snowflakes that we always made as children! What a cool way to put a modern twist on an old nostalgic craft.

Thanks for sharing, Anne!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!

Friday, November 21, 2014

Old Stitches New Tricks Contest Winners!

First, a big thank you to all that entered our Old Stitches, New Tricks contest! We would've loved a few more entries but we know we set you all quite a challenge. Some entries had no or little explanation so that made them kind of difficult for us to assess - don't forget to share your process, guys, we love to read a bit about the creative journey!

Secondly, we'd like to thank our kind and generous sponsors:

What Delilah Did 's publisher Pavilion

1. Obviously, we appreciate things like originality and good execution, but most important was whether the embroiderer found a modern way to use old techniques or stitches - or used old materials in a completely new way. After discussing the entries extensively, we decided that Stephanie's Giant Rainbow Skull incorporated all of those elements!

Stephanie's quirky piece, which started with a very well-known stitch but ended with a whole new way to use it, captured the spirit of the contest perfectly. She used a huge pegboard and yarn to create her piece, inspired by a photo of a perler bead Rainbow Skull. Read more about the process on Stephanie's blog!

2. Jorie's piece is a page from her great-uncle Morrey's diary/notebook, a US army pilot who flew many missions during the Second World War. Its inspiration lies in her family history (and really, in a broader sense, in the history of many of us), which is a different kind of approach than we expected. Having said that, we were moved by Jorie's meaningful piece and it definitely deserves to be in our top three. Read more about this piece on Jorie's blog.

3. We are in awe of the neat stitching on Shannon's Wonder Woman piece and we applaud the use of lesser-known stitches and the creative use of familiar ones. It's a pity that her second entry was unfinished because that definitely caught our attention as well. It involved an old technique/stitch that was new to us, called the Queen stitch. Check out Shannon's posts about Wonder Woman and the Queen Stitch on her blog.

We are pleased that our contest sparked some stitchers in the &Stitches community to explore old techniques and try new things!

And last but not least we'd like to give Becca's Stitched Bicycle Basket an honourable mention. We only had 3 prizes to hand out but did find her entry fun and quirky!

Tuesday, November 18, 2014

Winter inspired patterns

It still feels more like autumn here than winter, although we're not that far away from December. Will we see any snow? Some of you may already have snow! Which I am kinda jealous of... :-)

I am just going to pretend that it's proper winter, all pretty and white. And these patterns have definitely put me in a winter mood:

Winter Bliss Embroidery by The Floss Box (image above)

Into the Winter Woods by thestoryofkat.

Snowflakes sashiko embroidery pattern from SakePuppets.

Snow White cross stitch pattern by The Cottage Needle.

Not an embroidery pattern per se, but this Felt Flower Winter Wreath from the Purl Bee is really pretty and it does have hand embroidery. Any excuse... ;-)

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!