Sunday, 19 August 2012

satin stitch 3 ways- a tutorial

I do love a bit of satin stitch me- here is a little buggy satin stitch sampler with an explanation of how I do 3 different types of satin stitch

1) To start with you need a pattern, so get designing, or you can use my one! download the pdf for free.
We are starting with the bug on the left, he is just plain ol' simple satin stitch

 2)Bring your needle up at the bottom of your shape in the middle and form a stitch by taking your needle through at the top of the shape. Make another stitch in the same way next to it and work across the shape like this until you have filled one side, then go back to the middle and fill in the other side
If I am filling a larger shape I might outline it with split stitch first and take my satin stitches up through/down into the split stitch line this gives a smooth outline but isn't really necessary on such a small shape
 3) Fill in the top of the bugs body the same way

 4) Use your new-found satin stitching skills to fill in the bugs head in a different colour and use small straight  stitches to add detail.
 Make 2 long chain stitches to form each leg with a small straight stitch at the end to secure. You might find it easier to mark them on with a disappearing marker first.

 Work the top two legs first, then the middle two, then the bottom two, DON'T try and do all the legs on the left then all the legs on the right- it will be wonky!

Ta-dah- he's done! (You could add some french knot spots or seed bead eyes if you wanted to be fancy)
 5) Now for the middle bug- he is stitch-padded satin stitch. Start by satin stitching a small area in the middle of the bug
 6) Now stitch right over the top of those stitches, covering a slightly bigger area ...
 7) ... and again... and again- until your shape is filled. The body should stick up from your fabric quite a bit because of the padding you made with your stitches.
 Add a satin stitched head and work the legs using a couple of long chain stitches and 3 tiny chain stitches (see the first photo) and take one stitch across the body near the top in your contrasting colour to define the body.
8) The last little bug is felt padded satin stitch. Cut out a small piece of felt in a similar colour to the thread you are using and use little stitches to attach it to the middle of the bugs body
9)Now cut out a slightly bigger piece of felt and attach it over the top

 10) Work your satin stitches over the top of the felt- this little guy should have a really domed body because of the felt padding.

 An alternative way of doing this is to just use the larger piece of felt over some toy stuffing- you can make the shape really padded this way.

 This little guy has a satin stitched head and chunky legs worked in stem stitch and filled with yet more satin stitch. His body is defined with a line of back stitch. Use the first photo as a guide.

There we have it- three types of satin stitch- I hope someone out there finds this useful, please let me know if you do. If there is anything that doesn't make sense (and as this is my first tutorial this is very likely) just ask and I will try and explain.

Saturday, 18 August 2012

future manbroiderer

step aside Mr X Stitch, Jack B Nimble and Johnny Murder, there's a new kid in town

Wednesday, 15 August 2012

tiger moth

I stitched up a simple tiger moth- poised to flutter away. This was quite easy as it's mainly satin stitch but my initial drawing was a bit off. I only noticed after it was finished, the wings aren't the same shape. I must remember to look at my embroidery from a distance whilst I'm stitching, it is very easy to make mistakes when you are working on something close up! I might try and correct it with a row of black stitching on the top of the right wing. I love the markings on this moth and am thinking of doing one in stumpwork in a box frame to look like a collectors display box.

I have a couple of other projects on the go- the stumpwork magpie I started a while age is nearly finished and I am experimenting with incorporating stumpwork in another project- it's making my head hurt trying to figure out how to make it work.

Monday, 6 August 2012

70s baby!

There has been a summer swap over at Phat Quarter and I got partnered up with two very talented ladies. I had to stitch something for Cocoaeyes. Now I won't lie to you - stitching for someone whose work you admire is always a bit nerve-wracking. Luckily she is very sweet and she told me that she liked the boxing hares piece I did for the last PQ swap- phew!
So I started thinking of ideas- the theme was 70's. I was a bit stuck at first until I hit on the idea of doing something based on the 1970 Isle of Wight festival, which is famous for being huge and chaotic and is the subject of the film Message to Love. Whilst searching for images I happened across an image of a pregnant girl, standing among the tents. It was an image that jumped out at me and I knew straight away that was what I wanted to stitch. It's a beautiful photo and iconic too as there have been efforts to identify the girl but she has never come forward. I used a variety of stitches - the thread is a variegated hand-dyed silk, that I think gives a sort of tie-dye feel and the colours have that hazy, smoky quality that goes with the festival vibe.

I love how working to a theme means you create things you would never have thought of otherwise- the PQ swap galleries are always brilliant, I love seeing how everyone interprets the theme so differently.

 Stitching for me was the awesome SisterTwisty who made me a beautiful David bowie hoop

and his supercute feline double!!!

She used metallic thread for the flash- how great is that. They are so beautifully stitched- all that fill is so smooth. the shading on the face works so well- I love his eyes. Check out her blog post about it and don't forget to visit the swap gallery here 

Thursday, 2 August 2012


Remember my post about the faith hope and charity shopping swap? Well this is part of the package I sent my partner. She has a passion for flamingos but I wanted to stitch something a bit more interesting than a plain flamingo so I designed this. It was fun adding all the little details and I wanted it to look a little like an old fashioned portrait. 
The way it is filled with lots of little lines is starting to become my go-to fill when I'm doing surface embroidery. I just like the way it looks- like an old woodcut illustration. I have used a similar technique in my piece for the Phat Quarter swap, which I will show you once my partner receives it!!

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


You might notice a bit of a creepy crawly theme lately! I am really enjoying making insects at the moment. Here is a cushion and a stumpworked butterfly I made for a recent swap

So what beetle or butterfly should I stitch next? The earwig was fun so maybe another one of them? Or a devils coachhorse? Any ideas?