Yesterday I launched my latest design, Making Waves: A Drawstring Bag in my Etsy Shop! I also made a short video for it. My instructions are very, very detailed. I include everything from how to begin, to how to stitch this bag together and film all stages of the process. YouTube videos demonstrate every step so you can follow along. Each video is embedded within the instructions using Hotlinks. As I spend, literally, hundreds of hours video taping, editing and posting each video before embedding it within the instructions, my downloadable patterns are a bit more expensive. Not much. A little. People tell me they are well worth it.
This project began as a Stitch Along with a group of 17 hand stitchers who signed up for the class, which took place over Zoom. Over the course of 8 weeks we stitched this bag together and had a blast doing so.
A couple of people have asked me whether I will be doing this class again, so if you’re interested let me know as I will do it again, if there’s enough interest. The Zoom classes consist of eight one-hour classes although I would be open to doing a five-day workshop with classes running a 3-4 hours each. You can use your own threads or opt for a thread kit. If you choose a thread kit I will need to order in advance and we will have to wait until everyone has theirs to begin. This can take anywhere from one to two months, depending upon availability of the threads and how many people want kits.
I am also beginning a new design, which will be another Stitch Along, meaning that I will be designing this project as we go! What’s fun about that is that each week I unveil a new part of the design, which is fun and exciting. Once I have the basic background concept designed, I will post more about it. Right now I’m in the midst of throwing a lot of different ideas around and seeing which one I like best as well as determining which will make the most sense to add a lot of embellishing to it. As with the Making Waves design, I will be incorporating a great many different techniques and materials, such as hand dyed t-shirt scraps, hand dyed cheesecloth, wool roving, Dorset Buttons, beading, ribbon work and other fun things like that.
I spent at least 16 hours this weekend analyzing and stitching examples of the Trellis Stitch. Specifically the spiral trellis stitch, which was one of dozens of stitches that adorned the Plimoth Jacket, a women’s waistcoat, made in the early 1600’s.
Another heavily embroidered jacket is in the costume collection at the Metropolitan Museum here in New York City, which I would LOVE to see one day.
While I have done dozens and dozens of Spiral Trellis Stitches over the years, and have used this stitch in a number of my designs, I had never tried to figure out why it was often so difficult to replicate, and to replicate consistently.
So this weekend I decided to do just that. I experimented with a couple of different ways of stitching it, how to best add a new length of thread when your thread, which it inevitably does, runs out, how to consistently get good results when decreasing, stitching in all kinds of different threads and thread weights, and I even tried my hand at stitching a non-circular Trellis, which I will need to do a bit more experimenting with before I am completely satisfied. I had to fill in the center part with French Knots because I couldn’t figure out how to decrease the inside in a way that looked flawless.
I then posted my results to my Youtube Channel: Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand.
As I am left handed all of this was even more tricky because none of the embroidery books give instructions for the way I finally ended up stitching this beautiful, yet challenging stitch.
If you’d like to laugh and explore stitching (or in my case attempting to) with silk gimp and the thicker gimp that Painter’s Threads hand dyes, this was the live stream I did yesterday. Warning: We laughed A LOT.
My attempts at using the crinkly silk gimp became more comedic than informative… However, I am determined to continue investigating this beautiful, if challenging thread, and what I’m able to do with it. So this is just the beginning. By the way Mary Corbet, who is a fountain of knowledge when it comes to threads, stitching, and everything and anything to do with embroidery, is such a great resource. If you click on her name above, it will take you to her blog. She also has a YouTube Channel, where she demonstrates stitches.
So here’s the thing… I am a designer first and foremost. I love playing with threads and seeing how I can use an unusual thread in a different way. My approach to hand stitching is from a design point of view. When I’m working with a thread, like gimp, whether the crinkly silk gimp or the thicker cord Gimp from Painter’s Threads, I am thinking about color, texture, and how I can use it so that it creates something interesting. As I design, I’m considering size, shape, dimension and how all of that fits into the piece I’m working on.
For my River Rocks Pouch, I used all three of these gimps in different ways. A couple of the shapes on that pouch I added gimp French Knots, which I love.
I’m off to the last remaining quilt shop in New York City in a little while. I’ll be filming it, and will post tomorrow morning. So if you want to come with me on my little adventure, tune into my Youtube Channel Ariane Zurcher ~ On the Other Hand tomorrow. Until then, here’s to exploring and stitching!
Things have been busy around here. I had the idea to start a YouTube channel over a year ago. My thought was to go through Sue Spargo’s Creative Stitching book and demonstrate every stitch (but for left-handed stitchers) featured in her book, one stitch a week. I discussed my idea with Anna Bates, my friend over at Quilt Roadies, who encouraged me to go for it. But I knew I couldn’t do anything until I’d gotten Sue’s okay. Not only was she okay with my idea, but we then discussed launching YouTube channels together, each doing the same stitch on the same day, linking our channels to each other’s, and we even filmed a couple of episodes at her store in Ohio.
But life has a funny way of inserting itself into the best laid plans. Things happened, we had to delay the launch and then finally, last week, Sue told me to go ahead with my channel without her. For those of you who do not know Sue Spargo, she is one of the most hardworking, dedicated and talented artists I know. She has an extremely successful business, both brick and mortar, as well as online site over at Sue Spargo.com. She teaches all over the world, has a wildly popular Block of the Month club – this year she is doing TWO, one for those who desire something a little simpler and not quite as time consuming, and another, which features more advanced stitching. All of this is to say – everything she does, she does incredibly well.
Whew! Okay. So…
Last week I took a deep breath and took the plunge. I launched my YouTube channel. I knew it was going to be a fairly steep learning curve, but I hadn’t taken into account just how steep! I had to teach myself how to edit video on iMovie. Then I learned all about banner art and thumbnails, which required downloading a couple different apps (that I also then had to learn how to use.) I read all about how best to monetize your channel once you’ve reached 1,000 subscribers and a ton of watched hours. I then had to read about monetizing your blog, because if one is already monetized, it makes monetizing the other a lot easier. I watched hours and hours of YouTuber’s videos and finally my husband, Richard, who for years owned and ran a very successful ad agency, and I sat down and brainstormed. He came up with “On the Other Hand” for my channel, which is just so brilliant. Love that, and him. He also helped me design my YouTube banner. It looks pretty good, right?
Finally, I began taping and, I’ll admit, feeling kind of old, because, while I would be far more comfortable keeping the camera zoomed in on the stitching, I also get that people want to see the person behind the hands. Looking at yourself during the editing process is a lesson in humility. Most of the up and coming YouTubers out there are young and beautiful and most definitely not almost sixty years old. Did I just say that? Yup. I did. I’ll be sixty in another six months. Pretty much clinging to these final months while still in my fifties. As in seriously white knuckling it… But it’s all relative. I know, twenty years from now, I’ll look back and think – Wow! I was so young.
So yes, it’s ALL relative.
So that’s what I’ve been doing for the past week or so.
All the videos are directed at left handed stitchers, because we left handers have to bush whack our way through most tutorials, figuring it out on our own. I have, in the past, come up with some very creative looking hand stitching that in no way resemble stitches in any embroidery book known to mankind. Yelp!
I also give tips on how to thread a needle, thimbles, which needles to use for which stitches, how to make a quilter’s knot and, as time goes on, I’ll discuss all kinds of other things as well. In my Pekinese Stitch Tutorial Merlin, our mischievous kitty, even makes an appearance, wreaking havoc with my attempts to stitch and teach! So watch and stitch along with me. Don’t forget to give a thumbs up, and subscribe because I’ll be posting at least once a week, and not just content for left handers, but for anyone who loves art, design, stitching and life! Hopefully there will be some laughter in there too. Laughter is good.
Welcome to my store!
Please browse and look at our patterns available. We also offer Workshops! ~Ariane