A Stitching Book: Tell Me What YOU Want to See

A Stitching Book: Tell Me What YOU Want to See

I’m working on a Left-Handed Stitching book. It’s a HUGE project, but I’m determined and am taking it one small stitch at a time. Yesterday I was working on a Threaded Backstitch and so I began to stitch on a piece of linen that I whipstitched some wool shapes onto. Once I had done one example of the Threaded Backstitch, I decided to go ahead and do a Double Threaded Backstitch. And once that was finished I thought – well wouldn’t it be fun to do a couple more, one below the other?! Do you see what I’m having to deal with here? After I finished doing those, the gap between the Double Threaded Backstitches seemed to be calling out for a little something, so I did what anyone would do, and found some beautiful Stef Francis Silk Chenille and decided it was perfect to Couch. Swoon. And then there was a tiny space at the very top and so I stitched a 2-wrap French Knot, which looked like a little tumble weed. Perfection(!) and that made me feel happy. As I stitched, I thought I could hear some Silk Ribbon calling out to me, so of course I had to find it, retrieve it, and use it, because what else was I going to do? Ignore the call? No, I don’t think so! So I made a little cluster of Silk Ribbon Roses to one side. And that’s when it occurred to me. I’m NEVER going to finish this book if I continue to go down every rabbit hole I see.

Double Threaded Backstitch, Couching, French Knot and Ribbon Roses

Except it’s SO much fun to go down those rabbit holes and who knows where they might lead?! Some of my best discoveries have been deep within such holes, which means this book will take a little longer to do than I’d originally anticipated. Plus I’m using lots of photographs to demonstrate each step of each stitch and I intend to show how to end and begin a new thread, in case you run out in the middle of the stitch, as well as how to end the thread once you’ve finished doing the stitch. Those are a couple things I always wish to see, but rarely do in a stitching book and that got me wondering, what about YOU?

Tell me what you like to see in a stitching book. What do you dislike? What do you wish they showed? What do you wish they didn’t show? What about text? Keep it short and simple or do you like longer explanations and even stories? What else? Am I forgetting anything? Tell me. Tell me everything.

What I Did Over the Weekend…

What I Did Over the Weekend…

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.

Photograph Courtesy of the Victoria & Albert Museum

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.

What did you do over the weekend?!


A Stitching Book: Tell Me What YOU Want to See

Stitching with Gimp and a lot of Laughter

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.

2-Wrap French Knots using gimp
Silk Gimp used for the Running Stitch, French Knots and A Variation of the Whipped Woven Circle.
Crinkly Silk Gimp Couched around the edge of the shape.

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!

A Stitching Book: Tell Me What YOU Want to See

Exploring the Creative Process

Every morning my husband and I read something we find interesting and thought provoking, and then we discuss. It’s become a ritual of sorts and has been incredibly helpful, even transformative in many ways. Not least of which is that I so often am reminded of creativity and stitching, and how both are a process and ideally, embraced.

Every day I sit in my little creative room and I stitch. Each day that act of stitching is a new experience, an exploration of the physical, but also of the emotional and even the spiritual. I gather together my materials, usually beginning with colors, and then I either sketch out an idea or just begin stitching something. What’s interesting is that sometimes things just unfold beautifully and without interruption and 45 minutes to an hour later I have something I like or, if I’m really lucky, something I love. But there are other days when that just doesn’t happen. I struggle, I tear out, I undo, redo, undo again. I walk away, I come back, I sketch an idea, I start again. Hours can go by and eventually I end up with something that I’m okay with, although perhaps not thrilled with. Still, I’ve learned to leave it alone and days later I may come back and think – I love this! Or not. The point is, it’s all a process and it’s the process I’ve become increasingly fascinated by and have learned to love.

Circle #42 took 45 minutes start to finish.
Circle #44 took several hours… (And I made up a variation on the whipped woven circle that I’ve not seen before, though I do not claim to have invented this, I’ve just never seen it before, so if it exists, it does so without my knowledge of it.)

Each circle has its own personality and each one was a different experience to stitch. What I’ve learned from years of designing is that I must trust the process. I must trust myself. I must trust that if I stick with it, something magical will reveal itself, even if it’s not always in a way that I instantly recognize. It can be said that this is true for life as well.

My Tendril Circle. I can’t remember how long this took, but I had an idea and went with it. There wasn’t any ripping out and beginning again, but rather the steady process of continuing to let it unfold.

Every Wednesday I am devoting a video to creating, designing and the creative process. Those videos can be found ‘here‘. Stay tuned for a new one coming tomorrow!

A Stitching Book: Tell Me What YOU Want to See

A New Zippered Pouch PDF

With all my free time (insert eyeroll and a sigh here), I designed another zippered pouch! This time an abstract design – Playing with Shapes and it’s a little bigger than my Rhino Pouch. This one is 14″ x 12″. It is also fully lined, has a zipper and the wool front is perfect for applique and stitching. The PDF pattern, templates and detailed instructions with tons of photos are up on my Etsy shop. Everything you need to make this, is on Sue Spargo’s website.

Other than that, I haven’t been able to design much as I’ve been spending every spare minute researching YouTube, taping, editing, re-taping, editing some more, learning how to make a decent thumbnail (I still need to work on that) adding music and then watching other people’s YouTube videos to learn even more.

I’ll admit, so much of this was new to me as of two weeks ago, but now? Talk to me about SEOs, keywords, banner art, thumbnails, end cards, playlists, analytics, reach, monetization, and did I mention that I had never edited anything on iMovie ten days ago? I now know my way around not only iMovie, but Canva, and YouTube studio, versus the older Creator Studio Classic. I’m by no means a pro, but I’m getting the hang of it. And here’s the thing, I still have SO much to learn.

My latest thumbnail and video

Some of the most successful YouTubers out there are doing tutorials on… wait for it… how to be a successful YouTuber! Now that’s irony and soooo meta! But perhaps the most surprising thing of all, is how much I enjoy making videos. I am constantly learning, but am loving the process.

I thought I would be posting one tutorial a week, but, in the last two weeks , have posted five, with one more taped, but not edited and another, in the works. Evidently you’re supposed to have a regular schedule and post at the same time and day, but right now, as I’m just getting my feet wet, I figure I’ve got time to work all of that out. My next video will be demonstrating the Bullion Knot and after that how to applique a circle.

Soon I’ll learn how to code. (Just kidding.)