Saturday, June 30, 2012

Take A Stitch Tuesday

I keep seeing TAST, (Take A Stitch Tuesday) entries all over the place. I see them on other blogs, on Pinterest, on Flickr, everywhere! Since my love affair with embroidery began, I have wanted to join in on the fun. This week, I did just that. I'll add it to her site, PinTangle.

This week's challenge is the Palestrina stitch. I've never done it before. In fact, I don't think I've ever heard of it. Luckily, it was in my book and of course on my two favorite stitch tutorial blogs, Mary Corbett's Needle 'N Thread and Sarah Whittle's blog, Contemporary Embroidery. Actually, Sharon B, the author of Pintangle and her blog, In a Minute Ago, has an extensive Stitch Dictionary. It's a wealth of information on each stitch, variations and beautiful examples. With all that inspiration, I had not one excuse not to learn something beautiful.

So I watched a few videos, something I highly recommend when learning a new stitch and I gave it a try. I first did a few dry runs on a hoop. I rarely use a hoop, but I could not see doing this one without the fabric being held taught. Like any stitch, it takes some getting used to. I find that repeating a stitch until I can do it without referencing the instructions is necessary. Once you find a rhythm, it starts to take on a life of it's own.

My creative process is really simple but it works for me. Once I do something new and feel comfortable with it, I stop working. I put down my needle and floss and walk away from any visual cues. I grab a pencil and something to draw on, usually my sketchbook. I usually sit outside on my balcony. I like to be surrounded my flowers and away from the TV or computer. I close my eyes and picture the stitch. I think of it's shape. I think of how it sits on the fabric. Is it a linear stitch? Does it fill a space? Would it be a good outline stitch or does it remind me of something?

The Palestrina Stitch is basically a line with knots on it. The knots make turning corners a snap. It can be worked in a very straight line. It can be thin or it can have long extensions at each knot. It can be worked side by side to fill in an area. It offers great texture when it is a solid piece. By itself, it feels like bones, or barbed wire, or even like the stem of the plant.

Here is an image from In A Minute Ago on the Palestrina Stitch...

Here is how beautiful it looks in a project. This image is also from Sharon's blog.

I came up with Christmas tree lights. Here is a detail shot of how the Palestrina Stitch makes a perfect wire. All you need to add is the bulb and of course those little cartoon slash marks to show that they are glowing. I also beaded the Palestrina Stitch and used it plain on the tablecloth.

I used a few other stitches in this little scene. I outlined each section with running stitches. I used the back stitch on the table cloth and the chair. Chain Stitches are used on the poles. I added lazy daisy stitches on the tablecloth and to create little fire flies, (lighting bugs). French knots are used as stars, as decorations on the little cake and on the chair. Just a few star stitches add a little magic in the sky. I worked on recycled wool and scraps of cotton.

My sample may not be polished but it was fun and I learned something new. Isn't that what defines a good day? Hope you give it a try. Click on Mary or Sarah's sites. Visit Pintangle and enjoy!

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