As you all know, I’ve been working on a little stitch challenge, the Take a Stitch Tuesday (TAST) from Sharon B, owner of Stitchin’ Fingers and the blog PinTangle.

Week 5‘s challenge was Herringbone Stitch, which was (yet another) new one for me. I’d been intimidated by it for some time — come to find out, needlessly so. Herringbone is surprisingly easy to do!

First attempt!

I found that layering a few herringbones side-by-side in closely-related (but still different!) colors made for a nice effect. The layering made for a physical and aesthetic depth that I like very much, and will probably replicate.

The other thing I found interesting about this stitch is how little thread is wasted. Here’s what I mean — with your basic backstitch, for instance, just about as much thread winds up on the backside of your fabric as on the front! But herringbone takes place almost exclusively on the front side, with only itty-bitty stitches to anchor that thread to the fabric:

Notice the difference between the amount of thread from backstitch (the letters, above) and herringbone (those nice, neat little stitches below)!

Since this post was so late (a full week!), you’ll be getting to see two new Stitch Challenge posts in rapid succession (Week 6’s challenge is already up, so I’ll blog about that in another day or two)!

For now, just look at how my stitch repertoire has grown in the past 5 weeks:

First five weeks...time to move the hoop!

Thanks for following along, and stay tuned for Week 6, coming soon!



It’s week four of the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge from PinTangle. This week’s stitch was the cretan stitch, which I found to be perfectly suited for some leaf shapes!

My little cretan stitches, layered in three different colors.

Cretan is another stitch that was new to me, though in terms of technique it shares some characteristics with the past couple of weeks’ stitches. Here, I layered stitches in two different yellows and an orange, which filled out the cretan stitch and gave the shape a fullness that is really nice (next time I do project with flowers, I know what I’m working with for the leaves)! I’m also pretty partial to the neat little plaited effect that happens when you work the stitches close together.

Here’s the big picture of all my stitches so far:

Weeks 1 through 4.

And, just for the heck of it, here’s what the back of my stitching looks like so far!

For those stitching nerds out there (like me) who like to see the backs of stitching...

Look out next week for Stitch Challenge, continued!


This week’s stitch challenge, from Sharon at Pintangle, was the feather stitch, which is actually a variation of the buttonhole stitch, which you might remember from last week‘s post.

This one was a little tricky for me, as you can see from the dual-layer feather on the left (a little wonky):

This one could use some more practice!

I thought about ripping my stitches out and starting over, but actually, I’ve decided that I like my wonky little stitches — a sign of where they began! As I practice more and more, and consequently get better, then it might actually be sort of fun to go back and look at how awful they began (sort of an “oh, how cute! I thought I knew how to do feather stitch” kind of thing). The feathers on the right are looking a little better.

The first three weeks!

Stay tuned for next week’s challenge!


As you read last week, I’ve undertaken a stitch challenge, “Take a Stitch Tuesdays” or TAST, hosted by Sharon at PinTangle. This week’s new stitch was the buttonhole stitch. I’ve used this stitch once or twice, but not extensively, so here’s what I did to practice the technique.

Second week of TAST 2012!

Here, also, are my first two weeks’ stitching together:

Weeks 1 and 2.

Keep checking back every week to see my progress!

Remember the napkins I blogged about a couple of months ago? Well, I finally finished them!

Here they are, all finished up!

They’re for sale on our etsy site, in case you’re interested! 😉 Expect to hear from me again on Wednesday with this week’s stitch challenge!


My mom found this Western pearl snap shirt at the thrift shop attached to the crisis center where she works. I bought it for a whopping $2, knowing that it could use some work.

Pretty hideous

The embroidery and applique look like they were done by the previous owner, and everything was coming undone.

Not looking so hot, see?

My first order of business was to remove all of the gross-ness so I could start from scratch. It took a good while (3 episodes of Downton Abbey, as a matter of fact), but I got it all taken off.

Already looking better.

The areas that had been covered by those oh-so-lovely white flower appliques are darker than the rest of the shirt, since over time the shirt faded to almost a charcoal grey rather than a crisp black. If the shirt didn’t have that great white piping detail, I would most definitely have re-dyed the shirt. C’est la vie, I suppose. The next step in this rehab process was to find something to replace (and, hence, cover) the areas that had previously been embellished. I sorted through my collection of Sublime Stitching patterns (my sister and I are licensed stitchers through that great Austin company!) and selected some from the artist series featuring, this time, Ryan Berkley. I chose the lady cat and the fantastic Mr. Fox to go on the shoulders of my soon-to-be-fabulous shirt.

Ms. Kitty, already transferred

Mr. Fox, awaiting transfer

Transferred and ready to stitch!

I transferred the designs using the transfer paper for dark fabrics and stylus that I purchased from Sublime stitching as well. They worked much better than when I’ve used store-bought dressmaker’s transfer paper. I highly recommend buying both if you’re much of a stitcher.

I’ve got a way to go before this shirt is fully rehabbed, but I wanted to let you see some of the preliminary progress. I’ll keep posting as I make more headway!


The woman who owns and operates a website I belong to, Stitchin’ Fingers, also hosts a stitch challenge on her blog, which has just begun for the year. It’s called “Take a Stitch Tuesday,” and each Tuesday of the year she will post a new stitch to experiment with. Since I know I don’t already know 52 stitches, much of it will be more learning how to do the stitches in the first place than really getting crazy with them.

Since yesterday was Tuesday, and since part of the participation requirements are to post photos of the work and link back to Sharon’s blog, I’m going to document my progress here!

Week 1‘s stitch was “fly stitch,” a new one for me. I’ve stitched with similar effects before, but haven’t used this technique — I like it!

Fly Stitch, Week 1

It’s pretty basic for now, but as I get more experienced,I’ll find new ways to play with it. One thing I noticed is that, while a tight stretch of fabric on the hoop generally makes stitching easier, the way you insert the needle through the back and then back through the front in one fell swoop (whew!) for this stitch would likely be a bit easier on the ol’ fingers (I had to use a thimble to push) if the fabric had a bit more give.

Stay tuned for weekly updates on the challenge! It’s one of my 2012 goals to fully complete it, and I’m going to work all the stitches on a single piece of fabric so that when I’m finished, I’ll have a nice, colorful fiber “document” of my work!


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