After stitching three samplers for week 55 of the Take a Stitch Tuesday embroidery challenge, I ended up working stitches 56 and 57 onto a single sampler. I still managed to record everything I wanted to remember though!

Stitch 57 was feathered chain stitch, which I’ve done before and is a real favourite of mine. The version of feathered chain stitch that I know is slightly different to the one Sharon uses, so I recorded both versions in a range of different threads, plus one in green perle cotton with beads up the centre.

Lock, double lock, and feathered chain stitch embroidery sampler

Stitch 56, lock and double lock stitch were totally new to me, however. I tried them in circles, as fillings, and with beads which I think all work really well. The real surprise was when I worked them into leaf shapes with the initial straight stitches leaning in different directions on the flower on the right. I really like the way the dark green leaf on the left looks.

I’ll definitely be using this stitch in the future. I think it would be a great stitch to use in combination borders for all sorts of purposes.


Whilst I’m not behind in my embroidering for the Take a Stitch Tuesday challenge, I am very late in blogging about them! Today’s stitch (from about 3 weeks ago), is up and down buttonhole stitch, and as usual, I got totally carried away with it. In fact, I ended up with three finished samplers.

Firstly, I tried it as an edging around a scrap of fabric I had tested a wood block print on. Then, as a filling on the same piece to make a lemon tree. I coloured the tree section in with a sharpie because you couldn’t really tell it was supposed to be the leaves :-)

Embroidered sampler with up and down buttonhole stitch.

I also tried lots of curves and circles, variations on the leg lengths and directions, beads and couching.

Then I thought it might be interesting to try it as a filling stitch on an evenweave linen. I buy almost all of my materials from the local op shops (charity thrift stores), so I have a lot of different fabrics to try.

I really love the triangles and the boxes with diamonds in them but boy, do they take a long time to stitch!

Embroidered sampler with up and down buttonhole stitch fillings.

Finally, I tried some circles on some spotty fabric. I think the ones with three rounds of stitching are my favourite and it’s nice finding a use for some of my Spoonflower samples.

Embroidered sampler with up and down buttonhole stitch worked in circles.

If I remember to take a photos, tomorrow I’ll post about stitches 56 and 57!


This week’s stitch for the Take a Stitch Tuesday embroidery challenge is knotted buttonhole band. It ended up being quite a versatile stitch, which I wasn’t expecting.

Embroidery sampler featuring knotted buttonhole band.

I worked the top three rows first, which you can probably see as the purple band on the right of the title is quite a mess, but they do get progressively neater!

I Googled a lot when I found out about this stitch because I didn’t particularly like the look of it and I wanted to see what other embroiderers had done. The first thing to catch my eye was the spiral worked by Queeniepath on Queeneie’ Needlework. I really liked it at the point where she had worked the knotting along only one side so I tried that in the centre and on a wavy line at the bottom. I really like both and will definitely be using it that way again. I think the wavy line would look really nice if it was mirrored to create a line of lozenges.

I also really like the way knotted buttonhole band can have a ladder down the middle and thought it would be interesting to try lots of different treatments over the ladder stitches. On the left hand of the spiral I worked:

  • Knotted buttonhole band with Portuguese border down the centre.
  • Couched ribbon.
  • I whipped the ladder threads, then
  • I wove them.
  • Finally I stitched a band with two strands of sewing thread.

On the right I:

  • Couched the ladder threads down with three rows of running stitch.
  • Then I thought I’d go against everyone’s best advice and try a bulky wool/silk knitting yarn with no twist whatsoever. (For the knitters: It’s Noro something or other that I found at the op shop). I think it looks very 70’s.
  • The I tried threading beads on the ladder threads and
  • beads everywhere!

The final three bands at the bottom are:

  • Whipped and woven on the same band.
  • The ladder threads are couched down with cross stitch. I worked a few treatments on this band. I made a french knot in every diamond created by the cross stitches, then every second diamond, then worked a small running stitch at the centre of each cross stitch.
  • And last but not least, I wove a ribbon over 2 ladder stitches, then under 2 and stitched boxes in on the ribbon with large and small stitches!

My background is a little different this week as well. It’s the same unbleached calico I’ve used quite a lot but I soaked it in water and painted it with fabric paint. Then I sprayed it with more water so the paint would bleed. It was quite drippy when I hung it up, but the end result was worth the mess.

I can’t wait to see what stitch Sharon has for us next Tuesday!



Embroidered square with two rabbits on a garden and a small house

Three years ago I put this little 8 inch bunny embroidery up for sale on Spoonflower, but I’ve only just gotten around to stitching it. Inspired by the TAST embroidery challenge, I’ve used an assortment of stitches including buttonhole wheels, berry stitch, blanket stitch, satin, back-stitch and stem stitch.

The blank panel can be purchased for stitching in my shop on One swatch is all you need but a fat quarter will yield 4 squares and a yard will give you 20.

If you’d like matching fabrics for use in your project, I made a collection with flowers, plaids, checks, spots and stripes called Bunny Fun.

Now I need to dive through the op shop stash and choose a fabric for this week’s TAST stitch. I’m not certain, but I think I may have run out of calico…


“BORING!”, was my first thought when I saw this week’s stitch for TAST was Turkman stitch. I was wrong.

Embroidered sampler in Turkman stitch

Whenever a new TAST stitch is released, I google. Then I head for Constance Howard’s Book of Stitches, which I mentioned yesterday.

The Book of Stitches wasn’t terribly interesting for this stitch, but Google did not disappoint! Here are the ideas people came up with that I recorded:

  • Stitching in a circle. I appliquéd a piece of wool felt with two strands of perle cotton to make a flower (you may have noticed flowers are my go-to motif). Making the stitches smaller on the inner side of the circle made it easy to keep it looking neat and tidy.
  • Layering. In the orange section you can see that I layered three rows of turkman stitch on top of each other. I think this gives a lovely rich effect that can be used to make a lovely gradient filling.
  • Taking tiny little “bites” of fabric with each stitch to make a dense braid-like effect. I used this in the snake, and the lime line on the right hand side.
  • Stitching inside a shape. As you can see, I made a lot of leaves with all sorts of thread.
  • Changing the width of the lines. In an abstract pattern this gives a nice sense of movement, and is also great for stitching snakes!
  • I also tried a few things off the top of my head. Couching of course. I love couching and if a stitch looks like it will work, I’ll try it. You can see my line of couching along the bottom border and in the stem of the sapling/leaf thing. Both are stitched with perle cotton.
  • I thought it might make a nice striped filling so I tried two versions. One with stripes of the same thickness worked with three strands of embroidery floss, and one with thin and thick stripes stitched with a single strand of Appleton Wool.
  • As always, I tried lots of different threads from tapestry wool and cotton, all the way to flower thread, sometimes with two colours held together, sometimes just one. The only threads I wasn’t keen on are the really thick tapestry threads that are meant for working needlepoint. I think everything else works really well.

Next week’s stitch remains a mystery (at least until Tuesday), but I have prepared this sampler for working on when I have spare time. I’m going to work it, then stitch it to a background fabric so I can add it to my finished book.

Fabric prepared for making a fancy bobbin edging embroidery sampler

Fancy bobbin edging is the only stitch I haven’t been able to get to work properly. It will not defeat me! I’m going to try the edging version from The Ladies’ Work Table Book

Instructions for working the fancy bobbin edging embroidered edging

and the version worked flat from The Batsford Boom of Embroidery Stitches by Anne Butler (that’s a link to the book on I highly recommend the seller “WorldofBooks” as I’ve purchased from them a few times and they’re the only seller that is selling it for what I consider a reasonable price).

Hopefully my inability to make fancy bobbin edging look decent is just a matter of different brains preferring different ways of working it. Either that or this is going to be a really crappy sampler!