I’d been looking forward to working basque stitch for the TAST embroidery challenge and really went to town with both the stitching and my background fabrics for this sampler.

Since I love flowers and floral designs, I chose to stitch a little garden.

Embroidery sampler with flowers and a kite on a patchwork background.

For the background I used some found patchwork for the sky in what I think are acetate and rayons. The grass is a piece of scrap anonymous industrial offcut I bought at Reverse Garbage earlier this month :-)

I used various cotton threads, all of which have a firm twist, mostly flower thread, mercerised embroidery and pearl crochet cottons in various sizes.

For the sun, I added a gold bead to the little stitches that hold down the tip of the loop.

The cloud is appliquéd net stitched with (I think), size 16 soft cotton. It was a very large unlabelled skein and may be some sort of candlewick thread.

The kite and the ground under the paisley flower were inspired by another TAST stitcher, whose work I really liked.

The borders are all worked in different mercerised cottons. On the bottom left hand side I added some little blue beads between stitches, then tried the same with sequins.

They tended to flip up and become messy with just basque stitch.

However, when I added a row of running stitch to secure them I was really happy with the finished edge. It would be even fancier with beads on the tips of the stitches as well.

Some of the things I learnt about basque stitch:

  • It really loves being glammed up with beads and shiny fabrics.
  • You need a thread with firm twist or it looks like something the cat gacked up. I tried crewel wool, it was horrible.
  • It makes a great filling stitch (that was a surprise)!
  • When worked around a curve it looks nicest worked close together.

I’m not sure whether to revisit shell stitch or pekinese stitch next. I didn’t explore either as much as I wanted when I first stitched them…


This is my final catch up post for the TAST embroidery challenge. Hopefully from now on I’ll be posting my samplers as I stitch them!

Stitch 71 is alternating up and down buttonhole stitch. Since I like up and down  buttonhole stitch so much that I embroidered three samplers, it should come as no shock that I made two for alternating up and down buttonhole stitch. (What a mouthful! It too ages to embroider the name of the stitch for this one)!

Embroidery sampler on calico featuring alternating up and down buttonhole stitch.

For my first page I tried different combinations of up and down stitches, changed angles of the vertical stitches, wove some of the vertical stitches and tried all sorts of different threads.

I even used some had dyed woven wool felt to appliqué a flower and leaves using stranded floss. My favourite version of the stitch on this page is the lime green perle cotton with woven stitches in lots of different colours. I think that would make a lovely border on a project, or across the top of a pocket.

On my second sampler page I played with scale and couching, as well as joining some of the vertical stitches together to form little triangles.

Embroidery sampler on calico featuring alternating up and down buttonhole stitch.

I tried everything from rainbow polyester thread from China (which is like sewing with a very firm linen top stitching thread), to bulky Noro knitting silk/wool.

I even couched down some vintage ric-rac and modern knitting lace. The second row from the bottom was stitched along a zig-zag instead of a straight line. My favourites on this page are the couched ric-rac and the zig-zag line. I really like the rainbow threads as well, but  think I’ll stick to using those on my sewing machine!


The second stitch for the TAST embroidery challenge for 2017 (stitch 70 overall) was fancy herringbone stitch. Whilst I quite like some of my samples, I found it to be a rather annoying and over complicated stitch to work.

Variations of fancy herringbone stitch on spotted rayon and vintage satin ribbon.

I quickly discovered I had chosen a fabric that was far too busy, so I added a couple of strips of vintage satin ribbon to cover up the background.

I tried zig-zags, different scales in height and width and several different materials.

I think the two most successful lines are the bottom line on the top row of ribbon, and the top row of stitching on the bottom row of ribbon. The yellow crewel wool has lots of springiness to it that makes it fill out the circles of threading well, whilst the tiny scale of the other row helps keep it much neater as well.

I may use this stitch in the future but probably only in a very small scale.



Multi coloured chain stitch embroidery on felt

Magic chain was the very first stitch for the TAST embroidery challenge in 2017.  Stitch number 69, can you believe it?!?

I decided to work my sampler on felt backed with calico, which was really difficult to stitch through to be honest. I experimented with colour, using different textured threads together and thick and thin threads.

I think my favourites are the licorice allsorts coloured border, and the two rows that use a bulky knitting yarn and fine cotton thread together.

The white thread on the bottom row and the right hand border is more of my very first handspun cotton. More on that in the future!


This is my last TAST embroidery sampler to revisit old stitches for now.

When I first stitched fern stitch I was busy trying to catch up and didn’t really explore it as much as had wanted to. So I drew a few leaves and a spiral on a vintage serviette and had another go.

Fern stitch leaves and spirals embroidered on a vintage linen serviette.

The large central fern leaf and the small leaf on the upper left are worked in stranded embroidery floss. I used 3 strands for the pale green and light apricot on the larger leaf, and two strands of dark apricot on the ends. For the small leaf in the upper right I used 2 strands of pale blue and one strand of aqua held together throughout.

The darker blue leaf on the top right is a mohair/silk embroidery thread.

The spiral on the bottom right is again, 3 strand of embroidery floss and the leaf on the bottom left is knitting yarn.

This is one of my absolute favourite pages so far. I’m really glad I took the time to have another go.

Next up: the first new stitch for 2017!