There are an almost infinite number of places to look for inspiration when it comes to designing hand embroidery and with the invention of the internet, we’ve never had access to more.
This machine sewn and hand embroidered sampler was inspired by an article written by Rebecca Ringquist, on Weallsew.com in 2015
The premise: pick a few stitches from your sewing machine. See what hand embroidery they inspire. I chose not only to replicate the stitches by hand, but also see what stitches might work with them if they were used together. I worked on an old worn out and slightly stained piece of vintage hand work, as I did with my found embroidery pieces in my previous post.
The completed sampler shows the eight machine stitches I chose and all the stitch variations they inspired.
At the top of this photo you can see the machine stitch with asterisks were worked short and long, woven and eventually morphed into eyelets. The diamond stitch became several fancy borders before turning into a traditional triangular filling stitch.
I also used the triangular filling stitch on the crossed petals on the right, along with woven detached picots, satin, fly chain and back stitch.
I repeated the zig-zag stitch with different threads before trying it on several different shapes. The diamond border on the centre right became a small motif, border and large area of back stitched trellis. Back stitched trellis and the triangular filling stitch have become firm favourites of mine, along with eyelets. I’d happily embroider them everywhere!
On the left you can see a machine stitched variation of feather stitch. I found that working it in feather stitch made it a bit sloppy unless worked very small, and my favourite two versions are those on the right.
Finally, the leaf stitch was worked in both sizes offered by my sewing machine. I worked it in variations including detached chain and chain stitch, back stitch and fly stitch.
To finish off the sampler, I threaded knitting wool along the crocheted edge to frame it.
I highly recommend both working on old, worn embroidery and making a sampler inspired by machine stitches. Even if your machine has only the most basic of zig-zags you could work a sampler with all sorts of variations by changing the length and width of your machine stitches and then seeing how many hand stitches they inspire. You can come up with some unexpected new hand stitches, and may even be inspired to use hand and machine stitching together.
If you do choose to stitch one, I’d love to see it! I’m tempted to go and work one with just zig-zag to see what I can come up with…