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Tag: dropcloth samplers

A Machine Stitch and Hand Embroidery Sampler

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 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.

Modern hand and machine embroidery on a vintage tray cloth.

The completed sampler shows the eight machine stitches I chose and all the stitch variations they inspired.

Modern hand and machine embroidery on a vintage tray cloth.

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.

Modern hand and machine embroidery on a vintage tray cloth.

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.

Modern hand and machine embroidery on a vintage tray cloth.

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.

Modern hand and machine embroidery on a vintage tray cloth.

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…


The Drawing Stitches Sampler

Anyone who has been following my embroidery adventures for the past couple of years will know I’m completely addicted to Dropcloth embroidery samplers by textile artist Rebecca Ringquist.

In March this year, Creativebug hosted a daily stitching challenge to coincide with the release of Rebecca’s latest sampler, “drawing stitches” and I joined in.

Embroidered sampler designed by Rebecca Ringquist of Dropcloth Samplers and embroidered by Sarah Bradberry of

My finished sampler. (Click the photo to see a larger version)

At the time, this sampler had several stitches I hadn’t tried before even though I’ve worked over 120 stitches on various samplers over the last three years:

  • Rebecca’s version of zig-zag chain (which also led me to looking in my books for more variations on the original version and finding out I’d been working that the wrong way all along!)
  • Chessboard stitch
  • Dot stitch
  • Ermine filling
  • Basket filling
  • Brick and cross
  • Battlement filling
  • Plaited filling
  • Plaid filling and
  • Back stitch trellis

(I’ve been blogging my stitching out of order so you may have seen projects with these stitches here recently).

I really enjoyed this stitch along because not only did I learn new stitches, but Rebecca also has a way of creating a way of making stitches that give you the most opportunity for adding more colour and texture. For example, it had never occurred to me to work the tails of long tail chain first, so they could be worked in two colours.

The class is online permanently over on Creativebug, which you can find here: Daily Embroidery Challenge with Rebecca Ringquist and you can purchase the sampler from the Dropcloth Samplers Etsy Store. You don’t need the sampler to stitch along though, all you need is thread, a hoop and some fabric!


  • This post contains affiliate links to Creativebug. All opinions in this post regarding the Creativebug platform are the honest opinions of the author. I will only ever promote products and services I have tested and enjoy.

Dropcloth Samplers, the Sequel

Or to be more accurate, the Original’s sequel. Presenting my latest finished embroidery, The Original’s Sequel from Dropcloth Samplers by Rebecca Ringquist (that’s a non-affiliate link to her Etsy shop, in case you’d like to try it too).

Embroidery sampler stitched in bright colours

Even though I’ve learnt a hundred or more new stitches in the last three years embroidering samplers for the TAST challenges, there were a couple on this sampler I hadn’t tried before. Japanese darning, wave stitch, turkey work, bokhara couching, and this particular version of tête de boeuf were all new for me. I keep petting the turkey work, I jammed the rows together as closely as I possibly could and it’s incredibly fluffy. I’m going to try it in wool at some stage, to see if I can get good enough at it to make shaped flowers and squirrels and things with the thread trimmed to create a 3D motif.

I followed Rebecca’s Creativebug class “Advanced Embroidery Sampler ” to learn these new stitches. I especially liked how the stitches each have their own chapter so I could jump back and forth to whatever I wanted to embroider next, and didn’t have to watch the instructions for the stitches I already knew.

I’m also really fond of the needle woven leaves on the left. I’ve done them with chain stitches before, but this way of working them seems much more stable and more firmly attached to the fabric. Especially if you’re working a long leaf like these. I’ve noticed that I seem to like very textural stitches whenever I work samplers, but I don’t often  use them when I design actual projects  myself. I’m going to have to do something about that!

Well that’s it for my embroidery projects at the moment. I found a cool thing on Trove that I want to show you though, and it will include a tutorial so I’d better get working on it. And I have a couple of new lace edgings to update. And now that I’ve shown you all my TAST samplers, I need to make them into books.

I hope to get back to regular blogging and posting free stuff and tutorials for you, so come back regularly.

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I’m Addicted to Dropcloth Samplers

I have an admission to make. Even though I have embroidered more than 120 original “investigative” samplers in the last few years, sometimes I love nothing more than working on a pre-printed sampler so I don’t have to design anything, and I often get to try something I never would have thought of myself.

My favourite pre-printed samplers are Dropcloth Samplers by Rebecca Ringquist. You may have seen my previous post about her book, Embroidery Workshops, in which I showed my finished sampler that comes with the book. Well, I just finished my fourth Dropcloth sampler, Paisley.

Paisley sampler from Dropcloth, worked in a variety of threads.

Yes, that’s right, my fourth.

I’ve also embroidered Red Stripe (note that not all my stripes are red. I’m such a rebel),

Striped embroidery sampler

and the Original sampler

Embroidered sampler from Dropcloth samplers

and I have the Sequel sampler all ironed and ready to hoop.

I love how densely stitched the red stripe and paisley samplers are, and every one people embroider are completely different. I love having guidelines and still have the freedom to choose my own threads and change things up if I feel like it (which is why my hoop on the Original Sampler is a bit wild). Check out the hashtag #dropclothsamplers on Instagram for lots of inspirational photos and to see other people’s versions of Dropcloth samplers.

If you’re new to embroidery, or looking for a project that’s a bit out of the ordinary Rebecca also has some classes on Creativebug, including the Original Embroidery Sampler, the Advanced Embroidery Sampler (aka The Sequel Sampler), Embroidery Transfer Techniques , Layered Floral Embroidery (I’m going to try this soon), Embroidered Heirloom Napkins , Embroidered Kids Pillow , Embroidered Photo Ornament and the Embroidered Embellished Skirt. You don’t need to buy any of her samplers to do any of the workshops. All you need is fabric, thread and a hoop.

For a limited time you can get a 14-day free trial to Creativebug and save 60% at Joann Fabric and Craft Stores.

Now I just have to decide whether to take another look at the layered floral embroidery class or start my sequel sampler. Hmm…


  • This post contains affiliate links to Creativebug. The links to Dropcloth Samplers on Etsy are not affiliate links. Rest assured, I only link to products and services I enjoy, and believe my visitors might like too.

Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops

Before the Take a Stitch Tuesday 2015 embroidery challenge began I was already working on some other embroidered samplers. I’ve already shown you my Dorset Feather Stitchery sampler, but here is the other one.

The Drop Cloth Sampler from Rebecca Ringquist’s Embroidery Workshops: A Bend-the-Rules Primer (Amazon affiliate link). I finished this in early September.

Embroidered sampler featuring couching, back stitch and other hand embroidered stitches.

I used many thread oddments from my “leftover bits” collection and everything from Japanese silk sewing thread to worsted weight tapestry wool. I’m still fighting the temptation to add woven picots to everything 🙂

Rebecca Ringquist's Embroidery Workshops book

There are a lot of reviews of the book online already so I’m just going to show you a couple of my favourite projects.

I prefer technique books to project books and the thing that makes this book stand out from many these days is that each project introduces an idea or way of working that can be expanded on and used with other projects.

Here are a couple of my favourites.

Stitch badges. I’ve already made one. The Japanese book mentioned in that post inspired the use of the flower motif while this book inspired the hand embroidered edge



Machine and hand embroidered bracelets


Ribbon and embroiderd coasters