stitch Play: Chain Stitch Spider Daisy by Mary Corbert

It’s Monday and let’s start our week by bringing some excitement and variations in our stitching. Once again sharing the article from Mary Corbet’s Stitch play series.

This is a neat little flower technique, if you want to add simple flowers with a bit of texture and color contrast on them to your embroidery projects. It’s a daisy created with the detached chain stitch and ribbed spider web stitch.

The flower starts with a basic daisy stitched with detached chain stitch.  8 petals are used as it’s easy to space an even number of petals! You can use as many or as few petals as you wish.


You’ll end up with a really cute flower, with lots of possibilities for further embellishment!

Read more………..

How is Thread Count Important In An Embroidery

How to calculate the size of design and the dimensions of fabric required? For instance, if the pattern model is stitched on 18-count Aida, but we want to stitch it on 16- 14- or 11-count Aida, how big will our finished piece be? You can easily work out this, simply by dividing the stich count in the design by the thread count.

What is a thread count?

Thread count means the number of threads woven together in a square inch. You count both lengthwise (warp) and widthwise (weft) threads. So 100 lengthwise threads woven with 100 widthwise threads produce a thread count of 200.

What is a stitch Count?

The stitch count is the number of stitches in a design, which is width by height of the design.

Design stitch count / Fabric thread count = Design size

For Example:

To stitch the bookmark having 30×70 stitches on 14 count aida. First let’s find the design size,it is also printed on most charts.  This gives the size of the design from the very top stitch to the very bottom stitch. (in this case 70 stitches), and from the extreme left hand stitch to the extreme right hand stitch.(in this case 30 stitches). If the design size is not given, it is quite easy to count the stitches on the chart, which is normally divided up into blocks of 10 squares.

  • Design height: 70 / thread count:14;   70/14=5”
  • Design width: 30 / thread count:14;    30/14=2.14”

So this design will measure 5” by 2.1” when completed on 14-count aida.

We’re advised to allow at least three inches of fabric all around for finishing, so 3 inches added to both the left and right sides means adding 6 to our width. Adding 3 inches to the top and bottom means adding 6 to our height.

So you would need 11″ (5″ + 6″) by 8.1″ (2.1″ + 6″) in this example, that is 10″ by 7.1″ of fabric.

Anyways we women don’t like to waste things so squeezing in and squeaking of fabric can be your way since you are doing the finishing yourself.

Don’t want to do the calculations yourself? Use this free handy cross stitch calculator to do it for you!

Choosing The Right Fabric For Your Embroidery Project – II

The modern fabrics are many; the most common are aida, hardanger and linen

Aida is the least expensive and the easiest to find. It is made from cotton, and the threads are bound into bundles leaving little open holes in the weave where the needle should pass through the fabric. Aida is available in 11, 14, 16, 18 and 22 count, ranked from the coarsest to the finer count. The most popular of these tends to be 14 count.

Hardanger fabric is an even weave cotton material woven with pairs of threads, typically 22 pairs per linear inch in both directions, referred to as ’22-count’. The weave gives a squared appearance to the fabric (similar to Aida cloth), with distinct holes, making it easy to count and work on. Other even weave fabrics are also suitable for Hardanger embroidery but do not usually have the clearly defined block appearance. These include pure linen, cotton or mixed fibre fabrics that may also vary in count from 18-24 threads per inch to finer counts of 26 threads per inch or higher.

Evenweave, tightly woven are best for surface embroidery, while loosely woven fabrics are ideal for counted thread, pulled thread and drawn thread techniques. The fiber content for the evenweave fabric can be cotton, linen, rayon and polyester blends – or even hemp or bamboo. Evenweave fabrics are available in a wide range of colors, and the thread counts range from a fine, 32-count linen to a more rustic 18-count.

Linen is durable, single thread fabric woven from flax. Due to the nature of the fiber, linen can have bumps which make them difficult to work on. Also some linens are quite loosely woven, causing threads carried across the back of the work to be easily visible from the front.  Some well-known linens are Dublin linen (25 count),Cashel linen (28 count),Belfast linen (32 count),Edinburgh linen (36 count).

Waste canvas is loosly woven and is marked by blue lines which helps to  keep count of your stitches.  It is used when you wish to work upon another fabric with unevenweav. It acts as a guide for stitching. Waste canvas is attached to the other fabric by pinning or basting. Next, the design is worked through both layers – the canvas and the underlying fabric. Once the stitching is complete, the Waste Canvas is removed by carefully pulling out and discarding the canvas threads.

Fabric type             Counts                             Used for Embroidery

Aida                         7-22 counts                    Cross stitch, Blackwork, Ukranian embroidery, pulled thread work

Evenweave             18-32 counts                  Cross stitch, Hardanger, Bargello, Ukranian embroidery, pulled thread

Hadanger                22 counts                      Cross stitch, Hardanger

Linen                        25-36 counts               Pulled and drawn thread work, Hardanger, Bargello

Choosing The Right Fabric For Your Embroidery Project – I

  Cross stitch and bead embroidery scissor keeper by Gail Langton Bag by Gail

Choosing the right fabric is very important for the success of  your embroidery project. It is the type of fabric that determines the look, feel and use of your embroidery project. Most forms of surface embroidery need a firm fabric foundation, often with a thread count of 28 or higher. Using an embroidery fabric with a lower thread count can result in poorly formed stitches. Counted Thread or Pulled Thread projects need a lower, looser thread count. This makes it easier to pull and remove threads, and create lacy stitches.

The following things needs to be considered while chosing the fabric:

  • The weight of your project: Project including use of items such as beads, buttons, bows or any other elements will need a strong fabric to hold its shape.
  • The weight of the thread: (cotton, yarn, silk, ribbon etc.)The fabric must be able to support the type of thread you are using. The fabric should not allow the thread to be seen through to the front of your project. The weave of the fabric must be able to withstand the pressure of the thread’s width passing through it.
  • The type of stitching.:For example, are you making simple stitches or elaborate ribbon flowers? The type of stitch will also impact on the type of fabric. More elaborate stitching, such as ribbon flowers, will need a heavier fabric backing to support the weight of the finished stitch.
  • The finish of the project: Matt finish, unreflective surface works perfect for a busy, colourful embroidery piece. The shiny finish, more polished, creates greater contrast between your embroidery and the background.
  • The strength and durability of the fabric weave: Cotton, Aida, wool and linen are close weaves that are suitable for embroidery with thread or ribbon. Use richer fabrics such as velvet for heavier threads. Such fabric is ideal for ribbon work.

Stitch With Both Hands

Having both hands free to stitch and guide the needle can really speed things up when working on embroidery projects. It also boosts one up psychologically to see beautiful embroidery design taking its form. Here are some tips to work on embroidery with both hands:

1. Hands free sit on stands. This beautiful embroidery hoop has a stand that you sit on, leaving hands free to work on your embroidery. They are sometimes known as “fanny frames”. The hoop can be turned, or flipped up to access the back of the work, and the height can be adjusted.


2.Floor stands. The fabulous, unique Floor Stand allows you to simply rest your frame on the adjustable arms. It is beautifully balanced and will not tip over! The extended arms and narrow legs enable the work to be positioned very close to you in any sitting position, thus reliving the strain on your back, neck and shoulders.


3.Two hoop combo lap stand. These are extra hand because they are actually made from two hoops, often in different sizes (one larger than the other) held together with removable legs. The tool is held in the lap and is used in the same manner as a Lap Stand.

Click here to view the step by step guide for hands free stitching….


Mary Hickmott Classes in October 2012

Mary Hickmott, a renowned embroider from UK and the publisher of magazine New Stitches, is going to conduct the workshop with Kenya embroiderer’s guild for 6 days  in  October 2012.


Classes will run from 9.30 prompt start to 3.30 (end of teaching – you will then have time to finish up, pack up etc). We have not yet firmed up on a venue. We have booked the EAWL HQ but the committee is also looking at alternative venues in the Westlands area as many members are having problems with the traffic.


The list of classes is as follows

Monday 8th October – Bargello

Tuesday 9th October – Dorset feather stitchery

Wednesday 10th October – Lagatera

Thursday 11 th October – Regular guild monthly meeting (smocking)

Tuesday 16th October – Needle weaving

Wednesday 17th October – Shadow work

Thursday 18th October – Stumpwork

The cost of each session will be Guild members 1,000/= and non guild members 1,500/=. The kits will cost 500/= per session which will go towards the cost of materials, printing etc.

LargarettaShould you wish to sign up for any or all of the above mentioned classes please fill in the form below or email us on

Note:  A non refundable deposit of 500/= per session is required to keep your place.

Mary requests that participants use a hands free frame to assist with the sewing. Many of you have one –please indicate if you do or not.  If not there will be ones available to use during the sessions.

Sale of Sewing Stuff

Kenya Embroiderer’s guild will be holding a sale of Rowena Buxton’s sewing stuff at EAWL on August 9th.  Doors open to league around 9.30, doors to hall and sale open at 10.  Entry cost 50/= (to cover cost of hall hire).  Tea and coffee will be available.  We will not be having a regular meeting realising just how much we would have for you to browse and buy!!!! 

There will be lots of wonderful things to purchase – please see the list below – so please come along, bring lots of money and spend (change will be appreciated). 

The proceeds from this sale will be going to various charities one of which will be the Flying Doctor Services who valiantly battled to save Rowena on 11th June . 

Several boxes of books – embroidery and quilting

1 box magazines

Lots of  boxes of sewing fabric.  Some large pieces for dress making and some metres, fat quarters etc for quilting.

A variety of wool  and embroidery threads

Lots of haberdashery items (rickrack, lace, zips, bias, sewing thread etc)

Lots of sewing gadgets (bias tape maker etc)

some quilting items (wadding, boards, shapes etc)

Lots of frames and hoops

At least 2 free standing frames

Lots of cross stitch kits

Cross sitch fabrics (aida etc) 

2 sewing machines (if interested please contact me) 


Tablecloths, cushion covers, gloves, scarves, khangas, small bags etc 

There will also be an opportunity to sign up for Mary Hickmott’s Embroidery classes, or to pay a deposit/balance if you have already signed up.

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