Embroidery machines revolutionized hand stitching. What once took days or weeks to prepare now varies from minutes to hours. Embroidery designs aren't the only things you can stitch out. Some of the easiest embellishments are made with decorative stitches.
Regardless of your embroidery machine brand, you either have decorative stitches built into the machine or you can purchase stitch programs. This blog will concentrate on stitches typically used in crazy quilt designs.
Crazy quilting gained popularity around the turn of the century. Victorian women used the technique primarily to show off their hand-stitching skills. This kind of stitching was artistic rather than utilitarian; made for display rather than every-day use. To that regard, the types of fabrics also changed from cottons and cast-off hand-me-downs to luxurious silks and velvets. Embellishments ran the gammet from ornate buttons and beading to laces, ribbons, and fine trims.
Stitches from left to right: Honeycomb, Daisy, Perle Stitch, Herringbone, Feather Stitch, Capped Feather Stitch, and Half Daisy. These were stitched in a 25 weight hand-quilting thread which lays nicely on the fabric.
You can get variety in your crazy patch stitches by using various types of stitches and by using different threads. Most often, the thread should contrast somewhat with the fabric upon which it is stitched. Contrast exists not only in the thread color, but also in the thread weight and type. Heavier-weight threads mimic hand-stitching. Rayons add shine. Metallics add even more shine.
These stitches mirror those above, but were created using 40 weight rayon. They are more delicate and have a shine.
Experiment with the decorative stitches on your machine. In future posts, we will explore effects using wing needles, heirloom stitches, and create a crazy patch project.