Monday, March 22, 2021

Leaf Sampler - Part 2, Cretan Stitch leaves

With March being harvest time for wine grapes - when the grapes are ready, they are ready. The grapes don't wait and neither does the winery it is all hands on deck to get the vineyard ready and picked as quickly as we can. 

With that all over and done with (apart from a tiny parcel of late ripening fruit) I was finally able to get back to my leaves. 

Cretan Stitch used for the sepals.

This next leaf stitch is using Cretan Stitch. Cretan Stitch is quite possibly my favorite stitch to use for small and long, slender leaves. I will choose this version over the more commonly Fly stitch because I just love the 'plait' that forms along the center vein of the shape

~ ~ ~ ~   Basic Cretan Stitch   ~ ~ ~ ~ 

When you look up Cretan stitch in most Stitch book or online (there is a fine picture tutorial here ), it is usually demonstrated, stitched over four parallel line and looks nothing like a filling stitch. To me, it looks more like a staggered feather stitch.

Cretan stitch is always shown as an open stitch placed over four parallel lines. The outer lines mark the outer edges and the two lines in between, mark the cross over points along the length. Be aware, that when Cretan stitch is worked this way, it will not cover your marked lines, so use a marker that can be removed.

1) Bring the thread to the front at A, on the left outline. 
Take the needle to the back at B, on the middle line furthest away from A. 
Emerge at C, on the middle line closest to A, making sure the working thread is under the needle. 

2) Pull the thread to. Take the needle to the back at D on the right outline.
With the thread below the needle, emerge at E, on the right middle line (directly below B).

3) Pull the thread through.

4) Keeping the thread to the left and below the needle, take the needle to the back on the left line at F (directly below A).
Emerge on the left middle line, at G (directly below C) making sure the thread is under the needle tip.

5) Continue to repeat steps 2 - 4 down the shape. As you can see, this forms a pretty, staggered line stitch with a kind of zig-zag down the middle.

6) When the stitches are placed a little closer together it begins to look a little more like a filling stitch.

Remember that if you are stitching in a hoop, you should be using the needle in a stabbing motion, rather than sliding it through the fabric as in the pictures.    
Mary Corbet has a YouTube tutorial here  that shows you  the needle movement when stitching in a hoop.

~ ~ ~ ~   Cretan Stitch Leaf   ~ ~ ~ ~ 


To use Cretan stitch for filling leaves, I place the very close together and the cross-over along the middle only just straddle the marked center vein.  

To get a nice sharp tip, I start my Cretan stitch leaves in the same way as my Fly Stitch Leaves

1) Start with a straight stitch from the tip of the leaf to the top of the center vein.
2) Bring the needle to the front on one side of the straight stitch. 
Take the needle to the back on the other side and bring it to the front on the center vein, through            the same hole as the straight stitch.

3) Move the thread to the left. Take the needle to the back on the left outline close against the previous stitch. 
Emerge to the left of the center line, close against the previous stitch. 
The thread should be under the needle tip.

4) Pull the thread through.

5) Move the thread to the right. Take the needle to the back on the right outline close against the previous stitch. 
Emerge to the right of the center line, close against the previous stitch. 
The thread should be under the needle tip.

6) Pull the thread through.

6) Continue to repeat steps 3-6 down the shape, placing each stitch closely against the previous so you get the good coverage of the shape.

7) As you move down the leaf, the stitch crossing the center vein will begin to form a plait.

When you see the Fly Stitch Leaf (left) next to the Cretan Stitch leaf (right), you can see the difference. As I said at the start, what I really like about the Cretan Stitch is the lovely plait that forms down the middle. Aside from that, I find, once you get the hang of it, it is slightly quicker to stitch - but who is in a hurry?

~ ~ ~ ~   Cretan Stitch Leaf   ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I thought, I would have a try using a more open version of Cretan Stitch to fill a leaf. 

As I mentioned earlier, this stitch does not cover a line, so I had to draw my little leaf differently with no apparent center vein. 
I then worked the Cretan Stitch open, as it is normally shown in most stitch books. As you can see it does not cover the lines, so it will need an outline to look really nice. And although I replaced the center line with a double line, the lines are still visible under the stitches.

If I was to use this on a project, I probably wouldn't mark those lines at all, but 'wing' the placement. I do quite like the effect so who knows, you may very well see this version of the Cretan Stitch Leaf in a future project. 

I have been stitching these leaves on a little tree. Since my last post, I started again after adding a few more leaves around the main tree so that I can include some of the stitch variations. 

I have placed this FREE Pattern HERE - and I will be adding to it as we finish the last leaves. But it is there, if any of you would like to play along with me. 

Until next time.. Have a lovely week everyone.
Anna X

Tuesday, March 9, 2021

Leaf Sampler - Part 1, Fly Stitch

I am still here...

...and I haven't forgotten you, nor the leaves I promised to show you 'next week'. 

I guess that sometimes life just has different plans but I feel terribly guilty that 'next week' has turned into a month! In fact, I had to check my previous blog post to remember exactly what it was I had intended to show you.

Wee Tree Leaf Sampler 
Fly Stitch; Cretan Stitch and Fishbone Stitch.
FREE Pattern Download

I had promised: '...three different stitches for the small leaves (not counting satin stitch) so next week I will show you those three stitches and how they compare and can so easily be interchanged.'

Fly stitch; Cretan stitch and Fishbone stitch.

I piled all three into one blogpost, but it ended up going on Foreveeeeerrrrrr....

So I have decided to divide it into three posts, one for each stitch. That way it will also be much easier to find later on if you want to search back to it.

~ ~ ~ ~ BASIC FLY STITCH ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Fly stitch is a stand alone stitch. Each stitch is completed before you move on to the next. It could be called 'Y' or 'V' stitch as the shape of the stitch, resembles those two letters.

1) Bring the thread to the front at A. Take the needle to the back at B and emerge at C. 
C is midway between and below A and B. Make sure the thread is below the needle tip.

2) Take the needle to the back at D, directly below C. 
I refer to this stitch as the 'anchoring stitch' as it secures and completes the fly stitch. 

The appearance of fly stitches can be varied by the length of the anchoring stitch and how deep or shallow the 'V' shaped part of the stitch is. To fill leaves, it is most common to use the version at the bottom in the picture above, where the anchoring stitch only just covers the thread.

~ ~ ~ ~ FLY STITCH LEAVES ~ ~ ~ ~ 

Fly stitch is possibly one of the most commonly used stitches for filling small to medium leaves. It is relatively quick and forms a nice center vein down the leaf as you stitch. 

1)     I always start my leaves with at straight stitch at the tip. This gives the finished leaf a nice sharp point. 
Work the straight stitch from the tip of the leaf to the top of the center vein.

2)     The first fly stitch is placed closely around the straight stitch. 
Bring the thread to the front on one side, near the tip (A) and take the need to the back on the other side (B).

3)     Bring the needle to the front on the center vein, at the base of the straight stitch (C). 
The needle should be through the same hole as the straight stitch and inside the thread loop.

4)     Pull the thread through so the loop sits snug around the thread. 
Take the needle to the back, just below the loop.

5)     The anchoring stitch should just cover thread.

6 & 7)     Repeat steps 3 and 4, stitching through the marked outline for the leaf. 
Make sure the stitch is snug around the first fly stitch.

8 & 9)     Continue down the leaf in this way.  After a few stitches, you will see the anchoring stitches begin to form a center vein. 

~ ~ ~ ~   Fly Stitch Leaf   ~ ~ ~ ~ 

As with most stitches, a few little tricks can often make all the difference to the finished result.

Tip #1:     Keep your stitches nice and close along the sides. 
One of the most common problems with fly stitch leaves, is angle of the fly stitches becoming more and more 'flat' as you near the base of the leaf as shown in the picture(s) above . This happens, when the stitches are not placed close enough along the outer edges of the leaf. 
I use the tip of my needle to feel that I am touching the previous stitch, before pushing the needle through.

Tip #2: Lay your stitches. 
To lay my stitches into the right position, I start by pulling the thread straight up, away from the fabric (pic 1).
Once the thread loop is snug against the thread, I lay it down in the direction towards the base of the leaf. The movement help place the fly stitch nice and evenly flat.

Tip #3: Finish with straight stitches.
At times the fly stitches will not match the shape of the leaf at the base. Rather than trying to make them fit, use a few straight stitches to fill any extra bits of the leaf.

~ ~ ~ ~   Fly Stitch Leaf  ~ ~ ~ ~ 

I couldn't help but have a play with the standard fly stitch leaf.

Variation 1

1)     If you make the anchoring stitches just a little longer, the fly stitches will be slightly spaces. It gives a nice, more open appearance to the leaf. 
2)     You could leave the edges open, which does look quite feathery. If you do so, you will need to remember to mark the leaf with a pen that can be erased.
3)     I outlined my leaf with stem stitch (I think it looks a little too heavy).

Variation 2

1)    For this one, I started with a spaced fly stitch in the same way as Variation 1.
2)    Use a second thread (I changed colour to get a stripy effect) and place a straight stitch into each of the spaces. It is easiest to work these stitches from the outline into the centre vein to avoid accidentally splitting the previous stitches.

Here are the tree side by side; the Standard Fly Stitch Leaf; an Open Fly Stitch Leaf and a Stripy Fly Stitch Leaf. I am sure, there are other variations to the Fly Stitch Leaf theme. 

Next up is one of my very favorite leaves: Creatan stitch: