Archive for the ‘Sewing Techniques’ Category

History of Stitching: Needlepoint, Vermicelli, Embroidery

Monday, December 30th, 2013

Stitchery is understood as the process of working with needles, or needlework, including knitting, crocheting, embroidery, etc. Stitching, in the most basic sense, is a form of sewing. The history of sewing dates back to the stone age, where archaeologists believe people across both Asia and Europe “sewed” their clothes. Clothing made of fur or animal skin with a sliver of an ivory tusk as the needle, and animal veins or tendons used for the string. The needle and thread have come a long way from this, but the history of stitching is one that is truly treasured by those who practice this art form.

Stitching History Together

As more textile fabrics were produced, such as fine wool, silk, and cotton, stitching techniques improved as well.

It was not until the invention of stainless steel in 1913, that we began to see a needle that is similar to what we use today; one that won’t leave a mark on the fabric. Here to the left you can see a Sewing Bird, commonly used since Victorian times as a helping hand, or bird for that matter, when completing hand stitching projects. The mouth of the bird holds the piece of fabric or other bits in place while the pin cushion keeps track of pins and needles.

Sewing Bird Pin Cushion

Rose Hips and Stars Pillow The Evolution of the Sewing Machine

As the textile industry was booming in the 19th century, many women who had practiced sewing their whole lives took to the factories to use their skill. Of course, the invention of sewing machines assisted in mass production.

The sewing machine went though a variety of models at first, with many inventors trying to claim the patent. This included Isaac Merritt Singer, who is responsible for crafting sewing machines with straight needles. Here we will take a look at just a few of the many stitching styles, that can now be done either by hand or machine.

Running Stitch

A running stitch is perhaps one of the easier and more popular stitches. It is formed by passing the needle and thread through the fabric in a line to form the desired length. this stitch is great for sewing together seams, patchwork, and quilting.

A good example of this is Family Pillow. As precious as a child’s interpretation of art, this Family Pillow holds family close within the heart. The running stitch creates a smooth line which is easy to see because of the simple heart shape and lettering.

Family Pillow

Presents for Pups Pillow Blanket Stitch

The blanket stitch is typically used to give a finished look to blankets, though of course can be used on other items. It is formed by making sure that when looping the thread, it goes under the needle and is pulled tight. Taking the needle to the back each time will help to secure the previous loop. This process exposes a full loop of thread, creating the large blanket stitch look.

An example is our Presents For Pups Pillow. The black blanket stitching around the pillow gives this accent a homemade feel.

Vermicelli Stitch

A twist on the basic running stitch is the increasingly popular, vermicelli stitch. It is more or less the same as a running stitch, except each stitch is taken in a different direction. It can be a pattern such as a zigzag or completely random. Many of our quilted products feature this festive stitch.

Here to the right is a close up look at our Fern Garden Quilt. The vermicelli stitching on this lovely collection is done in a swirling design on the cream background. Be sure to click on the product page to get a closer look at this stitching style.

Fern Garden Quilt Close Up

Cat in Hat Pillow Cross-Stitch And Needlepoint

Cross-stitch and needlepoint are two of the oldest forms of counted thread embroidery. “Counted-thread” typically refers to an ‘X’ shaped stitch that is used to create a picture or other detailed pattern.

Cross stitching is usually seen on linen fabric and often on top of a printed pattern or material, whereas needlepoint covers an entire surface, as seen here on the Cat in Hat Pillow.

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~New Hooked Pillows & History of its Craft

Friday, March 16th, 2012

In the textile and weaving factories of the early 19th century, there were flickers of creativity that sprouted crafting ideas as a way of using the waste from the mills. The workers of these factories were allowed to take some of the leftover textile materials home. They then would use them to pull the various fibers though a backing; creating what is now called “hooked fabric.” Details of exactly where the technique of hooking fabric truly originated are a little vague but there is also evidence in early Scotland and parts of France. In these countries, instead of cotton materials, rags were actually used and pulled though in the same manner.

From the shores of New England to Newfoundland, there heaved a movement that at first, was only popular amongst peasants and lower class individuals; being a craft associated with poverty. Though eventually the hooking revolution took on a new understanding and transitioned into a craft that created unique, tough and long lasting pieces. Nowadays, we see two forms of hooking styles that typically utilize wool. Fine hooking, which uses a thinner strip of wool, will produce more intricate details. Primitive hooking, using wider strips of wool, accomplishes shading and highlights that are seen in the more visible textures of the wool. Most of the hooking today is done with a solid backing, in order to keep it from pulling or losing its strength in years to come.

An example of this beautiful craft is showcased here to the left in our Goldfinch Pillow. The friendly goldfinch displayed on our Goldfinch Pillow has bold yellow, black and brown feathers. The hand hooking technique used, allows for the details in color to be shown. Surrounded by a spring color palette of sage green with gold and purple swirling vines, this pillow will look great on an accent bench in your entryway or your favorite chair in the living room.

Another new wool hooked pillow for spring is our lovely Flower Vases Pillow, pictured here to the left. Delightfully displayed in shades of green and blue glass bottles, the flowers appear to be blooming out from them. The bright green, thin border around the pillow and presence of a fluttering yellow butterfly makes it known that it’s time for spring. The details and color are achieved by designer Mary Lake Thompson.

Both of these pillows featured here are crafted of 100% hooked wool with a cream cotton-velvet back and zipper closure. They are also on sale for $10 off their original retail price, now during Sturbridge Yankee Workshop’s Annual Spring Sale.

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Fun Holiday Felt

Wednesday, October 26th, 2011

History of Felting

Felt was actually one of the first textile materials to be worked with centuries ago, beginning in Central Asia. The native Turkman nomads in this region would use felt to form their clothes, tents and floor coverings. Archaeologists have also found felt origins as far back as 7th to 2nd century BC in Siberia. To create felt they would simply gather various animal wool and fibers, then densely mat them together. When it rained it only helped the felt, as the wetness would strengthen the fibers. (Wet-felting is still something you can do today) It is said that the men would use their felt material in their shoes to create cushion as they hunted. Perhaps this is the first sign of socks? Felting predates any other sewing art form, including spinning, weaving and knitting. Feel good about wool felt and the history it will bring to your home. Click here for a complete look at our Holiday Felt Collection.

Poinsettia Collection

This holiday season we have a new wool felt collection that is perfectly suited for your country home. Our Poinsettia collection features appliqued poinsettia petals, silver button centers and holly berry arrangements that will remind you of some of the crafts your grandmother used to make. Poinsettia flowers are actually native to Mexico but were first introduced as a Christmas flower in the USA, in 1825. You can see the intricate detail of our Poinsettia Felt Runner, pictured here to the left. The exposed hand embroidery is highlighted on the blanket stitch of the table runner.

Next is our Poinsettia Tree Skirt that displays the same wonderful poinsettia design with matching ribbon attached to the black cotton back, so you can adjust to your tree’s perfect fit. Rounding out the collection is our Poinsettia Stocking, which perhaps will offer a new twist on your current stockings. In addition to the matching poinsettia flowers, the stocking has a lovely cuff of cranberry felt on the top to make it extra special.

Candy Canes & Mittens

Candy canes are sweet and perfect this time of year to eat or hang on your tree. Consider our Wool Candy Cane Pillow, seen here to the right, to delight your friends and family this year. A trio of delicious peppermint candies are grouped together with holly berry, against a unique black and red design. A border of black felt completes the fun look.

Warm woolens mittens are hanging from a sprig of holly on our Woolens Pillow. A bold black and green background is the base for these cute hand stitched red and white striped mittens. “Woolens,” is cleverly written across the bottom. Both of these wool felt pillows evoke a folk art feel.


Wool Ornaments

We know you love our unique collection of ornaments at Sturbridge Yankee Workshop, but have you tried any of our wool felt ornaments? Each of these new ornaments listed below, uses wool felt applique techniques to create their distinctive looks. Our Cat Wool Ornament is made right here in the USA and is complete from head to toe in wool felt fabric. He is bundled up in his white scarf and sweater, holding faux greenery with a red robin and shares the message of “wish,” with you this holiday season.

Our Green Santa Ornament is also handmade in the USA and can be the perfect addition to your own collection or will make a great hostess gift! Santa is dressed in a festive green coat with a gold rope belt; bundled up tight so that all you can see is two little black boots hanging out from underneath his coat. Faux holly berry arrangements poke out from behind his big white beard and he sports a gold star and gold string for hanging, atop his head. Lastly, our set of three Felt Bird Ornaments is a real treasure. Hand stitched details are exposed throughout these black, red and white Christmas doves. Each of their wings has a felt appliquéd holly berry arrangement with sewn in red glass beads. A yellow beak and black bead eyes are the little things we appreciate this time of year.

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