Posts Tagged ‘history of stitchery’

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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A Homespun Holiday

Wednesday, October 12th, 2011

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, 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 of course 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.

We typically understand sewing to be something only used to make clothes, but when you think about it, there really is a lot that would take a stitch or two to create; shoes, household linens and the list goes on. As more textile fabrics were produced such as fine wool, silk, and later cotton, our stitching techniques improved as well. Today the thread used is either nylon, synthetic or polyester. As with the thread, the needle took on different forms too. Bronze needles became iron needles and it wasn’t until the invention of stainless steel in 1913, that we begin to see a needle that is similar to what we use today; one that won’t leave a mark on the fabric.

As the textile industry was booming in the 19th century, this is when many women who had practiced sewing there whole lives, took to the factories to use their skill. Of course the invention of the sewing machines helped in the mass production. The sewing machine had many different forms at first, with many inventors trying to claim the patent; including Isaac Merritt Singer who is responsible for the needle running safely away from the point, as opposed to towards it like previous models. We will take a look at a few of the many types of stitches, that can now be done either by hand or machine. Consider any of these Sturbridge Yankee Workshop items below for a true homespun holiday season.


Running Stitch

A running stitch is perhaps one of the easier and more popular stitches. It is formed by knotting one end of the thread and pulling it through the fabric however many times, in a line to form the desired length. Then the thread is repeated over the same area, but going in the opposite direction. This stitch is great for creating details and more defined lines. A good example of this is our Holiday Memories Pillow. Two candy cane striped stockings pair up with the classic ‘Charlie Brown tree’ and the sentiment ”holiday memories warm the coldest of days.” You can see the border around the tree is only the first layer of the running stitch, where thicker areas like the star and red in the stockings are much thicker; being a completed running stitch.

 


Blanket Stitch

The blanket stitch is typically used to give a finished look to blankets, though of course can be used for other things. It is formed by making sure that when looping the thread, it goes under the needle and 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 here at Sturbridge is our Poinsettia Felt Runner. A black base is delightfully decorated with felt appliqu├ęd, red poinsettias and holly berries, green leaves and light brown swirling twigs. The highlight though, is the red blanket stitch bordering the entire table runner.

 


Vermicelli Stitch

A twist on the basic running stitch is the increasingly more 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 zig zag or completely random. Here to the right, is our Red & Plaid Quilted Pillow. The vermicelli stitching on the pillow is done in a swirling design, throughout the entire background and holly berry design, creating a quilted look. This fun holiday pillow reverses to a green and red plaid. To match, consider our Holiday Throw. The throw will showcase the vermicelli stitching even better as it reverses to a cream base, exposing the intricate details more so.

 


Feather Stitch

Feather stitching is a stitching technique that was popular in England during the late 1800’s. This type of stitch is perfect for creating detail and texture in flowers, leaves or “feathers,” where perhaps it got its name. To begin this stitch it is very important to secure a knot on the back side. Professionals say to imagine four lines on the fabric to get started. It involves a very close attention to detail as you bring the thread from the top of one “line” to the side and then repeated with the other lines. Alternating the two movements will create the feathered look. To the left you can see our Poinsettia Applique which features feather stitching on the poinsettia flower pot. You may even notice a slight resemblance on the black border here, to be a blanket stitch.

Click here for more holiday decorating ideas.


 

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