Combining Hand And Machine Stitch

Some time ago I had some alliums (blog post from January 2019) printed onto fabric thinking I might make a lampshade with the material. The scale didn’t quite work but I decided to stitch into the flower heads anyway, with nothing in particular in mind. I just used simple straight stitches and then put the piece aside, unfinished.

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I found this piece again today while I was having an end of year clear up so I decided to stitch into it with my machine. Mainly because some appropriate colour thread was already in my machine, but also because I couldn’t imagine finishing it otherwise! So I used some of the lovely Madeira FS thread to go over the individual florets and add a bit of emphasis in the middle of each. It gives it definition and makes it look much better.

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I wondered why I don’t combine hand and machine stitch more often. In fact I looked through my samples box and noted that I only had two practice pieces where I had tried it before. Below is where I had made a ‘Midas Touch’ piece, using the old fashioned spider’s web stitch as the base layer, machining right into the spokes to make the hand stitched area stand out.

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The other sample was just simple machine sketching to make a hollyhock picture look more like hollyhocks! Not sure I succeeded – it was only a sample – but the darker machine stitching went on top of the tiny fabric scraps and the hand stitching of the foliage.

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