Mama’s TAST progress

B isn’t the only one who has been working at learning TAST stitches lately. I’m still working away on the Christmas wall hanging and little by little, it is filling in. I’m a little behind in posting, so I’ll update you on a whole bunch of stitches all at once.

Week 14 was the satin stitch, and while B was busy with her bonnet girl, I was busy making trees. On the wall hanging, there is a little row of trees, tiny and sweet. While the pattern called for simple green felt triangles to make the foliage, I knew from the beginning that I wanted to do something a little more special. When Sharon B’s TAST challenge called for the satin stitch, I promptly stitched up two the the trees in an angled satin stitch.

The two outermost trees were filled in with chain stitch, mostly because I hadn’t done a lot of chain stitch before the TAST challenge and I liked how it looked and thought it would make lovely trees. The centre tree sat for a while, until TAST challenged us to make French knots, and I realized I really, really wanted a tree that looked rather like a fussy little boxwood topiary and French knots fit that bill perfectly.

An old mentor/boss from years ago when I worked at the science museum moved to Japan some years ago and has been posting pictures of cherry blossoms all over her blog, and so — being far from finished having a love affair with French knots — I made some cherry blossoms in stitches too.

I rather like how they turned out, and B announced they were her favourite letters ever. The PEACE letters acquired a few other stitches, too. A whipped wheel, some straight stitches, some chevron stitches, feather stitches, fly stitches, lazy daisy stitches, and a fun variation on barred chain stitch — a stitch I had never tried before and took several tries to get right.

I knew that TAST would teach me new stitches, but I never imagined that the combination of having taken Sharon B’s crazy quilting class last fall combined with seeing what everyone else is producing for TAST would create such a profound change in my own stitching.

I used to be a follow-the-pattern stitcher. Oh, I would vary things a little here and there, usually by omitting sequins in favour of much more interesting beads, but I never strayed far from the aesthetic of the original pattern and I relied on my favourite half-dozen stitches. Now… now I feel that there is an infinite amount of room for variation, and I can’t wait to learn more stitches!

(Now I just have to catch up on the last 3 weeks of TAST stitching! Wheat-ear stitch, here I come!)

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