Tag Archive | embroidery stitches

Embroidery Stencils, Crazy Quilt Seam Design Collection

I love to embroider, and not a day goes by without me taking a stitch. It has been suggested that engaging your hands and mind in a repetitive motion like stitching or knitting will calm your mind. Much like sitting with a kitty, or two on your lap. Both are much appreciated pastimes!

I have been lucky enough in my lifetime to have been able to pass on my knowledge and love for this beautiful art-form, through teaching in-person, on-line, and through my books. I think that the most often questions students ask is where to start, and how to achieve a perfect stitch.

I answered the first question, where to start with my first two embroidery stencil sets. The first set, Embroidery Stencils, Essential Collection has 90 designs, the second Embroidery Stencils, Darling Motif Collection has 100+. Each set is different, and the two collections include designs for vines, motifs, bugs, flowers, an alphabet, and more.

I answered the second question, how to achieve a perfect stitch with this new set, Embroidery Stencils, Crazy Quilt Seam Design Collection. There are 90 stencils to help you achieve the perfect stitch for your embroidery stitches, and the directions for those stitches in the booklet that accompanies the set.

You and your imagination will be able to create an endless array of seam designs, and motif ideas with these stencils. These designs can be used on your crazy-piece, strip-piece, and whole-cloth embroidered creations.

The set includes four, 4” x 8” templates, made from durable and translucent plastic, which makes it easy to see the seams and fabric underneath. There are clear instructions in the 16-page how-to booklet, including instructions for the stitches, which makes this perfect for both beginners and seasoned stitchers.

The templates are designed for the following stitches and their variations of those stitches: backstitch, straight stitch, blanket stitch, cretan stitch, fern stitch modern, feather stitch, cross stitch, cross stitch row, chevron stitch, herringbone stitch, lazy daisy stitch, fly stitch, and French knot stitch. Note: Left-handed embroiderers can flip template 1-3 over, for the left-handed version of the stitch.

For directions on making a CQ block like the one pictured at the beginning of the article, you can download this free handout. The handout provides you with a template design, and instructions for making an 8” x 8” crazy-pieced block. I have also included the directions for the embroidery seam designs that I used on the block.

Happy Stitching to you!


Shop my Products and Books From C&T Publishing

Embroidery Stencil Series


Watch the introductory YouTube video, How to get perfect crazy quilting seam designs every time.

A Heart a Day: 22

Heart Felt Wishes to you all! I love hearts, I love the shape, I love to decorate the house at Valentine’s Day, and I have a lot of hearts… so I decided to post A Heart a Day for the entire month of February. 

Country Hearts

All the promises we break
From the cradle to the grave
When all I want is you

-U2, All I want is you.

Happiest of heartfelt wishes for a wondrous day! ~Christen

A Heart a Day: 4

Heart Felt Wishes to you all! I love hearts, I love the shape, I love to decorate the house at Valentine’s Day, and I have a lot of hearts… so I decided to post A Heart a Day for the entire month of February.

Happy hands, make happy hearts, and happy homes!

Happiest of heartfelt wishes for a wondrous day! ~Christen

Tips and Tea on Tuesdays

On Tips and Tea on Tuesdays, I will cover a topic and hopefully provide you with some tips that will be helpful! And just as an afterthought, tea may occasionally be a cup of Joe!

feeling groovy tea

Sitting here and listing to Simon and Garfunkel, with my cup of Darjeeling, thinking, hmm everything IS Groovy! Today I want to share some before and after pics of one of my favorite pieces, Bouncing Button Balloons. This piece was featured in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

Tip: Take photos before, during, and after.

I always, well almost always, take a picture of the finished base, and then the threads and embellishments I have set aside to use on it. The focus of this piece, was going to be the buttons, which are two fabric, and vintage celluloid. Here you can see all of the different fabrics, and vintage laces that were used to create the base. The embroidery for this piece was worked in three colors of Wildflower Thread, by the Caron Collection, with seed bead embellishments.

Tip: Before you stitch buttons and embellishments in place, audition them on the base. Once you have your design, and the audition is complete, take a photo with your phone, that way when you go to stitch them in place, you will have something to refer to.

7 5/8″ x 16 1/4″

Tip: When embroidering around a button, use stitches that will curve easily, like the blanket and the chain stitches. Here, I embroidered through the buttonholes first, then around the base of each button. I stitched the detail stitches with the lazy daisy, fly, French knot, and single bead stitches Then I embroidered the feather stitch coming out of each balloon, to look like the attached string.

Here is a close-up of the embroidery and embellishment stitches. This was a fun piece to work on, and it gave a new life to some old, funky, buttons!

Happy tea drinking and stitching to you! ~Christen

PS: If you have any questions or thoughts, just leave a comment! See Tips, Tricks, the Basics, for more helpful ideas.

Straight From the Heart Sampler

Straight From the Heart Sampler is a sampler that I created for Joggles, over 10 years ago. I was asked to create a simple pattern with a simple stitch. I used a variegated cotton floss, and the running stitch, pretty simple, and doable! It is my pleasure to offer this as a fee gift to you, from my heart to yours.

Happy stitching! ~Christen

Slow Stitchin’ on Sunday Morning

In these posts I want to share some of my favorite pieces, which will include wall hangings, small works, pillows, purses, and just because pieces, enjoy!

6 3/4″ x 7 3/4″

Merrily We Go Around

This piece was featured in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing. I started with a square of linen fabric, and machine stitched a spiral in a variegated green thread. Then the slow stitching started. The embroidery is worked in cotton floss: four colors of green, and 13 flower colors. There are five flower designs, each with a a stalk and leaf, two vine designs, and one small flower. The eight stitched components were repeated over the spiral.

Embroidery Stitches Used

  • Stalks: outline stitch, lazy daisy stitch
  • Flowers: lazy daisy stitch flowers (3, 4, 5, and 6 petals) using the lazy daisy stitch and lazy daisy bullion tip stitch
  • Detail stitches: 3-wrap French knot stitch, straight stitch, fly stitch
  • Small flowers: French knot stitch flower, lazy daisy stitch
  • Vines: feather stitch, chain stitch, lazy daisy stitch
  • Details: 3-wrap French knot stitch

Happy Stitching to You! Christen

PS: If you wish to see more of my work, check out the Gallery section.

National Lace Day

October 1, 2022

I LOVE to work with lace, and have acquired a wonderful stash, many of the pieces were given to me by thoughtful family members and friends. A variety of techniques are used to create lace, by hand or machine, from natural or synthetic threads or yarns. The hand-made techniques use simple tools, such as a needle, wooden bobbins, crochet hook, tatting shuttle, or knitting needles, and I tend to collect these, but all lace is welcome in my home!

9″ x 10 3/4″

Creme de la Creme by Christen Brown

This is a collection of some of my favorite little scraps of lace, trims, doily bits, and pieces of a collar and cuff. I collage-pieced these bits onto a background of dupioni silk, then hand-stitched the pieces in place. The vignettes are comprised of silk ribbon embroidery floral components, groups of buttons with silk ribbon embroidery stitches, charms and other beaded components. This piece can be found in my book, The Embroidery Book, by C&T Publishing.

23 1/2″ x 19″

Girly Girls by Christen Brown

This entire collection of doilies, napkins, small serving place mats, and lace bits was given to me by friends and family members. The kid glove belonged to my grandmother, and my mother stitched the oval floral pieces. The earrings came from both of my husband’s grandmothers, and the jacquard ribbon from his mother. I collage-pieced and hand-stitched the base first, then added in the larger components, and ribbonwork flowers. The embroidery is worked with perle cotton, and beads. I also added in vintage buttons, jewelry bits, perfume vials, and and a safety pin with tea themed porcelain charms. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Photo by Felix Mayorca

Pearl’s Delight by Christen Brown

I stitched this simple jacket from a fun paisley print that I had found in a $1.00 a yard bin many, many, years ago. Every inch of the base is covered with bits of vintage machine made, tatted, and crochet lace that had been given to me by my friend Jeri. The sections of lace are embellished with ribbons, mother-of-pearl buttons and charms, freshwater pearls, glass beads, and glass pearls that came from an old necklace that belonged to my grandmother. This piece can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Here is a collection of some additional pieces that can be found in my new book, Creative Embroidery, Mixing the Old with the New, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 28

Question: Do you ever hold on to a piece of fabric, and think, someday, I will use that? Well I think if you are a sewist, quilter, artist or designer, the answer is YES!

17 1/2″ x 16 3/4″

Eastern Influences by Christen Brown

This piece started with the small scrap of fabric that I used for the center. It had been sitting in my stash waiting for the right project to come along. The printed fabric that I used in the border, was one of those fat quarters I purchased, and then held onto for years. Sound familiar? Additional fabrics were a machine embroidered cotton, and plain black cotton, that were left over from other projects. Glass seed beads were used for the embroidery, along with vintage bugle and hand-blown glass beads, and nail heads. Vintage buttons are sprinkled throughout, along with large glass beads and charms. This piece can be found in my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 24

Question: Do you like to add lace to your creations? For me that is a resounding yes! Here are a few ideas for you.

3 1/4″ x 6 3/4″

Spring Butterflies by Christen Brown

The little jewelry holder, is a perfect example of a small project that has a lot of punch. Two silk fabrics are strip-pieced together to create a base, which was then layered with vintage lace and butterfly appliques. The embroidery, which shadows the edges of the lace, is all worked in perle cotton. This project (pattern), Floral Garden Jewelry Holder, can be found in my book, Embroidered and Embellished, by C&T Publishing. Note: The design in the book is different than the one above.

This little block example is from my book, Hand Embroidery Dictionary, by C&T Publishing. It really gives you a close-up view of the stitches, that can be used when embroidering around a piece of lace or applique. The blanket and chain stitches can be worked around a curved shape with ease. Straight stitches can be used as decorative stitches worked inside small appliques. Remember to work the stitches within the open sections of the lace, or just around the outer edges. Don’t pierce the threads or stitching of the lace, as this may break down the fibers.

Sand Pebbles by Christen Brown

This piece showcases a beautiful vintage lace applique, that was stitched to a sand-colored cotton fabric. I embroidered the piece with several colors of Wildflower threads from the Caron Collection, then embellished the embroidered and lace sections with vintage and new glass beads, and jewelry findings. I bordered the outer edge with a piece of Hannah silk ribbon, and a few hand-blown glass beads. You can find this piece in my book, The Embroidery Book by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen

National Sewing Month

Day 23

Question: Do you sew functional forms or do you like to create fabulous frivolities? Here are two examples of the classes that I offer that will help you to explore that fabulous and dare I say frivolous side of life!

7 1/2″ x 7″

Beadazzled Somemore by Christen Brown

This is a version of my PDF class lesson Beadazzled Somemore Purse. This purse is made from a beautiful cotton batik fabric by Hoffman (who else?), but you can choose any type of fabric. The bead embroidery stitches are worked with a variety of techniques. Additional embellishments include buttons, charms, roundels, and sequins.

8 1/2″ x 5 1/2″

Gypsy Treasures by Christen Brown

This is a version of my PDF class lesson Textured and Treated Reticule. This purse is also made from a cotton batik fabric by Hoffman, but any type of fabric would work. The base is heavily quilted and textured, using a twin needle for the quilting. Surface techniques include a vine created from yarn, covered in gold metallic threads, fabric yo-yos, and machine couched novelty yarn details. The sections of fabric are embroidered with raised and textured stitches, beaded embroidery stitches, shisha mirrors, and buttons.

For more information on beads and working with beaded embroidery stitches, check out my book Beaded Embroidery Stitching, by C&T Publishing.

Happy Stitching, ~Christen