Posts Tagged 'lazy daisy'

zalakdozi tutorial

Posted by on 11 Jan 2010 | Category:

 Zalakdozi uses concentric rings to fill a pattern. There are a lot many styles in which a pattern can be filled, like using various shades of the same color for the various rings. I have used darker shades to do the outline and lighted and paler shades to fill the inside. The only time a concentric ring is not used is when there is no space to go round about and allows you a journey of chain stitch only one way.

zalakdozi_0    zalakdozi_1
Fig 1:  First, I traced out a floral design onto a linen cloth, using carbon paper.
zalakdozi_2    Fig 2:  Start by doing the outline using chain stitch. I have used deeper colors for the outlining.
zalakdozi_3     Fig 3: Once the outine is done, I start to fill in the inside using a paler or lighter colors/shades. The filling is done in concentric rings following the shape of the motif. Do not leave any visible space between each ring. At the same time, do not make it too tightly packed. The chain stich must lay relaxed to give it a ‘zalakdozi’ effect.
zalakdozi_4    Fig 4: While some parts of the pattern get filled with just one ring of the paler color, some others might require more rings to get filled. Some patterns might require just a single lazy daisy stitch to get filled.
zalakdozi_5    Fig 5: The zig zag chain stitch can be used to take sharp turns while filling a motif.
zalakdozi_6    Fig 6: Some parts of the pattern might be left with spaces in the centre. You can either leave the spaces or fill it in. Here,  I chose to leave in the space.
zalakdozi_7    Fig 7: It is not always necessary to use concentric ring(s) to fill a pattern. If you see the illustration, you will see that some patterns can be filled with chain stitch done just one way, as there is no room for a return stitch.
 zalakdozi_8   Fig 8: While stitching, you might encounter places where you get ‘bottle necked’, as in the illustration. I stitched one way and while turning around to stitch my way back, I encountered a ‘bottle neck’, marked between A and B. This is an area where I cannot accomodate another stitch. In such a case, I end the journey at A, and come up again at B to resume the journey.
zalakdozi_9   zalakdozi_10
Fig 9/ 10 : The close up and whole finished design using zalakdozi.

bluework lessons

Posted by on 08 Aug 2009 | Category:

This is just to give a feel on how bluework will look like.

Bluework and redwork share the same history. Only that, bluework came as a successor to redwork when a new colorfast blue thread was available in the market. Later, a lot many other colors came into availability and many other threads were experimented with. Contemporarily, bluework has been done in many shades of blue in a single design. I have used anchor thread number 0162 to work on the below given design.

Here is a step by step procedure on how this  design was completed in bluework. Click on the stitch names to go to the lessons of each stitch.

bluework_1   bluework_2
I have traced the design to a white cotton fabric using carbon paper.
bluework_3 Back stitch:
I began by making the girl’s face, hands and feet using this stitch.
bluework_4 Lazy daisy:
The flower pattern on the frock is done in lazy daisy. I also made the girl’s eyes and ribbons using this stitch.
bluework_5 French knot:
The best way to fill in dots or small circles is using french knots, which I did on the frock, at the centre of each flower pattern.
bluework_6 Outline stitch:
The outline stitch was used  for the frock, shawl, and hat as it would give a thicker easy flowing look.
bluework_7 Split stitch:
The split stitch looked good for the hair as it would give a thicker look. Two strands of the blue floss were taken and doubled, so that the ‘spliting’ is easy.
bluework_8 Running stitch:
The design on the shawl was apt for a running stitch.
bluework_9 Straight stitch:
I added finer details to the girl by making single straight stitches (single running stitch). I made its eyebrows, eyelashes and the stem pattern on the frock using straight stitches.
bluework_10 Stem stitch:
I used this stitch to do the flowers.
bluework_11 Our finished ‘dutch girl’ would look like this.Click on the image for a bigger version. 

Note: This design helped me to incorporate all the stitches traditionally used in redwork and bluework helping me to explain this lesson to you. Contemporarily, different kinds of straight stitches can be used to work these embroideries.This free design called ‘dutch girl’  has been borrowed from

redwork lessons

Posted by on 08 Aug 2009 | Category:

In this tutorial, the step by step process on how I went about finishing this design is mentioned. You may click on the stitch name to go to the lessons of those stitches. I have used anchor thread number 47.

redwork_1   redwork_2
I have traced the design to a white cotton fabric using carbon paper.
redwork_3 Back stitch:
I began to start the embroidery with back stitch. Personally, I felt it will be good to make the girl’s legs, hands and face using this stitch.
redwork_4 Outline stitch:
The outline stitch was used  for the frock as it would give a thicker straight looking flow stitch.
redwork_5 Running stitch:
The design on the girl’s frock was apt for a running stitch. Usually, running stitch is good for making strawberry seeds. I used this stitch to even do the glow around the candle light.
redwork_6 Lazy daisy:
All the flower pattern in this design is done in lazy daisy. The girl’s yawning mouth is also done using a single lazy daisy.
redwork_7 Stem stitch:
Just to demonstrate the stitch, I decided to incorporate this into the candle stand.
redwork_8 Split stitch:
I felt the split stitch was apt for the hair as it would give a thicker fuller stitch. I took two strands of the red floss and doubled it, so that the ‘spliting’ is easy.
redwork_9 French knot:
The best way to fill in dots or small circles is using french knots, which I did on the frock and at the centre of each flower pattern.
redwork_10 Straight stitch:
Finally, I gave the finishing touch to the girl by making single straight stitches (single running stitch). I made its eyebrows, eyes, knees, and inside of ribbon using single straight stitches.
redwork_11 Our finished ‘sleepytime girl’ looks like this. :)Click on the image for a bigger version. 


Note: This design helped me to incorporate all the stitches traditionally used in redwork and bluework helping me to explain this lesson to you. Contemporarily, different kinds of straight stitches can be used to work these embroideries. This free design called ‘sleepytime girls’  has been borrowed from


Posted by on 31 Jul 2009 | Category:

Redwork also known as  : Turkey red embroidery, Penny squares
Bluework also known as : Blue redwork

embroidery sample: redwork

About redwork
Redwork embroidery, as simple as its name suggests, is embroidery with red cotton thread over white fabric. It took its name from an embroidery thread known as Turkey Red. The manufacturing process for “Turkey Red” was complex and a well-kept secret for decades. The complete “recipe” for the original dye is still a mystery. Redwork was extremely popular among the common people because the cotton thread was not only colorfast, but it was less costly than the silk threads commonly used at the time, and the designs were easy to embroider.

Interestingly, red work was not a completely new find in the embroidery world. It used basic stitches like stem stitch, outline stitch and split stitch for outlining patterns. However, the popularity peaked around the turn of the 19th century (somewhere around 1880’s). There is a reason behind this sudden upsurged popularity. Silk was a very expensive material during the time and cotton was cheap as well as available in plentiful. Moreover, there were many people who were not caught up in the fashion of ‘crazy quilting’ of those times. So, the peasants and the middle class household used cotton fabric to make embroidery and decorate their homes. Around this time, a new colorfast thread of red color came to be popular. This thread, being a special manufacture from the country of Turkey, came to be called Turkey red. Ladies were ready to even pay a little extra to buy this thread. They then began to make outlining patterns exclusively with this red thread.

Around 1850’s redwork travelled to America, where it was used more for quilting purpose. From about 1860’s to around 1920’s, school girls were taught this form of embroidery. The dry goods stores in america sold small square pieces of white cotton fabric with a simple design stamped on it along with red thread for a penny. So, these were called ‘penny squares’. These were used to do redwork and were put together to make covers for beds and quilts. School girls and orphans were taught redwork as embroidery was almost an essential part of a woman’s lifestyle in those days. Redwork was refered to as ‘Penny square’ only for a brief period only when quilting was popular using these penny squares.

Embroidery was also taught in the schools of England. One of the schools that helped popularise redwork is the Kensington school of England. The stem stitch, one of the main stitches used- even came to be known as the South Kensington Stitch as a result of it! It is popular that the split stitch is also known as Kensington outline stitch or English Kensington stitch, but I am not so sure of this.

Redwork began to see a decline as more variety of colorfast thread came into avaialbility. Such and access to a variety of better threads in the open market gave rise to the experimenting with different kinds of embroidery and stitches, leaving redwork behind.

Around 1910 and 1930 a new colorfast thread of blue color came into popularity and work with blue thread came to be known as Bluework or Blue redwork.

Redwork today
Redwork saw a revival only since the past few years. We could be thankful to the quilting enthusiasts mainly for its rebirth. Since redwork was majorly associated with quilting using penny squares, modern quilting has tried to revive this art.

Patterns used
Traditionally, the patterns were simple comprising of animals, children, kitchen themes and nature. Since this embroidery work consists of just simple outlining of patterns, a lot of other themes and types of patterns have been experimented with.

Stitches used
1. Running stitch
2. Back stitch
3. Stem stitch
4. Outline stitch
5. Split stitch
6. Lazy daisy
7. French knot

Tracing Designs
1. draw directly over the fabric. Since the patterns are simple, most of them can freely drawn directly over teh fabric with a pencil or removeable ink.
2. trace over the fabric from the source, using a tracing paper.
3. transfer the designs from a traceable source.


russian chain stitch

Posted by on 13 Jul 2009 | Category:

As the name suggests, this stitch is found in russian embroideries, usually along with the basic chain stitch. It is made by grouping together three lazy daisy stitches, in a clover shape. Ideally, the first lazy daisy loop would point upward. Since this is a motiff stitch, it is good for borders. So, when you make horizontal borders, the stitches are placed one on the side of the other with the first lazy daisy pointing upwards. When doing a vertical border, they all fall below one another, but again with the first lazy daisy pointing upward.  Of course, I suggest a leniant approach to using this stitch.

I will be doing this stitch in a reverse order since it is easier to stitch this way. (So, you will see the first lazy daisy pointing downwards).  I will work on a vertical border, over three parallel stitch lines.

You need to know atleast the lazy daisy stitch to be able to follow this lesson.
russian_stitch_1           russian_stitch_2
 Fig 1: We begin by making the first loop by bringing out the needle from the second stitch line at a point A. Put the needle back in A and bring it out from B. Loop the thread around the needle and pull out the needle.    Fig 2: Now, we make the second loop by putting in the needle back in B and bringing it out from C, which lies at an angle on the first stitch line. Loop the thread around and pull the needle out to make the second loop. 
russian_stitch_3   russian_stitch_4
 Fig 3: Anchor up the lazy daisy loop and bring the needle out from B.    Fig 4: similarly, we make the third lazy daisy loop, but this time towards the right side, with D lying at an angle on the third stitch line. 
russian_stitch_5   russian_stitch_6
 Fig 5: Once finished, the clover shaped russian chain stitch would look like this. As mentioned before, this is in an upturned position. Ideally, the first loop should point upwards.    Fig 6: A series of vertical russian chain stitches would show up like this (reverse order). You can choose to close them in or space them out.

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