Monday, October 31, 2011

resources for needlework

My favorite needlework,
sewing basket is from Mexico.
      Needlework is a broad term for the handicrafts of decorative sewing and textile arts. Anything that uses a needle for construction can be called needlework. The definition may expand to include related textile crafts such as a crochet hook or tatting shuttles.
      Similar abilities often transfer well between different varieties of needlework, such as fine motor skill and a knowledge of textile fibers. Some of the same tools may be used in several different varieties of needlework. For instance, a needle threader is useful in nearly all needlecrafts.

1. Needle lace (also known as needlelace or needle-made lace) is a type of lace created using a needle and thread to stitch up hundreds of small stitches to form the lace itself.
      In its purest form the only equipment and materials used are a needle, thread and scissors. This form of lace making originated in Armenia where there is evidence of a lace making tradition dating back to the pre-Christian era. Turkish needlelace is also very popular around the world. This form however arose separately from what is usually termed needlelace and is generally referred to as knotted lace. Such lace is very durable and will not unravel if one or more loops are broken.
      Beginning in the 17th century in Italy, a variety of styles developed where the work is started by securing heavier guiding threads onto a stiff background (such as thick paper) with stitches that can later be removed. The work is then built up using a variety of stitches - the most basic being a variety of buttonhole or blanket stitch. When the entire area is covered with the stitching, the stay-stitches are released and the lace comes away from the paper. See reticella.
      Needle lace is also used to create the fillings or insertions in cutwork.
2. Quilting is a sewing method done to join two or more layers of material together to make a thicker padded material. A quilter is the name given to someone who works at quilting. Quilting can be done by hand, by sewing machine, or by a specialist longarm quilting system.
      The process of quilting uses a needle and thread to join two or more layers of material to make a quilt. Typical quilting is done with three layers: the top fabric or quilt top, batting or insulating material and backing material. The quilter's hand or sewing machine passes the needle and thread through all layers and then brings the needle back up. The process is repeated across the entire piece where quilting is wanted. A rocking, straight or running stitch is commonly used and these stitches can be purely functional or decorative and elaborate. Quilting is done to create bed spreads, art quilt wall hangings, clothing, and a variety of textile products. Quilting can make a project thick, or with dense quilting, can raise one area so that another stands out.
      Quilt stores often sell fabric, thread, patterns and other goods that are used for quilting. They often have group sewing and quilting classes, where one can learn how to sew or quilt and work with others to exchange skills. Quilt stores often have quilting machines that can be rented out for use, or customers can drop off their quilts and have them professionally quilted.
3. In its broadest sense, an appliqué is a smaller ornament or device applied to another surface. In the context of ceramics, for example, an appliqué is a separate piece of clay added to the primary work, generally for the purpose of decoration. The term is borrowed from French and, in this context, means "applied" or "thing that has been applied."
      Appliqué was first discovered when clothes ripped and needed fixing so they used to sew over the top of the rip patches of different material otherwise known as patch work.
      In the context of sewing, appliqué refers to a needlework technique in which pieces of fabric, embroidery, or other materials are sewn onto another piece of fabric to create designs, patterns or pictures. It is particularly suitable for work which is to be seen from a distance, such as in banner-making. A famous example of appliqué is the Hastings Embroidery.
      Appliquéd cloth is an important art form in Benin, West Africa, particularly in the area around Abomey, where it has been a tradition since the 18th century and the kingdom of Danhomè.
      Appliqué is used extensively in quilting. "Dresden Plate" and "Sunbonnet Sue" are two examples of traditional American quilt blocks that are constructed with both patchwork and appliqué. Baltimore album quilts, Broderie perse, Hawaiian quilts, Amish quilts and the ralli quilts of India and Pakistan also use appliqué.
4. Embroidery is the art or handicraft of decorating fabric or other materials with needle and thread or yarn. Embroidery may also incorporate other materials such as metal strips, pearls, beads, quills, and sequins.
      A characteristic of embroidery is that the basic techniques or stitches of the earliest work—chain stitch, buttonhole or blanket stitch, running stitch, satin stitch, cross stitch—remain the fundamental techniques of hand embroidery today.
      Machine embroidery, arising in the early stages of the Industrial Revolution, mimics hand embroidery, especially in the use of chain stitches, but the "satin stitch" and hemming stitches of machine work rely on the use of multiple threads and resemble hand work in their appearance, not their construction.
5. Crochet is a process of creating fabric from yarn, thread, or other material strands using a crochet hook. The word is derived from the French word "crochet", meaning hook. Hooks can be made of materials such as metals, woods or plastic and are commercially manufactured as well as produced by artisans. Crocheting, like knitting, consists of pulling loops through other loops, but additionally incorporates wrapping the working material around the hook one or more times. Crochet differs from knitting in that only one stitch is active at one time (exceptions being Tunisian crochet and Broomstick lace), stitches made with the same diameter of yarn are comparably taller, and a single crochet hook is used instead of two knitting needles. Additionally, crochet has its own system of symbols to represent stitch types.
6. Knitting is a method by which thread or yarn may be turned into cloth or other fine crafts. Knitted fabric consists of consecutive rows of loops, called stitches. As each row progresses, a new loop is pulled through an existing loop. The active stitches are held on a needle until another loop can be passed through them. This process eventually results in a final product, often a garment.
      Knitting may be done by hand or by machine. There exist numerous styles and methods of hand knitting.
      Different yarns and knitting needles may be used to achieve different end products by giving the final piece a different color, texture, weight, and/or integrity. Using needles of varying sharpness and thickness as well as different varieties of yarn can also change the effect.
7. Tatting is a technique for handcrafting a particularly durable lace constructed by a series of knots and loops. Tatting can be used to make lace edging as well as doilies, collars, and other decorative pieces. The lace is formed by a pattern of rings and chains formed from a series of cow hitch, or half-hitch knots, called double stitches (ds), over a core thread. Gaps can be left between the stitches to form picots, which are used for practical construction as well as decorative effect.
      Tatting dates to the early 19th century. The term for tatting in most European languages is derived from French frivolité, which refers to the purely decorative nature of the textiles produced by this technique. The technique was developed to imitate point lace.
8. A lucet is a tool used in cordmaking or braiding which is believed to date back to the Viking and Medieval periods, when it was utilized to create cords that were used on clothing, or to hang useful items from the belt. Lucet cord is square, strong, and slightly springy. It closely resembles knitted I-cord or the cord produced on a knitting spool. Lucet cord is formed by a series of loops, and will therefore unravel if cut. Unlike other braiding techniques such as kumihimo, finger-loop braiding or plaiting, where the threads are of a finite length, lucetted braids can be created without pre-measuring threads and so it is a technique suited for very long cords.
      Archaeological finds and a literary description of lucets strongly suggest that its use declined after the 12th century, but was revived in the 17th century. Its use waned again in the early 19th century.
      A modern lucet fork, like that pictured, is normally made of wood, with two prongs at one end and a handle on the other. It may also have a hole through which the cord can be pulled. Medieval lucets, in contrast, appear to be double-pronged, straight-sided implements, often made of bone. Some were shaped from hollowed bones, left tubular, presumably so that the cord could be drawn through the centre hole.
9. A braid (also called plait) is a complex structure or pattern formed by intertwining three or more strands of flexible material such as textile fibres, wire, or human hair. Compared to the process of weaving a wide sheet of cloth from two separate, perpendicular groups of strands (warp and weft), a braid is usually long and narrow, with each component strand functionally equivalent in zigzagging forward through the overlapping mass of the others.
      The simplest possible braid is a flat, solid, three-strand structure in some countries/cases called a plait. More complex braids can be constructed from an arbitrary (but usually odd) number of strands to create a wider range of structures: wider ribbon-like bands, hollow or solid cylindrical cords, or broad mats which resemble a rudimentary perpendicular weave.
      Braids are commonly used to make rope, decorative objects, and hairstyles (also see pigtails, French braid). Complex braids have been used to create hanging fibre artworks.
      Braiding is also used to prepare horses' manes and tails for showing, polo and polocrosse.
10. A tassel is a finishing feature in fabric decoration. It is a universal ornament that is seen in varying versions in many cultures around the globe.
11. Tapestry is a form of textile art, traditionally woven on a vertical loom, however it can also be woven on a floor loom as well. It is composed of two sets of interlaced threads, those running parallel to the length (called the warp) and those parallel to the width (called the weft); the warp threads are set up under tension on a loom, and the weft thread is passed back and forth across part or all of the warps. Tapestry is weft-faced weaving, in which all the warp threads are hidden in the completed work, unlike cloth weaving where both the warp and the weft threads may be visible. In tapestry weaving, weft yarns are typically discontinuous; the artisan interlaces each colored weft back and forth in its own small pattern area. It is a plain weft-faced weave having weft threads of different colors worked over portions of the warp to form the design.
      Most weavers use a naturally based warp thread such as linen or cotton. The weft threads are usually wool or cotton, but may include silk, gold, silver, or other alternatives. (Wikipedia)

Needlework Artists:
Needlework Articles, Exhibits, Tutorials, and Instructions: