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Puppet Kaos - where Kelvin Kao plays with puppets and tell random stories

Different Stitches

As I previously mentioned, I’m taking an online class on puppet-making. I have been learning the different stitches on the Project Puppet site. The tutorial covered four different stitches: whipstitch, locking whipstitch, baseball stitch, and ladder stitch.

And also, you know what’s a really good resource for learning this stuff? YouTube. Text descriptions and pictures are good, but watching demonstrations (provided that they are filmed well) helps even more.

Whipstitch: This is simple enough. Just a bunch of loops. It’s pretty basic. It reminds me of the way a spiral notebook is bound together. A good example can be found on YouTube here, although this one doesn’t really require that much explanation.

Locking whipstitch: I actually could not find a good example video for this one, but since I’ve done it in my elementary school craft class, I already know it. Strangely enough, many of the crafting skills I currently have were learned in elementary school in Taiwan. They seriously made children try a lot of things like pencil figure drawing, basic sewing and stuffing projects with felt, water-color, embossing a sheet of soft metal, carving your own stamp, making and decorating frisbees out of cardboard, decorating cans with straws, working with playdough/paperclay, etc. “Kids, bring your knives to school tomorrow so we can carve some wood to make prints” is something you will never hear in American elementary schools.

Baseball stitch: Although the instructor Andrew recommended baseball stitch and ladder stitch for puppet-building, I wasn’t quite sure about it. This is the kind of stitch that’s also used for baseballs (hence the name), but wouldn’t that leave big seams? After trying it out though, I like it. The seams are quite hidden if it’s done right and it seems to join together the fabrics and hold it pretty well. I like this video on YouTube. She’s actually demonstrating the baseball stitch using a knitting needle and yarn as opposed to the regular needle and thread. This makes things a lot more visible, because sometimes needle and thread just doesn’t show very well in web videos because of the video quality, or because the view is easily blocked by the person’s hands.

Ladder stitch: At first I wasn’t quite understanding this one. Though I am told that this stitch is almost invisible, I had some doubts. The pictures I am seeing about this stitch look like there would be a bunch of horizontal stitches visible on the top. So that makes ladder stitch not that different from whipstitch. But later I studied it a little more closely and realized that as long as I pull the stitches tight, the stitches really do disappear! This quickly became my favorite stitch. This video is a good example of the stitch, and this page is what I was looking at when I had the realization of needing to pull the stitches tight.

I am now practicing these stitches on a fleece puppet head that I am currently sewing together. I am almost done, and will post pictures soon early this week! :-)


  1. Na
    June 28th, 2009 | 11:58 pm

    I’m going to have to bookmark all these links. I didn’t realise there were so many tutorials just on stitching. Great resource!

  2. June 29th, 2009 | 11:04 am

    Awesome, Kelvin! My husband was telling me about a guy who delivered his wife’s baby using YouTube videos…this sounds much more appetizing. :)

    Sarah Bray’s last blog post..The art of the voice: Part 6 – Rock your credibility

  3. June 29th, 2009 | 12:32 pm

    I didn’t know that you had to sew to make puppets. It’s funny, because I enjoy all kinds of arts and crafts but I absolutely do not like sewing. I think I’m sewing impaired or something. I can mend a seam, but beyond that, I stay away from needles and threads. It’s too bad, because there’s tons of stuff (clothes, and now puppets) that would be fun to make.

    Melissa Donovan’s last blog post..How to Stay Inspired with a Creative Writing Talisman

  4. June 29th, 2009 | 3:31 pm

    @Na: Oh yeah, there are so many instruction videos on the internet. It just sometimes takes a little time to separate the good ones from the stupid ones. Internet is quite amazing.

    @Sarah Bray: Huh, I didn’t know they have that on YouTube. But then, I am not surprised.

    @Melissa Donovan: Actually, I’ve been using glue for the most part, but I would like to expand my skill set. Also there are many things that needles and threads can accomplish that glue can’t (and vice versa) so it’s good to have the skill.

  5. Na
    June 29th, 2009 | 6:24 pm

    My problem is, I don’t have time to go through the entire internet 😉
    I guess in this case, you’ve weeded the good from the bad for me :)

  6. June 30th, 2009 | 3:04 am

    No problem. You leave the internet-combing, YouTube-watching to me. :-)

  7. Na
    July 1st, 2009 | 5:31 pm

    Will do – I already have a billion puppetry bookmarks. It’s taking me forever to go through them! :)

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