A wonderful way to explore and practice different stitches is to keep a 'ground' cloth by your side.
Keep these pieces in a notebook to refer to later. Writing notes with a permanent ink pen makes a wonderful reference.
After reading about making 'art notebooks' I decided to take my practice cloths a step further. I doodle on the cloth, combining lines, circles, curlicues, boxes or whatever.
At first it looks like a mess. It takes a bit of courage not to rip stitches out or throw away the cloth altogether, but stick to it! You'll be amazed!
So with all the bravery I can muster I will share my experiments with you - the Ladies and Gentlemen of the Stitches - on my other blog.
Ground cloth: any scrap of cloth, a medium weight like trigger is a very good ground. The heavier the thread the the sturdier the cloth should be. White or off white is best - colors compete with the various colors of the threads making it difficult to see your practice stitches or techniques.
Dimensional Embroidery and my Azorean heritage