As I shared in the previous post, this year I would like to share some very basic tutorials for my favourite embroidery stitches.
Over a number of early issues of my magazine last year I took my readers through a few of those stitches with small practice designs to hone their skills.
Rather than re-inventing the wheel, I'm going to reproduce those 'lessons' here on my blog through 2014, but with some additional stitches and practice designs added in.
Firstly, let's look at fabric, thread and needle...
Mostly I will use skeins of DMC, Anchor, or Cosmo 6-strand embroidery threads - it makes no difference what brand because all of these are good value and won't break the bank. Occasionally, for something special, I will use Cottage Garden or another hand-dyed brand.
My standard needle is the Birch No 9 Embroidery Needle. I really, really, love Birch. They are cheap, and they are good.
You can use just about any fabric as background for a design, as long as the weave is not too loose.
A good Moda (or similar) solid; a fine linen or a cotton/linen blend (recycled linen from clothing is wonderful!); homespun or quilter's muslin; a soft coloured tonal - as long as the fabric feels good in your hand and the thread colours you've chosen show up to reveal the design you're stitching. Old doilies are another lovely background to work with.
Stitch One for 2014 - the BACKSTITCH
Now let's get sewing and start with the stitch I use more than any other - the back stitch! I began embroidering late in 2005 and back stitch was the first stitch I mastered. When embroidered neatly it flows across fabric almost like a pen across paper.
Begin by downloading the free 'stitch' design HERE in my shop.
I’m using a scrap piece of pink linen cut from an op-shop skirt purchased purely for the look and feel of the fabric. Fuse some fabric stabiliser behind the block. The most common is Weaveline or Whisperweft and either will do.
There are three reasons for using stabiliser behind your traced block.
1. Depending on the weave of your fabric, it can stretch when stitched. Stabiliser holds the fabric firm.
2. It helps to hide the thread ends behind the stitchery,
especially when using dark colours on light fabrics.
3. I don’t use a hoop when I am embroidering so the stabiliser gives me something
weightier to hold in my hands, allowing me greater control over the fabric and the needle.
Choose two thread colours. I’ve chosen a variegated pink and a variegated green. Lining your needle up from under the first letter of ‘stitch’, bring the needle through the back of the fabric to the front, pulling the thread through until you have just a little tail, about ½”, left behind the stitchery. Don’t make a knot. This is the view at the back of the block...
You’re first stitch - bring your needle from the back through to the front of the fabric, a little way in front of the start of your ‘s’.
Take the needle back to the start of the ‘s’ - this is why it is called BACK stitch - and push it through to the back of the block pulling the thread through. Bring the needle and thread back through to the front again, a little way ahead of where you began – see the photo below...
NOTE: Gently pull on the thread at this stage as this will secure the 'tail' at the back. I never make knots in my threads at the start of my back stitch as I don't feel they are needed. Keeping your stitches entering and leaving the same hole when you begin ensures they secure the loose end. This is how your 'knot' will look at the back...
Take the needle and thread 'back' again along the line of the S for your next stitch. The biggest mistake people make with back stitch is not being diligent to keep your thread moving through the same entry and exit holes of the stitch before.
There should be no space or evident fabric weave between each stitch…
Each line of embroidery should be constant flow of colour...
At the end of each letter, I make one quick slip knot at the back. I don’t usually carry threads between each component of a stitchery. I also trim the tail from the first stitch of each letter to about 1/8th inch...
I made a pincushion with a scissor wrap from my 'stitch' block...
What will you make?
Send me a photo or a link to your blog post and we can all see what's being made through the year with these simple stitchery designs, ok?
Remember, I'm much better at showing people how to stitch in photos than I am at explaining it in words, so hopefully if my words have confused you my photos will add clarity.
Feel free to add the button below to your blog, linking it back to me, if you think your readers may benefit from the basic stitchery tutorials I'm sharing this year. :-)