Thursday, November 19, 2009

Questions and Answers

Many questions arrive in my email box, or in comments, each morning. I thought it would be better to answer a number of them in one blog post, a sort of question & answer segment for the day, so no photos today, just words. ;-)

How many stitches per inch in your backstitch?

I had never thought to look until this question was posed, so I counted and measured a number of embroideries I've done and depending on whether I use 1, 2 or 3 strands of thread the number varies from 14 - 16 backstitches per inch.

What thread do you use for embroidery? Yours seem to have a lovely sheen.

I always use DMC Stranded Embroidery Threads, though recently I used Cosmo threads for the Milk Jug cover. The sheen comes from stitching slowly, not pulling the threads tight, and no gaps between stitches or lines of satin stitch.

What pencil or marker do you use to trace designs onto the fabric?

I have experimented with a number of pencils and pigma pens. The only one I use now is the Micron 01 in brown. Pencils will always slightly alter the colour of the thread as you stitch on the line because fine dust from the graphite (lead) is loosened into the thread as you pull it through the fabric, and I don't like that.
The Micron 01 is permanent, does not run, and is very fine, so no marks can be seen afterward if you stitch on the line.

What backing do you use on your stitcheries?
It all depends on how I intend to display the stitchery.
If it is for a quilt, like the Shabby Roses blocks, I use Whisperweft - it drapes beautifully, is soft and thin, and doesn't fluff when you bring the needle through. When the batting is added for quilting the Whisperweft won't add to the bulk making it excellent for pieced quilts.
If it is for a small wall-hanging, a cushion front or something small I may use cotton quilt batting - it's a dream to stitch through, and adds that 3D effect to the design, or I'll choose a medium weight iron-on Pellon if the item will be laundered regularly such as with a table runner.
Recently I trialled Parlan, which is incredibly lovely to stitch through but I haven't washed with it yet so am not sure how I will use it. I'll let you know when I've played a bit more.

How do you use variegated threads?
I do not use it as it comes off the skein. Variegated threads are gorgeous to work with, but there can be long lengths of thread that are almost one colour and may be too pale or too dark for the purpose I am using them, so I lay out the thread and cut my lengths about 14 inches long making sure I have a good progression of light to dark in each length. With the long lengths that are too light (or dark) I put them away and use them for other projects where a true variegation is not required.

I hope that helped with your queries.

Thank you for your concerns about Blossom. She ended up with a nasty migraine all day but woke this morning back to her old self again and able to attend the award assembly! It's lovely to see young ones bounce back so quickly.

Now, I must finish some redwork...and work on something new...and organise dinner...


paulette said...

Thanks Jenny!
That was VERY helpful!!I need to re-read it and take notes and then go to the quilt shop to buy the proper supplies! thanks again!

Cattinka said...

Thanks for the tips, that should improve my stitching a bit.

Allie said...

Well now I'm going to have to get up and get my ruler, lol. I want my stitching to look as good as yours someday!
So glad Blossom is feeling better!

Kim D. said...

What a great question and answer session. Thanks for the great tips Jenny.

Jeanette said...

Hi Jenny, thanks for sharing your embroidery tips. Glad to hear Blossom is better. Hugs, Jeanette

mbroider said...

A lot of tips in there, Jenny. Thank you so much!!

Vickie said...

kewl Jenny always lovely to read how a goddess stitcher does her work...nope I won't rusha nd get my ruler just yet LOL..although I am happy to report a current project I am working onis coming along with big smiles for me...Great to hear that Blossom bounced back this morning,cheers Vickie

Jane said...

Glad to hear Blossom is feeling much better, Thanks for those tips, very helpful. So now I will be hunting to find a ruler. I bet I dont have that many per inch! hugs xxx

Robin in New Jersey said...

Thanks for the answers to those great questions! I am puzzled though: you back your stitching with another fabric or batting before you start stitching? I had no idea. :(

Carrie P. said...

Thanks for the info. I like the brown pigma pen too. I have used a blue pen that washes out when the design does not have much detail to copy.

Sandy said...

So much info in one post.
You do beautiful work. Thank you!

Unknown said...

Hi Jenny,
Sorry to hear Blossom was under the weather, glad she is better! Thanks for answering the rest of my questions (unasked, but pondered). I really enjoyed this post in particular; very informative. Outside the small stitching, I already do what you do as to the backing and such, so it was good to see that I am on the right road. Now to get that stitch length! PRACTICE, PRACTICE! lol...
have a lovely day

Vintage Sandy said...

Jenny thanks so much for these Q&A sessions they are so helpful...your stitching is so beautiful!


Thanks Jenny for the information on how and what you use--i did try the micron pens once--put I love to draw things I don;t see on the patterns and with a perm a pen--there;s no erasing--soooo--I have to confess I have been using a pencil--put did not realize it was maybe changing the thread color--sooo I will try the brown pen and concentrate on what I am drawing!!!
Hugs, Di

Fee said...

I'm glad Blossom recovered in time for the Assembly and getting her award. :-)
Fee x

embroidery digitizing said...

Jenny I am really glad you shared your embroidery techniques, it is really helpful and worth reading.