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Who Likes Embroidery?

July 16, 2012
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Do you like embroidery? – to do the stitching, or to receive it as a gift? Is it corny that I want to give a gift of embroidered pillowcases to my children for their wedding? (You don’t have to answer that! ) Oh well, I am weird like that sometimes. šŸ™‚

My grandmother taught me the art of embroidery. My mom would have, but she was very busy raising a family. After we children left home and mom started making quilts, I saw evidence of her beautiful embroidery skills. It must be in the genes – although I will haveĀ to spend moreĀ time on this craft toĀ achieve excellence like Ā Mom andĀ Grandma.

I have been working on a pair of pillowcases for Gary and Josy’s upcoming wedding. I am almost done and still have roughly six weeks – plenty of time. šŸ™‚

I didn’t find a printed pair that I liked for the couple, so I drug out my iron-on transfers and found just what I was looking for. This pattern consists of the basic backstitch (also called outline stitch), and French knots.

The secret to the best embroidery work is practice. But here are a few helpful hints.

General instructions:
1. Use about 15″ of floss at a time. Using a longer length will cause excessive wear of your floss and it will get twisted as you work.
2. For most stitches you will be using 2 strands of floss. Separate the two strands from the original 6-strand floss – but then separate and let them unwind before placing them back together and threading your needle.

For the backstitch:the two strands into single strands
1. Even stitches – not tight or loose, not long or short. Use the same tension and length for each stitch.
2. Always keep your thread to the same side of the needle for the length of the line. I usually keep mine to the outside of the shape I am working on – but the main idea it to keep it to same side. That will creat the “rolled” look of the stitch.
3. Always bring your needle back to the top of the fabric through the same hole you went down on the previous stitch – don’t try to get close, come up through the SAME hole. This is key to making beautiful stitches.
4. Even for the shortest lines (like the flower centers on my pillowcase) use at least two stitches.

For the French knots:
1. You can use two or three strands of floss.
2. Place your needle point close to the pillowcase (or whatever you are embellishing)and make three wraps around the sharp end, the push the needle through the fabric a few thread widths away from where you brought it up. The secret is to place your thumb on top of the thread about half an inch from the needle and provide tension as you pull your needle down through the fabric. Then let the thread gently slip out from under your thumb as you finish the stitch.
3. For something different, you can use a different color for each strand. I did this on the knots that represent flower buds.

What are you crafting now? My daughters could sit for hours with papers, punches, scissors, and stickers making cards, but I would rather sew. (That does not include mending. šŸ™‚ )

One Comment leave one →
  1. Rosie P:otter permalink
    August 11, 2012 7:03 am

    So very pretty, Candy. I have done some embroidery, but so long ago! Maybe I’ll try it again sometime. I like the idea of putting a scripture verse in a pretty setting, and framing it.

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