How to start an embroidery project for the best results (the necessary bits before the stitching!) …

So, you have fallen in love with a new pattern and can’t wait to get stitching – taking a bit of time with the prep can make all the difference to how enjoyable it is to stitch as well as the finished result.

First things First – choose your fabric…

Tip… For beginners and those wanting an easier transfer journey consider choosing a light fabric.

Fabric Size… Depending on the frame or hoop you are going to use to stitch the design in as well as the way you intend to frame it at the end will determine how much extra fabric you need around the design. Usually 3 inches extra fabric around the whole design is enough – too much and it gets in the way as you stitch, too little and it doesn’t hold tight in the frame or you have to keep moving the frame around the design both of which spoil the embroidery.

In the above photos, I chose a bar frame to stitch the pattern in, firstly making sure the frame fits around the pattern with plenty of space around the pattern edge. I then placed the frame on the fabric and cut the fabric at least 2-3 inches bigger than the frame.

Finish off the edges with pinking shears to prevent as much fraying as possible as you stitch. It is so annoying have frayed edges catching in your stitches and puckering the edges of your project.

Now on to transferring the pattern to the fabric…

How you choose to transfer can depend on a variety of factors. With more detailed designs, I actually prefer to trace them as it gives a much nicer end result and it actually isn’t as difficult or time consuming as you may think.

A good light box is so much easier than a window!

Print out your pattern at 100% and tape this pattern to the light box to prevent slipping.

Light box illuminating the pattern through the fabric for tracing

Place your fabric over the pattern centrally and secure with tape to the back of the light box to help stop it moving. Carefully trace your design using your preferred pen – I love Frixion pens as they write on smoothly, show up well on the fabric and once all the stitching is done are erasable by heat so a quick iron will rid any marks left showing.

Resulting pattern completely traced and ready to stitch.

Finally, make sure it is nice and taut for stitching…

Whether you use a hoop or a frame to stitch in the key is to make it taut! I can’t emphasise this enough. Your stitches look better, the end result looks more professional and most importantly it is so much more enjoyable stitching a pattern when it is properly stretched as it just makes it easier from start to finish.

If you want to find out how to use a stretcher bar frame like the one above, you can read my blog post here

Take that bit of extra time to set the project off on the right track and you will love how much better it makes your piece look in the end.

New Pattern in Progress stitching some lovely wildlife, foliage and flowers.

If you love wildlife, flowers and colour then this pattern will hopefully appeal to you!

I am loving every minute designing this pattern and have tryed to get in a lot of different elements to add interest. There are birds, dragonfly’s, snails and hedgehogs as well as a resident badger, bunny and squirrell!

Nestled in between the little critters are plenty of wildflowers and mushrooms as well as leaves and acorns. There is a nice variety of stitches so it will hopefully appeal to lots of happy stitchers out there.

Not sure when this will be ready but I will let you know as soon as it is!

How to create a truly unique colour palette with a skein of yarn for hand embroidering.

I have done quite a bit of knitting in the past and the one thing I miss with hand embroidery is a gorgeous skein of beautifully crafted yarn!

There is loads of choice with embroidery thread as far as colour and type but it can be tricky sometimes picking the right colours to go with one another. I used this as my excuse for purchasing this wonderful skein recently!

The colours were just too hard to resist in this Filigran lace weight yarn

It is a 100% superwash merino wool and the 100g skein has a massive 600 metres to play with!

The question was – what to do with it – adding to my stash and just admiring it now and again was an option but I really wanted to stitch something in the amazing colours! I found a design I had done a while ago and figured this would be perfect for this type of colour explosion…

I soon realised that I couldn’t just start stitching – in order to make the most of all of the colours in the skein they needed to be split off so I could pick and choose and have them dotted all over the lovely flowers.

So, a bit of hand winding is required if you choose to use a skein like this but it is definately worth it for the rewards at the end. All you need to do is start winding the first colour off from the skein in to a ball and finish when the colour does. Do this for all of the different colours in the yarn and you have a whole set of colours that go together perfectly.

The beauty with the Filigran yarn was that the colours were non repeating so you got a whole ball of that colour off in one go and there was still a variation in that particular colour which will look like a variagated thread when stitched.

I chose the lace weight yarn as it is 2ply and therefore still quite a thin thread for hand stitching as I didn’t want it to look too heavy on the design.

Once all your colours are ready to go you can get stitching. This yarn proved to be really nice to stitch with. It had a good amount of strength to it so the thread did not break up or become too weak too soon as you stitched.

Here’s how the pattern looked when finished – absolutely stunning colours…

This will be available as a PDF pattern very soon and I can definately say I will be using this yarn again and already have my eye on a few more types to try out!

Friday Freebie Pattern for April… Hand Embroidered Daisies…

Welcome to April’s Friday Freebie Pattern. Following on with the chosen theme of Birth Flowers, April’s pattern is of 2 beautiful daisies.

The Birth Flower for April is both Sweetpeas and Daisies. I decided to go with Daisies as they make beautiful and versatile designs for hand embroidery… Hope you enjoy!

Daisies symbolise innocence, love and loyalty so a great choice as a gift for a loved one…  First Download the template…

Once you have the template downloaded (from the link above) – transfer the daisies on to your fabric ready to stitch.

For the Daisy petals choose 2 contrasting colours – one for the main colour and the second for adding some contrast over the top. I chose a pink/purple combination. I used DMC stranded threads – 2 strands for all the stitching.

Satin stitch each of the petals, working your way around the whole flower.

When all the petals are satin stitched in the main colour, take 2 strands of your chosen contrasting colour and stitch long vertical straight stitches around the flower – 2 on each petal and sometimes in between the petals where there is a gap.

Using a third colour, straight stitch around the centre of the flower (as in the photo). This will just add a little bit more interest to the flower as a whole.

Finally stitch some french knots to fill the centre gap to complete the flower.

For the stems, choose a green of your choice and Stem stitch down the main stem and then satin stitch the leaves.

For the second daisy, I used the same colours but just switched them around for a different effect.

So there you have it, these daisies would look wonderful as brooches, on cards, or as a simple wall hanging.

Tag me in on your makes to let me see how you choose to use your daisies.

Happy Stitching!

New Pattern – Mini Garden Duo…

To compliment the Garden Glory Pattern, I have been working on a duo of mini garden designs just for those who would prefer something a bit smaller to stitch.

The Mini Garden Duo features 2 colourful and fun designs for you to stitch and would be perfect for those left over threads from other projects.

Both designs are 3.5 inches square so very achieveable for most stitchers.

The Daisy Plant pot design features Brick Stitch, Lazy Daisy, Stem, Split, Long and Short as well as Trellis stitch so this is a proper little mini sampler!

The mini flowers pattern is very addictive, you could easily pop these little flowers on all sorts of items to add some colour and charm.

Both Patterns are included in the PDF Download – head on over to the shop to get your copy now Buy Garden Mini Duo