When Mique contacted me to become an needle arts contributor on her blog, my first thought was “YES!” and about 3 seconds later was “Are you sure?”. I am pretty new to needle arts – I’ll admit it. I have been embroidering for less than a year, with cross stitch being the only needle art I have been doing for as long as I can remember. Let me tell you – I was one cool 12 year old toting around cross stitch projects. Add in the fact that I went through a phase where all I wore were stirrup pants and my dad’s XL t-shirts – it’s a wonder I am able to function socially.
Anyways, after thinking some more, I realized this is actually perfect. When I share embroidery projects on my blog, I always get comments about wanting to learn “someday” or it being hard or not knowing where to start. Well, let me assure you, from one newbie to the next – you can do it! And if you aren’t a newbie, I will also have some fresh project ideas and if you are a pro, it would be great to have you chime in. I think everyone will be able to join in on the fun, so I am excited to get going.
This brings us to where I will be starting as a contributor here on 30 days. We are going to start at the very beginning – what you need to get into embroidering.
Embroidering can be a relatively cheap craft to get into. Did you catch that? Can be. Don’t get me wrong – you can spend a small fortune on patterns and supplies and books and oh-so-cute tiny embroidery scissors. Not that I have done that…
Here are the basics:
Needles. Of course. I use this variety pack from the craft store. I like having a few different sizes depending on how many strands of embroidery thread I am using.
Embroidery thread. I would start with the basic DMC six-strand embroidery floss. It is usually less than $.40/skein so you can start a new project with only a few dollars worth of thread. Plus it comes in a rainbow of beautiful colors. (And if you want to organize your embroidery thread on cards like mine, check out this post). There are also some specialty metallic and satin threads. I have not ventured into this yet – they are a bit trickier to work with, and my aesthetic just has not called for metallic thread. Maybe when I start my Lady Gaga tribute piece. (uhm, kidding!)
Hoops. There are plastic and wood and square and circle and oval hoops. All kinds. I like the simple wooden ones. They are simple, plain, and best of all – cheap!
Material. I am still searching for my favorite fabric to embroider on. Books and other sites recommend an even weave fabric with a high thread count and I agree. Linen is great for this and is a commonly embroidered fabric. I will keep you updated on what specific kinds of fabrics I am loving as I come across them. I have tried to embroider on cheap, thin patterned fabric and it really didn’t work. It didn’t support my stitches and if I were to wash the finished work, it may leave holes where the needle went in and out of the fabric. (This is why a high thread count is recommended.)
Embroidery scissors. This is not an absolute must if you aren’t ready to spend the money on a good quality pair, but I would recommend them. If you decide to wait on an expensive pair, you can find cheaper versions that will get the job done just fine. A good, sharp pair of tiny scissors can help you with pulling out stitches or clipping tiny threads. Plus they are cute and I have always wanted a pair so I pretty much needed them. (by the way, I want these).
Patterns. There are iron on patterns, books, pdf’s, and well, anything that inspires you can become a pattern. The source of your design will determine how you transfer that pattern, so it is something to keep in mind. For instance, I am not a huge fan of iron on patterns, although I am a huge fan of the designs. So, what do I do? I trace the pattern onto tracing paper and the use a light source to trace it onto the fabric. Confused? Let’s keep going.
Water soluble marker. Here is my favorite way to transfer patterns: a window. Yep. I tape my pattern to the window, tape my fabric over it, and use this marker to trace. When I am done embroidering, I use a Q-tip to dab water on the marker lines and they disappear.
So that’s it – the very basics of getting started in embroidery. If you are looking for a good book to get you started, I would recommend Doodle Stitching – the Motif Collection or Embroidered Effects. Both of these books cover the basics, stitches, and have lots of cute patterns.
I would love for you to head over to my blog, little lovelies, and say hi! Check out my embroidery and cross stitch projects, or just take a look around. You can also find me on facebook, twitter, and pinterest.
See you next time with an easy, cute embroidery project.