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How to Make A Monogrammed Baby Blanket

How to Make A Monogrammed Baby Blanket
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Designing Cross Stitch Patterns

Designing Cross Stitch Patterns
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Learn Embroidery: Running Stitch

Learn Embroidery: Running Stitch

With a skein of floss, a needle, cotton fabric and a hoop you can learn a craft that sews easy!

Remember the hand embroidered tablecloths, napkins and pillow cases? They don’t have to be a thing of the past. Embroidery is not difficult to learn.

One stitch at a time. This is your new mantra. One stitch at a time. Just like anything, if you look at all there is to learn it can seem too big and overwhelming. How does that saying go? How do you eat an elephant? One bite at a time. Embroidery isn’t difficult. You just need to focus on learning one stitch at a time.

Materials Needed

  • Embroidery floss (1 skein)
  • 12″x12″ piece of cotton fabric
  • embroidery hoop (8″ or smaller)
  • pencil

Running Stitch

It is called this because it is almost like making train tracks that can travel all over. I like to use this when embroidering lettering, especially cursive writing. (That project is coming up. Watch for the Philosophy quilt.)

The key to good embroidery is making the stitches as close to uniform as possible.

Decide on the design for your embroidery. For the running stitch, you may want to think about writing a name or part of a verse in cursive. Don’t make your first attempt too daunting.

Using a pencil, draw your design on the fabric exactly as you would like it to be.

For those of you that have not used an embroidery hoop, it is two pieces that come apart. Unscrew the end and an inner ring should drop out. Lay your fabric even across the inner circle. Place the outer circle on top of the fabric. Place the inner circle into the outer circle still leaving the fabric sandwiched between.

Once in place, begin tightening the screw back up. As you tighten the screw, pull the material gently, turning it to keep it evenly disbursed across the hoops. When the material is taut in all directions, and the screw is tight, you are ready to embroider. Don’t worry if all of your design is not in the center of the hoop. You can do a section at a time and then loosen up the screws and move the fabric to the next section.

Section a piece of embroidery floss approx. 3 feet long. Each skein is six string thicknesses. For different parts of projects, you can use more strings within the needle at one time to make something stand out. On the same hand, you can use one or two strands to soften the look. For this project, we are going to use two strands.

Here’s a tip. Separate the two strands at one end, so you have two strands in one hand and four in the other. Pull them apart slightly. You can use another person, your foot, your mouth or anything else you can finagle. As I pull the strands apart, the other end is going to tighten up. Here’s what you do. Have the other person tug gently on the end that is not divided. It helps to spread the strands and divide without knots.

Thread the needle, pulling the thread through. Do not knot the ends together. Knot one end only. This will allow you to adjust your thread length. You can add more whenever you need it by simply moving the needle up the thread. You do need to make sure the second unknotted end is not caught up in a stitch. The easiest way to do that is always to make sure that end is shorter.

For example, let’s say your first letter is a capital “F.” Starting at the bottom of the letter, poke the needle through from the back to front to hit the spot where your pencil first began writing. **Moving over next to the hole the thread is coming out, insert the needle from front to back. Never pull it all the way through yet. Pull it through enough to leave about a 1-inch loop on the top of the fabric.

Now with the needle in the back, go forward along the letter about 1/8th of an inch. As you pull the needle up, insert it from beneath through the loop. Now pull taut, not tight. Repeat from **. To end off, knot from below and cut. Knot and begin in the next spot. There are many more stitches that all add a different texture to the design. Practice, practice, practice, and watch in August for an embroidery project or two. You never know-I could throw a real twist at you.

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Cross Stitch Your Photos

Cross Stitch Your Photos
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Silk Ribbon Embroidery Beginnings

Silk Ribbon Embroidery Beginnings

There are no such things as ‘mistakes’ in ribbon embroidery. Trust me!

It looks difficult to do, but ribbon embroidery is incredibly easy (and each project unique — even from a pattern). Give it a shot, and see what you come up with!

Ribbon embroidery begins with four things: Fabric to stitch on, a needle with a wide eye, ribbon, and your own sense of adventure.

Whether you use a pattern or go with your own ideas, everyone creates something unique. You and a friend can start out on the same project and end up with two completely different-looking pieces, even if you use the same stitches and supplies.

Creating individual results every time is one of the great advantages of ribbon embroidery. Another is that you don’t make mistakes — you only make variations. Pulling too tightly or having lopsided stitches only improves your work and makes it more realistic. It also shows your individuality as an embroiderer.

Because ribbon is wider than floss, it works up quickly, spreading over a larger area in a short amount of time (consider how many cross-stitches it would take to cover that same area). Ribbon, especially silk ribbon, comes in many different widths and colors, including variegated, as well as blends.

A silk organza ribbon adds sparkle to your work, and an extra dimension of color as well. Experiment with the different widths and discover which ones look the most realistic for the stitches you use.

Silk ribbon embroidery is often used for stitching gorgeous birds, bugs, and blooms. But you can also tack down the sides of the ribbon to the fabric to represent a bride’s gown, a woven basket, or a cat’s tail.

Simple stitches for ribbon embroidery include Lazy Daisy, Japanese Ribbon Stitch (aka Ribbon Stitch), Spider-web Rose (using floss for the base), and Colonial Knot.

Ribbon embroidery is used on crazy quilts, showcasing beautiful stitches along the seams of each patch, to embellish clothing, for framed artwork, on sachets, and various other fabric items such as pillowcases and towels. You can incorporate beads, floss, yarn, or any other materials you wish.

Before using your ribbon, follow the directions on the package for washing it to avoid having any color rub off or stain your fabric later on.

Knotting the needle to begin your silk ribbon embroidery project is different than using floss. You may be tempted to tie a knot at the end, but this increases the already huge amount of bulk at the back and should be avoided. To create the knot, thread the needle with the ribbon. Fold over a small edge at the other end of the ribbon once, and pierce it with the needle. Pull the needle and the ribbon all the way through to form the knot.

You may wish to lock the needle on to the ribbon if you have trouble with the needle slipping off, but it’s not necessary. To do so, simply thread the needle with the ribbon, piercing the ribbon about 1/2″ away from the threaded end, and pull it through.

Now that you’re familiar with silk ribbon embroidery, I’ll introduce you to the basic stitches, more advanced ones, and share one of my patterns with you.

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Embroidery Stitch Number Three

Embroidery Stitch Number Three

With the holidays coming, you will get loads of use for your embroidery stitches to make great gifts and unique cards

Line Stitch and Blanket Stitch

Materials Needed:

  1. handmade paper (or cardstock)
  2. embroidery floss
  3. embroidery needle
  4. scissors
  5. hot glue gun and sticks
  6. tape
  7. scrap raffia or twine
  8. Stampers and embellishments (optional)

For our sample, I am going to use a sheet of 8 1/2″ x 11″ paper, but you can work with any size you prefer. I start by folding it in half and gently tearing it. I could cut it for a precise look, but I want this one to be more organic.

Fold your handmade paper in half to make the base of your card. Mine is now 4 1/2″ x 5″. Take the remnant of paper and tear off a piece approximately 3″ x 3″. I am not worried about neatness. Being irregular in shape is a good thing. I can also use a piece of paper from a different color, texture or design sheet.

Using a small piece of tape rolled and placed behind the torn piece, attach the torn piece to the middle of the card front.

Now thread your needle.

Line Stitch

Open the card back up and beginning about a half inch in from the remnant edge, poke the needle through. Image a line drawn all the way around the remnant that leaves a half inch salvage edge. This is where we are going to sew. Along this imaginary line, move up about ¼ of an inch and push the needle through. Now from the back move the needle up another ¼ of an inch along your imaginary line and pull the needle through. Now I want you to back up to the spot the needle entered the paper from the front to the back the last time. ** Push the needle through the front to back. Your line on the front of the card should have just doubled in length. In the back of the inside flap, it should look like a knot, space, needle coming out and line. Now working from the back of the card front, keeping in mind still that imaginary line in the front, go beyond the ¼ inch stitch another ¼ of an inch and push the needle through. Now from the front you are once more going to back up to where the thread last went into the paper front to back. Continue from ** all the way around. Tie off in the back.

Blanket Stitch

Using another thread, you are going to sew around the outside edge of the card front and back. The thread can be the same color or different; it is totally up to you.

From the bottom center of the card back, beginning on the outside, push the needle through about ¼ inch from the bottom edge. Pull the needle up but do not pull tight. Leave a little slack for now. We will come back to it after we go all around the edge. **The needle is now on the inside of the card on the bottom. Take it back to the outside of the card and moving about ¼ inch along the bottom push the needle through again. This time add another step. The loop that was made between the first and second stitch is your target. After you push the needle through the paper go back and put the needle through this loop and pull enough to eliminate the slack at this stitch. Don’t worry if there is still slack from the first stitch.

Now repeat from ** all the way around making sure to pick up the slack from the first stitch on your last stitch.

Take two pieces of raffia or twine about 6″ long and glue them inside the cover front and back center. Cover by cutting a piece of the remnant in a triangular shape and gluing that over the top with the triangle pointing in the direction of the cards center crease.

On the front of the card, you can stamp, emboss or embellish any way you want. You can also leave it blank and put your sentiment on the inside so that it is like a private treasure. For mine, I will add some dainty dried flowers tied with a small piece of twine.

Now tie your two pieces of raffia and you are done. Try different embellishments and materials and as always, just have fun with it.

On the inside, you can stamp your words or use nice markers or calligraphy pens to the letter.

Now if you are concerned about the stitching on the inside cover, cut or tear a piece of a remnant to cover and glue in place.

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Cross Stitching for Crafty Rebels

Cross Stitching for Crafty Rebels

Julie Jackson, author, cross stitcher and creator of the Subversive Cross Stitch website and book is an inspiration to many crafty introverted types. She began her business as a form of anger management therapy, works at home and admittedly avoids unnecessary phone calls and social commitments. Cross stitching is very therapeutic, and her patterns are simple, quick and funny. Stitching out your anger is cathartic and less dangerous than other methods. Her designs are refreshingly vulgar yet still, include cutesy bunnies and hearts. It’s a brilliant combination, and an admirable way to rebel against the “everything is sunshine and butterflies” trend. Martha Stuart fans might not approve, but Julie would probably have a good comeback for them. “Move the [expletive] over, Martha Stewart—here comes charmingly disgruntled Julie Jackson and her hardcore handicrafts” (Washington Post, 01/11/04)

If you’ve never cross stitched before, Julie may inspire you and she offers detailed animated instructions for newbies and many other helpful links including resources for creating your cross stitch designs.

Some Charities Julie supports:

50% of her F*[email protected]# cancer kits go to the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer Foundation which is a generous gesture and a worthy cause. Nancy G.Brinker started the foundation after promising her dying sister she would do everything in her power to end breast cancer.

Julie also supports Crafting for Critters, with proceeds going to numerous animal rescue groups. Some of these groups include PAWS (The Performing Animal Welfare Society, a place where abused, abandoned or retired performing animals and victims can live in peace and contentment), Best Friends Animal Society and Animal Protection and Rescue League.

Creating your own cross stitch designs:

April Hamilton at Bitter Stitching was inspired by Julie and started a similar business, announcing “I sublimate my rage through needlework.” Her designs are more on a misandrist slant, but some of them are still funny, and her prices are reasonable.

Julie invites everyone to get in on the fun and strongly encourages people to strike out on their own. She began a Flickr group where individuals can display pictures of their finished products, share craft ideas and inspire each other. If you’re interested in designing your own cross stitch patterns, PCStitch is a fun and easy program to use. It has all kinds of funky fonts to choose from, and you can decide on colors and sizes ahead of time. There is an import feature which allows you to create patterns with photographs, clip art and more. The program can be found on eBay from anywhere from five to twenty dollars.

Another subversive embroidery site worthy of mention is Nicole’s Lochers from Paris, selling beautiful, saucy embroidered blouses with dirty sayings stitched onto them.

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