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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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Add Embroidery to Projects

Add Embroidery to Projects

Innovative Ideas to Make Gifts of Art Out of Store-Bought Items

Take something ordinary and make it extraordinary. Simply add a little embroidery.

Embroidery doesn’t have to be done on particular canvases or pre-marked kit cloths. Any simple item can be personalized with a touch of embroidery. It makes one-of-a-kind items, and it gives gifts a special touch that makes them stand out.

Choose store items that have a canvas-like material, and that isn’t too busy so that the embroidery can stand out. Free form designs are a very popular trend right now, so don’t be afraid to give it a try. Draw an image using a fabric marker by freehand, or use transfer paper that can be bought at any craft store to trace an appropriate picture.

Great Items to Embroider

  • Shirts—T-shirts and polos work best. Embroidery design of about 3 x 3 inches on the upper left-hand front of the first is the common place for it.
  • Sweatshirts—Be a little careful here. Some sweatshirt material is bulky and tends to bunch. Cotton blend materials that are not very thick work well.
  • Bags—Bags, backpacks, and purses made of canvas lend themselves so well to original design. Choose plain bags. The design can be stitched right onto the bag. Especially good are “photo” bags, where clear plastic pockets are sewn onto the sides. Stitch a design to fit the pouch, and it’s easily converted to a walking art gallery.
  • Shoes—This is not as difficult as it may sound, and the results can be breath-taking. As long as the shoe is made of a fabric material, it is the perfect candidate for embroidery. Do not use leather, vinyl, plastic, or anything that would leave a hole if poked with a needle. Choose stitches that won’t be bumpy on the inside of the shoe, as that would cause discomfort.
  • Hats—Cloth hats, floppy hats, and tops of baseball caps are all candidates for embellishment. Center the design in front, or make a border that goes all the way around.
  • Aprons— Only cloth aprons should be used. Plain aprons ready for decoration are available in many places, including the Embroidered Clothes Store. Choose colors that match the recipient’s kitchen.
  • Towels—Everyone needs towels, and they are easily customizable—just choose colors that match the recipient’s bathroom or kitchen. A simple monogram that complements a bathroom embroidered onto the hand towel band is quick to do and makes an elegant gift.

Great Stitches to Use

Stitch choice isn’t very limited when doing these kinds of projects, but do keep in mind that the items will get a good deal of wear. Choose floss and stitches that will hold up to wear and tear. Some good choices are the satin stitch (especially padded satin), pinhead stitch (very sturdy), and cross-stitch (it crosses over itself, and that makes it quite durable.)

One last thing to remember–don’t use long stitches–they can pull under the stress of everyday use, and these pieces will be so unique and gorgeous, their owners will want to use them all the time.

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Getting Out Stains in Needlework

Getting Out Stains in Needlework

Tips for Cleaning and Removing Stains from Embroidery Fabric

Although it’s frustrating to discover a stain on your hard-labored needlework, you can remove even stubborn stains if you know what works.

Nothing is more frustrating to an embroiderer or cross stitcher than discovering that the piece they’ve labored on for months has been blemished with an ugly stain. However, with a few stain removal tricks, you can remove even stubborn stains from your needlework.

As soon as you spot a stain, you need to get it out it immediately—the older the stain, the more challenging it is to remove. By washing away fresh stains with cool water, you can usually get rid of it before it does permanent damage.

Removing Common Stains

  • Blood stains—Again, if you act quickly enough, you can remove blood from you fabric by rinsing it with cool water. However, your saliva is an even better stain remover. Saturate the stain with as much saliva as you can produce until all the blood is removed. Then thoroughly wash your fabric in cold water. You can also use hydrogen peroxide. First, test it on a scrap piece of fabric. Then dab it on the bloodstain and rinse. What’s more, a mixture of table salt (about 85%) and water also works.
  • Ink stains—Dry cleaning solvents have proven effective with ink stains. Hairspray is effective, too. However, for stubborn stains, you may want to use a dry cleaning service.
  • Coffee and tea stains—Apply a dab of diluted shampoo (without perfumes or conditioners) to the stain, as well as liquid dish washing detergent (mixed with some white vinegar.) Then rinse well, blot and dry.
  • Mildew—First, hand wash your fabric with detergent and bleach. Then gently rub a mixture of lemon juice and salt into the stain. Rinse with white vinegar. Be careful not to store your pieces in warm places, in the first place, as mildew thrives in humidity.

How to Salvage Stained Needlework

If all else fails, then you don’t have much choice but to toss your fabric. However, before throwing the entire needlework away, consider how you could hide the stain. For example, if your stain is part of what could have been a blue-skied background, you could stitch over it with blue floss, using the half stitch. Or, you could also cut away the stained area. Some stitchers have made original greeting cards by using a portion of their stitched pieces.

Preventative Care for Your Needlework

Most importantly, learn how you can keep your fabric clean, as well as prevent staining. When stitching, always see to it that your hands are clean. If traveling in a car, it’s a good idea to have baby wipes available to clean your hands regularly. And, of course, keep food and drinks away from your stitching.

When you’re finished with your project, wash it in a mild detergent and then lie it out, flat, near a sunny window, to dry, on a clean white towel. (Never use a clothes dryer.) After it’s dry, you may iron it, but use care. Secure a white towel under your piece (face side up), and then cover your needlework with a second soft cloth and lightly steam iron.

If you’re not ready to finish it off, make sure you store it safely in an air-tight container, so there’s less chance of mildew. Do not use Ziploc bags as plastic won’t keep out air.

The more you take precautions with your work, the less you’ll have to worry about stain removal. But if you do manage to pick up a stain, take heart. You can usually remove it you know what to use and have lots of patience.

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Machine Embroidery – A Book Review

Machine Embroidery – A Book Review
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