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Freestanding Machine Embroidery

Freestanding Machine Embroidery

These Popular Designs Offer Creative Opportunities to Embroiderers

Freestanding machine embroidery designs have been cleverly created to give lacy openwork patterns that do not require fabric and can be used in a variety of ways.

Freestanding machine embroidery patterns, (also known as freestanding lace) offer the machine embroiderer the opportunity to get especially creative. As well as providing beautiful lacy patterns and designs, which can be used to create luxury lace edgings or inserts, free-standing lace designs will work well if embroidered onto water-soluble stabilizer without fabric. When the designs are finished, the light lace pattern allows light to shine through the open work, making this a useful adornment for a variety of projects.

Freestanding machine embroidery patterns have been cleverly created so that the stitches overlock and hold together. This is extremely important as this ensures that when the lace design is worked on the water-soluble stabilizer, the stitching does not unravel.

The designs are stitched out in the hoop and then gently soaked in warm water until the water-soluble stabilizer dissolves and starts to disappear. This might entail a little gentle scrubbing to remove any residual stabilizer. The design should be laid flat to dry. If it curls slightly after drying, then it will benefit from lightly ironing (iron on the rear side and use steam if necessary).

Using Free Standing Embroidery Designs

There are many freestanding lace designs available, and these can be used to make doilies and coasters, lace tray covers and also large items such as tablecloths. Small motifs can be used for jewelry. Delicate lace designs can make a striking collar.

Freestanding lace can also be used for ‘in the hoop’ projects. An ‘in the hoop’ project is a project which is entirely stitches within the hoop of an embroidery machine. These often include little lace boxes, bowls, bookmarks and even purses. These are great projects for making something a little special and for exploring in more detail the opportunities that your embroidery machine brings.

Seasonal Decorations

Freestanding machine embroidery patterns can also be used to make interesting seasonal decorations. These include Valentine hearts, Easter bunnies and eggs, Halloween pumpkins and ghosts, and of course Christmas decorations. These patterns are stitched out in the hoop, and then when the water-soluble stabilizer has been removed, they are ready to hang and enjoy.

Where to Buy

There are many designs available. Some designers offer some free designs to allow you to try this technique before purchasing designs.

  • – Wide variety of designs including lace bowls
  • – Freestanding lace and crochet designs (including free crochet design and tutorial)
  • – Lots of designs including doilies

Have fun and experiment with freestanding lace. It brings a new dimension to your embroidery and allows plenty of scope for further creativity.

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All About Monogramming

All About Monogramming

A Look at the Classic Way to Personalize Just About Anything

The art of monogramming has been around for centuries, and today’s use is as much about personal expression as it is about identification.

It is a popular design element for wedding decorations, for personal stationary, and for jazzing up plain towels. It can be super traditional or have a little modern edge. Its design possibilities and potential use are limited only by your imagination. It is the monogram, and it is all yours. Here’s a look at facts and tidbits about your favorite way to personalize items.

History of Monogramming

Merriam-Webster defines a monogram as “a sign of identity usually formed of the combined initials of a name.” This basic definition lends itself to the original purpose of a monogram. What started as a strictly practical way of identifying personal belongings, monogramming has seen surges in popularity throughout the years. Check out these notable points in monogramming history:

  • Greeks and Romans used monograms to identify rulers on their coins.
  • In the Middle Ages, artists and artisans adapted the monogram as a way to sign and identify their work.
  • During the Victorian Period, high-class folks used monograms liberally as a way to symbolize their place in society.
  • Who can forget Laverne of the hit television show Laverne & Shirley, who proudly displayed her single-letter monogram on her shirts and sweaters?
  • In recent years, the trend has resurfaced not only on Laverne-style sweaters, but also with three-letter monograms on bags, personal stationary, and baby items.

Monogramming Etiquette

With the swelling popularity of using monograms and the special cases that arise when combining names, traditional monogramming etiquette is not quite as prevalent or required, today as it has been in the past. However, it can be helpful to keep in mind certain rules of monogramming before applying, or creating, your own.

  • The most common format is three letters representing the first, last, and middle names. The last name initial goes in the center and is in larger type. For example, the monogram for Sara Ellen Taylor would read: S T E.
  • For monograms printed in order of first, middle, and last name, the initials should be printed in the same size like this: SET.
  • Married monograms usually include the wife’s first name, the married last name, then the husband’s first name. So, if Sara Ellen Taylor marries Jeremy Luke Bryant, the monogram would look like this: S B J
  • Sara could also use her own married monogram incorporating her maiden name and new last name: S B T

Of course, these are just examples of traditional monogramming techniques. Many circumstances today require other monogramming formats, which is part of the fun. You get to create a look that is uniquely yours.

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Design Your Own Cross Stitch

Design Your Own Cross Stitch

Create a Customized Needlework Pattern

Here is a way to take your favorite verse and create a cross-stitch pattern of your very own.


Designing Your Own Cross-Stitch Pattern

Materials Needed:

Find the verse you would like to cross-stitch. You can look online if you don’t have a favorite. We will use the verse below for our sample.

“Love is patient, love is kind. It does not envy, it does not boast, it is not proud. It does not dishonor others, it is not self-seeking, it is not easily angered, it keeps no record of wrongs. Love does not delight in evil but rejoices with the truth. It always protects, always trusts, always hopes, always perseveres. Love never fails.” – 1 Corinthians 13:4-8

If you want a long verse like the example, the cross-stitch fabric needs to have a very small weave. If you use a short verse, you can use a larger weave.

Type the verse on your computer. Alter the font style and size according to your needs. Be careful about making the font too intricate for your first time. When you have the verse centered and formatted just right, go ahead and print it. You may need to print several times, altering the size as you go.

On the package of your cross-stitch fabric, it tells you how many stitches per inch. This is very important to remember.

Next, you are going to print graph paper onto the tracing paper. There is a free site on the web for making graph paper. Simply click here for that site. It will let you set up the graph paper for large or small-weave fabric. This is when you use the number from the package of cross stitch fabric. The stitches per inch correlate with the squares per inch. Once you have your graph paper set up, print. This may also take several tries to get it just right.

Lay the tracing paper graph over the printed verse. Trace the entire verse onto the graph paper. Fill in any of the blocks with an X that is completely within the font. Any block that is half of the font should be filled with a / in the direction the font goes. You now have a pattern for your verse. You can do the same thing with borders and flowers to enhance your verse. Use color to shade in the different areas. Experiment and have fun with seeing how far you can take it. Check out free clip art for ideas.

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Simple Cross Stitch Gifts to Stitch

Simple Cross Stitch Gifts to Stitch

Simple and Low-Cost Stitching Projects for Giving

You don’t have to spend months stitching a gift for someone. Here are some suggestions for cross stitching a gift when you get an unexpected announcement.

Spring is the time of year when it’s common to find an unexpected graduation announcement, First Communion invitation or other special event notice in your mailbox. If you’re strapped for money or don’t have time to shop or make an elaborate gift, this can easily send you into a panic mode. However, if you’re a cross-stitcher, you can usually create a special homemade gift in time for the special spring occasion.

Stitching Bookmarks

Bookmarks are probably the easiest and quickest gifts you can make.

You can either make your own fabric by cutting it the size of a bookmark or buy an Aida (or linen) fabric bookmark ready to stitch. If you don’t live near a needlework shop, there are scores of free designs online you can find just by searching.

Keep your design simple because you have limited usable space and don’t want to cram too much into a small area. Again, your design can be as simple as the initials of a school or the person to whom you’re giving it. If it’s a religious gift (such as a First Communion), a simple cross is an excellent choice.

Stitch from the center of the design to make sure you don’t run out of a room, making sure your stitches are neat. Also, keep the back tidy and trimmed, as a bookmark is visible on both sides.

Photo-to-Chart Designs

If you don’t already have cross-stitch photo-to-chart software, it’s well worth the investment. Besides designing your own cross stitch patterns, you can convert any picture into a chart. The software pays for itself after you’ve used it countless times to make your own patterns.

Stitching Ideas for Graduation Gifts

  • School initials – It’s great to stitch an elaborate design of your favorite niece’s college logo, but that takes time. Instead, find something much simpler. For example, what are the initials of her school? If she went to the University of Texas, search online for an image of an orange “UT.” Then convert the picture into a pattern with your photo-to-chart software.
  • School mascot – Almost as simple as designing and stitching the letters “UT” is designing and stitching an orange Longhorn. Searching on Google will lead you to the familiar orange UT Longhorn. You can finish in less than a weekend.
  • Keep it Simple – Don’t design a chart any larger than about 3” x 5”. Also, limit your floss colors to a bare minimum. This eliminates the need for shopping. With all the shades of orange, you probably have a color in your stash that will work without having to go shopping. And, since the fabric isn’t large, chances are you have some Aida or Linen already at home.

Finishing Your Cross Stitch Piece

When framing your finished cross stitch, keep it simple. Rather than using a regular frame, explore other alternatives that are cheaper, as well as quick.

  • Embroidery hoop – Use the hoop you used to stitch as a frame. To add a decorative touch, just paste some trim around the hook. Or you could paint the hoop a color to coordinate with the design.
  • Crochet finishing – Single crochet around the edges. If you’ve cut your own bookmark from fabric, this is an excellent way to finish it off.

Besides saving money, you’ll bless your receiver, as most people love to receive homemade gifts. Not only are you offering a gift, but you’re also giving an heirloom that will be treasured for years to come.

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Learn How to Dye Cross Stitch Fabrics

Learn How to Dye Cross Stitch Fabrics

Tips for Coloring Embroidery Canvases

You don’t need to buy specially colored fabric for your cross stitch and embroidery projects. Why not dye your own canvases?

Unless you live near a needlework shop, chances are you’re limited to only white cross stitch fabric. It’s not hard to dye your own cross stitch fabrics.

Of course, you can choose from the many commercial dyes on the market. However, it’s much more creative to color fabrics yourself.

Kool-Aid Dyeing

The 44 assorted Kool-Aid flavors offer a variety of colors. Or, if you can’t find just the right shade, mix colors. Just be sure to first experiment on a scrap piece of fabric. Blueberry Kool Aid is excellent for skies and water. It certainly beats stitching all that blue floss for a background. Simply soak the fabric in a solution of Kool Aid and warm water. Continue adding more Kool-Aid crystals until you have your desired shade. Besides Kool Aid, Crystal Lite works just as well.

Coloring Fabric with Tea or Coffee

If you don’t mind fabric eventually fading with years, then try dyeing with it with tea or coffee. For an older, more muted look, tea or coffee works well. Unfortunately, the acids in tea and coffee degrade after about three to four decades. If you wanted your work to last longer, the coffee-dyed fabric would last 75-100 years. While tea renders a grayish look, coffee is browner.

Tea dying

Using tea bags and hot water, tea dyeing stains fibers, giving it an antiqued or “dirty” tone to your fabric. Use this dyeing technique for your smaller projects as tea bags are used, and you don’t have that much coloring. What’s more, it gives an imperfect or uneven color. For larger projects, use commercial dye.

Because tea dye is semi-permanent, it won’t wash out easily, although it can usually come out with bleach. Tea dye only works on natural fibers, including cotton, silk, linen, and maybe wool. Polyester will not take color. Tea dye is reddish brown, so it’s not a good choice if you want a creamy look.

Tea dye is semi-permanent, meaning it won’t wash out quickly, although you can usually remove it with bleach. It may also fade in sunlight. However, it is not suggested for use on regularly washed items as detergents are designed to remove the tea stain.

Boil four cups of water per yard of fabric, adding two bags for each cup of water. After allowing the tea to sit for about five minutes, you’ll have a dark brown liquid. Then soak your fabric in the tea mixture and rinse under cool water if you want to remove much of the dark color. Continue to soak until you have the desired shade of brown. Keep in mind that your fabric will be lighter in color when thoroughly dry. Then dry your fabric in a clothes dryer (set on high) and tumble dry. Iron on a hot setting to set in the permanent color.

Coffee Dyeing

Coffee also works well. Just soak your fabric in a pot of coffee. Only be forewarned that you’ll be smelling coffee for a long time, whereas tea doesn’t leave a scent.

For a darker color, use unbrewed coffee beams, as well as darker beans. Again, to set in the permanent color, iron your fabric on a hot setting.

If you’re still afraid to dye your own fabric, you can always order just the right colored fabric online. However, you’ll miss out on the fun of experimenting and be doing it yourself.

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