Friday, October 11

5 Embroidery Aha moments


There are several simple things I learned about embroidery in the past years that I wished I knew when I started. So today I thought I'd share them with you. It's possible you know most of the things I'm about to mention but maybe you don't in which case you learned something new today, yay!

1. Know about the nap. It will help prevent tangling for example. Floss, and I'm talking the widely used six stranded floss, has a nap. If you run thread between your index finger and thumb one way and then the other you will feel a difference. There's a 'smooth' way and one that feels less smooth. Sometimes it can be quite tricky to feel the difference and I find, this sounds and probably looks ridiculous too, that closing my eyes while running the thread between my fingers makes the process easier. When you are threading your needle you want the smooth way to go in first.



2. Split your threads the right way. I rarely use all six threads of six stranded floss and most of the time embroider with just one or two threads. When you split the floss into separate threads to stitch with two threads or more, take care to first split the floss into six threads and then re-assemble the threads.

3. Use a needle that suits the type of embroidery you are doing. Obviously you are allowed to have a favourite type of needle that you use for al lot of your stitching but it can be very useful to have different types of needles on hand. Milliner's needles for French and Bullion Knots, a blunt needle for threading techniques like the threaded backstitch, small sharps for stitching with just a single thread etc etc.



4. Be a snob about your choice of floss. In the past I have had disappointing experiences with hand-dyed thread (pretty but definitely not colour fast) and fake DMC thread (yes, it exists!) bought at a market in rural France. I almost exclusively use DMC threads which is definitely a reliable brand but in the past have also happily embroidered with Anchor floss and Sublime Stitching floss.

5. Are you a floss-licker? Don't eat a chocolate cookie right before you start embroidering  ;)

Do you have a favourite Embroidery 'Aha- moment' too? I'd love to know maybe I will learn something new too!

p.s. don't forget about the special offer for my new Most Excellent Party Bear pattern!

18 comments:

  1. 1-3 are completely new to me! Embroidery is pretty new to me though so I guess that's not surprising. LOL Very helpful though!!

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    1. Thank you Evie, That was exactly what I was trying to achieve with this post! Glad I could help :) p.s. so you already knew about 5? ;)

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  2. I do not embroider but I plan to start so these tips will be very helpful. Thank you!

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    1. You're welcome, hope you will love embroidery as much as I do!

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    1. me too! Except with difficult to handle floss like satin floss then I use Threadheaven :)

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  4. This is a terrific post, thank you! I check the back of my work when I do my first few stitches, to make sure I've actually pulled the entire length of floss through...Chrissie x

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  5. I did not know about the "nap" Thank you for the info ;D And I have been embroidering for years! lol! All your tips were very helpful.

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  6. Wonderful post! I actually laughed out loud at the last one because that just happened to me on Thursday! The kids were napping, I was stitching and munched a couple of Oreos, then thought, "Oh no! How am I going to thread my needle!" Great tip! I just learned about the nap thing this past month and still have trouble...I'll diffidently try the closed eye method :) I too have had trouble with hand dyed thread. I bought a few hand dyed threads, and went right back to DMC. Love your blog! Have a great day!

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  7. Love number 5 ~ sweet post!

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  8. great tips Nicole, I didn't know about the nap at all (and to start with I thought you were suggesting we have a little sleep whilst embroidering!). My ta dah tip would be using a slotted screw driver to tighten the hoop enough - I had been using a hoop for years before I realised what the slot in the hoop screw was for!

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    1. I'm thinking 'sleep' too when I type 'nap'! But I do think that is the correct English word for it?!? I really must check the screws in my hoops because I haven't noticed the slot before. Now hoops, is something I haven't discussed yet. Must make a part 2 of this type of post soon. :)

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  9. Ahhaha - floss-licker here too. Gonna have to remember that "title" to use an a fake insult to my stitchy friends!

    Great hints. I just recently remembered about nap.

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  10. I didn't realise there was a nap to thread! I'm going to have to try your blind feel test next time I bust out the hoops... because being a floss-licker doesn't make me look stupid enough already to my husband! ;-)

    My embroidery A-ha! moment would have to be when I realised that by giving both the free ends of the skein a little tug I could work out which to pull to release more thread without getting a tangled mess and losing the little wraps/tags in the process!

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  11. Hil, Nicole, i don't get numer 2, the right way, what do you mean. I also use 2 strands of the 6 DMC. thanks!

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    1. hi Maria, when you use 2 strands of floss you first need to divide the thread in 6 separate strands. Then you put 2 of the 6 strands together again and thread your needle!

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  12. Great tips. I'd love to share a link to this in my newsletter. I enjoy sharing helpful information. Thanks!

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