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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Wedding pillow on: October 08, 2012 08:32:53 PM
Gorgeous!
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Dr. Horrible Cross Stitch on: October 08, 2012 08:25:05 PM
This is absolutely amazing. What a fantastic idea! I definitely pinned it.  Grin
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Decorative/good embroidery hoops - where? on: March 14, 2012 09:48:37 PM
I've had good luck finding nice ones in the crafting sections of goodwill/salvation army/st. vincent de paul second hand stores.

You must have nicer Goodwills than I do! Cheesy I find a lot of the cheap ones there, but they cost more at Goodwill than new at Michaels. Plus, they're yucky. I really need to get some more Hardwicke Manor hoops. One can never have too many hoops!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Decorative/good embroidery hoops - where? on: March 07, 2012 01:10:19 PM
Those hoops you linked to are actually plastic made to look like wood. Michaels carries them. I wasn't too impressed with them as the inner ring is completely plastic and does not keep tension well. But if you're just looking to mount a finished piece (and use glue) they should be fine.

For decorative hoops, some craftsters have had luck with etsy.

The really nice rounded hoops are hoops like Hardwicke Manor. Scroll down the page to see all the sizes available. They are absolutely fantastic, but they are not priced to be give away hoops. Maybe you have a larger budget than me, but when I spend $15-$20 on a hoop I keep it!  Grin If you're building a set of working hoops though, they cannot be beaten.
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Firefly/Serenity Wash's Dinosaurs Pillow on: April 19, 2011 09:23:47 PM
Fabulous! This is one of my favorite scenes!
6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: What are current floss prices? on: April 18, 2011 06:04:08 PM
My local needlework store has it for $.65 a skein. A local fabric store has it for $1.15. Joann's has it for $0.37 I think, and that's when it's not on sale. Thread's cheap, but it certainly does add up.

I would figure out how many miles it is to the Michaels or Hobby Lobby and divide that by your mpg. Multiply by current gas price. Call the stores, see what their prices are, and multiply that by number of skeins. Add the two. You might be surprised. The needlework store might be cheaper. Then again, if you get good mpg or have a lot of skeins to get it may be worth it.
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Embroidery Beginnings on: April 18, 2011 05:45:03 PM
Welcome to the fantastic world of embroidery! Embroidery is great because it is much cheaper than my other hobbies (knitting, beading, sewing, etc).

At the utterly basic level, you'll need: fabric, floss, needles, and a hoop. DMC is the staple six strand embroidery floss, although there are other brands. DMC floss is colorfast, cheap, and comes in hundreds of colors. It's also easy to find. If you have a Joanns near you, the floss is usually $0.37 a skein, and sometimes goes on sale for $0.25 or less a skein. Depending on how much floss you buy, you also want to consider how you are going to organize your floss. I wind them onto plastic bobbins, put the color name on them, then put them into a bobbin box by color. But unless you get utterly thread happy at the store, an organizer isn't necessary until you have more thread.

Hoops
For hoops, there are lots of different kinds. Personally, I prefer wood hoops. I have a bamboo one I love, and hopefully soon I'll get a hardwicke manor one. But to start with, those really cheap wood hoops at craft stores are fine. I know many experienced embroiderers who use them.

Fabric
Any medium weight cotton is good, but I would recommend starting on flour sack dish towels or similar material. You do not want to start on a stretchy fabric, and you want the fabric to be heavy enough to support the embroidery (ie. not sheer) but not so thick that it's hard to put a needle through (ie. home dec fabric). I'm going to disagree with leika here, and say that Aunt Martha's flour sack dishtowels are a 100x better than those I saw at Target. Maybe her Target has different ones, but all the flour sack towels I've found at non-craft stores have a really thin weave and not something I would recommend for embroidery.

Needles
There are lots of different kinds of needles, but to start with just pick up a pack of embroidery needles.

Embroidery tips/techniques:
- "Strip" the thread: cut a piece of embroidery floss 10" - 16". Standard embroidery floss has 6 strands, but you normally only use 2-3 strands at a time. Select one strand of the floss and pull it away from the other strands. Repeat so that you have 2 or 3 separated strands. Then combine these threads together by threading all 3 into the eye of your needle. This insures that your thread won't be twisted. You do this every time you embroider something. I can count on one hand the times that I've used all 6 strands together.

Patterns
There are two different kinds of patterns. Ones that are iron-on transfers (great to start with) or regular patterns. The first kind you just iron them pattern onto your fabric, then you can follow the lines with your stitching. For the second kind, you need a way to transfer the design onto your fabric. I don't use iron-on patterns any more, simply because there are just so many fabulous designs that can be used as embroidery patterns. Clip art, line drawings, your own drawings, all these things make fabulous embroidery patterns. In order to transfer the designs I use a sulky iron-on transfer pen. Joanns doesn't sell them, but other craft stores do. If you have a fabric store nearby, they might have it. All you do with the iron on pen is trace the paper design on the back (so it's reversed) then iron it on to the fabric. Voila! The transfer is permanenent, rather than washing out, which is the only thing I don't like about the pen.

If you're artistic, you could just get a washable blue pen (often used for quilting) and freehand draw your design directly on the fabric. Then when you're done, simply wash it and the marks go away!

Books/Resources
If you have a bookstore nearby, you can look through their books. See what books work for you. However, with the wealth of information online you really don't need a book.

I think the best, most comprehensive, well written and illustrated resource is Mary Corbet's Needle 'n Thread. She's a fantastic teacher and writer. She also has video tutorials on many of her stitches. Start with her beginner section. And of course, it's all free.

Stitches
Start with backstitch, running stitch, and lasy daisy stitch. Then stem stitch, split stitch, and chain stitch. Try french knots. They're actually really easy, I had no problem doing them when I first started stitching, but I had someone show me how to do them, so your mileage may vary. From there, start exploring other stitches. I regularly go through my stitchonary to try new stitches.

Here's a great online stitchonaryfrom Sharon B.

And some embroidery basics from Wild Olive.
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Re: Adventures in Satin Stitching on: April 13, 2011 10:44:17 PM
Love it! Just pinned it.
9  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Beads: Completed Projects / Purple Spiral Bracelet on: April 02, 2011 05:58:29 PM

I made this bracelet for my sister's birthday. It's my first time doing spiral peyote, or any peyote at all actually. It took me a lot longer to make then I anticipated, probably because those little black beads are 15/0s. I'm going to make one for me eventually, but I got a bit burnt out making hers so mine will need to wait awhile.



More photos and info on my blog (in my sig) if anyone's interested.
10  JEWELRY AND TRINKETS / Trinkets and Jewelry: Completed Projects: General / Re: Lacy looking "Organized Chaos" ring on: March 27, 2011 05:26:22 PM
Gorgeous! What a fabulous idea. Do you have the tutorial for it?
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