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71  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Where to embroider a pillowcase? on: July 30, 2006 09:38:29 AM
I just bought a set of pillowcases to embroider for a wedding gift.  But I can't figure out where on the pillowcase the embroidery should go.  In the picture below, my finger is pointing to the spot where the hem on the pillowcase is folded up.  Should the embroidery go on the hem (to the right of my finger) or on the case (to the left of my finger)?

72  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Completed Projects / Fabric cover for Composition Notebook on: July 30, 2006 09:35:05 AM
I made this fabric cover for a composition notebook yesterday.  It's hard to tell from the pictures, but one of the labels is embellished with embroidery.  The pattern was from the Summer 2006 issue of Quilts and More magazine. 

Blogged with more pictures here:  http://www.uncorked.org/alltooquilty/archives/2006/07/30/index.html#002696

The pattern is clever, and the cover came together nicely.  I'll be making more of these!

Edited to add picture.  Whoops!
73  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Glad Press 'n Seal for Transfers on: July 27, 2006 10:40:11 AM
I've never tried this, but I was just today reading CQMagOnline, and I found this article about using Glad Press 'n Seal to transfer a design to a piece of fabric:  http://www.cqmagonline.com/vol05iss03/articles/592/index.shtml

The article is mostly about crazy quilting, but I thought that this would be a great way to get a pattern onto a dark colored fabric (any fabric really, but dark fabrics especially) for regular embroidery, and thought I'd post it here in case it could be of use to anyone.
74  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / French Knot Tutorial (with pictures) on: July 24, 2006 08:36:15 PM
Several people have posted about having problems with French Knots, and I've devised a few tricks for them, so I thought I would post a tutorial.  I hope this is helpful.  Please let me know if anything is unclear, or if you have suggestions for improvement.  Unfortunately, this is a right-handed tutorial, and I don't know how to reverse it for lefties.  Sad

There are 11 steps, but don't let that intimidate you.  French knots are easy -- I just wanted to show my process in as much detail as possible!  It takes me about 3-5 seconds to make a knot this way.

1) If you are using a multi-stranded thread (like DMC floss), separate every strand and put the number of strands you need back together before threading your needle.  Do this even if you are using all the strands -- it *will* help prevent tangles.

2) Put your fabric in a hoop or frame -- I don't have luck making knots without one, and I don't think my method would work very well without one.

3) Pull your thread to the front side of your work (see below), in the place where you want to make a knot.  It's helpful to feel the back to make sure the thread didn't get tangled up as it went through the fabric.

4) Grab the thread with your left hand, as shown below.  The thread should form a triangle, with one point in the fabric, one point in your left hand, and one point in the needle.  Notice that the long edge of this triangle is at the top of the picture, away from your body.  This is important -- it's more likely to tangle if the long edge is toward your body.

5) Keep a good amount of tension on the thread with your left hand.  You don't want to pull so hard that you strain the fabric, but it should be tight.  Do not move the thread!  Use your needle to go around the thread -- all the action is in your right hand.

6) When you've got the number of wraps around the needle you want, pause and push them close together with your left thumbnail.  This helps to keep things neat.  I usually use 4 wraps for 2 strands of DMC floss -- sometimes more for big knots, or less for little knots.

7)  With your right hand, maneuver the needle down through the fabric, while maintaining the tension with your left hand.  Also, you need to hold the thread in your left hand close to the fabric, angled away from your body.  I usually do not go back down through the same hole -- I go down just a little bit next to it.

8 ) Push the needle through the fabric until just the eye is poking up above the fabric.  Let go of the needle with your right hand, and...

9) ... drop the thread from your left hand and immeadiately plant your thumb over the little bit of needle that is still poking up.  Don't delay in doing this, you want the tension to stay in the thread so that it doesn't get loose.

10) Hold your left thumb in place, and reach around the hoop with your right hand and pull the needle through.  I often use a needle-puller for this because it can sometimes be hard to get the needle through.  The needle-puller shown below is really the "point-gripper" from my Boye Needlemaster set (http://www.wrights.com/products/catalog/boyeline/7312_lg.htm -- these are knitting needles).  You could also use one of those plastic things that are used to help open jars -- just cut it down to a comfortable size.

11) Pull the thread all the way through, and you're done!  You should have a cute, neat little French knot on the front.

There are two secrets to making this method work:  good tension in steps 4 through 8, and using your thumb in step 9.

Now, can anyone explain to me how to make satin stitch smooth?  Mine always looks lumpy and messy.

Edited to add detail to step #7.
75  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Non DMC threads on: July 24, 2006 10:57:06 AM
I'd like to experiment with new threads.

I've used all the DMC threads that appeal to me -- the linen, the floss, the pearl cotton, the metallics, the whole gamut.  I've also used the Kreinik metallics.

What other kinds of threads have you embroidered with?  And where did you buy them?  Thanks for the help!
76  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Rocket Bib on: July 24, 2006 10:46:22 AM
I just finished this rocket bib using patterns from Sublime Stitching.  I'm super happy with it.

I think this is the very best stitching I've ever done.  I'm particularly pleased with the rocket and the flame at the bottom:

Also, I just bought Mary Thomas's stitch dictionary, and learned that I've been doing stem stitch wrong for years!  No wonder my stem stitch always looked horrible.  Here I've done it the right way:

Thanks for looking!

Edited to add:  I forgot to point out that the base of the rocket is done in silver metallic thread.  I used DMC silver, and it was much harder to work with than other metallics I've used in the past.  I much prefer Kreinik metallic threads.
77  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Completed Projects / Robo Bib on: July 24, 2006 10:42:08 AM
I finished this Robo Bib over the weekend, using a pattern from Sublime Stitching:

In the pattern, the robot isn't smiling, but I figured he should be a little less menacing on a baby bib.  Also, I added little hash marks to his dial, and I made the two knobs on his chest into squres -- because I don't know how to satin stitch circles.

I think it's really cute!
78  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Embroidery Magazines? on: July 21, 2006 09:49:53 AM
Are there any hand embroidery magazines you all like and recommend?

I've looked at both Barnes & Noble and Borders, and I've found cross-stitch, needlepoint, quilting magazines, sewing, and machine embroidery magazines, most of which include some hand embroidery from time to time.  But I'd really love to have a contemporary hand embroidery magazine, something like Interweave Knits for hand stitchers!

I did find one magazine called Stitch that seems promising, but it is a mix of hand and machine embroidery.

Any suggestions?

Edited to correct the name of the one magazine I mentioned!
79  NEEDLEWORK / Sublime Stitching Embroidery / Dragon Shirt on: July 19, 2006 07:04:25 PM
I was between projects and was casting about for something to do.  I've been enamored with the dragon on the SS Chinatown pattern for a while, and I had this old shirt laying around -- the rest, is (as they say) history.

Here's a close-up of the dragon.  I call him George.

And here's the detail on the collars:

I'm so excited about this shirt -- I can't wait to wear it tomorrow!!!!

Edited to add:  I wish I could figure out how to photograph his eyes to properly show what I did, but I just can't capture the detail.  They are two french knots that I made using *8* strands of floss.  He's quite pop-eyed.
80  MISCELLANEOUS TOPICS / Discussion and Questions / How to frame a latch hook rug? on: July 13, 2006 06:22:34 PM
My Mom made a latch hook rug several decades ago that has never been used.  It's Peter Rabit, with a big poofy tail -- it's very cute.  It's also round.  My Mom always intended to put a hoop of some sort into it and hang it on the wall, but she could never figure out how to make the hoop -- it's bigger than any embroidery hoop I've ever seen. 

I have it now, and I'd like to do the same thing, but I'm having the same problem -- do you have any suggestions as to how I can make this work as a wall hanging?
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