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1  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: The big thread of transfer pen/pencil questions on: May 20, 2009 05:10:47 PM
WOW. That's the best list of stitching transfer suggestions! Great information, Pipstress!

Another option that works great - whether on dark or light fabric - is the Bohin ceramic pencil that comes with different refill colors. They Last Forever, which helps minimize the stress over the price, and you can achieve very fine, smooth lines with the transfer. They erase right off with the eraser that's attached to the pencil, and they also rinse away with water.

For solvy, I agree with the hooping and tacking thing. I prefer the thicker solvy to the thinner kind. Ultra Solvy, it might be called?

With the prick-and-pounce mentioned in Pipstress's list, you can use a small strip of felt rolled up like a sleeping bag to pounce your chalk on. The chalk traditionally used in prick-and-stitch is cuttlefish bone mixed with charcoal, so it's normally greyish. For the white powder (for transferring to dark fabrics), it's straight cuttlefish bone, methinks. It's super-fine, which makes it perfect for passing through the holes in your tissue paper (I use regular tracing paper, too), and it's somewhat heavy and clingy, so it doesn't blow away or shift much when you pick up the paper. I usually use a really fine paintbrush and watercolor paints or acrylics to paint a very fine line over the powder dots, to make a permanent pattern - but then, if I'm using prick-and-pounce, it's usually on a project that is going to take a lot of time to stitch - six months, a year, two years - so the design has to last. Once the dots are painted over, I pick up my frame and flick hard on the back of the fabric until all the dust from the pounce powder is gone. It's a great method - but too much work, I think, for smaller projects!

Hey, and there's nothing wrong with a regular pencil to trace a pattern with, as long as you draw with a light hand, and you're using colored floss. (Doesn't work so great with white! picks up the grey!) Use the window as a light box... inexpensive and very effective...
2  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Supplies. Articles, Deals on: May 20, 2009 04:55:25 PM
For those of you who like embroidering on - or silk screening on - or whatever - flour sack towels, American Chair store has their Deluxe flour sack towels on sale right now, $15.90 for a dozen. Now, I know that makes them over $1.00 each, but - they are the best flour sack towels for embroidery! They're 30x30 square (they have other sizes, but I like the square!), pre-washed, pre-shrunk, pre-ironed, so you can set to work on them as soon as they arrive, they're a nice weight of fabric with a fairly dense weave - all around great for flour sack towels! (And oh-so-much nicer than the ones I've found at Target, Hobby Lobby, etc., that feel like cheese cloth more than flour sack...)

So, if you use flour sack towels for crafting, you might want to check out the ACS:


I used one of their towels on this project:

and it was really nice to stitch on!

So, if you're looking for flour sack towels, and want some good ones that are on sale right now, you'll save about $3 if you get them by the dozen from ACS while they're on sale!
3  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Treecatus embroidery video tutorials on: May 20, 2009 04:35:57 PM
I just recent received an e-mail from a fellow Craftster, who wanted to know WHY I hadn't been here in so long! Ugh! SORRY! Most of you who blog full time and work full time probably know that it's hard to keep up with everything!

Anyway, I thought I'd pop in and say HOWDY (yeah. I'm from Kansas.) and let you know that I've added more videos to my video library - not a whole lot, but some, anyway. I'm up to 54, actually!

The latest was Turkey Work. It's a great stitch for things like hair and fuzzy stuff. You can find it here:


I'm looking forward to this summer! I'll be expanding the video library a bit...

Now I'm going to meander through the forum and see what's going on in the embroidery world!
4  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: New to Embroidery - Need Guidance on: October 15, 2008 05:30:31 PM
Tracing with the overhead is a good idea - I never thought of using mine for that. It'll be kind of .... warm.

Solvy is a good idea, too. I've used it before, but I generally use it on fabrics with a nap (like velveteen or flannel). If I'm using a fabric with a smooth hand (like muslin), I'd just as soon trace the design. Muslin's good, if it's a high count, sturdy muslin. You could even go with two layers (tack them together first, or hoop them up together), if you wanted to give it more stability. Plus, it'll help hide any crossing threads in the back. But if you're careful about not carrying your threads, a good muslin should be just fine.

If you want a bit of info on using solvy for your pattern, I've got a couple articles on it here:

Using Solvy, part I: http://www.needlenthread.com/2006/10/transferring-embroidery-patterns.html
Using Solvy, part II http://www.needlenthread.com/2006/10/transferring-embroidery-patterns-solvy.html

Thing is, with solvy, general the whole pattern should fit in your hoop or frame. If it doesn't, you'd need to tack the solvy on first, so that you can move your hoop around without any problem.

In fact, if I were doing something 8.5x11, and I were going to use Solvy as my design transfer, I think I'd tack the project onto stretcher bar frames that could accommodate the whole piece.

Oh, and I prefer the Ultra Solvy, which is thicker than regular Solvy. Regular solvy is too much like plastic wrap, and really flimsy. But that's just my opinion....

If you're going to trace using the overhead, I'd just use a regular pencil. Preshrink your fabric, then cut it (at least two inches on all sides bigger than the design, though you may want to go with more...), then iron it well with spray starch, then trace it with a pencil. Be careful of using a hoop with a pencil trace, as you can rub the pencil off when you hold onto the hoop and the fabric (unless the whole design fits in  your hoop - another good reason to use a set of stretcher bars....)

Hope that helps!
5  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: How to prevent color bleeding on: October 15, 2008 06:15:44 AM
It's not usually the fabric that causes thread to bleed. It's the dye in the thread not holding fast.

DMC is good for non-bleeding threads, but their reds and more brilliant, deep colors have been known to run.

There are lots of "home remedies" to making a thread color-fast. For example, fill a bowl with lukewarm water, and dump about a teaspoon or so of salt in the water, let it dissolve, then soak your thread in for 10 minutes.

You can do the same thing with white vinegar.

Either way will set the color of the thread....

6  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: New to Embroidery - Need Guidance on: October 15, 2008 06:11:46 AM
Wow - that's a great idea for an embroidery project!

Given the smaller size (letter sized paper), I'd go for 2 strands on bold lines and 1 strand on fine lines. You can use any line stitch, but I'd suggest split stitch (which works best with 1 strand - it keeps its closed stitch) or whipped backstitch, if you want a solid line that doesn't have the "stitch" look to it. If you like the "stitch" look, regular backstitch would work, too.

Question is, how are you going to transfer it? That's a lot of detail to trace out. I suppose you could print it on your printer, using the fabric backed with paper that you can find at craft stores....?

What type fabric were you planning on?

I can't wait to see the finished product! I think you'll have fun with it!
7  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: lace makers help needed on: April 17, 2008 04:22:57 PM

Bobbin lace takes a while to get the hang of, and it's much easier to learn if you have someone to show you, rather than trying to learn from a book. Also, the supplies can be relatively expensive. Tatting is easier to learn, and all you need is a shuttle and string. You can pick up a shuttle at any sewing/ craft store.
8  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: Chinese silk embroidery on: April 17, 2008 04:21:21 PM
They could be hand-done. They're very pretty.
9  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: tea towels - embroidery - which do you like? on: April 17, 2008 04:20:00 PM
I bought a huge quantity of flour sack towels on Ebay - 50, for $10. It was a good deal, and they're nice towels! I don't remember the name of the seller (it was a year and a half ago.) I still have quite a few left, and many I've used just plain in the house.

But this is the thing - they are huge when you open them up. But then I washed and dried them all. They shrunk considerably, to a much more manageable size!

10  NEEDLEWORK / Needlework: Discussion and Questions / Re: What is the trick to making the back look neat? on: April 17, 2008 04:16:16 PM
If you are going to jump from one place to the next (no more than a 1-inch jump), only do it in an area that has stitching, and instead of just jumping across, take your thread behind the stitching that's already there (or wrap it around stitches already there). Besides a neater look, it secures the thread so it doesn't get snagged.

Keep an eye on the back of your work and pay attention to the length of your thread. If it suddenly seems shorter, you've probably developed a knot on the back. Take out the stitches and remove the knot, rather than trying to whip over the knot and any trailing loop when  you're finished.
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