March is Craft Month. What’s your favorite craft?

March is Craft Month. I know it's almost over but what is your favorite craft? Since you're reading this, I'm guessing it's quilting, but I'm sure you have other craft hobbies. My second favorite craft (first being quilting) is needlework.

I appreciate needlework because it's relaxing and something tangible. One of my favorite reasons why I enjoy it so much is because I can work on it while the family is watching a movie or tv show that I'm not really into, but I want to be with the family. Plus, my latest project has hot cocoa on it because I accidentally split cocoa while I was watching the boys (my twin 8-year-old boys) skiing.


If you're going to or have already pursued embroidery but it's been intimidating to try, this weeks blog post is about a quick-start stitching 101. All you need to start is the basics, because learning embroidery doesn't have to be difficult, and it definitely shouldn't feel like a considerable investment of time and money.

First, choose a pattern that inspires you (always step number one! Because if you don't "LOVE it" then you'll lose interest and nobody wants that). If it is an iron-on transfer, then buy 100% cotton fabric, or if you just have the pattern use a light source (lightbox or I use a sunny window) to transfer the pattern onto the fabric of your choice. And lastly, if you bought a Jack Dempsey, then you're all set and see below.

What you need before you start your embroidery project:

  • fabric
  • embroidery floss
  • embroidery hoop
  • water-soluble pen
  • scissors


Stitches/Techniques:

  • straight stitch
  • back stitch
  • starting/stopping
  • finishing tips

 

Below is a bit more information on each of the things and knowledge you need before you start a project into more depth.

Fabric:

Choose light-colored quilting 100% cotton or evenweave fabric, such as linen. If buying by the yard, 1/4 yard will be enough for several projects. Alongside embroidery floss, you may notice Aida cloth, but it's best for counted cross stitch patterns.



Embroidery Floss:

Select a few colors of cotton embroidery floss. DMC brand is easy to find, inexpensive and high quality (I only use DMC floss and nothing else). Avoid floss designed for craft projects (such as friendship bracelets), because it will be VERY frustrating to work with.

Embroidery Hoop:

There are many sizes of embroidery hoops, and your choices are a wooden hoop or a plastic hoop. I started out using wooden hoops, but I bought plastic hoops on a whim because of our wholesale disruptor had been sold out of wooden for months, and we had to have something in stock. So, when they came in, I took home a plastic hoop, and I noticed the plastic hoop didn't stretch the fabric. Because the hoop didn't pull or strain the material, I haven't gone back to my original wooden hoops. A 6-inch hoop will be best for a variety of projects.

Needles:

There are many kinds of embroidery needles out there. Any sharp needle with an eye large enough to thread embroidery floss through will work. However, the most natural thing is to choose a pack of different sizes of sharp needles labeled for embroidery.

Water-Soluble Pen: 

There are a few ways to transfer a pattern to your fabric, but tracing is the simplest by using a lightbox or a sunny window. A regular pencil would work but don't, because it may leave stray markings on your project. Use a water-soluble pen or a heat resident pen.

Scissors:

It's okay to use any scissors you have around. Just be sure that they will cut the floss easily, so the ends aren't frayed. I LOVE my brand new unicorn scissors. :)

Straight Stitch:

This simple stitch is so basic you probably already know how to do it without even learning it. Making short straight lines is something you'll do a lot as you embroider.

Back Stitch:

For doing any outlining, back stitch works, and it's so easy. Focus on making each stitch the same length, and you'll have something that looks great!


Finishing Tips:

When you're done stitching, your embroidery may need to be rinsed or soaked to remove markings. This also helps remove wrinkles. When it comes out of the water, gently press away excess water with a towel. Then place the embroidery on a folded towel and press from the back with an iron.

 

Okay and now I MUST tell you about my LOVE for Jack Dempsey.

Cross stitch is delightful with Jack Dempsey’s stamped cross stitch! Whether you’re a beginner cross stitcher or seeking an advanced cross stitch pattern, you’ll find a Jack Dempsey cross stitch kit or pattern you’re sure to enjoy. Sadly, I can't put their kits online, but I do hope to have inspired you to stop in and choose a kit! All of their kits are made in the USA.

 

Happy Crafting! Leave a comment below to share your favorite craft.