I’d like to think that Pamela Morgan asked me to participate in the Purr-fect Patchwork Tour because she knows that I am not the best at following rules or patterns and I kind of go my own way when it comes to all things stitchy! At least, that is what I told myself as I stitched up one of the patterns from her brand new book, Purr-fect Patchwork by CT Publishing!
We first met each other a few years back when Pamela signed up to take one of my embroidery classes at QuiltCon in Pasadena, CA. She had such a zest for creating and was so much fun to have in my class!
When she told me a later on that she had been writing a book combining cats and quilting, I was privileged to have the opportunity to look through her early draft copy. I’m so happy that her book is finally in print (read about her journey to publication on her website!) She wore both the writing cap and the photography cap for this project and the photography is really what stands out to me. Such beautiful pictures of beautiful projects!
(P.S. What would a blog tour be without a giveaway?! This is probably a good time to mention that there will be a giveaway…be sure to read all the way to the end for details!!!)
And now on to my project! She picked out a project from her book for me to work on: the Cat Nap Pillow #2 and I took her pattern, mixed it all up and did something completely different with it! To me, that is the fun of a pattern like this: it’s interchangeability (that’s a word, right?!)
You can stitch up the pattern into a pillow (like you’re supposed to!) or you can come to the dark side with me, put a flower here, a cat here, throw another flower here and there and come up with something that is uniquely you!
Here is what the adorable Cat Nap Pillow pattern is supposed to look like:
And there here is my mixed-up, stitched-up hoop-y version of it!
If you aren’t sure where to start with embroidery, I have a Craftsy class that will help you create a piece of hoop art with embroidery and beads (like this Cat Nap hoop project!) from start to finish!
I also have lots of embroidery videos on my YouTube channel!
And what would a blog tour be without a GIVEAWAY?!
I am giving away an eBook version of this brand new book to one of my readers/commenters! Be sure to comment here on this post and I will randomly choose a winner! And for the Grand, Grand prize, which includes a signed copy of the book and lots of other goodies, comment on every post for this blog tour!
**Note: some of these are affiliate links, which means that I receive a small commission if you choose to buy from the link!
I was recently asked by Redfin for tips for including embroidery art in personal spaces. I was excited to submit my tip, because I love including handmade pieces into my decor! Read further to find my tip (Hint: It’s number 20) and click this link to access all of the other makers who were highlighted!
Showcase Embroidery in Your Home: 23 Unique Embroidery Ideas to Elevate Your Space
The appearance of needlework in home decor is a definite sign that embroidery is making a comeback. While it’s often thought of as a pastime reserved for your grandparents, we’re here to tell you that needlepoint is enjoying its resurgence as a newfound hobby and collector’s item. With a needle, thread, and a little creativity, embroidery can quickly transform your space and allow your personality and imagination to shine through. If you’re ready to get crafty and want some ideas to add a homey touch to your loft in New York, NY, or decor inspiration for your cozy home in Toronto, ON, we’ve got you covered. We reached out to embroidery experts to get their unique embroidery ideas to reinvigorate your space. So bust out your embroidery hoops and colorful threads to add some flair to your home.
1) Give fabric a trendy makeover Warm, comforting colors with bright accents are trending for 2021, as seen with the Pantone colors of the year, Ultimate Gray with Illuminating (vibrant yellow). To create this trending style in your home décor, without spending a fortune on redecorating, add embroidery to pillows, kitchen towels, wall hangings, and table runners for an impressive appearance. -Blue Bunny Hollow
2) Use embroidery in your home decor to add texture to your space Take your embroidered items to the next level by adding texture with your threads and materials. You can do this by couching threads for a 3D effect or embroidering on textured fabrics like velvet, linen, and woven home dec fabrics. The texture will add depth, interest, and a homey feeling to your home decor. -Tough Kitten Crafts
3) Create small pieces that incorporate textures and colors you love If you have no wall space, no worries. Many modern embroidery artists create small pieces perfect for tucking into spaces in your gallery wall or on a bookshelf nestled between your favorite novels. Embroidery is like any other art medium – it must speak to you and pull you in when you see it. Look for pieces that inspire awe or conjure up fond memories, as well as have colors you enjoy and great texture and movement (successful embroidery pieces have all three). -Jennifer Smith Studios
4) Play with seasonal colors Usher in the fall season with some needle and thread. Go nuts with your Autumn decor with this free acorn and oak leaves embroidery pattern. Your seasonal throw pillows and the napkins in your Thanksgiving tablescape will really pop with this embroidered touch. -Devin McSherry Design
5) Frame embroidery pieces and create your own gallery wall Original art can be expensive; original needle art doesn’t have to be. Transform a bland wall in your home with framed needlepoint or embroidery. Use eclectic frames sourced from flea markets, frame a sassy or subversive saying in an elegant gold frame to nestle among your more traditional pieces, frame a tiny stitched piece within a large mat board, go bold with color or bargello patterns, or use fiber you find almost anywhere to create unique needle art. Then, mix it all up into a curated gallery wall that will evolve with your stitching collection – meaningful art that only you own. -Poppy Monk Needlepoint
6) Make an embroidered statement piece and display it right in your entryway Show off your creative side to anyone who enters your home and you’ll immediately be recognized as an artistic and capable person. Your guests will feel compelled to explore more of your beautiful house and hunt for similar tokens of your enchanting artistry. Choose a color palette and a design that represents you, be it a modest, monochrome mandala or a vibrant and energizing floral bouquet. -Stitch Palettes
7) Add embroidery hoop-art into styled vignettes Themed embroidery designs finished off in round hoops are a charming addition to styled vignettes on a sideboard or bookshelf. Display the embroidery hoop on a plate stand or mini-art easel for hand-crafted charm. It’s easy to change out seasonally. -Stitched Stories
8) Create a focal point in your meditation space Embroidery is a wonderful craft to pick up if you’re a spiritually inclined crafter. An embroidered piece to hang as a focal point for your altar, your meditation space, or even a shrine to a beloved ancestor is a beautiful and powerful way to imbue that space with your focused and intentional energy for your practice in that space. It also works great for visualizing your intentions and manifestations. -Deidre Dreams
9) Incorporate texture and color with embroidered pillowcases Embroidered pillows are an easy and expensive way to add embroidered decor to your home. They’re perfect to add a pop of color and personality to sofas, chairs, and beds throughout your home. -Pickle Pie Designs
10) Add personal touches to your home decor with embroidery Whether it be embroidered bed covers, cushion covers, curtains, etc, embroidery adds an entirely new level of style and colors to your simple home decor and gives it that extra pep, just like an expensive painting on the wall would. Give your home a new look with a range of Threads & Décor. -Angad Creations
11) Accent your space with framed embroidery art Artists are exploring distinctive ways to create art, and embroidery is resurfacing throughout the art world. A wonderful way to bring embroidery into your home is by incorporating framed unique embroidered art pieces that spark conversation, complement your décor, and bring beauty to your home. -Sew Unique Art [caption id=”attachment_72886″ align=”alignnone” width=”900
12) Make an embroidered book pillow for a kid’s room Set your kid’s room up as a place of comfort as well as learning. A book pillow is an easy and fast craft for even a novice sewist. You’ll need an embroidery machine to stitch out the adorable design and a sewing machine to craft the easy, square pillowcase. -Designs by Little Bee
13) Use punch needle embroidery to upgrade your decor You can add a beautiful, tufted texture to anything that’s made with cotton fabric, like curtains, throw blankets, and pillow cases. If you want to go bigger and bolder, try punch needle rug hooking and create beautiful throw rugs and chunky textured throw pillows with yarn. -Marching North
14) Personalize your bathroom with monogrammed pieces Take your bathroom personalization to the next level. We have all seen towels monogrammed with a last name initial or a couple’s initials, but what about making an even greater statement piece by monogramming a shower curtain? Adding a monogram to the center of a shower curtain with applique initials or just embroidery can give a real “wow” factor to a place that might not have much character. Adding that extra touch of personalization can really help make your house into a home. -Creative Appliques Embroidery
15) Use embroidered wall decor to add shape variety to your walls Most of us hang square and rectangular art and photos on our walls, but when a piece of hand embroidery is finished and left in the hoop, it gives us the opportunity to incorporate round art. Hoops that are used by embroidery artists come in a variety of circular and oval sizes and it is possible to hang these directly on your wall. Give your gallery walls more interest by mixing in a uniquely shaped piece of embroidery. -Heather Clara Designs
16) Dress up a dreary corner with some bright textiles or embroidery For areas in the home that don’t receive as much natural light, a light-colored weaving or handicraft can help elevate the mood and bring brightness to the space. Add a piece with predominantly red, orange, or yellow-colored threads if the color of the wall is neutral or cool, or choose something with rich greens and blues if it’s hanging on a warm beige or yellow wall. -Boo Forever
17) Create a home space that highlights your creative side Whether you crave natural materials, vintage pieces, or the comfort of traditional surroundings, there is nothing like owning a touch of “hand-made”. Accessories made with your personal touch like an embroidered pillow, or framed wall hanging will become a focal piece, and add unique character to your home. When creating that “special piece,” I suggest that you work with colors that you like and ones that compliment your style. -Christen Brown
18) Give any space a refresh with machine embroidery applique Refresh any living space with easy-to-make pillows featuring machine embroidery applique. Quickly change the feel and mood of a space with beautiful machine embroidery applique designs that can be chosen and customized with fabric and thread to fit any décor. -Meaning of Life Designs
19) Plants and embroidery hoops make perfect pairs Plants and embroidery hoops make perfect pairs. Prop up your finished embroidery hoop next to your favorite houseplant to add interest to your plant shelf. -Rikrack
20) Create a gallery wall of embroidered pieces Embrace the maximalism of cottage core design with a gallery wall incorporating a hand-stitched embroidery piece. Find a vintage floral fabric (hint: repurpose a garment or linen with a design you love), place it in a hoop, and embroider key lines or favorite color blocks of the design. Hang your finished piece with a velvet ribbon and mix it with modern pieces to create an eclectic look on your wall. -wildboho
21) Use embroidery to create personal pieces of home decor I would say that it is so much fun to make your own art. You never have to worry about it matching or coordinating with what you already have in your home because you control that when you choose your threads. You can dress it up or dress it down, depending on how you choose to display it (stretched on a canvas, hung with a cord, applied to wood, or sealed in a frame). And, you feel such a sense of accomplishment when you can say, “Thank you! I made it myself!” -Another By Anita
22) Relax in your home with an embroidery project The benefits of embroidery go beyond beautiful décor. Sure, making your own embroidery projects allows you to add your own unique palette and style to your home – but it’s also really good for you. Study after study shows that creative hobbies like hand embroidery reduce stress and promote the growth of new neurons in your brain. So if you’ve been wanting to get healthier, hand embroidery may be something that you want to add to your daily routine. -Jacquelynne Steves
23) Enhance existing decor by incorporating unique embroidered accents An easy, simple way to add unique accents to your home décor with embroidery is to begin with everyday items you already own. A touch of embroidery on pillowcases, cushion covers, napkins, or tablecloths is sure to bring new life to them and is easily customizable to suit your own style. -The Diary of a Northern Belle
This crazy school year has ended and we are finally getting into our summer groove. After a year of virtual school (with some really amazing teachers!), the kids and are I ready to step away from scheduled zoom meetings and computers and just have some fun creating at our own pace.
Perler Beads are always my go-to craft because they never get old, we never outgrow crafting with them, and they are an easy activity to just jump into. Don’t get me wrong, there are times when I’m ready to try a new craft and expand our overflowing craft supply stash (can you ever have enough crafting supplies?!), but sometimes my summer brain just needs something easy and comfortable!
My boys usually have their own ideas for projects, which leaves me to play around with my own ideas. As a fiber artist who embroiders on printed fabric, I always have scraps of fabric that I can’t part with. I decided to pick one of those scraps to use as a base for my Perler Bead project.
Now, a small disclaimer before I show you what I created from my fabric and beads…a project like this is just for fun and not something that I would sell. Always be aware of copyrighted designs and do not sell projects that are direct copies of a fabric designed by an artist. I like to turn my projects into magnets to give as gifts or to put on our refrigerator!
So here we go!
I chose a fabric designed by Alison Glass for Andover Fabrics. I love Alison’s colorful, floral-inspired designs! When choosing your fabric, look for a larger print that can translate well into a Perler Bead pattern. Remember that it will not look exactly like the fabric…it is a jumping off point for a fun beaded pattern.
Once you select your fabric, iron it to get any wrinkles out. I love to use my Oliso Mini Project Iron for Perler Bead projects because it is small enough to keep by my side as I craft.
Place a clear Perler pegboard on top of the fabric design, or multiple pegboards if you are creating a larger project.
Once you have decided on the placement of the pegboard, it’s time to start beading! I like the variety bucket of beads so that I have lots of colors on hand! Follow the fabric design to choose your bead colors and feel free to change colors as you go…that’s the fun of a project like this! Your finished design does not need to look like the design you started following.
Remember that because you are not using a pattern designed to be used with Perler Beads, you may have to make small changes to make the design work for beads. But this is a project for you to have fun with, so don’t feel pressured to get the design exact!
When you are finished with the Perler Beads, place the wax paper on top of the design and slowly iron it into place. I like to place a small ironing board under my Perler Bead board so that I protect my workspace. Continue ironing until the beads have melted. Be sure to follow the Perler Bead instructions for ironing the beads!
Let your project cool. I always place my project on a flat surface and place a stack of books on top of it so that it cools and flattens at the same time. Once cool, add a magnet to the back and start your next project!
If you’re looking for another fun project that includes both kids and Perler Beads, check out this fun Mixed-Media Sunshine project that I created a step-by-step tutorial for!
And, as always, if you create a project from this idea, be sure to tag me on social media so that I can see what you created!
I am an organizer. And I am always looking for better ways to organize my embroidery supplies. I like my organizers to be portable and roomy for lots of my threads and beads. A zipper is good, just in case my beads spill. Something that can sit on my lap is great, especially for travel.
Enter Yazzii bags! The ultimate organizing solution to so many of my hand embroidery needs!
Two of my current favorite are the Craft Box-Fabric Top and the Oval Sewing Box.
A bonus with these bags, besides being really well-designed (in Australia) and hand-sewn (in India), is that the fabric design allows for you to personalize them with your own appliqué and embroidery!
I’ve embellished my bags and I even made a video for you to see how I used a slightly different method for each one!
And while you’re on YouTube, check out the “Inspired By” segment that I recorded with Free Spirit Fabrics yesterday!
With the pandemic canceling virtually every in-person event this year, many fabric and thread and craft companies that would normally be showcasing their items at trade shows, like the Houston Quilt Market, have become more creative and are instead offering virtual events that are open to the public!
I was happy to create some behind-the-scenes content for Daylight Company’s virtual Quilt-N-Sew Fest 2020 and along with that, I created a floral embroidery sampler that is available for download NOW!
This sampler includes eight stitches and I demonstrate one of those stitches during the event.
If you missed the behind-the-scenes and embroidery sampler, I’ll link it here so that you can watch it!
You’ll also see me feature Daylight Company’s Magnificent Floor & Table LED lamp several times. I really like this lamp and can absolutely recommend it for embroidery…especially if you are working with small things, like beads!
Along with a new pattern, I have also released six new embroidery videos to my YouTube channel to inspire you and help you on your stitching journey!
This is a design based on my garden photography and love of all things botanical! It is printed on fabric, which means no need to transfer a pattern! Sized to fit within a 7″ embroidery hoop, you will embellish this with whatever stitches you like.
For reference, watch this detailed preview so that you can see exactly what stitches and supplies I used for my own project!
I have been mentally been writing this post for months now: answering questions in my head, snapping pics, listing my favorite threads and embroidery notions, and I’m finally ready to put fingers to keyboard, type it up and send it out to all of you patient, patient readers!
You might already know this from following me on Instagram or Facebook, but if you don’t, I really, really like thread! I will give any thread a chance and if I like it, I’ll probably add it (in all of the colors that I can get!) to my stash.
One of the questions that I am asked most is: How do I know which thread to use and where? Well, ask no more! I’m here to share all of my thread knowledge with you! Every thread that I mention here, is a thread that I use and love. I won’t recommend a thread that I personally wouldn’t stitch with. Whenever possible, I will share links with you that will take you to the shops where I buy my threads.
I’ve broken my mega-thread round-up into five main categories:
Threads to add texture
Threads for beading
Threads for embellishment
And one more thing before we get started…everyone’s second favorite question: What kind of needles should I use? Under each thread category, I will note the type of needles that I like to use for those types of thread. However, I have found that needles are a very personal choice…you might like working with appliqué needles for every type of embroidery or you might prefer a milliner’s needle. I tell my students to pick the needle that works best for you. If you aren’t sure what that needle is, then buy a variety pack of needles so that you can work with several types and decide what you like best! I am linking to a great source for needles: Sue Spargo’s shop. You will find every needle that I mention there and they are all brands that I trust and currently use.
Are you ready to journey down the rabbit hole to the wide world of threads? Let’s go!
(P.S. I have not been coerced into giving you any of these recommendations…they truly are threads that I have personally bought and use regularly in my stitching!)
Stranded Threads (threads that can be divided)
When I refer to stranded threads, I’m talking about threads that can be divided or broken down into smaller sections of thread.
(The above link will take you directly to DMC’s website where you can purchase and also check out the full range of colors available.)
When you think about stranded thread, this is probably the thread that comes to mind. DMC’s floss is easily found at most craft and hobby shops and comes in a wide variety of colors. It is also colorfast, which means that if you need to rinse your project or are stitching on clothing that will be washed, the colors will stay where they are and you do not need to worry about bleeding threads. (That sounds kind of horrible, right?!)
You can stitch with all 6 strands if you want nice, thick stitches or you can divide it up however you see fit. 1 strand would be about right if you are stitching very fine details, like facial features. 3 or 4 strands could be used if you want a thicker appearance to your stitches but aren’t ready to completely dive in to using all 6-strands at once.
This is a fairly inexpensive thread to purchase and is good for building up your stash of colors.
(You cannot purchase directly from Weeks Dye Works unless you are a retailer, but the above link will take you to Sassy Jacks Stitchery, an online and in-person shop, where you can find a great variety of these threads.)
Weeks Dye Works is a family-owned and operated company who specializes in hand-dyed fibers. Their 6-stranded floss was the first product that they introduced to the public and is still the one product with the most colors available. And let’s talk about colors! If you have ever wanted to dabble in stitching with variegated thread, but don’t want the variation in colors to detract from your project, then this is the thread that you need to use. The slight variation in color that you will see in each strand is just subtle enough to be noticeable when you look at a skein and the slight variation looks even better when you stitch with it!
The 6-stranded floss is meant to be used as is (all six strands at once) or it can be divided all the way down to just one strand. You get to decide how you want to use it!
Before stitching with these threads, take note of the description listed with the skein. Not every color is currently colorfast. You can read more about it here, but every new color released will be colorfast and they are working on making the top 50 colors colorfast. This is not a huge deal if you are not going to be washing your project, however if you are working on a project that you transferred with a water-based pen and you’ll need to eventually wash out your marks, then you might want to be sure that you are using colorfast threads. Also, if you are stitching on clothing that will be washed or a bag that might get wet in the rain, then you would want to use only the colorfast colors.
Trust me on this this and always remember to check whether something is colorfast!!
Non-Stranded Threads (threads that should not be divided)
Perle Cotton is a non-stranded thread that can be found wrapped in a skein or wound on a spool. You do not need to divide these threads! If you look at a perle cotton thread next to a stranded thread, you will see that the perle cotton has a twist in the thread. This adds a lovely texture and sheen to your stitches. I would say about 75% of my embroidery is stitched with perle cotton.
(The above link will take you to Sue Spargo’s shop. Feel free to look around at the other embellishments and threads that she carries!)
The threads that you will see me stitch with the most are from the Eleganza Perle Cotton collection from Sue Spargo and Wonderfil Specialty Threads. I love these threads…the colors, the texture of the threads, the variegated colors and because they come on spools. In my opinion, nothing beats a spool of thread that doesn’t tangle when you toss it in with all of your stitching supplies!
There are 3 sizes of Perle Cotton: size 3, size 5 and size 8. I like to reference 6-stranded thread when I explain the sizes of Perle Cotton. All 6-strands of a skein of thread would be approximately a size 3 Perle Cotton, 4-strands of the stranded skein are approximately a size 5 Perle Cotton and 2-strands are approximately a size 8. So size 3 is the thickest weight and size 8 is the thinnest weight.
I always recommend a size 8 or a size 5 Perle Cotton if you are just getting started with embroidery.
(The above link will take you to Alison Glass’ shop. She has curated her own colors of Perle Cotton in collaboration with Wonderfil Specialty Threads.)
These Perle Cottons are spooled differently than the Sue Spargo Perle Cottons but the thread is the same Eleganza Perle Cotton made by Wonderfil Specialty Threads. Currently, these are available in size 8 only.
If choosing color makes you nervous, Alison has done the job for you! Her threads are available individually or they are available in box sets. Each color palette is just so amazing that I could not choose and now I have one box of each set! If you like her fabric, then you will go crazy for her threads!
(The above link will take you to 123stitch.com, an online retailer that has a large selection of the Pearl Cotton colors.)
Again, what I love most about Weeks Dye Works are their gorgeous, hand-dyed colors. If you are looking for a slight variegated effect in a perle cotton, then these are the threads for you!
Another bonus is that Weeks Dye Works currently has four sizes of Pearl Cotton: sizes 3 (the thickest), 5, 8 and 12 (the thinnest). Size 12 Pearl Cotton is a really nice addition to my thread arsenal and it is not a size that you can commonly find when searching for thread. We’ll talk about this later on in my thread round-up, but for beading, this is my go-to thread size!
THREADS TO ADD TEXTURE
The fibers in this section are generally much thicker than a regular embroidery thread and they may have uses other than embroidery. That being said, there should be nothing stopping you from using non-traditional-embroidery threads in your embroidery! I recommend experimenting with as many fibers as you want to while stitching! The unexpected is what makes your work fun! If you have leftover beautifully colored yarn bits that you used in a knitting project, absolutely work them into your embroidery!
(The above link will take you to DMC’s website where you can purchase 390 colors of tapestry wool.)
DMC’s tapestry wool is made with 100% wool and is a much thicker thread than the embroidery floss you may have stitched with on other projects. It is typically used in needlepoint projects. I like to use it whenever I want to add unexpected texture and thicker stitches. When you stitch on a fabric with tapestry threads, you’ll notice the little wisps of wool on the tapestry thread, which lends an organic feel to your project. This is also a colorfast wool, so you do not need to worry about the colors bleeding if your project gets wet.
(The above link will take you to DMC’s website where you can purchase 100 colors of soft cotton thread.)
Soft Cotton or Retors Mat is a tapestry thread that is made of 5-strands of cotton. Don’t let the strands confuse you, though, this is not a thread that is meant to be divided. The beauty of this thread is in the thick, matte stitches that you can embroider. It is great for stitching Colonial Knots or any other stitch that is meant to really stand out from the fabric and pop!
(The above link will take you to The Thread Gatherer’s online shop for silk ribbon, plus lots of other fabulous threads!)
For a touch of sophistication, consider adding silk ribbon to your embroidery. I have a love for anything hand dyed and The Thread Gatherer never fails to disappoint in their selection of beautiful silk ribbons. I love to use silk ribbon in floral designs and it’s always a bonus when I can pair silk ribbon with beads. You may see silk ribbon used in wool embroidery, but I find that it works great in appliqué embroidery as well.
(The above link will take you to Chiagu’s shop, more specifically the mini-skeins club which is a great way to add a variety of yarns to your stash!)
If you are not a knitter, or crocheter, or any other sort of yarn-y person, then you might be wondering what is the best way to add skeins of a thicker yarn to your stash? Koigu mini-skeins are just perfect for that! For a hat or scarf or sweater, you might need several large skeins of yarn, but for embroidery, you really don’t need that much. I love the Koigu KPPPM yarn (which is a sock-weight yarn) to embroider with. This yarn is thinner than a tapestry yarn, so it is a great first step into the world of thicker threads.
threads for beading
I love using beads and sequins in my embroidery and 12 wt threads are the perfect thread for combining beading and sequining with embroidery. All of the threads in this section are 12 wt and I use them frequently for beading.
WHAT NEEDLES SHOULD I USE WITH BEADING THREAD AND BEADS?
A note about needles for beading: whatever needle you choose, be sure that the eye of the needle is able to pass completely through the bead. It can be so frustrating to have a needle all threaded and then realize when you are about to stitch with a bead, that the needle cannot pass through the bead! So be sure to check your needle size before you bead!
(The above link will take you to Sue Spargo’s shop, the best source for this wool appliqué thread, a collaboration between Sue and Wonderfil Specialty Threads.)
If the idea of adding texture to your stitching appeals to you, but you aren’t ready to dive into the world of a thick tapestry thread, Ellana wool thread is a great beginning point. This is a 12wt thread and perfect for beading. I really like wool because of the visible wispy fibers that you can see when you stitch with this thread. This thread is thinner than most that I use and I will sometimes double it up to stitch with it (and it still works with beads that way!)
This thread is a collaboration with Wonderfil Specialty Threads and Sue Spargo and comes in a variety of colors…sixty to be exact! It is a merino wool and acrylic blend. I have not had problems with this thread fraying and it is easy to stitch with.
(The above link will take you to the Traditional Stitches website where you can find spools of this thread.)
I mentioned this thread earlier when talking about Weeks Dye Works. Again, it is hand-dyed and comes in a beautiful array of colors. It is the newest thread from Weeks Dye Works and I’m really excited about it. It is slightly harder to find, so you may need to look around for it (or use the link above!)
This is a pearl (perle) cotton, so it has a lovely twist to the fibers. It is 12 wt, which is my ideal for beaded embroidery. My only hope is that this thread becomes more widely available because it is a delight to stitch with!
(The above link will take you to Lonestar Quilt Works where you can find this thread.)
Fruitti thread is another one of my favorites from Wonderfil. It is a 12 wt cotton thread that comes in a variety of variegated colors. When you are looking to purchase this thread, keep in mind that it is also used for sewing machines, so the price may be higher and the spool may be larger than a typical embroidery thread. One spool will last you a very, very long time if you are using it exclusively for embroidery. They make various size spools and do have a regular embroidery sized spool, so be sure to read descriptions before you buy.
I enjoy this thread mostly for the colors but also because it is such an easy thread to stitch with. Some threads just feel instantly comfortable and this is one of those threads!
threads for embellishment
what needles should I use with embellishment threads?
(The above link will take you to the Mohair and More Etsy shop. Be sure to look around at all of the gorgeous fibers available for purchase!)
Roving is a quick way to add fluff and texture to your embroidery. With the right stitch (I recommend a couching stitch), you layer this fiber on your fabric and secure it with another type of thread. It gives you an instant three-dimensional effect.
You can just pull the desired amount from your ball of roving and roll it between your hands to shape it! And if you want to get really fancy, you can try your hand at spinning your own art yarns with balls of roving!
(The above link will take you to Sue Spargo’s shop.)
If you are looking to add a lot of shine to your stitches, then Razzle is what you want. It is a thread made from 100% rayon and has a glossy shine. It can be a little slippery to work with, but once you get the hang of it, you shouldn’t have any problems at all.
I highly, highly recommend that if you buy this thread, you should also buy Thread Guards. Because this is a rayon thread and very silky, it wants to unwind from the spool. A Thread Guard is a small, clear, rectangle of what feels like a thicker version of cling wrap. When you are done stitching, you roll your thread back onto the spool and then wrap a thread guard around the spool. It clings to itself and keeps any thread from unraveling. I can’t tell you enough how awesome these are and how much they will help you store this thread!!
(The above link will take you to Sue Spargo’s shop.)
If you like the look of metallic stitches but you don’t want to deal with the hassle of metallic threads (if you have dealt with the tangles of metallic thread, then you know what I’m talking about!!!), then you need to try Dazzle. This is like the rayon Razzle thread, however it has one metallic thread woven through. So you have the shine of the rayon with a metallic pop wound right into the thread.
Stitching with this thread is much easier than stitching with an all metallic thread but I feel like you have the same, metallic-y end result. When you cut a length of this to stitch with, don’t go overboard and cut too much. Stitch with shorter strands. When you are going in and out of fabric with a needle and thread, you are bound to get frayed edges. This thread doesn’t fray, but it works much better use it in short (12″-ish) lengths.
And, once again, Thread Guards will save your sanity when storing these threads! I definitely recommend buying them and bonus: you can reuse them over and over!
And there you have it. Is your head spinning? Are you adding things to your virtual shopping carts? Are you digging through your stash to find bits of yarn to add to your embroidery? I hope so! My goal in writing this mega-thread round-up was to open up the world of gorgeous fibers to you and show you just how easy it can be to add new threads to your repertoire!
If I’ve missed any of your pressing thread questions, feel free to comment and I’ll do my best to answer them here!
I don’t know about you, but a little extra sunshine might be just what we need right now. I hope that all of you are staying safe and healthy and home. But while you are doing all of those things, you might find that you have some extra time on your hands.
Enter the Mixed-Media Boho Sunshine project.
I designed this project to be easy enough that a young, child-sized beginner could complete it with help from a grownup. I have two child-sized beginners who are home from school right now and this was an excellent project to work on together while having fun with paint and learning a new skill…embroidery!
If you are not child-sized, I think it is still a fun project to take on…especially if you are new to mixed-media embroidery. I created my own version of this hoop and working with a sunshine-filled color palette was just what I needed during several rainy & cloudy days.
While creating the list of supplies that you will need for this project, I tried to be mindful of putting together a list of things that you would most likely already have in your home.
An embroidery hoop (any size you would like; we used 8″ and 7″)
Beads (any kind of seed bead) or Perler Beads or Pony beads (it’s super fun for kids to repurpose their craft stash and they come in such great colors!)
White school glue (any brand, we used Elmer’s)
Let’s Get Started: PAINTING!
Begin by choosing your background fabric and placing it in the hoop. Stretch the fabric while you are tightening the hoop…you want the fabric to be nice and tight in the hoop.
*TIP: if you normally prefer to have the screw on the right side of the hoop, you may want to flip it around for now. I’ll tell you why later!
Trim any excess fabric. I like to keep about a 2″ border of fabric which allows me to tighten the fabric as I work on the project.
It’s time to draw your sun! You can either freehand this or find something circle you trace a sun shape into your fabric. This is where you will want to use your water soluble pen/pencil/chalk. Your lines don’t need to be very dark…just dark enough to give you some guidelines for painting.
Once you have your sun, have fun drawing the rays. Draw as many or as few as you want!
Now for the fun part…paint!
You are going to paint your sun first. This large area gives you space to test how it feels to paint on fabric. Begin with a thin coat of paint to see how the coverage looks on the fabric. I ended up using two coats of paint on my sun (see below).
The paint will dry fairly quickly and if you need a second or third coat, you can usually apply that within minutes.
So you’ve painted your sun and you’re ready to paint the rays. Have fun with your paint colors and if you don’t have a large variety of colors at hand, try mixing colors to come up with shades that are slightly different for more variety.
When painting the rays, carefully begin with the edge that touches the sun and work out towards the hoop.
Remember how I said to place your hoop on backwards? This is why! As you paint toward the edge, it is inevitable that bits of paint will get on your hoop. Don’t worry about that! When your project is finished, you will flip the outer hoop and won’t see any of that paint! (I’ll walk you through that at the end!)
Your rays will also need 2-3 coats of paint but will dry quickly.
When you have finished with painting your hoop, let it dry completely before embroidering. I like to give it about an hour to completely dry.
Parents, this gives you some time to clean up your kids and their paint before moving on to the next step! You can even save the embroidery part for another day…make this a multi day project that they are excited to come back to!
Here’s my painted hoop…I think it’s pretty even before any embroidery has been added! And if that’s where you want to end this project, then skip to the end for directions on how to finish your hoop!
I stitched my hoop first using Eleganza size 5 Perle Cotton. If you are using a stranded thread like a DMC floss, I would recommend using at least 4 and even 6 strands, just so that the thread and your stitches are visible. If you are using seed beads, check to make sure that your needle fits through the bead.
My boys used the same thread to embroider, however, they used Perler beads which were super fun to add to this project!
Here’s a little mom tip for you: don’t try to stitch your project while you are helping your kids stitch their projects…trust me! They will need a little more hands-on help with this portion of the project and you can save your hoop to stitch while they are in bed!!
If your little one is too small to take on the embroidery, this is a perfect joint project for you! Let them do all of the painting and you do all of the embroidery. You’ve just made a keepsake that will bring you some sunshine for years to come!
Let’s Finish Your Hoop!
When you have finished embroidering your hoop, re-tighten the fabric in the hoop. If you have paint on the edges, resist the urge to flip your hoop. Don’t worry, we’ll get to that in just a bit.
Trim your fabric now. You want to have enough fabric around the edge to fold it backwards towards the back of the hoop, but you don’t want so much extra that it touches the fabric. I usually leave about 1/2″ – 3/4″ depending on the thickness of my hoop.
Grab your school glue and flip your hoop so you are looking at the back. Run a strip of glue all the way around the back edge of the hoop and begin to fold the fabric over the glue. Your fingers will get a little gluey while you do this, but you’ll notice that as the glue dries, it hardens the fabric leaving you a perfect finished edge on the back of the hoop.
Once it is completely dry (I always leave it an hour, just to be sure), you can now completely unscrew your hoop, remove the outer hoop and flip it over so that any painted edges are now on the backside of your project! Re-screw the hoop and you have a finished project!!
Tie a piece of ribbon and you can hang this hoop to remind you that sunny days are just ahead!
And while you have all of this extra time, make a few of these to give as gifts down the road. This project would make a perfect teacher appreciation gift, because don’t we appreciate those teachers all the more so now than ever before?!
If you want to try your hand at another beginner friendly embroidery project, check out my latest embroidery pattern: Wreath of Flowers, which is available for download now!
What I love most about December, besides the beautiful sunrises that come with winter mornings (and also the brisk chill that comes with those cold mornings!), is that cozy-ing up inside lends itself to lots of stitching time.
Hmm….what to stitch, what to stitch?
How about not one, not two, but three new wildboho patterns?! Link to my Etsy Shop
I must admit that pattern writing is my least favorite part of creating a new pattern. So you might get a peek at one of my new patterns, like Botany, for instance, back in December of 2018 and not see the actual pattern until exactly one year later!
And a pattern like Plumage, which was released to my QuiltCon students back in February, doesn’t make an appearance again until 10 months later!
Or why Vermillion Bloomshas been kept under wraps until today! I couldn’t risk sharing yet another pattern on Instagram without releasing it from the wildboho vault!
I am incredibly excited about each of these patterns and I have been eagerly awaiting this day!
You may have noticed that each of these patterns is solely embroidery and not fabric appliqué with embroidery, like my other pattern releases. That is an intentional choice that I made when creating these patterns!
I wanted to experiment with and show off what can be accomplished with a variety of threads and embellishments and dimensional embroidery. I feel that these patterns really showcase the creativity that can be unleashed with just a few basic supplies.
With Vermillion Blooms, I challenged myself to keep to a limited palette and evoked vintage Redwork embroidery designs while creating an updated pattern, full of whimsy. It was certainly a challenge limiting myself to just the red portion of the color wheel, but it was a fun challenge nonetheless!
I’ve also been updating my YouTube channel to continue sharing videos of the stitches that I knew I was going to be including in these patterns. If you run into any snags, feel free to check them out! I’m always open to suggestions of new content to include, so let me know what you want to see!
I hope you’re able to make room for some slow-stitching time this winter! Tag me on social media with whatever projects you take on…I love to see what you’re working on!