Sunday 1 September 2013

Introducing...Stitching Sundays

We’re all set here for a busy week back to school, back to routines, back to *real life*. But it’s not all gloom – I’m going to kick-start a new season of crafting with a little Stitch-A-Long!

Stitching Sundays, which I’ve initially planned to last about four weeks, will give everyone an opportunity to have a few quiet moments to make a small embroidered project. For new or novice embroiderers, you can try your hand at a small and manageable project, and for those of you with more experience, you can try some new techniques or just get ahead with some holiday makes!

So what’s in store?

Today we’ll talk about choosing a project and the basic tools for embroidery. Next week we’ll look at transferring a design onto fabric and discuss some basic stitches. Future Sundays we can try more stitches, troubleshoot tricky bits, and figure out how to finish your work. The idea is to keep it relaxing and fun, while we all juggle the rest of our lives and our WIPs! I do hope you’ll join in and share your work.

What to Stitch?

Here is where the fun begins! Do you have a craft book or a magazine that has an embroidery pattern you’ve been dying to try out but can never find the time? Here are some of my favourite embroidery books that are ideal for beginners

All of these books have such fun, relaxed attitudes towards embroidery, they have helpful sections on techniques and kit...I know many of you already have one or two of these, so choose a small project from here if you’d like.

But of course you don’t need to buy a book to get started! If you can trace it, you can most likely stitch it...

You could doodle your own design onto fabric:

I did this teeny beehive design freehand for a charity project, which I’ll tell you more about very soon (I’m finishing it tonight!). It is easy to do in backstitch or stem stitch, and can be enlarged to whatever size you fancy. I drew a version of it, which I will upload here, and let’s see if any of you can print it. I'm happy to email a pdf file to anyone as I still need to learn how to embed a pdf file into Blogger (I’m terribly new to all this tech stuff, so please, bear with me!)

I didn’t add grass or flowers, they are stitched freehand.

I plan to embroider this again for my own use – I have an idea to cut out the finished hive into a hexie and start a bee-themed hexie cushion (good grief, am I morphing one WIP into another WIP? I’ve gone over the edge...).

And I am starting the bookends project from The Hand-Stitched Home:

If you’re still stuck for ideas, blog about it or email me and let’s brainstorm!

The Tools
You need just a few items to start your embroidery. I’m not going to endorse any one brand or company here, because honestly, my kit is such a hodge-podge of different items that I haven’t decided on my favourites yet. Buy what you can afford, but don’t feel you have to break the bank!

1. Fabric

I prefer linen in an off-white or taupe shade. I love the texture of linen, and it goes with just about everything. You can mix it with vintage florals or modern brights and it looks fabulous with either. But hey, you can stitch on anything you can get a needle through! I’ve seen beautiful work done on patterned fabric, paper, wood even! – just make sure you choose a material that suits your ability.

2. Hoop

I usually use a wooden hoop, but I have some plastic ones, too. Buy a hoop that you can hold comfortably and that gives you plenty of space for you to stitch your design. Hoops are generally inexpensive – my seated hoop cost a bit more, but I use it a lot and it leaves both hands free. If you’re new to the craft, just buy one simple hoop and see if you enjoy embroidery before you go investing in all the kit!

3. Needles

Look for embroidery needles, which have slightly larger, longer eyes than plain sewing needles. This is so you can thread multiple strands of floss through the eye without screaming in frustration. Keep them safe – I have my magnetic frog and my crochet cookie needle case, for example.

4. Embroidery Floss

I have DMC, Anchor and Sublime Stitching flosses in my kit, and I use them interchangeably with no complaints. Again, buy what you can afford, or what is in your local shop. I know professional embroiderers have their opinions on this, and I’m sure that for the very skilled stitchers one type lays flatter than the other or casts a better sheen, etc...but I’m in it for the fun, and I’ve never been disappointed with any of these flosses for the simple designs I stitch. I envisaged this Stitch-A-Long to have projects that only require two to four colours of floss, so that no one feels they have to invest loads to try out something new.

5. Scissors

I have embroidery scissors, but any scissors that can cut cleanly through floss will do for a beginner – I once used baby nail scissors when I was too lazy to get off the sofa to find my embroidery scissors...

And that’s pretty much all you need to get stitching! You have til next Sunday to get your kit together and choose a design. Check out the local haberdashery, or online sewing and hobby/craft shops...and feel free to email me with any questions or if you get stuck.

Last but not least, please join in the group with the Stitching Sundays button and post your project on your own blog – we’re all in this together, and as we get going I’d love to do a blog hop so we can share experiences, tips and photos! Each week I can list who is involved, along with links to your blogs. As this is my first craft-a-long, I’m sure the project will change and grow as needed.

I’m excited to see what we all get up to! Happy stitching!

Chrissie x


  1. Great idea! Im not sure I'm up for embroidery just yet although I'm going to start paper piercing patchwork again and it would be great to pop a little embroidery on there too! Who knows!!! :) x

  2. Dear Chrissie
    This could be just the thing to stop me just looking and planning (important though that is) and start embroidering! I'll be joining in when I can.
    Best wishes

  3. This is such a nice idea. Let me think about what I might make...

  4. Just what I need to pick up a few unfinished projects....

  5. Lovely post to read through and it was nice to see I am not the only person with a sit on embroidery hoop. I am looking forward to doing a little stitching with you as I am currently in the stitching zone. xoxo

  6. Count me in - I'm gathering my kit and practising my stitches!
    Your button is fab - going to pop it on my sidebar now :-)

  7. Lovely post, everything beautifully explained Chrissie! I'll join in the fun although I think I've already covered most of the things mentioned so far - maybe I can just post what I'm busy with?
    Right now as I type you will still be in slumberland but soon the Monday morning school rush will be on for you - I'm wishing you and family a very happy week!
    Joy xo

  8. Thanks, everyone! I look forward to seeing what people decide to make - and feel free to join in as and when, I know these are early days of prep... Cx

  9. Ohh count me in please. I just need to practice those pesky French knots before we start :-) x

    1. I know what you mean! Moody little things, sometimes I can do them, other times I'm left with a mess of threads...I'll make sure to discuss them in upcoming Sunday posts - we will conquer them! ;-) Cx

  10. I am going to raid my stash and see what I can find to inspire me. Jo x

  11. Oh this sounds nice! I don't really have any embroidery skills though or embroidery books! I may see what the library has in though...
    Marianne xx

  12. What a great idea, I bought an embroidery pattern iron on transfer, ages ago and have never got around to using it. I'm a bit of a novice but this will give me a kick start and I love that I'll be able to pick up some hints and tips along the way. Deb x

    1. Thanks, Deb! This is precisely why I thought it would be fun to do a SAL - so many of us have an idea, a pattern, an unfinished embroidery...we can all work through them together, learning together and making together! Cx

    2. I'm a new follower . I found through Gilly @ Gilly Makes. I was stitching on Sunday so I hope it's okay for me to join you all :)

  13. Hi Melanie and welcome! Please do join in, the more the merrier! I look forward to seeing what you're stitching... Cx

  14. Anonymous1:19 am BST

    I am gathering my things... I'll be back once I find my pesky embroidery hoop. Grrr, that will teach me to redesign my studio! LOL! I thought I couldn't find things before... lol!
    Beth P

  15. I have 3 of your 4 books! Love those bookends, I've marked that as a project to try at some point.

    1. Ah Wendy, you obviously have fabulous taste in craft books! :-} cx

  16. Hi Chrissie - thank you for your lovely comment........i am very happy to link in with your stitching sundays........will you link to me or vice versa?? Hope you are having a lovely evening....counting down to downton whilst stitching!x