Sunday, 8 September 2013

Stitching Sunday: Transferring designs

Good day to you, fellow stitchers! I hope you’ve decided on a design to embroider (I’ve narrowed mine down to three...no two! Two. For now). Today I’ll give a little overview about preparing your project and starting to stitch. In the coming weeks I’ll offer updates on my progress with various projects, share tips and troubles, and then what to do with these lovely little stitches when they’re done!

So I have a design, but how do I transfer it to my fabric? Some books, like Little Stitches by Aneela Hoey, provide iron-on transfers, the easiest way to put the design on fabric. Little Stitches has all of the illustrations in the back of the book plus separate sheets of iron-on transfers. Fabulous.


I used this girl reading a book to make a cushion for Bunny, my bookworm.



Most designs, however, will need to be traced to get to fabric. If you’re using a white or light material, perhaps you can simply put the fabric on top of the design and trace it – I like to trace with a very fine-tipped marker pen, but you can use fabric pencils or any other writing instrument you’re confident you can cover completely with your stitching.


The design above is from Carina’s Craftblog, a great resource for embroidery, and she offers beautiful, colourful patterns.

Or you can trace the design onto tracing paper, which will free it from a book, then put your fabric over the tracing paper. I did this with Sam-I-Am:


Just an example, my tracing isn't that wonky!
Tracing is easiest with a light source behind the paper, making the design shine clearly through the fabric. Tape the paper to the window, then tape your fabric on top and trace. Advantage: Very cheap option; Disadvantage: Sore arms after a few minutes!

After doing enough embroidery to know that I wanted to continue with this craft, I decided to invest in a light box for more detailed designs.



There are many on the market, so I chose a mid-priced one at about £30. Here is the fabric on the light box as I transferred my “hive sweet hive” design for a hexie project:


I didn't trace the bees - I'll add them freehand at the end
You can draw lines or use tiny dots – either is fine as long as you know you’ll be covering it with stitches.

Now get that pattern into a hoop and start stitching! Make the fabric drum-tight in the hoop – tighten the screw a bit, pull the fabric evenly around, tighten the screw some more, pull the fabric, etc. then use a screwdriver to really get the hoop secure (it really does make a difference as you stitch!).

Unwind enough thread to reach from your fingertip to your elbow – more than this and you risk tangling the threads as you pull them through the fabric. I usually use two strands of floss for embroidery, though I often add one-stranded elements or even all six strands in a design. A valuable tip is to pull out one strand at a time from the bunch, no matter how many strands you are using, then line up the strands together. The thread will lie so much flatter and neater on your work this way.  


Tie a knot in your floss, then it’s between you and your conscience whether you leave the knot on the back of your work or make a waste knot:


Put the knot on the front of your piece, then make two tiny stitches along the design line and cut away the knot. The stitches will anchor the thread, and you then go back and do your embroidery over these stitches.

I have done this a few times, mainly for gifts, but for most projects I confess I just tie a knot, pull the thread up through the back and get on with it! As I get more proficient with embroidery I might become a stickler about not having any knots in my work, but for the moment, I’m just happy to get even a few minutes before bed to do a few stitches, so I’m not fussed!

The easiest stitches to outline a design is the back stitch and the stem stitch. I’ll get stitching and talk more about outlines next Sunday. I plan to give some details of stitches as we encounter them, but I also will share my favourite web sites for embroidery tutorials. Today I recommend:

Mary Corbet’s Needle N’ Thread: This woman knows it all and teaches it better than anyone! A must for embroidery enthusiasts at any level. Her tutorials are second only to having your mother or grandmother by your side.

Now I’m going to go trace the sheep and tree for the bookends I showed last week. And I’ll be hopping round Blogland to see what you’re up to – link up your blog below!

Happy stitching!

Chrissie x


26 comments:

  1. I'm so looking forward to this link up and learning to embrioder.
    Clare x
    http://summerhousebythesea.blogspot.co.uk

    ReplyDelete
  2. Thanks for the useful tips! I just love that little cat-in-the-hat :-)
    Happy first Stitching Sunday!
    xx

    ReplyDelete
  3. Lots of good tips here and I love your embroidery of the girl reading. I have a little project I'm planning but it's on white linen so I'll just trace it I think. You've inspired me to get cracking. x

    ReplyDelete
  4. This is such an informative post! Thank you for all the tips. I can't wait to see what else you make. :)

    ReplyDelete
  5. That piece of information about the sacrificial knot is amazing to me. I NEVER would have thought of doing that. I will remember this in all that I do where I don't want a knot. As I said Chrissie, AMAZING!!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Wow, thanks! I'm so glad that I'm imparting some useful info - and I LOVE the 'sacrificial knot', I'll be using that forever, so much more elegant than 'waste knot'... Chrissie x

      Delete
    2. Well, you share, I share, we all share, more fun that way!

      Delete
  6. I love how you used your embroidery on the cushion, great idea. Thank you for all the hints and tips, I'm going to look forward to this. X

    ReplyDelete
  7. Thanks for starting what I am sure will be a rather lovely couple of weeks of stitching. Sorry I wasn't to clear on what was suppose to happen today, so very ill prepared. Do I need to trace something, as I was hoping to do a little mixed media, but most probably wont finish it in the time your stitching will run. Is this a problem, or shall I do something else?? Thanks for all the info, I also like Carina's blog, it's great!! Happy Sunday lovely, let me know so I can do a quick post (eeek!) xoxo

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Anything goes, Hannapat! This is just an opportunity to try something new, relearn an old skill, etc. So by all means, tell us more about the mixed media...and there is no deadline - I initially planned to run a four-week project laying out all the basics about embroidery, but already I'm enjoying having a dedicated day each week to stitching, so I will probably carry on every Sunday, welcoming whomever wants to join me each week! :-) Cx

      Delete
    2. Music to my ears! xoxo

      Delete
  8. Hi Chrissie I have only just found your fabulous blog courtesy of the lovely Joy - your blog is just amazing, I love it! I hope you don't mind but I would like to include it in my list of favourites. I am new to sewing and am trying, trying very hard to get into embroidery which I just adore but it is difficult and I need to practise more. Joy was saying that you have a project which everyone can join in and so I popped over to see it. I am going to have fun reading your blog Chrissie and hopefully learn a little more about the wonderful art of embroidery.
    Lots of love to you
    Dorothy (crochetknittingsewing.blogspot.com)
    :-)xxxxxxxxxxxx

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Thank you Dorothy! Please feel free to read along all of our blogs and join in whenever you feel like it! I want to keep this initial project nice n' easy for newbies, so no stress! Cx

      Delete
  9. I am joining in Chrissie but I have had to do a quick starter task to get me going and because I need a piece for the Local Craft show for next Saturday so I will post tomorrow and add my link then. You know me, bit quick off the mark and I really want to learn more and get better so I have chosen a slow burn project to join in with everyone too. Jo x

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Super news, Jo! Glad you'll be joining in - and I can't wait to see what you'll choose for a slow-burn project, you always manage to get so much done, I'm thinking slow-burn for you is three days... ;-) Cx

      Delete
  10. Hi
    I am a newbie to embroidery. I have never done any, but I want to start and learn this new craft. I would love to join in, but don't know where to start. Could you point me in the right direction to a good book to start with please. I am a visual learner!!!

    Thank you. I am loving your blog

    Kelly

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Kelly, thanks for your comment! My first embroidery book was Aimee Ray's Doodle Stitching - it explains the basics in a relaxed, easy manner (I found some books and web sites to be so meticulous and perfect that I was afraid to even thread a needle!). Her designs really are like fun doodles, so you can't really go wrong.
      Also, check out your local library - I find lots of very useful and helpful embroidery books there. Some are a bit dated, so I wouldn't necessarily do any of the projects, but they often have great tips, good stitch illustrations, etc. And the library is free! :)
      Check out my last Sunday Stitching post for a kit list, then feel free to join in when you're ready - and please email me if you want to chat more or have more questions. Thanks again! Cx

      Delete
  11. I saw details of this over on Clare's Summerhouse by the Sea blog - what a wonderful idea. I visited Hugglets today or I might have joined you, but hopefully I can next week - I haven't embroidered for years!

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Join in whenever it's convenient, we'll be stitching on Sundays for a while! :-) Cx

      Delete
  12. Thank you so much for this tutorial. I went to blog but the laptop died!! Hubby got his way though and the new one has already been ordered from dell :-) I will be linking up but apologies for it being later in the week x x

    ReplyDelete
  13. Wow Chrissie, you've done a FAB job - now I really am convinced you are a born teacher! I love Bunny's cushion and want to say again what a great job you did with Dr Seuss! Mary Corbet is a great link, I came across her whilst browsing a while ago and you're right - what she doesn't know about stitching isn't worth knowing! Thanks for the reminder, for I'd become so busy with books that I hadn't checked her out for a while!
    Thanks so much for all of this Chrissie - I know there's so much work and preparation involved, not to mention the patience and time required to carry it out so successfully! You're a STAR!
    Joy xo

    ReplyDelete
  14. This is a really headband helpful post, thank you so much! I am inspired to progress my A is for Stitch embroidery through this !

    ReplyDelete
  15. What a fabulous post!
    I never knew about a 'waste knot' thats ingenious and i will be trying that, thank you.
    Once i get back to blogging in a couple of weeks i may have to join in the stitchy fun :o)
    see you tonight!
    love jooles xxx

    ReplyDelete
  16. Hope it's not too late to join in. Been a bit busy here and not had time to blog, but this is the excuse I need to do some crafting on Sundays.
    S xx

    ReplyDelete
  17. Hi Chrissie, where did you get your lightbox from? I can't find a decent priced one like that. I also have a tip for tracing the design. Use a Frixxon pen, you don't have to worry about covering up the line with stitches as it disappears when you iron the fabric.

    p.s. did you know you've got word verification on?

    ReplyDelete
    Replies
    1. Hi Wendy! Thanks for your comment - I got my light tracer from amazon, I checked it and it's now up to £40, but it might be worth snooping round the Internet, eBay, etc for cheaper deals. Great tip about the Frixxon pen, I'd love to share it on this Sunday's post if you don't mind! Chrissie x

      Delete