If this is the first time you have ever embroidered, have a practice of the stitches on leftover felt scraps before you do it on the actual heart. Remember nobody dies because you do not get it right first time but your friends will be impressed because embroidery is not passed on like it used to be. I learnt at home and at my primary school, I still remember a little blue book from Anchor... The Little Book of Anchor Embroidery Stitches... I could not wait to try out and master new stitches. In fact when my mother died I found some of my original binca mats which I embroidered for my my mum when I was six, how I wish I still had that book.
You will need:
9x9" square of felt
A skein of embroidery thread
An embroidery needle with a nice big eye and a very sharp point
A small amount of wadding
A water soluble pen
A glass, ruler, paper and pencil
Pins and scissors
|The robin tin was my mum's silks tin and I can remember when it actually contained Peek Frean biscuits over 45 years ago!|
Take a piece of paper, draw a line down the middle and another across the middle, pop your glass so that the you draw a semi circle, with one side touching the line down the middle and repeat on the other side. I used a glass with a 3" diameter, I then marked 3.5" below the centre line and drew a line from the semi circles to create the heart design, you can make it longer or shorter to vary the look of your heart.
Cut out your pattern and pin it to the felt, cut around two hearts - remember felt does not have a warp or weft (the grain and direction of fabric) so it does not matter where you place the heart on your felt - set them aside.
Now think about the pattern you want to create... we will be using six stitches, not as scary as it sounds as two are variations on a theme.
- Running stitch - this is where all sewing begins
- Pekinese stitch - a woven stitch, worked through running stitches for decorative purposes
- Chain stitch - super for writing words
- Lazy Daisy or Detached chain - used for working flower petals and leaves
- French knots - a raised stitch often used to create the centre of flowers and to give depth to your work
- Blanket stitch - to join the pieces together
Now, take your skein of embroidery thread and cut off about 18" which is about the same as you pinching the thread between you thumb and fore finger and letting it drop to your elbow and cutting it there. Longer thread will create a problem as it will knot and tangle as you are working and I will not be responsible for you swearing when you are meant to be having fun! You will see that embroidery thread has six strands, you only want to use three, so take three in one hand and three in the other and pull them apart, like the tractors on Levi jeans. Thread up your needle and you are ready to start.
Try to work in natural light, best of all is to be in front of a window so you can get a good look at what you are doing.
Don't put a knot in your thread, whenever you are embroidering you do not sew in or sew off unless you can tuc the thread behind other stitches and we will start with a simple running stitch. Leave a tail of about 1/2" on the back of your work then look at the diagrams below:
Come up to the front from A and then back through the felt at B, if you are happy with the size of your stitch come back up the same length away to the front at C. Continue like this all the way around the heart to make a border.
Using our chain stitch we are going to write a message, as this is a pin cushion and I am going to pop it onto my Pinterest boards, I am writing Pin It!
Come up from the back of your work at point A, form a little loop, then go from the front of your work through to the back as close to point A as you can so that A and B are next to each other. Without letting the loop tighten, come back to the front at point C, this will catch the loop to form your first chain, now go back through to the back as close to point C as you can and come up at point C, repeat this for your chain. Then the next spot to come back up at is Point D.Chain stitch is very versatile and will accommodate curves which is why it is so good for embroidering letters.
As you have mastered Chain stitch, Lazy Daisy or Detached Chain will be a doddle. Come up from the back of your work at point A, form a little loop, then go from the front of your work through to the back at point B as close to point A as you can. Without letting the loop tighten, come back to the front at point C, catching the loop, take your thread over the loop and sew through to the back as close to Point C as you can.
From Point C, go back to Point A at the centre and move your work around a little to create your next petal in the same way. Remember most flowers have an odd number of petals.
Next is the French knot, which is what is know as a raised stitch as it sits well above the fabric to give it texture. You will probably notice that the centre of your flower looks a little bit messy so we will use the knot to hide this.
I thought that the running stitch looked a little plain, so we are going to do a simple weaving stitch, akin to Pekinese stitch. Bring your silk up from the back of the work, under a stitch, now weave the stitch under each bar and when you run out of thread make sure you take it back to the reverse side under a stitch on the surface and bring your next piece of silk up from under the same stitch.
We are now going to work Blanket stitch, which is used to hem fabrics or applique and even button hole fabrics as it is applied directly to raw edges. Starting inside your heart front and about 3/8" from the raw edge, bring your silk through to the front, holding the two pieces of felt together and place your needle at the back of your front embroidered piece come up at point A and bring the thread over to the back of your plain backing fabric and bring it through both pieces to join them together, do this twice for the start of your work, now slip your needle under the stitch so it is on the right of your work.
Continue in this to create your blanket stitch seam.
Work around the heart with blanket stitch leaving a gap of 3", use this gap to stuff your heart, pin the gap together and finish off with blanket stitch. If you are hanging your heart, then sew a little bow to hide the stitches you used to hold the ribbon in place.
Now go hang it up. or start using your pin cushion and go take a look at the very first Handmade Monday of 2012
Finally, if you wash any piece of work with embroidery, always wash it by hand and when you iron it do so from the back of your work so that your embroidery stands proud of your fabric.
Health Warning - Just to let you know, if you click through to Pinterest, I am not responsible for the way that time seems to disappear as you look at everyone's pin boards!