Thursday, January 22, 2015

Let It Snow Embroidery

Has anyone made a New Year's resolution to try a new craft? I love tinkering in different creative mediums here and there. It challenges me to step outside of my comfort zone and try something new, and many times I find a new craft that I absolutely love! Dabbling in different crafts is also great for breaking up the monotony that can happen if you're used to doing one thing most of the time (like sewing, for me.)

This year, fueled by my desire to try something new (and also inspired by my friend Bev at Flamingo Toes who is basically the queen of embroidery), I decided to try embroidery; and now I think I have a new favorite TV watching activity! Embroidery is one of those crafts that's perfect for multi-tasking. You can kick your feet up and put a good movie on in the background while you stitch away. And also, it's amazingly therapeutic. I bet we could all save a few stress-induced headaches by taking up embroidery :)

For my project, I came up with this "Let It Snow" embroidery hoop. Isn't it adorable with all of those French knots?? Love love. If you're a newbie at embroidery, this one's for you. It only involves two kinds of embroidery stitches: the backstitch and French knots. It couldn't be easier! Let's do this.

SUPPLIES: tailor's chalk pen, thing black cotton fabric, embroidery hoop (approximately 8 1/2 inches in diameter or larger), white embroidery thread, embroidery needle, free "Let It Snow" template found here, one square of felt, hot glue.

ONE: first, print out the "Let It Snow" template found here.
TWO: cut a piece of black fabric at least 2 inches bigger than your hoop on all sides.
THREE: Next (and I'm sure there are better ways of doing this, this is just how I did it), tape your template and fabric to a window and trace the wording onto your fabric with a white fabric chalk pen (I used this one.)
FOUR: insert your fabric with wording now on it into your hoop and tighten to secure.


Now we're going to do a little backstitching! This is such an easy, basic stitch that will give your wording a clean look if done right.

ONE: thread your needle and tie a knot at the end. Insert your needle under your hoop and through your fabric about 1/4 inch before the end of your first letter
TWO: bring your needle down at the edge of your letter
THREE: next, bring your needle back up from the bottom of your hoop 1/4 inch from the end of your last stitch
FOUR: bring your needle and thread down into the hole of your last stitch. There you go!

Keep backstitching until you've reached the end of your first letter. Tie a knot on the backside of your hoop, then trim your thread.

The second picture shows you what the underside of your hoop will look like.

Keep backstitching each letter until all of your lettering is done.

French Knots:

French knots are a little tricky, but once you get it, you'll be adding French knots to everything! If you get confused, here is a good visual example on how to make French knots.

ONE: first, separate your strand of embroidery thread (you can see that mine has 6 threads) so that you're only using 3 threads.
TWO: thread your needle and tie a knot at the end, then poke your needle up through your fabric from the bottom.
THREE: (this was hard to show using one hand, but hopefully you get the idea) with your left hand holding your needle, pinch your thread close to the base. This is very important!
FOUR: with your right hand, wrap the thread around your needle 3-4 times while continuing to hold the thread taut with your left hand
FIVE: pull the floss gently with your left hand so that the coil will tighten up and slide down your needle to make a little bundle against the surface of your fabric, then poke your needle back down through your fabric, slightly next to the hole (not through the same one) that you made when bringing the needle up.

Now put on a movie (or two) and do this LOTS of times.

Look at all the pretty French knots!

Continue on until your hoop is filled with lots of pretty French knots that look like snowflakes.

When you are finished, trim your fabric on the back, leaving one inch. Using your needle and thread, sew a running stitch around the edge of your fabric and pull to gather. Knot and trim your thread. Cut a circle of felt big enough to cover the back of your embroidery hoop, and hot glue on to cover your stitching.

Now hang on your wall and enjoy the snow outside while you're warm and toasty indoors working on your next embroidery project :)

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