Embroidery

I have been bitten by the embroidery bug. I’ve been working on my April Showers sampler.

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A lot of embroidery inspiration has been popping up in my social media feeds lately. I just listened to the recent While She Naps podcast with Rebecca Rinquist. I signed up for the Freaky Flowers swap with &stitches. Sublime Stitching has a Moomin sale and contest going on. Alison Glass has an embroidery sale. So much to stitch, so little time!

April Showers embroidery sampler

I love embroidery. I’m always on the lookout for screenprinted embroidery samplers. My sister gave me a screenprinted Sea Captain sampler for Christmas and it’s awesome. I’m a huge fan of iron-on transfers, and I pay extra for those if they’re an option (vs digital downloads). If iron-on transfers aren’t an option I’ll settle for a PDF pattern but I’ll be cursing the whole time I’m tracing it on to the fabric. I’ve tried everything short of buying a light table and Sublime Stitching’s brand new fine-tip transfer pens. I refuse to breakdown and buy a light table, but I may be ordering the transfer pens soon.

Anywho, in my search for embroidery patterns that I don’t have to trace I’ve discovered that Spoonflower swatches are only $5 and fit perfectly in a 6-inch embroidery hoop. I’ve found a few cute swatch-size embroidery patterns at Spoonflower like this and this. But there should be more.

There is one more now – my April Showers embroidery pattern. I ordered a swatch on Kona cotton and I love it. If you want to stitch one, you can find it here.

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I’m working on a color palette. Blue raindrops? Rainbow raindrops? I’m planning to do french knots for the cloud and satin stitch for the raindrops. I’ll be an expert at both by the time I’m done!

Moomin

Did you know this is a big year for Moomin? It’s the 100th anniversary of Moomin’s creator, Tove Jannson. To celebrate, the American Swedish Institute has a Moomin exhibit on display. Isaac was happy to see the exhibit and pose with Moomin!

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Sublime Stitching recently released a bunch of Moomin patterns. I ordered one right away. I stitched a Moomin on Isaac’s plain Poang IKEA chair. It wasn’t too difficult to embroider. I used 4 strands of DMC embroidery floss. It took some practice to get used to not pulling the needle through to the back side of the fabric – I had to take little bites of fabric with the needle, being careful not to catch the foam inside the headrest.

Moomin embroidery on an Ikea kid's chair #sublimestitching #moomin

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The only trouble I had with this project was transferring the pattern to the chair. The cover is made of 100% cotton – I checked the tag – so I had my iron set to the highest setting. I ironed the transfer for about 7 seconds, and when I pulled the iron away it had scorched the fabric. Ugh! This is the first time I have scorched a project with my iron. Luckily, I was able to use hydrogen peroxide, cold water, and a little bit of soap to remove the scorch marks. No trace of them now!

Moomin embroidery on an Ikea kid's chair #sublimestitching #moomin

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WIP Wednesday: Embroidery project

I’m a day late with the WIP Wednesday post, and a year late with the Wild Olive Summer Stitching Club… but better late than never, right?

I joined the Summer Stitching Club last year and then promptly forgot about it. Sigh. I’m happy to be working on the project this week though! My beloved sewing machine is (unexpectedly) in need of a tune-up. While I wait for its return I dug out the Summer Stitching Club pattern and floss, and bought some lovely pin dot and American Made Brand fabrics at PixieSpit‘s local shopping day.

 

Drawstring shoe bag

One of the very first things I remember sewing, with the help of my grandma, is a drawstring shoe bag for my dad for Father’s Day. I remember being so happy to sew with my grandma, and I was so incredibly proud of it when it was done. I remember my dad using it a lot when he traveled.

The bag wasn’t fancy, I think it was a vellux-like material that wouldn’t fray with a shoestring for a drawstring. I’ve been meaning to make a couple drawstring shoe bags for myself and my husband for a long time – they are much classier than packing your shoes in a plastic grocery bag!

I was motivated to finally make another bag when I saw this fantastic drawstring shoe bag tutorial by The Purl Bee. The construction is really clever – there are no exposed raw edges!

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Isaac picked out the fabric and drawstring, and he even helped sew a few of the seams. He’s probably too young to remember doing this later, but he was happy to help and very happy to have made something for Dad. He was so anxious to show Dad his present that he gave it to him Saturday night!

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We used a plain chambray rather than a fancy double-sided plaid because I wanted to embroider the bag with a design from the Sublime Stitching Camp Out embroidery pattern.

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I used the “away knot” instructions from Penguin and Fish to keep the ends of the embroidery floss in place. So far, so good! The back looks very neat and it doesn’t look like the ends are going anywhere.

A Finish-Along

I’m joining the &Stitches Finish-Along this year.

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I probably should’ve joined the Finish-Along last year. I started working on these super cute embroideries by Penguin and Fish over 2 years ago. The color selections were holding me back. I wanted to use at least one common color between the hoops but I couldn’t decide. I finally settled on a palette – orange, brown, yellow, and purple. The giraffe is getting purple spots, the monkey is getting an orange belly and the cat will probably be orange.

Embroidery tool kit

I organize my embroidery supplies in a small ArtBin.

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I’ve got the usual floss, thimble, hoops and measuring tape. I also keep a stock of extra bobbins, printouts courtesy of Wild Olive, a box of Thread Heaven, and a Prismacolor water soluble pencil. If you use thread, you should use Thread Heaven! That’s the motto on the box – cheesy but true. I only bought it a few months ago and I wish I’d bought it sooner. It really keeps thread and floss from tangling while stitching, and it makes stitches look smoother. The Prismacolor pencil is my favorite for drawing or tracing patterns on fabric. It washes out with water – I don’t even use soap or agitation. It doesn’t stain fabric, doesn’t smudge like chalk and it doesn’t fade like marking pens. It’s the best!

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I made an envelope clutch using this (free!) pattern from See Kate Sew to hold projects. The only change I made to the pattern was using magnets instead of a button. I used the Prismacolor pencil to doodle on the faux addresses – you can see the pencil markings totally washed out. My sister made me the cute envelope needle book a few years back.

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The clutch is 7.5 x 12.5 inches, just big enough to hold one project and tools. I always keep my needles, needle threader and Gingher scissors in here. My current project is (gasp!) cross stitch instead of embroidery – a pendant. I found the laser-cut blank at the Workroom, and took inspiration from their flickr gallery.

This post is my entry in the &Stitches embroidery toolkit competition. Go check out the other entries!

&Stitches tool kit competition

Embroidery swap

Last weekend I sketched out my design for the Wild Olive Stitch Swap. I found a free pattern at So September that was almost exactly what I had in mind. I’ve been using a water soluble Prismacolor pencil to sketch embroidery patterns, trace sewing patterns, etc. I found it at a local fabric store last year and it works so well I want to buy a bunch more so I’ll never run out. Unfortunately the store no longer stocks them so I’ll have to find a different source.

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