My taste in stitchery patterns varies widely, and I love many of the designs coming from companies like Urban Threads and Sublime Stitching.
Urban Threads (some designs are on sale until tomorrow - Jan 3!)
They have retro, punk, steam, fantasy, pinups and zombies…truly, this is not your grandmother’s embroidery!
For my first little test run I figured it was just as easy to download some free clip art and transfer it to fabric. If you google “coloring pages” or “mandala” you will get thousands of clearly outlined shapes of varying complexity. This one is a comparatively simple lotus mandala I downloaded from one of the coloring page websites.
I used a red heat-transfer pencil to trace the printed design and then ironed it on to my fabric. It transferred well enough, but gave me a barely-visible pink line to follow. My poor old eyes don't need that much exercise! Next time I will try a dressmaker’s carbon and hope for a darker impression. If that doesn’t work, it’s on to the Sulky transfer pen.
The fabric is 14-count Aida cloth, which looks as though it would be ideal for a cross-stitch project but is a bit coarse for some of my stitches. I’m uncertain about what types of fabric are best suited to embroidery for framing. I would not want to try sheeting or muslin, as the threads are so tightly woven. Broadcloth might work but it is generally quite flimsy. Canvas is clearly too heavy; I’d probably gouge my fingers trying to push the needle through. Linen is supposed to be best, but I think the weave can be quite uneven. Do any of you stitchers have a favorite embroidery fabric?
My stitches in this first effort left much to be desired. My chain stitches were all different lengths. I could not get my cross stitches even; they are at different angles and sizes all over the design. French knots are not as complex as I thought, but take an incredible amount of floss. I accidentally changed colors halfway through the green petals, and didn’t even notice until I was finished! The biggest surprise was how easy it is to do the satin stitch. My satin stiches are lumpy and thready instead of satiny, but I like the handmade look of them. No machine embroidery for me!
I probably have a few more days on this project, then I can pick my next design.
What are you putting your creative energy into these days?