Tuesday, 8 September 2009

Teaching Myself Embroidery . . . (Part 2 or is it 3?)

I feel as though I'm blabbing on about embroidery a lot lately but hey, it's my newly acquired 'skill'. I use the term 'skill' loosely, you understand! As an amateur though, I just like sharing my progress as I get awfully 'chuffed' with myself whenever I master a new aspect of it. I get my stitches wrong sometimes, and my methods are probably a bit crude, my stitching tension looks a bit wonky, but I don't care - it's good fun!

This weekend I had a go at transferring an image from 'the new crewel' embroidery book to have a practice. I used the 'light window' method as shown below. This involved tracing the image from the book (I didn't have any tracing paper in and used photocopier paper which was thin enough to see through). I followed the instructions in the book and taped the traced image onto a sunny window, then taped the fabric (linen union) on top. I used a fabric marker (air soluble) to trace the image. A word of warning - I used my air soluble marker on some natural linen a couple of weeks ago, and the marks disappeared so quickly I had to 'abandon' the design and make it up as I went along! Perhaps it was the loose weave of the fabric, I don't know?

Anyhow, the tracing of the design went fine - I might try a water soluble pen next time. The marks didn't fade so quickly on this fabric but as a safety measure I went over them again, a couple of hours into the embroidery.

I was using my crewel embroidery wool for this project. I found it quite strange embroidering with wool - it's really fine (two ply) but the colours are lovely to use. The design only used satin stitch and french knots, so was quite straightforward once you master these two stitches. The design asks for 9 inch square linen twill - one thing I find with using a hoop is that there seems to be a lot of wastage of fabric around the design (my linen union cost £6 for a fat quarter, pretty pricey I thought). So I'm a bit miffed at the wastage!!

Here's a pic of some of my ... em less than perfect stitches:

and a close-up shot of some 'wobbly' satin stitches and half-decent french knots (I went a bit wonky with my 'split-stitch on the first edge too!)

Using the crewel wool gives the embroidery a nice raised texture and I like the matt wool colours. You can see how the initial fabric marks are fading, I'm not sure how long they would have lasted as I sped on with the work, in a bit of a panic!

You could use ordinary embroidery thread for this just as easily. I enjoyed it as an experiment. I've now tried ordinary embroidery thread, crewel embroidery thread and the last book I bought is entitled 'Woolly Embroidery' which uses woollen tapestry thread, along with the other two. I'm half-thinking of making a linen cushion cover embroidered using tapestry wool, as I thought the cover image of this book was fab.

Hope this is of use if you're starting out and thinking of using designs from a book as this is the first time I've tried it. Quite enjoyable but you need a few hours spare time!! (So I don't know why I was doing it!)

Back to my 'tweedie' work for now though :)


june at noon said...

I think it's looking great for practice stitches, Alison. I use a water soluble pen, and it works great. It lasts so long as you don't get it wet, which includes getting sweaty fingers on it! ;) Glad you're still having fun!

Jennifer Rose said...

nice simple design to use :) I really wouldn't have noticed your wonky satin stitches if you hadn't of mentioned them ;)

Erin said...

ugh. Details make my head hurt. They really do . . . you are a brave woman to teach yourself something that necessarily makes your eyeballs cross.

janet said...

love the colors you have chosen ;-)

florcita said...

Oh my you have patience. It looks really good! No "half decent" stuff here, you are good. I had to laught at the light/window tracing technique. I used to do that when I was a kid.... people don't use those neat tricks anymore...it's all about scanning and transfering and I don't know what else.

Looking good!