Stitch Tip #9: Fly the Pink!

A favorite accessory for my rotary cutter is the pinking blade. Each slice through fabric yields a jaunty embellished edge.

This pinked fabric edge with its crazy peaks and valleys is perfect for a favorite embroidery stitch, the fly stitch.

Today’s Stitch Tip: Fly the Pink!

Why the fly stitch? The fly stitch fits neatly around the pinked edge. It’s as if the pinked fabric and the fly stitch were destined to be together. Even the ladybugs in The Nut House project from Playful Free-Form Embroidery like the combo. Here you see them crawling up the bumpy pinked edge on their way to the tire swing.

So next time you have a pinked fabric edge add a fly stitch to the edge. Fly your pink!

Stitch Tip #8: Try a Simple Border Finish

One challenge when making textile designs is how to finish the edges. Quiltmakers use different binding methods to add that final touch to a piece of artwork. But how do you finish the border on a free-form embroidery piece?

Today’s Stitch Tip: Try a Simple Border Finish

This project, Natural Gardening, from Playful Free-Form Embroidery is made on 1 piece of black wool. The wool is firm enough to hold a flat shape but is easily embroidered. When it came time to finish the edge of the design I weighed my options. Should I put another piece of fabric behind it and stitch the edges of the black wool to the backing fabric? Should I place strips of fabric on top of the black wool to add a frame?

Here’s what I came up with- a simple line of chain stitches around the edge of the black fabric. The red thread repeats the color of the poppy flowers and adds a formal finish to the design. I like this border on a free-form embroidery and will use it again. Sometimes simple is best.

Stitch Tip #7: Thread Size Matters

Turns out that size does matter! At least as far as hand embroidery thread goes. I use four sizes of pearl cotton thread for stitching: sizes 3, 5, 8, and 12.

Size 5 works terrific on wool and felt fabrics, and the thick size 3 is best for couching. But when stitching fused art quilts or creating free-form embroideries, I prefer sizes 8 and 12 pearl cotton thread. These two sizes have different qualities and use when embroidering designs.

Today’s Stitch Tip: Thread Size Matters

Size 8 is bold and sits on the surface of fuzzy wool and felt fabrics illustrated in this detail of On Pins and Needles from Playful Free-Form Embroidery. That hefty string from the pincushion to the strawberry? Stitched with a size 8. The intense pattern on the bird’s wing and texture of the tablecloth? Both were created with size 8. And the tomato leaves owe their solid shape to size 8.

But when I need something more subtle, I choose a size 12. It is finer than the size 8 and demands less attention. You see it in the striped wallpaper and tiny seeds on the strawberry. Fine lines or detailed shapes like the bird’s eye and pins and needles on the pincushion are best made with size 12 thread.

So you see. Size does matter!