Hoopless Embroidery Finishing

Working without a hoop when making free-form embroidery has its advantages. It may be easier on your hands if there is no hoop to grip while stitching. Improvised designs are more organic and less stiff-looking. And you can use fabrics like felt and wool that would be marked by the hoop leaving creases.

Fine Line Tree #15 by Laura Wasilowski

But there are also disadvantages when stitching fabrics without a hoop. The most obvious is that the fabric will become distorted like this example on wool called Fine Line Tree #15. Intense stitchery in the area of the fields pulls the blue wool fabric skewing the edges. While less intense stitchery in the sky area maintains the original squared shape. My solution to square it up upon completion? Stitch it to a rectangular piece of green felt.

Bayeux Garden #2 by Laura Wasilowski

Here you see Bayeux Garden #2 another embroidery on wool that ended up with uneven edges. If the piece had only been slightly skewed, I could have flipped the embroidery over onto a thick felt pressing mat and tugged and steamed the edges square. Instead, I embraced the wonky and stitched it to a rectangle of yellow batik fabric that is backed with batting and later machine quilted.

So why not embrace the wonky? By embracing the wonky nature of the piece you acknowledge the “handmade” nature of the embroidery. No machine created these pieces of artwork. Human hands brought them into being.

Stitching for Spain: Travel Plans?

Let’s say you’re just too busy to travel to Spain to take my Improvisational Hand Embroidery on Wool class. What do you do? You could check out one of my free tutorials or add my book Free-Form Hand Embroidery on Wool book to your library.

Free-Form Hand Embroidery has these 5 embroidery designs for you to play with. Chapters include the types of fabric, thread, and needles to use; how to transfer the patterns for each project to the wool; and, step-by-step directions to guide you through the stitch process for each design. Helpful embroidery stitch diagrams are included too.

And don’t forget this bonus project in the book: how to make an etui or small sewing kit.

Illustrated with colorful details, this book is ideal for those who want to explore the world of free-form embroidery and stitching just for the pleasure of it.

So join me in Spain (sort of) and create a free-form project on wool today!

Stitching for Spain: Kits!

One of the things I like to do for my students is provide a kit of fabrics and threads for workshops. This way they don’t have to schlep a cart full of items to class. I become the schlepper. Above is the kit for the Improvisational Hand Embroidery on Wool class I’m teaching for the Asociación Española de Patchwork in March.

Students will have a selection of wool fabrics, a booklet of embroidery stitches, needles, an array of my hand-dyed threads, and a cute little needle hold created by moi. Ok. It’s true I don’t speak French or Spanish. But I know enough not to order liver and onions in a restaurant. And I know how to schlep.