These days, I am quite comfortable picking up or even designing a project. Now, I am not the best embroiderer by any stretch of the imagination. But that's okay. Even hand embroidery that is a bit uneven here and there has a charm unmatched by machine work. I want to encourage any of you who have never tried this craft to pick up a needle and give it a whirl.
|It doesn't have to be this ambitious to be beautiful.|
Unlike knitting which I think has a rather large learning curve (see Alex's post from Wednesday), embroidery can be picked up pretty quickly. If you know one or two stitches you can really create some fun stuff. There are all manner of great books out there that include stitch dictionaries. Some of my favorites for beginners are Embroidery Companion, Embroidered Effects, and Sublime Stitching. These are contemporary books that really speak to the beginner.
The sample I embroidered of the free pattern we posted last Wednesday only uses 4 stitches. I would like to go into some detail about when to use these stitches and share some images:
The chain stitch is a real workhorse. I have seen stunning pieces done in nothing but chain stitch. It is the most basic, and versatile stitch around.
|This rabbit is in chain stitch, around his eye I used stem stitch.|
Much like the chain stitch, this technique creates a line. The difference is that this one is thinner. I tend to use this stitch in conjunction with the chain stitch when I am trying to get a bit of depth by using them to make thicker or thinner lines.
As the name suggests, this stitch creates a satiny-smooth texture. For beginners, I think it's best to stick with small areas of satin because bigger areas are really best done with alternative techniques. On our Hare pattern, only a couple spots are done with this stitch.
|The fruit is satin stitch.|
Slightly tricky, but worth the effort. These little knots are great accents on a piece. They are raised higher than the rest of the stitching so they add a little pop wherever you set them. Once you get the hang of it, I guarantee that you will use these whenever you get a chance.
|French knots, stem stitch, and satin stitch make these flowers.|
This is a breezy overview for someone considering beginning embroidery. It is really a simple, satisfying and versatile craft to explore. I want to encourage everyone to not be intimidated to give this a try so I think I am going to spend some time on my next few posts talking about the necessary tools and techniques. Hell, we'll just call it a tutorial.