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Rich Lafferty's Journal

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My Christmas embroidery project: help!
Short version: If you know anything about embroidery, I need your help!

You're seeing this because you're in my custom friends group that does not include nyxie, because this is about her Christmas present.

So a couple of days ago I came up with a great idea for a present for nyxie, but it means that I have to learn a NEW SKILL and finish a project in it in 25 days, and I'm hoping you guys have some advice for me in that manner.

So the han (wooden gong) at the Zen Centre looks like so:

nyxie has mentioned that she'd like to have that verse on the wall by our door.

At the One of a Kind craft/art show last weekend, I found these guys who do "primitive stitchery", something like this:

and I thought that would be an awesome medium for that verse, in a nice barnboard or rough wood frame. And then I realized: hey, I can probably do that myself! But I don't know if I can do that myself in 25 days.

So I already know a bit about sewing, and specifically I know how to do running and back stitches which I think is all that I need, but I've never done embroidery. I found this Instructable and this howto which are promising and which make me think I can indeed do this. I still need to find a place here to get a hoop and needles and floss and fabric, but I can probably figure that out.

I should be able to find time to work on it by going into work early/staying late (since I can't exactly have the stuff lying around at home). I usually go to Starbucks after work so I can just say I'm going there, or doing Xmas shopping, etc. and stay at work and work on the project.

But I think I need all the help I can get. Do you or someone you know know anything about embroidery? Any tips, etc.? Anything that can help me learn how to do this, and then pull it off, in 25 days...

I'll keep posting updates here, too, if I end up doing it. :-)

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Oh, yes, you can certainly do it - basic embroidery isn't really that difficult, so you should definitely give it a whirl. I'm not sure what your plan is for coming up with a pattern for the letters, like if you're going to try embroidering freehand or if you'll put some guide lines on your fabric first. We have a little light table that was helpful to me when I made up a picture to embroider onto pillowcases: I had the picture on a sheet of paper in bold lines, then put it on the light table with the pillowcase over it so it was easy to trace some lines onto the pillowcase to follow as I did the stitches.

Thanks for the encouragement! If I wanted to trace a pattern on, would it just be a matter of making sure the stitches cover the pattern, or is there some way of removing the pattern when done?

I think it's more a matter of making sure the stitches cover the pattern. I've used some of the iron-on patterns from Sublime Stitching and they are permanent, so the lines are always there under the stitches. When I traced my pattern onto the pillowcase, I used a pencil and VERY FINE lines - they are so light that it's almost a little difficult to see them. I'm thinking with writing that you could trace on some very fine lines for the main strokes of the letters, perhaps just enough to outline the basic shape and to ensure that your lines of text are level. Depending on the font you use, you wouldn't need to trace lines for, say, any serifs on any of the letters.

You could also use trace-paper (not carbon paper, but the draft variety) to layout your design on the fabric and just stitch through it - tearing away the paper when finished. It'll be dependant on font, size, and closeness of your stitches. If you go this route I'd cut out strips of paper for each line, and pin them down to the fabric while you work through it.

Of course, I'm also a fan of the silk screen ;P

Similar to paper-piecing a quilt. Nice idea.

Oh gosh, you can absolutely do this, especially if you get a hoop. Carbon paper, transfer pencil/iron, or chalk (like for sewing guidelines, if you've ever sewed) should all help you transfer the image. Yay! Good luck!

Hoop, embroidery thread and needles are easily come by at your nearest Fabrikville (or whatever the equiv in On tario is).

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