Tuesday, June 22, 2010


First I want to say thank you for the comments! (I had a very big smile upon seeing them) and hello to my first follower! I'm so glad you found the cottage~ =)
As promised I have some photos to show you of the little embroidery I began. Unfortunately, I took the photos with my cell phone and they're not as clear as I wanted. But I'm going to share them nevertheless.

I have to say I love,love, LOVE embroidery! Of course, I feel that way about every craft I am doing at the time...smile. But embroidery is one of the first things I learned as a little girl.

It occurred to me one day that embroidery must have been what little girls did for "coloring" long before there were Crayola Crayons! It's much the same...choosing a picture, deciding on your colors and staying on the lines. Sooo fun. When it's all finished you can frame it, or make a pillow, or use it in a quilt. I even have one that is a tiny pillow hanging from a ribbon on the wall.

There are patterns for embroidery simply everywhere! The internet has so many now that you can spend whole days just looking at them. (Trust me...I know!) One of my favorite sites for finding embroidery patterns is http://www.flickr.com/search/?q=vintage+embroidery The people there have so generously shared their vintage patterns, and though some are quite complicated, others are perfect for beginners.

There are many other places to find patterns. One of the best sources is your child's (or grandchild's!) coloring books. The lines are simple and bold and easy to transfer to cloth. The pattern I'm sharing with you today came from an online coloring book site. I loved it the moment I saw it and knew it would be perfect to represent my little cottage in the woods.

Isn't it cute?

Now if you're new to embroidery, the first thing you want to do is decide how large you want your completed project to be. Then adjust the size on your computer.

I wish I knew how to walk you through that...but I have simply learned to push buttons until the right thing happens, (much to the irritation of my sweet and understanding husband)

If you don't know how, though, find a teenager. They seem to be born knowing this stuff now and can do it without even removing their Ipod from their ear.

Once you have your pattern the size you want, you should choose a piece of fabric. This can be a square from a torn sheet or pillowcase for now. You just want a piece of plain muslin or cotton fabric to work your design on. If you are purchasing fabric, however, try to get 100% cotton muslin. It launders best and looks very pretty. A half yard will do lots of projects and probably cost less than $2.00.

I chose a kind of rough nubby piece of unbleached muslin that I had in my stash. I wanted a bit of a primitive look for my little cottage.

Ok...it doesn't look that great. But I promise, I ironed it! Really...
Anyway, it straightens out nicely when you put it in the hoop.
oops...I didn't mention the hoop, did I? You'll need to get an embroidery hoop. This is essential. They can be found at all craft stores, like Hobby Lobby, and Michaels, and most fabric stores. Some Walmarts carry them as well.

Choose a size that will fit comfortably in your hands. It doesn't matter if your whole picture doesn't fit in it at once. You can move it around to expose only the part of your picture that you are working on.

Now...after you iron your piece of fabric, and before you put it in your hoop, you must get the pattern onto it. I like to use a light box that I've had for years. It's simple little plastic box with a light in it. You lay your pattern on it and then your fabric atop the pattern and when the light shines through, you can see your pattern clearly to trace it on your fabric.

But before I had this, I would tape the pattern to the glass patio door. then tape my fabric to that. Then pray that the dog didn't want to go out while I took my number two pencil and lightly traced the design.

If don't want to do this, though, you may purchase a transfer pencil at a craft store or online where embroidery supplies are sold, and simply trace your design with it...backwards, because you will be laying it on your fabric afterwards and ironing it on. Both ways work just fine.

Here is my design after being lightly traced onto the muslin.

Now choose the colors you want to use for each part of your design. I use DMC cotton embroidery floss. It's the best for me because it doesn't tangle easily and the colors stay put when you wash your embroidery. (and *that* is important!) You can purchase this floss very inexpensively at any fabric or craft store. Walmart used to carry it, but they have begun to dismantle their fabric departments in many of their stores, so you will have to check the one near you.

Each color goes a long way and you will get many projects from it. After a while you will already have lots of colors to choose from whenever you want to do an embroidery project. The floss comes like this...

Isn't that pretty? Looks like a little box of crayons, doesn't it? Before I start using new floss, I always wind it on a bobbin first. This makes it easy to store and find for the next project, and it keeps the threads from tangling. You can find the bobbins, which are really just little pieced of cardboard...for under two dollars for about 50 of them. Or you can just cut out little pieces of shirt cardboard or whatever you have around the house. The idea is to just to be able to keep it in order. Be sure to write the color number on the bobbin before you take the tiny little paper off the skein. Otherwise, you will forget which color is which! And that is annoying! Grrrr....

You can wind it by hand, or you can purchase a little bobbin winder like this one... They're fun to use and make the winding go very fast. I found this one online for 1.62 at http://www.hershnerrs.com/.

After you get your colors wound on the bobbins. You are ready to begin.

First, take a length of floss about 18 inches long and cut it. You will have a piece of floss that contains six strands of thread. You only need two, so now you see why it lasts so long! Seperate out two threads and let the floss spin lightly between your fingers as it unwinds. Thread your needle with the two and put the other four aside for later. Now begin. Choose a place to start on your pattern, knot your thread, and put your needle through the bottom of the fabric so that it comes up at the line on the top.

Here is an excellent tutorial for all the beginning stitches...and this is one of my favorite sites for everything crafty and fun!http://www.purlbee.com/embroidery-tutorial/
Here's what my little cottage is looking like now

Coming along nicely, isn't it?

I chose a dark brown for the walls, and a lighter brown for the thatched roof and a pretty blue gray for the shutters and door. But you, creative little embroiderer that you are, will choose the colors that best reflect your little cottage. Hopefully I'll be finished when I come back next time. Til then...

Love and Happiness...♥ Kate~

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