Tag Archives | embroidery

CHA Winter 2013 | A Peek At Some New Craft Products

The CHA Winter 2013 show begins on Saturday, January 12, 2013.  At a media preview event, I took some photos of some of the fun new products that will be on display.

Some of the great examples of the bracelet patterns.

Some of the great examples of the bracelet patterns.

My first favorite is a fun new embroidery book, called “Emma Broidery’s Memory Thread How-To Guide by   the folks at DMC.    The designs in this book are easy to make and were specifically designed to be used with their popular memory thread line. One of the fun patterns in this book is a cute gingerbread house ornament.

DMC's fun Gingerbread House Ornament

DMC’s fun Gingerbread House Ornament

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Vendor Spotlight – Dimensions Embroidery Pillow Kit by E.K. Success

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

This really fun pillow cover kit is from the “Handmade Embroidery” line by Dimension Needlecraft (from the E.K. Success product lines).  I like the company slogan:
“with a few simple embroidery stitches and a little applique, you can create a heartwarming project in just a weekend with our Handmade Embroidery line” 

Which is true, this kit is easily finished in one weekend, and is great for those with limited free time to work on embroidery projects but want to enjoy the relaxing fun of doing embroidery.   This is also a nice kit for introducing embroidery to beginners.  The project is cute and the fabric and appliques are good quality cotton.  

The “Bird on a Flower” pillow cover kit is designed by Erin Ries.  The kit is designed to fit up to a 14″ pillow which is not included in the kit but easy to find at any local craft supply store.  It is a colorful and fun crewel embroidery project that I am very excited to make.

The contents of the Bird on a Flower Kit are:
Pillow Cover
  • pre-printed cotton fabric pillow cover in 100% cotton 
100% heavy cotton
Applique sheet

  • color coordinated cotton thread
color coordinated thread and thread holder

  • one needle
  • one set of brief but simple instructions
To finish the kit, you need to purchase a 12″ or 14″ pillow to fit inside of the cover.  
The instruction booklet and the Dimensions website do have some simple instructions and diagrams for their versions of the following stitches and knots:
  • buttonhole stitch
  • running stitch
  • back stitch
  • stem stitch
  • french knot
The first step was to lay out the supplies to see what I had to work with and iron all the cotton pieces to remove the wrinkles.  Then I cut out the appliques.  

These are really nice appliques that do not seem to unravel easily but I decided to apply a 
little fray check to the edges of the pieces (just in case).

The instructions on how to apply the stitches and appliques onto the pillow are very brief, as you can see in the photo below.  

This is great for me, I like my instructions short and to the point.  However, since this kit is being promoted as good for beginners, it might cause someone who prefers more in depth instructions some small discomfort. 

So the next thing is to begin to applique the different fabric die cuts onto the pillow cover.

The kit directions for the actual stitches are far more detailed than the project directions and 

include diagrams that are easy to follow to finish the different appliques.
So once I had finished all the stitches and appliques, I added some buttons to personalize the pillow cover to add a little more dimension to the finished project.
It is cotton and will wrinkle easily.  However, I like the casual look of wrinkled cotton so this look totally works for me.

Overall, this would be an easy project to introduce someone to applique work and basic embroidery stitches.  All the supplies are included (except the pillow) and the directions are very brief and simple to follow.
  1. Always keep the color picture, you can use it as reference, just in case the diagrams do not make sense to you.
  2. Utilize the color-coded card that is included in this kit to perfectly match the colors to the diagrams.
  3. Place all the parts in a ziplock for an easy and inexpensive traveling kit.  Just grab it and you have something to work on when the opportunity presents itself.
  • The color-coded stitch holders help you match the color to the diagram.
  •  The stitch diagrams are easy-to-follow, but they also provide additional reference on their website of the stitches and some video help too.
  • The die-cut pieces are easy to work, and are a nice heavy cotton.
  • The instructions in this kit do not have the color diagrams that some of their other kits provide.  Those were super helpful to beginners and made it easy to see the differences in not only the stitches but in the correct colors to do them in.
  • The very brief instructions may bother a beginner who may want more detailed instructions.
  • Only comes with one needle.  Why not include an extra needle?
Do you enjoy pre-printed embroidery kits.    What type of embroidery do you enjoy most? Have you made anything from fabric die cuts?  We would love to hear about your experiences with these type of kits.

Vendor Spotlight: Dimension Embroidery Butterfly Kit by EK Success

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

I was very excited to find out that I would get a chance to make and review a kit from the Dimensions embroidery product line.  I enjoy doing embroidery because it is a craft that allows for so much creativity, and it is very portable.  Those of you who sit on the sidelines of your children’s sports events or wait during dental visits can relate to the need for that. The kit I received is from the new “Handmade Embroidery” (72-73602 Butterfly Ornament) selection which is  designed by Carolyn Gavin for the Dimensions (E.K. Success Brands) line. The project is 4.5″ by 5″ and simple enough to finish in one evening.
Above is a quick look at the contents of this kit which include the following:
  • Project directions.
  • Printed poly/cotton fabric
  • Die-cut polyester felt shapes
  • Pre-sorted cotton thread
  • Polyester Stuffing
  • 1 needle
The instruction booklet and the Dimensions website do have some simple instructions and diagrams for their versions of the following stitches and knots:
  • running stitch
  • straight stitch
  • back stitch
  • chain stitch
  • french knot
The first thing that I did was to lay out the supplies to see what I had to work with.
Then I followed the instructions that said to fold the long edges of the yellow piece fabric, so that they meet in the center.  I found it is easier to iron the edges down so they would hold their shape while I stitched.
I then sewed a running stitch down both sides of the folded fabric.  This piece will be used to create a hanger for the ornament.
The instructions directed me to sew the yellow piece to the large blue butterfly die cut.  Once that was sewn, I added the small pocket on to the back.
Then I took the white flower die cuts and stitched them according to the directions.  I found using two strands looked much better than using just the one that the instructions suggested.
I then stitched the rest of the felt die cuts.   They give you plenty of thread in the kit, so using two strands to do these stitches was not a problem.  Then I took the different die cut shapes and sewed them  onto the orange butterfly die cut.
The orange material started to fray as I sewed the die cut pieces on, so I put a little liquid seam sealant to prevent that from happening.  I thought about trimming the frayed bits off but I think they added a little character to the butterfly ornament. 
As I was working on this project, I realized it would make a cute tooth fairy pillow.  That cute pocket in the back is just the right size.
So once I had finished all the accent stitches, I added some beading to personalize it and add a little more dimension to the butterfly ornament.
This would be an easy project to introduce someone to basic embroidery stitches.  All the tools are included and the directions are simple to follow.
  • Keep the color picture, you can use it as reference, just in case the diagrams do not make sense to you.
  • Utilize the color coded card to perfectly match the colors to the diagrams.
  • Place all the parts in a ziplock for an easy and inexpensive traveling kit.  Just grab it and you have something to work on when the opportunity presents itself.
  • Good printed examples of the stitches and easy to follow instructions which are mostly drawn so you just glance at them to figure out what to do next.
  • The die-cut pieces are easy to work with and are fun colors.
  • Thread is on a presorted color coded card to make it easier to complete project.
  • The aqua green and blue are kind of similar in color and they blend together too easily.  A brighter or darker shade of blue, would have been a nice mix with the bright pink and yellow to give more dimension to the project.
  • The orange butterfly die cut does fray.  I recommend using a liquid seam sealant that prevents fabric from fraying.
  • Only comes with one needle.  It would be nice if they list the size of the needle for the kit so that if you misplace it like I did, you will be able to replace and not risk changing how the stitches look on the project.
What are your favorite embroidery  projects?  Do you have any tips?  Leave us a comment and let us know.

Vendor Spotlight: E.K. Success – Martha Stewart Embroidery Set

Reported by Maria Del Pinto

The E.K. Success Company sent me this cute baby one-piece and cap embroidery set from their Martha Stewart Crafts embroidery line.  I love making gifts for infants, so I was very excited that they had a new line of embroidery projects for baby gifts.  At first glance, the kit looks a little plain because the colors on the packaging are printed in a yellow ink that seems to fade out the colors of the thread on the baby set.  The thread colors are actually more vibrant out of the packaging.  I really liked the simple “Let It Bee” design on the two baby project pieces, along with the color choices of the threads for this design.
Kit Contents

Here is what comes in the kit:
  • 1 cotton onesie, pre-printed in wash-away ink
  • 1 cotton cap, pre-printed in wash-away ink
  • 1 needle
  • presorted cotton thread (Papaya, Marina, and Pumpernickel)
  • easy illustrated directions

One piece shirt
The one piece shirt and cap are very soft and made of 100% cotton with the designs already printed on them in a “wash-away ink”.   
baby cap

I love that the company placed the threads on a color coded thread organizer card that directly corresponds with the drawings, which makes it easy to identify the right threads.

Additionally, the Martha Stewart  embroidery Kit includes an easy to follow Key Chart that not only lists the stitches but breaks it down by color.  

The directions themselves are well-illustrated and easy to follow.  Instead of being too wordy, they have done the illustrations in varied thicknesses and colors that correspond back to the chart.  

You only need to do three stitches to complete this kit.
  • the stem stitch
  • the back stitch
  • the french knot

All you have to do is look at the Key Chart and match the line and you will know which color and stitch to use.  

This is an ideal beginner embroidery project and the final pieces are so adorable as you can see in the close up below.

  • The pieces in this kit are pre-printed in a wash-away ink, so remember not to pre-wash the two pieces or you will lose the design. 
  • Use an embroidery hoop, it makes the project go faster.

  • Great illustrations that are easy to follow.
  • The needle has a big hole so I did not need to use a needle threader.
  • The shirt and cap are very soft and finished in an over lock stitch which means it will hold together through more washes than those that do not.

  • I wish the design had been printed just a little bigger on the one-piece.  
  • It would be nice to list the weight of the child that would fit in the 9 to 12 month one-piece for those who may not be familiar with how to size baby clothing.  Or at least to list something to the effect of “when in doubt…pick a size up”.  

What types of projects do you recommend for infant gifts?  What are your favorite baby items that you have made? Leave us a comment and let us know.


Vendor Spotlight: C&T Publishing – Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool Book Review

Reported by Erika Martin

I learned to embroider as a young girl, and remember watching my grandmother do beautiful work on pillow cases. I remember getting my first embroidery hoop and being excited to start doing my own free-hand embroidery work on pieces of cotton fabric. I still enjoy embroidery, and started teaching my daughter to do hand needlework a couple of years ago. What seemed to be a lost art is quickly seeing a new revival these days.
Having the opportunity to review Judith Baker Montano’s Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool was something I was really looking forward to. I’m always looking to expand my library of hand-stitching books and tools, and I’m constantly looking for new ways to embroider. I was especially interested in learning how to use ribbon in embroidery, which is something this tool shows how to do.
The Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool boasts over 180 stitches and combinations, tips for needles, thread, ribbon and fabric and illustrations for left and right-handed stitching. The book also has a nifty easel feature so that the book stands up for easy use.

As soon as you flip open the book, a Stitch Guide is included to know which fabrics work best with certain threads/yarns and their respective needles. Flip a couple pages in and you’ll find a Stitch Index completely alphabetized with illustrations for easy identification. Next, you’ll find a handful of pages with tips and tricks for stitching, fabrics, frames/hoops and more.
If you were doing these stitches for the first time or just needed a brush-up on how to do it, you simply go to the alphabetized stitch index at the front of the book and find the stitch you’re looking for and then turn to the page number shown under the stitch.

On each page, you’ll not only find the instructions, but there’s an up-close shot of the stitch in a thumbnail-sized photo from an actual stitched project.

I’m right-handed, but knowing some lefties (my son also happens to be a lefty), I know how hard it is for them to find instructional books that show left-handed diagrams. It’s a huge plus that this book included both left- and right-handed instructions and diagrams.

From there on out, you’ll find all of the stitches until you get to the end of the book and find the combination stitches diagrams.

I like to stitch on unusual fabrics. I chose to use the bottom of a pair of jeans that I had taken in for a friend of mine. It was perfect to make a little purse out of. I started out by doing one of the stitch combinations from the back of the book using stitches I already knew how to do.
This stitch combination uses the chain stitch and french knot.

I used a white marking pencil to draw a wavy line across the piece of denim so that I would have something to follow as I stitched.

I then stitched an olive green chain stitch along the white line. (I like to use three strands of embroidery floss for most of my stitching.)

I added chain stitches for the blossoms an light purple french knots for the little flower buds.

As you can see, my stitching very closely resembles the stitch combination shown in the book.

Next, I started going through the stitch index to pick out some stitches I either hadn’t done in a while or that I had never done before. I chose to go with the Lazy Daisy Double stitch. While I’ve done lazy daisies before, I never thought to do a double.

I stitched my row of light purple lazy daisies to create flowers along the top of the soon-to-be purse.

Then, I stitched a dark purple lazy daisy around each to finish off the double stitch look.

Because I do a lot of my stitching free-hand (without drawing out guide lines to stitch along), I realized that my flowers were open in the middle. I filled in with some bright yellow french knots to create some really cool textured flower centers.

My next step was to create some leaves and vines so I used a back stitch for the vines. Then, I looked at the book’s stitch index and picked out a leaf stitch for the vine. I chose the Fishbone stitch (one that I haven’t done in ages). I used my white marking pencil to draw out the leaf outlines.

The outline made stitching well-balanced leaves a breeze.

Along the bottom of the purse, I did another of the stitch combinations, but tweaked it up a bit to include a Colonial Knot, and used back stitching instead of the curved buttonhole stitch that it called for.

I had a bit of trouble getting the Colonial Knot down (I’d never done this stitch before) and this is where I found that my visual learning skills needed just a bit more than a diagram. With most stitches, I can usually figure them out with a little bit of time along with the diagram. The colonial knot, though, took me a good 15 minutes and about 10 tries along with cutting the floss and starting over and over again. Once I got it down, though, I found it very easy. This is where I could have used just a couple more steps in the diagram to make it easier for my learning style.

I stitched the bottom of the pant cuff up and added a couple of light yellow grosgrain ribbon handles to finish the purse off.

It was then on to the ribbon embroidery. I’ve always loved what I’ve seen done with embroidery and ribbon and have wanted to try it. Using the Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool was a great way to start.
I bought some yarn darning needles for the ribbon embroidery. Yarn darning needles have bigger eyes which make it easier for fitting ribbon through (chenille and tapestry needles are also good for ribbon embroidery). I chose some silk-type ribbon to use for my project and some thin satin ribbon, as well.

I chose a piece of cotton patterned fabric and put it into an embroidery hoop which is something I don’t use a lot, since I tend to do better with holding my fabric in my hand as I go along. Since I was working with ribbon and the stitches were a little more unforgiving, I went with the embroidery hoop.
Using the book as my guide, I created some beautiful ribbon flowers and leaves (Couched Rose, Jan’s Antique Rose, Five-Petal Gathered Flower, Freeform Flower and Japanese Ribbon Stitch). I really like that some of the stitches use other stitches as their foundations, so once you have one down, you’re already half-way there on learning another stitch.

Two of the ribbon flowers that I liked creating the most were the Freeform Flowers and the Five-Petal Gathered Flowers. The diagrams were very clear and I loved the way they came out. I can see myself making more of these for other projects and not just on fabric projects. I will definitely be making more using a lot of the different width ribbons that I have and putting them on scrapbook pages, shadow box art and mixed-media creations.

I added some small faux pearls that I found in my grandmother’s old button tin for the centers of my small flowers.

After I added a bunch of Japanese Ribbon Stitch leaves, I used a ball point pen to very lightly write out the words I wanted to stitch on my project. I used a back stitch to embroider the words.

I readjusted my fabric, tighted the screw on top of the hoop and trimmed away the extra fabric from the back and I’m totally impressed with myself and the way my project turned out.

For my first try with ribbon embroidery, I’m very pleased, and have found myself hooked on ribbon flowers.

The Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stitch Tool retails for $22.95 from C&T Publishing. You can also purchase an e-book for $17.99 and a Book + eBook bundle for $27.99.
  • Convenient size to carry on-the-go
  • Wire bound for easy flipping and flat-laying of pages
  • Easel feature so that the book stands up for easy use
  • Very exhaustive collection of 180+ stitches and combinations – great for new stitchers and veterans alike
  • Alphabetical stitch index
  • Right- and left-hand instructions and diagrams (in full color)
  • Full color thumbnail photo of actual stitch
  • Tips, chart and “getting started” section for needles, thread/yarn, ribbon and fabric
  • Variation of stitches also included on many of the stitch diagrams
  • If you’re a very visual learner, some of the more complicated stitches might take you a little longer to master despite the illustrated diagrams.
  • The price could be off-putting for some, but when you price it out, it’s only 13 cents per stitch tutorial!
It was really hard to find cons for this product; I found it very well put-together, comprehensive and exhaustive. It’s a book that I’ll get a lot of use out of and it’s something that I can share with my daughter as I continue to teach her the beautiful art of embroidery.

Have you used C&T Publishing’s Embroidery & Crazy Quilt Stick Tool? Where do you find your stitching inspiration? Leave us a comment and let us know!


CHA Summer 2011: Trend Spotting Embroidery and Needlework

We spotted lots of stitching at CHA!

Dimensions by EK Success has cool new embroidery kits designed by Claudine Hellmuth:

These are transfer pattern packs that include 19 charming themed designs. A selection of embroidery floss is included.

Each design can be transferred multiple times.

I was pretty excited to see crewelwork kits by Dimensions at EK Success.

Crewel is a tapestry embroidery worked in wool yarn on a sturdy fabric. These kits include needles, wool, and background fabric. These patterns are modern and fun.

Dimensions also has fun projects for the holidays using felt applique and embroidery stitches.

And for traditional stitchers, Dimensions has detailed cross stitch and needlepoint kits:

Such detailed stitching!

Look at the embroidery on the very appealing felt supplies from Handbehg Felts:

Handbehg has kits for fiber enthusiasts too:

They have lovely hand felted balls in a variety of sizes.

They even sell little natural acorn tops in case you forgot to collect them yourself last fall and can’t wait to have your own pot of colorful acorns:

Panchakanya Nepal Enterprises also has thick natural felted wool in appealing colors for your projects.

I like these beaded applique squares:

and these embroidered felt beads:

Bucilla Craft, by Plaid Enterprises, has offered seasonal needlecraft kits and patterns for more than a century.

Traditional cross stitch is very meditative!

We R Memory Keepers offers innovative tools to make it easy to embroider on your paper and card projects.

They have the Sew Easy in this nice kit with a colorful variety of threads:

Now they have the new Sew Stamper. You can get the look of stitching with a simple rolling stamp.

We R Memory Keepers Sew Ribbon tool really makes an impression:

With this tool, magnets allow for placement anywhere on the page. Use the piercing tool and the guides to punch through even extra thick cardstock.

They have a nifty plastic sticky needle that makes sewing paper with ribbon or twine super easy:

Ready to get stitching? I am!


Book Review: Sublime Stitching

I want to be a hip embroider-er, I really do.  My issue is that I am intrigued with the finished look, but I really don’t know WHAT to embroider.  I feel like I don’t have time to think of patterns, and even if I did, I would certainly pencil a disaster worthy of Craftfail.  Luckily Sublime Stitching by Jenny Hart provides the perfect solution to my embroidery woes – I don’t have to think of one pattern, because there are hundreds in this book.  In fact the official title is Sublime Stitching: Hundreds of Hip Embroidery Patterns and How-To, and it’s published by Chronicle Books.  And that’s exactly what the book is.

Before I begin, I want to direct you to Jenny’s website, Sublime Stitching.  She’s been in the business of hip embroidery for ten years now, so I would say that you can consider her the expert.  Her site features patterns, supplies, a gallery and her blog.  It’s a must-see.  Now for my five favorite things about this book.

1.  The variety of patterns.  There’s a little something for everyone, and for every surface: baby/kid, home decor, gift ideas, fashion and more.  There are also A TON of patterns.  You’ll find more than a few that you want to embroider.

2. The transfer paper.  Thank you Jenny and Chronicle – I’m so happy that I don’t have to get transfer paper and figure out how to get the pattern to the fabric.  All the pattern pages are transfer paper, and there’s even a pocket in the front to hold the patterns once you’ve taken the pages out.

3.  The how-tos for several different stitches.  I honestly don’t know much about hand embroidery (since I’ve never tried it) – but I’m picturing a huge wad of floss on the back of my project.  I was very thankful for the clear instructions at the front of the book, and now know I can avoid this thread wad.  You too can learn to embroider in an afternoon.

4. The additional resources section.  Um, I had no idea there was so much information out there for embroidery.  Yay!  I like it when resources are in one place and I don’t have to go searching around.  Who wants to spent 3 days on Google to find the best online and offline sites for a hobby?

5.  The doggie patterns.  You know I’m a sucker for dogs, and the picture above will show you why I love pattern.  Although I highly recommend not becoming the weird dog lady and embroidering pooches on everything.

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