Prep Your Project


Introduction to Embroidery


Lesson Info

Prep Your Project

So I want to talk a little bit about when you start your project different things you wanna think about in terms of choosing hoops eyes fabric and thread for our purposes we're going to be making samplers so we're thinking about these types of things so we're not too concerned about if you can see it from far away if you can read it you're going to want to be able to see your stitch but this is most likely going to be for yourself and not a gift or something that's going to be displayed in your home if it turns out awesome than yeah this play it and you know I'm not going to turn out really pretty but something to consider especially when you're taking the time to create something that's handmade for yourself for someone definitely if involves letters or a name think about the space that you need for an initial and name and also think about the contrast you want to go for high contrast so this would be a really good example here of high contrast right for a letter so light fabric dark ...

thread dark fabric light thread the saddest thing that can happen is if you make something really beautiful for friend and there's the name on it and it's light fabric in its in yellow and then they hang it up and people are like what is that? What does that say so that's one thing to consider is contrast something else to consider his size like I said with what we're doing today size isn't really an issue, but typically the appropriate size this is what I've heard from my home decor nerd friends who've worked at pottery barn in west elm in all that I've done products are saying and things is it typically the average size for home decor that people feel comfortable about? Adding to their collection is around eight by ten so you might want to use an eight and two you might want to use a nine into ten inches something like that in there is good for something that's hanging on a wall and then within that you want to think about how far away it's being viewed so again high contrast think about how big the letters want to be different things like that. Those are all the things you want to think about if you're when you're ready to create your own project from the stitches we talk about today. So for our purposes like I said, we're using foreign shoop and the fabric that we have again is a linen cotton blend and it's cut six by six inches and you'll see what that does is that leaves you a little bit of room on the top in the bottom I typically don't finish my samplers, but having a little extra fabric all around the end enables you to have enough two if you want to finish it and hang it in the sampler you have enough hold this ups yukos consumed to tuck in to them hand so all the way around the edge and there's different things you can put in here to back it with you khun so felt you can put muslin with some um iron on backing to it to cover that if you want or you can just have the stitches coming through but typically having a piece of fabric about at least two inches larger gives you the freedom to do that if you want and I just don't like working with a ton of fabric around cousin it gets floppy and it gets in my way so two two and a half inches is sort of my magic number so we're going to put the fabric or get ready to get started so I get excited and the first step is put putting our fabric on the hoop so you want to do this on a solid surface a table is best if you want to do and bravery in bed that's totally cool and I could have make it were judgment about that that's fun but don't put your fabric in the hoop like in better on something soft because you're not going to get a good stretch on it so always start on a hard surface a table is best I always just ballpark it my eyes pretty good but if you want to do it in the middle for sure you can trace the back of the hoop, be able to see the pencil through a little bit and get it exactly in the middle but you want to have about an equal amount of fabric on the top or in the bottom tow open your hoop you just unscrew it a good a good amount you want to be a be able to open it pretty wide and then you're just going to slide it on and lisa the question is there any wisdom to doing it like on the bias or not on the bias or doesn't matter totally do it on the body really matter? It shouldn't matter it's it depends what doing it on the bias can confuse a little bit is that sometimes especially with this is a satin stitch so this is going straight across and in the customize your embroidery class I talk a little bit about using different stitches for monograms and letters sometimes it really works well to have a very structured layout for the weave of the fabric because what I will do is I will look to see the weave and use that tow line up to get a straight is possible stitch so for a sampler like this you could totally put it on the bias so what sharon is saying is can we is it ok two instead of square have it like a diamond in the who which looks totally cool so I would say for something like this yes, but if your project is a little bit more advanced or you're doing letters sometimes having the weave of the fabric lined up straight can be really helpful so once you have about equal margins on either side, you can start to tighten it and you might get a little bubble at the top as you can see here there's a little bubble that's pretty easy to fix you just pull it cotton linen blend is super durable, so if you pull the fabric tight kind of like a drum, you're not going to open up the we've too much as with with one hundred percent linen you might so that's one of the reasons why I like using the blend so once you have the hoop on, you just want to make sure it's pretty tight and kind of test it should make a little sound. Okay, so once you have that done it's time to thread your needle and for today I'm going to be using all six strands of the thread because for instruction I want you to be able to really see what we're doing I would suggest, though, so that your stitches don't get too congested because you're really going to want to be able to see exactly what you're doing when you look back at the sampler I would say using three or four strands is appropriate so I'm going to show you how to separate the threads even though I'm going to be using all six so this is what all six looks like and the best way to separate it it's just pull them apart a little bit I find that three is the easiest number to go to because it's completely in half and the fibres seemed to separate really well that way but if you want to use for that's fine too or less or more it doesn't matter I typically use three for all of my cross stitch and most of my important project I just like the way three looks so separate them a little bit and then the best way to do it is just take your thumb and just slowly run it through you might it might stop like that a little bit just take your time and eventually you'll be able to pull it through pretty easily and then that's what three strands looks like versus you know here six so it makes quite a difference someone asked about the appropriate length of thread I've joked about it in my class is that there's a stabbing length which means that you want tio have it long enough that you're not stabbing the person next to you with your needle is you so the blank that works out perfectly for me is I call it taking three off the skein, so you'll see is you pull from this game, that would be like a natural stopping point, so that would be one this would be too, and then this would be three that's about that much threat for me. I like to jesus much for some people it's too much it's way better to you shorter especially I'm I'm not a purist, so I say go ahead and make it not at the back of your project, we'll talk about that in a minute, but the shorter it is, the easier it is for you to manipulate and because embroidery thread is individual threads that air then spun together to make a larger threat there's sort of a natural way that thread likes to twist it kind of goes like always wants to go back to its natural state, which is twisted so the longer it is and the more you manipulated through the fabric and the needle, the more it's going to want to twist. And when we get started, I'll show you a little hacked too prevent that from happening as much as possible, but as you go on, you'll find what length works for you, but I would say shorted about like, don't this is way too short this is a bad idea, but you know, something like that that might work out for you, but if it's like a couple inches, you're gonna be messy with knots and things like that so that that would be too short. Okay, so I'm gonna threaten my needle, and then I'll show you the not that I like to make, and then I'll also show you what to do if you're a total purist and you don't want to make it not I feel like whatever gets the job done is the best way to do it if you like having the security of a not than making not you can see how perfect an amazing theme the back of my hoops look there, you know, I'm not trying to impress anyone with the back side of what I'm doing, some people it's really important that the back, the uniform and look nice and neat and reflect the stitch that's on the front, I don't necessarily feel that way since a lot of my work ends up being a product in a jewellery based product. I'm concerned about the stitch staying exactly where it is through wear and tear, so I not I pull the thread really tight, I'm all for doing that and not worrying about, you know, oh, does it look spectacular on the back? I don't care so once you have your needle thread or threaded, I like to keep a couple inches down from the needle about this much thiss will hopefully stop it from signing out, and then if you don't want to make a knot, you want to have about this much thread coming through the back. That should give you enough space to hold it tight with your finger while you're starting a stitch and then be able to tuck it. Or if you have to not it to something else later. That should give you enough space if you are going to not it. I use the super glamorous method of like being gross on wedding your finger, citing it around and and pushing it off. This for me gets a great not every time, sometimes it's big sometimes it's not. You can kind of control the size of the, not when you're working in around your finger, but I've never had an instance where it slipped out by doing it. Not that way. So that's that's my recommendation.

Class Description

Embroidery is a truly lovely way to customize a craft project and a super-rewarding skill to have. Get your start in this needlework tradition in Introduction to Embroidery with Lisa Shaffer.

Lisa teaches needlework to artists across the country and in this class, she’ll help you get your start in the classic art of embroidery. You’ll learn:

  • A brief the history of hand embroidery
  • How to choose your needles, thread, fabric, and hoops
  • The right way to start a hoop sampler
  • A variety of essential stitches
Lisa will help you master the basic straight and back stitches, satin stitch, French knot, lazy daisy, chain stitch, feather stitch, and blanket stitch.

Introduction to Embroidery with Lisa Shaffer will give you the skills you need to start creating your very own needlework designs.