working any of my kits it is important to have an embroidery frame
that will keep the fabric very tight from all directions. The tighter
the fabric the easier the embroidery will be to work and your
embroidery stitches will have a more even tension with the fabric
less likely pucker. If the fabric puckers it could lead to problems
when it comes to mounting the embroidery as it may be difficult
to pull out the puckers. This would result in a wrinkled finished
embroidery. The fabric should be drum tight in the frame, so the
fabric twangs when it is flicked.
The embroidery projects I suggest you do not have to use a frame for
are the following: canvas work i.e. one of my painted canvas kits,
Hapsburg lace embroidery and tassels. I would recommend working the
other techniques that I offer in a frame.
best type of ring frames are 1 inch deep wood frames with both rings
wrapped in muslin/calico like bandages to prevent the fabric
from slipping. Unfortunately these deep frames are hard to come by,
however occasionally a narrower ring frame will suffice if the rings
are wrapped in fabric and it is a small frame for a small piece
of work i.e 6 inch frame. If the frame is much bigger the fabric will
be very difficult to keep tight in the frame. Also if the fabric is
heavy duty or very thin it can easily slip in ring frames. Wooden
ring frames are preferable to the plastic ring frames as the
fabric will slip more in a plastic frame than a wooden frame.
The design should fit inside of the ring frame, and there should be
enough fabric around the design for framing as if the rim of the
frame is on any part of the embroidery or fabric that will be
displayed, the rim of the frame can mark the embroidery stitches and
fabric or leave a dirty ring if you do not wash your hand methodically.
suggestion is to avoid ring frames and stick to the slightly more
expensive stretcher bar frames. You will enjoy working the
embroidery much more and will get better results.
are inexpensive wooden embroidery frames in which the fabric can be
pulled really tight. The bars are sold in pairs, with the end of the
bars having teeth so that you can slot the bars together to form a
square or rectangle frame - two pairs of stretcher bars are required.
length bars can be slotted together to match the size of your
fabric. The fabric is pinned onto the bars using thumb tacks or a
staple gun, pulling the fabric so that it is drum tight.
is a great frame to work an embroidery in as they are reasonably
priced and quick to assemble and most importantly once the fabric has
been pinned onto the frame tightly the fabric does not slacken off.
It is very important that the fabric is very tight for embroidery
techniques such as Needle Painting kits, Modern Jacobean kits,
Goldwork kits, Shadow Work kits and White Work kits as it is easier
to work the embroidery on tight fabric and the stitching will work in neater.
find it best to work on this type of frame at a table as you can
spread out your embroidery supplies and pattern on the table and
balance the stretcher bar frame on the edge of the table. I use a
heavy book to weigh down one corner of the frame so that I have both
hands free to work the embroidery, you can also purchase table clamps
from a hardware store to hold the corner of the frame to the table.
In this way you do not require a frame stand to work the embroidery.
I tend to turn my embroidery over quite a lot to finish off the
threads at the back of the work so I usually just use a book or my
forearm to hold the frame in place. I like the stretcher bar frames
the best as they are light to work with and quick to prepare the
embroidery for working.
is important to pin the fabric on to the frame by using lots of
thumb tacks, the closer the thumb tacks are together the more tension
you will be able to get on the fabric (about 1/2 inch intervals). The
fabric should be pinned on to the frame in the following method:
the stretcher bar frame so that it is square using four stretcher
bars. You can use all the same length bars to create a square frame
or each pair can be a different size i.e. using a 9 inch pair of
stretcher bars and a 11 inch pair of stretcher bars to form a
the fabric over the Stretcher bar frame so that the fabric is
squarely placed on the frame, not overlapping one edge more than an
other and not askew.
the first side of the fabric onto the frame starting at the center
of one side of the stretcher bars, (I like to pin the fabric on the
side of the bars so that when you are working the embroidery the
embroidery thread is less likely to get caught up on the thumb
tacks). Pin the fabric from the center of the bar to the outside
edge, then pin the other side of the fabric from the center out. Push
the tacks in in about 1/2 an inch apart and try to avoid having
puckers in the fabric between each tack, you can gently pull the
fabric to the side as you are pushing the pins in. You can use a
hammer to push the tacks all the way in so they are flat to the bars
if you wish.
the second side on the opposite side of the first side. Also begin
pinning the fabric at the center of the bar, pinning one side and
then the other. This time pull the fabric as tight as you can, it is
very important that the fabric is very tight for the Needle Painting
kits, Modern Jacobean kits, Goldwork kits, Shadow Work kits and White
Work kits. Do not worry about ripping the fabric as the fabrics I
provide are strong. To do this, place the frame on a table. With the
ball of your weaker hand, hold the far end of the frame down on
the table. With your strong hand pull the fabric very tight.
When it is very tight, release the hand holding down the frame
and use this hand to pin the fabric in place.
the third side on one of the unpinned edge, pin the fabric in the
same method as the first side, it is not necessary to pull the fabric
very tight, just pull the fabric gently.
fourth side is worked in the same method as the third side pulling
the fabric as tight as you can. When the fabric is pinned onto the
frame, the fabric should be drum tight i.e. when you flick the fabric
with your finger it pings like a drum. To purchase stretcher bar
frames and thumb tacks and to see pictures of a stretcher bar frame
go to Embroidery Frames
another fairly inexpensive embroidery frame. Plastic bars slot
together and the fabric is clipped into the plastic frame by slotting
another piece of plastic over the fabric. Unfortunately the fabric
can slip in this type of frame and does not stay consistently tight
as with stretcher bars, scroll bars and slate frames. To avoid the
fabric slipping, the bottom frame can be wrapped in muslin/calico
strips like bandages. This will help keep the fabric tight in
are more expensive embroidery frames and are great if you have a
floor or table stand so you can work with your hands free. The two
scroll bars have tape stapled along the edge on to which you pin or
sew the fabric. The side bars slot into the holes on each end of the
scroll bars and are screwed on so that the fabric is tight. The
disadvantage to these frames is sometimes the screws become loose and
therefore the fabric becomes loose. Also the side bars
are sometimes short so that some embroideries need to be rolled
around the bars. This can leave creases on the embroidery. If
you use this type of frame for embroidery it is important to lace the
sides of the fabric to the sides of the frame to get the fabric
Sew string through the fabric, wrap it around the side bar
by pulling the string tight along the length of the fabric. If
the fabric is very fine and could tear easily sew a piece of
curtain tape along the edge of the fabric and lace the
string through the tape, (the tape will take most of the tension).
are great frames for all over tension and are used with trestles
(type of floor stand). The main bars have tape stapled along the
edge onto which you pin the fabric. The side arms slot into the holes
on each end of the main bars and have holes drilled into them.
These arms are pegged against the main bars so that the fabric is
very tight. The sides of the fabric are also laced as with the scroll bars.
advantage of the slate frame is that once the arms have been pegged
out the fabric will not become slack. The side arms tend to be
slightly longer than scroll frames so the embroidery may not have to
be rolled on the bars and therefore does not crease the
embroidery. The slate frame is good if you are going to be on a
project for a long period of time but does take longer to prepare for
the stitching and you require space for the trestles.
working my embroidery kits a slate frame is not necessary as the Stretcher
Bar Frame is equally as good for tension and can be
worked at a table or in a frame stand and is more practical for
travelling. But if you are embarking on a long term, large project
that requires excellent tension then a slate frame and trestles could
be a good investment.
following webpage has a good description on a slate frame: BayRose
the following webpage has a good description on the set up of a
slate frame and trestles: Needle
A DESIGN ONTO THE FABRIC
and Pounce Method
prick and pounce method is used for transferring designs for surface
embroidery. I sell a set
of all the supplies for this technique and you can
purchase the supplies individually. The prick and pounce method can
be used for Applique, Brazilian, Free Embroidery, Goldwork,
Needle Painting, Modern Jacobean, Surface Embroidery, Stumpwork,
Traditional Jacobean and White Work. It can be used for any technique
where the design lines will be covered.
desired design to be worked is placed beneath a piece of velum
tracing paper and all the lines of the design are
traced onto the tracing paper.
No. 10 embroidery needle
is screwed into a pricking
tool and then holes are
pricked along all the pencil lines on the tracing paper puncturing
the design lines at 1/8th of and inch (3 mm) intervals, when all the
lines have been pricked the tracing paper is held up to the light to
check that all the lines have been pricked. Horizontal and vertical
center lines are drawn onto the pricking in preparation of
positioning the pricking onto the fabric.
pricked tracing paper is placed on to fabric (smooth side up) and
the center lines on the pricking are lined up with the center lines
tacked on the fabric. The tracing paper is held in place with weights
on the corners of the tracing paper or by pinning the tracing paper
to the fabric.
is used to rub pounce
over the whole of the pricked design, dark pounce is used for light
fabrics and light pounce for dark fabrics. The tracing paper is
carefully lifted away leaving a pounce outline of the design on the fabric.
pounce is blown away, then the pounce lines are drawn over with a
lead pencil or white pencil depending on the colour of the fabric or
painted over with permanent paint i.e. acrylics or oils. Any excess
pounce is removed by tapping the back of the work and brushing the
remainder of the pounce away with a baby brush or cotton wool puff -
brushing in towards the design.
prick and pounce method is the most accurate method of transferring
a design onto a piece of fabric for embroidery as you can transfer
intricate and fine lines, in comparison to a light box where the
fabric can shift distorting the design or using transfer paper which
can smudge on the fabric. A mechanical HB pencil with a 0.7mm lead
(which can be purchased at an office supply store) or acrylic paint
are the best implements to use to draw or paint over the lines as you
can get a nice fine line compared to some transfer pens.
tissue paper method of transferring designs is used for counted
thread work such as Blackwork, Pulled work and Drawn thread and for
any embroidery where a permanent line is not wanted.
desired design to be worked is placed beneath a piece of tissue
paper and all the lines of the design are traced onto the
tissue paper is pinned onto the fabric so that it is in the desired
position. A single length of sewing thread in a contrasting colour to
the fabric is used to sew the tissue paper to the fabric with long
stitches over the lines on the tissue paper on the front and short
stab stitches on the back. All the lines on the tissue paper are
sewn, ensuring to start and finish threads securely.
all the lines have been tacked then the tissue paper is ripped away, tweezers
can be used to pick out the very small pieces of tissue paper. You
are left with a tacked out line of the design on the fabric, this
will be your guideline in which to do your counted stitches. The
tacking lines can be unpicked once the stitches have been worked.
following tips can be used to thread most needles.
floss, Perle Cotton
thread a single strand of embroidery floss (i.e. DMC floss or silk
floss) into a needle cut the end of the floss so that it has a sharp
end and not a fluffy or shredded end.
not lick the thread as this can make the thread wet and dirty
(transferring lip stick or gloss to the thread), if the thread gets
wet or dirty so will the fabric. If the end of the thread is still a
bit fluffy you can try rolling the end of the thread between your
thumb and fore finger.
the thread between your thumb and fore finger so that only the very
end of the end is showing (much like seeing a splinter just
protruding from the skin). With the other hand aline the opening of
the eye of the needle so that it is facing the thread and push the
eye of the needle down onto the end of the thread (do not push the
thread onto the eye of the needle as it will bend). You can wiggle
the needle slightly so that the end of the thread goes into the eye
and then from the other side of the needle carefully pull the end of
the thread though the eye of the needle.
thread a single strand of crewel wool i.e. Appleton's crewel wool do
not try to push the end of the crewel wool into the needle as it is
too fluffy and will not go through.
the end of the crewel thread over so that the thread is double and
pinch the end of the thread between your thumb and forefinger so that
it a sharp bend.
with any embroidery thread, do not lick the thread as this will make
the thread wet and dirty (transferring lip stick or gloss to the
thread), if the thread gets wet or dirty so will the fabric.
the doubled end of the thread between your thumb and fore finger so
that only the very end of the end of the thread is showing (much like
seeing a splinter just protruding from the skin). With the other hand
aline the opening of the eye of the needle so that it is facing the
thread and push the eye of the needle down onto the end of the
thread. Wiggle the end of the thread into the eye of the needle
and then from the other side of the eye of the needle carefully pull
the end of the thread through the eye of the needle.
needles are easier to thread from one side of the needle than the
other because of the way the hole of the needle has been stamped out
in the manufacturing process. It is not obvious to see which side of
the needle to thread the thread though as the needle can be very
small. If you having troubles threading the needle from side try
turning the needle over and threading the other side.
THE EMBROIDERY CLEAN
most important factor is always to have clean hands. If the
embroidery does not get dirty then you will not have to wash it.
Washing embroideries can take the luster out of the stitches.
working the embroidery in a frame cover the embroidery with a sheet
of clear plastic by pinning it to the frame or fabric. Cut windows in
the plastic for different areas of the embroidery that you will be
working on. Cut three sides to the window to create a plastic. Stick
the flap back using tape to the surrounding plastic so that only a
small area of the embroidery is exposed.
you have worked the area, place the flap back over the embroidery
and stick in place to the surrounding plastic and move onto the next
area of the embroidery with its own window.
can use the clear plastic bags that kits come in or some hardware
stores carry rolls of clear plastic.
framing up the fabric in the beginning, also frame a piece of white acid
free tissue paper with the fabric. Place the tissue
paper over the fabric, put the two together on the frame. When the
fabric has been framed you can cut away a window in the tissue
paper (where the design is), and the surrounding tissue will
protect the fabric underneath from getting dirty. The tissue
paper needs to be acid free because if the embroidery is left
for a long time, the acid from ordinary tissue paper can soak
into the fabric and will eventually turn the fabric brown and
sheets ripped into pieces make good dust covers and can be pinned
into the frame with the embroidery on the stretcher bar frames,
scroll bars and slate frames.
know it is obvious, but it is so tempting to have a cup of coffee or
even water next to your embroidery for a quick sip. Unfortunately
when a spill happens it can ruin not just the embroidery but your
whole week. All the time and effort spent should not be wasted
from one silly mistake. I now never have food or drink near by while
doing my embroidery as spitting food on your work is not a
mistake you want to make, I know!
safe rather than sorry. Keep all food and drink far away from your
work and wash your hands whenever you have left your embroidery
and come back to it. There may be greasy stains left on the last
object you touched by happy fed children or husbands that can be
transferred onto your work area.
you get blood on your work, immediately take a length of sewing
thread (e.g. polyester thread), roll it into a ball and pop it in
your mouth wetting it with your own saliva, it should be wet but not
dripping. Put a piece of kitchen towel, tissue or piece of white
cloth under the embroidery to act as a blotter then rub the wet ball
of thread over the blood spot, you may have to repeat this
a couple of times. The enzymes in your saliva react with your own
blood and dissolves it. This process needs to be done
before the blood drys for it to be totally successful.
a water mark may be left depending on the type of fabric you are
working on. It is difficult to remove a water mark if one is
left, even after washing the mark can remain, but more than likely
you will be lucky enough not to have a water mark. A water mark
is also less noticeable than a blood stain.
to avoid washing your embroidery as this could cause damage to your work.
the fabric that the embroidery is being worked on is not prewashed
then that fabric could shrink and the embroidery stitches stay
the same, leaving the background fabric puckered. Also if the fabric
or embroidery threads are died i.e. a red the dye can run.
a piece of embroidery can take the luster out of the embroidery
stitches leaving the stitches dull or worn looking.
washing is very necessary:
I have two different types of neutral PH washing
soaps that do not have phosphates, perfumes or oils.
Dilute the required amount of soap in luke warm water.
a section of the embroidery or fabric with a damp cloth to see if
the colour in the embroidery threads or fabric will run. This can
happen with older embroideries or embroideries worked with over dyed
floss and silks. The most commonly known colour to run is red. Please
be-aware that the fabric can water mark.
the embroidery in the water, agitating it gently but not screwing
the embroidery into a ball as this will cause wrinkles which can be
hard to remove.
the embroidery looks clean, remove the embroidery gently and rinse
the embroidery clean of all soap. Lay the embroidery out flat on a
clean white towel which will absorb some of the water and allow to dry.
there are wrinkles in the embroidery when it has dried then place
the embroidery onto a soft white clean towel with the right side of
the embroidery against the towel. Place a piece of tissue paper on
the wrong side of the embroidery which is facing out. Choose the iron
setting appropriate for the fabric and threads of the embroidery, if
you are not sure set the iron on a low heat to start with and
increase the heat gradually if necessary.
iron the embroidery with the tissue paper between the iron and the
embroidery. The tissue paper acts as extra protection incase the iron
is to hot and burns the fabric or if there is a residue on the bottom
of the iron that accidentally gets transferred onto the embroidery.
wrinkles remain in the fabric, they will likely be removed when
mounting the embroidery on a piece of acid free board ready to go
into a frame.
you are working one of my kits, you may find it fairly daunting or
challenging when starting the kit.
embroidery fears will disappear once you have put some embroidery
time into the piece, you will gain confidence and become a more
fun of my kits is that the stitches are not monotonous, but it may
take some practice to get the stitches looking right. Have a
practice piece of muslin/calico fabric for the free stitches,
practice the stitch until you are happy and then work on the
real thing. Set aside an hour without too much distraction so you can
really get into the embroidery. Try to do more than five minutes
at a time as the progress will be slowed and this can make the
embroidery look daunting.
of the embroideries you will be able to do in front of the TV (i.e.
Hapsburg lace, tassels) however, others with background noise
only, such as the radio or listening to the TV (i.e. Needle painting
and Modern Jacobean).
you begin you embroidery it may appear that it is not gaining in
size. Even after a few hours the embroidery may not seem very
impressive, do not worry. I often think this when I am designing a
piece, but I continue on and I am usually very pleased with the end
result. If you find yourself flailing, do not put the embroidery away
for a few months and forget about it as it will be hard to get back
into. Keep at it, as it gets easier as you go and you will be pleased
with yourself when it is completed and soon you will be addicted.
following are the basic tools you will need to work one of my kits.
pair of small embroidery scissors - fine pointed tip to the scissors
are best i.e. Gingher
Embroidery Scissors. It is a good idea to invest in a
good pair of embroidery scissors which will last you years.
frame (Optional but preferred i.e. Stretcher
Bar Frames which are inexpensive and easy to assemble)
sharp HB pencil.
following are some additional tools that could be useful when
working one of my kits.
- all kits have one needle but it is good to have spares. Spare
packets of needles can be ordered from me when ordering the kits.
- i.e. daylight or daylight bulb in a embroidery lamp.
The lights I recommend for needlework are the OTT-LITE which
have a natural colour light.
pair of pointed Tweezers -
for easy unpicking and for Gold work kits.
an embroidery is finished the most satisfying thing is to see it
framed. If you are mounting and framing the embroidery yourself
or having a professional framer to do it, ensure that the embroidery
is mounted on a piece of acid free board. (If the board is not
acid free the acid in the board will gradually discolour the
embroidery fabric and threads and rot them). This also
applies to the mat boards that decorate the embroidery.
with your framer as to how they are going to mount your embroidery.
It is better that the embroidery is pinned (with rust proof
pins) or laced onto the board rather than stapled or glued as some
framers do. (Staples may rust, and glue may discolour the fabric
and neither are not good for keeping the embroidery at an even
tension). It is important to check that the framer uses acid free
board or foam core. It should be acid free throughout the entire
board not just the surface.
good framer should be able to mount the embroidery so that the
background fabric is tight and will not pucker over time. The framer
should also be aware that fluff and stray threads may cling to the
embroidery and that the embroidery should be carefully cleaned
before putting the embroidery into the frame. The surface of the
embroidery can be brushed clean with a soft baby brush or
by using the sticky side of masking tape to lift off any fibres.
ON MOUNTING AN EMBROIDERY
ensure that a finished embroidery is mounted correctly to go into a
picture frame it is often best if we can do it ourselves so that we
know that it is mounted onto acid free board with out glues or tape
that can cause acid erosion over time. It also allows us to purchase
a premade frame saving money on custom framing costs. A lot of the
designs that I sell will fit well in 8 inch by 10 inch frames or
larger with a 8 inch by 10 inch mat board.
following webpage explains in detail how to mount a piece of
embroidery ready to go into a picture frame: Mounting
you have any any queries about the topics covered above please Contact