Thursday, July 19, 2018

A New Journey

I'm hoping to enter items in four categories in next year's competition - knitting, crochet, beaded knitting and beginner embroidery. That's a lot of work, which is why I've had to start early. I'm still waiting for the postal service to deliver my daughter's parcel with thread for a new version of the crochet top and a magnetic clasp for the beaded bag, so I'm making a start on the embroidery.

The brief is to make a glasses case (brilhuisie in Afrikaans, literally a little house for glasses) decorated with surface embroidery. What is surface embroidery? Mary Corbet explains much better than I can in this article  on NeedlenThread. Basically it is 'free style' embroidery, as opposed to a counted thread technique like cross stitch.

 NeedlenThread is my go-to resource for this project, beginning with the pattern. I scrolled through the pattern section until I found a design that was the right size and 'from nature' as per the brief. It was easy to print out.

I looked through my fabric stash and I think this lilac linen will work. With surface embroidery, the fabric is going to show, so it's important that it is attractive. I have plenty of it, so I can use it for practising as well as the finished piece.
Now to get the printed design onto the linen. I rigged up a rather Heath Robinson arrangement so that I can trace the pattern onto the fabric on my glass table:
On my first attempt I used a pencil, but it was so faint that I was a bit dubious when I was stitching. Second time I used a ball point pen. I think I must get one with a fine nib, to be sure that the lines won't show once they're embroidered over.

The thread. At the information day last month we were advised to use perle cotton number 8. But I don't have a range of colours in that thread. I do have a lot of stranded embroidery thread. I'm going to use three strands, being sure to strip them, that is, separate them and then put them together again. I experimented with a thread that I have for tatting bookmarks, but I think the three strands of embroidery thread works better.

Now to experiment with different stitches and put in plenty of practice before I attempt the final article.


  1. You are wonderfully ambitious! Embroidery is something I admire, but unless I have little holes and geometric designs to follow, I am hopeless. Good luck!

  2. It will be wonderful I am sure!!! :)

  3. I Love surface embroidery! Counted stitches don't hold much interest for my free-styling inclination ;-P
    I've never tried stripping the strands (and then putting them back together), but if Mary says it helps, then I should keep this in mind.

  4. Jane be very careful with pen and drawing the design onto the fabrics, one it may she though and two when you wash it the ink may run into the thread. Been there and got the tea shirt as they say.
    Pencil would be better or you can get a special pen which will,wash out for marking the pattern on the thread.
    I love your make shift light box. Brilliant idea

    1. That’s a good point, thanks. I’m thinking of practising on a skirt that will be washed more than a glasses case. Perhaps I’d better stick to pencil.

  5. Love your stem stitch and enjoy stitching and the new craze with embroidery I love to do this and add tatting to the edge to frame in beautiful work!

  6. Whatever will you get up to next, I ask myself. Oh, and you!