The Masterpiece by Javan

The Masterpiece by Javan

We are born into the world like a blank canvas and each person that crosses our path takes up the brush and makes his mark upon our surface

So it is that we develop

But we must realize there comes a day that we must take up the brush and finish the work

For only we can determine if we are to be just another painting or a Masterpiece. Javan

Monday, September 12, 2011

Me, Myself and Stitching

I am certainly not an expert in the stitchery field... and
I really do appreciate and consider a lot of other people much more knowledgeable.

 My only intent today is to answer some of the questions I have been asked about my stitchery process, which is self taught and works for me.

 When I think of sitting at night watching TV, I cringe and look for projects to do.  I can't believe I would even sit through some of those "why did they ever bother" films and shows with my DWH.

I embroider in self defense, I hand sew when I have a binding to apply, and have been known to knit.
When the music swells or changes, or the crowds roar at the football game, I look up and DWH
(Dear Wonderful Husband) patiently catches me up on what I might have missed.
 I get a lot done this way and  I do love being with my fellow.

Redwork Dish Towel
There are so many free patterns on the Internet because of so many generous and thoughtful people and there and there
 is just no reason not to have something to work on.

 The patterns offered for purchase are gorgeous and who in their right mind could not love Crabapple Hill patterns.
 There are so many that I love, I am not going to mention them for fear of leaving a really great one out.
 Maybe you can leave me a comment and tell about the ones you know of
or a blog dedicated to furthering stitchery patterns.

Redword Towel almost finished
I have used Fusible Fleece, which makes the embroidery "puffy", like the snowlady on the right, and is so easy to stitch through.
I love the Bosal Woven Fusible Interfacing from Shell at
Pellon SF101 Shape-Flex All Purpose Woven Fusible Interfacing is fantastic and can be purchased at JoAnn's Fabrics.
Amor Weft woven fusible interfacing is wonderful - Have to look for this but well worth it...

I approach my project and interfacing with what I want the final look to be and while each may give a different look and feel, interfacing definitely keeps the traveling or loose threads
from showing through.
Every time I lean towards one particular interfacing, someone comes along with another great interfacing so I cannot recommend just one.

I do know that I prefer having an interfacing ironed to the back before I am doing any embroidery.
 The dish towels are plain towels from JoAnn's and the only thing I did not interface.

I love using Sulky 12 wt, on a spool, for all of my Redwork and I use color 713-1169 for most Redwork, but there is also a variegated red color 713-4042 which is wonderful for a different look.

This is my tiny re-cycled Gerber baby food container that I carry my thread in - you just poke a hole in the top and pull the thread through. Thank you Mrs. Goodneedle for this wonderful idea My dear wonderful husband ate all  the custard.

I like Valdani three-strand floss from Shell at Raspberry Rabbits
I have used and like Precentia Perle Finca six strand and currently experimenting with all sizes
3, 5, 8, 12, 16.
Weeks Dye Works Hand Over-Dyed floss and spools are Egyptian Cotton
I do not use a lot of DMC unless there is a color I need...

 I tend to pick something that has a small design, tone-on-tone or texture for my background fabrics and never use muslin if I can help it.
 Just my personal choice - certainly nothing wrong with muslin.

 I no longer use fabric that has a "painted on" design looks as too difficult to stitch through... a soft cream color or beautiful white soft print suits me fine.
 I have been experimenting recently with linen that I get from Shell at Raspberry Rabbits and I am really liking how this works - more homespun and folk art feel to the finished product.

I have a BOM collection of blocks called "Under The Sea" that I will be doing on a light blue linen and should look "under the sea." These came from Cheryl Goss at
and are still listed on her sideboard as free downloads.
A lot of her patterns are downloads, which is pretty convenient,  instead of mailing from Australia.

Transferring Designs with Pens and Pencils 

When I trace a pattern, I use my light-table cabinet DWH made for me - this certainly has made that job a lot easier.

I do a lot of Redwork so I use mostly red pencils
I use a red Transfer pencil, #731 from Michael's.
A Berol Verithin Pencil in Carmine Red #2745 had harder lead
Sukura Pigma Micron pens I found have a tendency to bleed, especially if there is texture to your fabric.

General's soft-lead pencils are excellent but you do have to keep sharpening and wash your piece after.

Sukura Gelly Roll Pens are water based and are good
I DO NOT USE Frixion gel pens - the research being done proves they are NOT a good choice for fabric or quilters.  The lines never stay gone, they will come back.

Transfer Eze
An excellent product and I ordered this from - -
Thank you Kelly for telling me about this ingenious product.

When I find designs free on the Internet or they are available for purchase with a download, I can print the design right onto a sheet of Transfer Eze that goes through the printer.
Now this is a revelation that has made my stitchery life easier.
 Remove the backing sheet, stick your printed design to the front of your fabric and embroider right over it.

I used Transfer Eze on Pat's pillow and that let me "bend" the letters the way I wanted them stitched.

You can see the edge turned up on the left pictures - the needle does not get 'gumpy' and when finished with your stitching, you dissolve the Transfer Eze by putting the entire project in a sink of water.
Now I do wish I had thought of this one.

Update - Just found another product that is worthy of mentioning...
Sticky Fabric Solvy by Sulky
 works very similar to Transfer Eze - you print on  8-1/2" x 11: sheets,
 take the release paper off and stick it to your project, stitch away, and dissolves in warm water.  The review I just read indicates it may cost less than the Transfer Eze. This also comes in 11" x 17" size  Think I will try it.

I  find that I do not need to use a hoop while doing embroidery
when I use the interfacing or fusible fleece on the back of my piece. Light weight fabrics and interfacings would require a hoop.
 Where do you even begin...
I received a needle in a kit recently from Becky Goldsmith of Piece 'O Cake Designs and it was a Black Gold Needle by Clover, it really glides and I can use it with the two-three ply strand threads, 

I love the Bohin #7 needles for embroidery, also from Shell at Raspberry Rabbits..
Jenna Kimball's Embroidery/Redwork needles in size 9 and 10 are a little thicker and are definitely good to use for coarse weave fabrics.

 I am sure there must be some other information I am leaving out... I have posted several of my stitchery designs on back posts if you care to look.

Check with Crabapple Hill Studios
for free stitchery guides you can print - these have been very helpful.

Quilting Stitched Quilts
 I am looking at getting my embroidered and pieced quilts to the quilter,
 just cannot decide how to have them quilted.  If you do an all-over design over everything, the stitchery ends up looking like tweed... or you could do cross hatching with custom quilting if you could find someone who would be willing. I need a Quilting Angel to take over. 

Red Radiance

Corner of Red Radiance

Quilting Motifs

Winter Wonderland

Thanks for reading to the end of this long post and please be sure to leave a comment with your ideas and recommendations.
 Enjoy your own personal journey - who else will?
 I sure do love mine. Judy C


sao said...

I loved your blog tips.......OH YOUR EMBROIDERY is wonderful and I so appreciate the tips. I have to get some of that baby food!!!!

I love the idea of the TRANSFER EASE....and am going to try it since I do not have a light box yet!!

I am JUST LIKE YOU - I cannot just SIT and watch tv without doing something! I have stopped using a hoop too! :)

You have inpsired me!!!!

sao in Midlothian, VA

Quilt Hollow said...

What a wealth of information! I also have to add what beautiful work too!! I really ought to have more pieces ready and just sitting for evening stitching!