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.

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 and watching TV, I cringe and break out in panic mode and 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) catches me up on what I might have missed.
 I get a lot done this way, since 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
 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, JoAnn's Fabrics
Amor Weft woven fusible interfacing is wonderful - Have to look for this but well worth it...

I approach my project 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 when 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 wonderful little 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 look as they are 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 instead of mailing from Australia, which is pretty convenient.

Transferring Designs with Pens and Pencils 

When I trace a pattern, I use my light 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


Vroomans' Quilts said...

Oh how I loved your post today - lots of wonderful info and sites shared. I use a lot of the same, but I didn't even think about using 'fusuable' batt - how silly! Just wonderful works and enjoyed it all. Thank you.

Jane's Fabrics and Quilts said...

Oh my gosh!! I just love your work! I am starting on my second block of Winter Wonderland. I also have no idea how to quilt a stitched item. I sure hope someone shares some advice! I would also love to know.

CJ in NC said...

Your stichery is ALWAYS beautiful. You put so much into each item you make.
Love from your DWD

Linda said...

Thank you for some good suggestions. Your embroidery is beautiful! I actually use Frixion pens all the time and love them. BUT, I wash my quilts when I finish and it is supposed to wash out. I have never had a problem with them. I will have to do further checking.
Thank you for the thread suggestions. I have been looking for a good thread.
I do have one question - What is a DWH? I can figure out that it's your husband, but when I looked up the acronym in Urban Dictionary all I could find was "Driving While Hispanic"! I know that's not right! I am having a hard time learning the lingo these days!

Michelle May (Shell) said...

A wonderful post! I was very interested in the Frixion pens. A gal in Australia was raving about them. I almost ordered them for my shop. May think twice now. Thanks for the heads up.
Isn't stitchery just so much fun! So many fantastic and creative folks out there. :)
xx, shell

Barb said...

I absolutely love all of your work! I have learned about Transfer Eze and will definitely look for it! I love Cosmos also! I am working on Which Witch's Boot and Hocuspocusville! I can't seem to work on just one at a time! Thank you again--I found you because of The Ghastlie's Blog Hop.

I have seen Winter Wonderland quilted in the block only and just around the embroideries.

taylorsoutback said...

What a great post, Judy! You have provided very valuable information. I agree with you about using fusible makes such a huge difference. And what a great idea with the Gerber containers to hold threads...very clever!

I couldn't choose which embroidered quilt was the most stunning...all are so worthy!

Your evening sound much like ours - can't just sit without something in my hands - too many wonderful things to try and the days aren't long enough!

Have a great week.

Barb said...

Your stitchery is just love love it!!

Kathryn D. Duke said...

what useful knowledge you shared...I picked up some new tricks...I actually looked at the Crabtree site recently to see which one I wanted to START thinking about doing...hehehehe!!

{oc cottage} said...

I just LOVE redwork!!!

m ^..^

JCnNC said...

Kelly Guy by JC
I wanted to tell you that I LOVED your last post on embroidery! There were so many great tips and ideas – not to mention all of the GORGEOUS stitching you’ve done! – I’m really excited about trying putting batting behind the embroidery!

pinsandneedles said...

Found your blog through Charming Chatter and I love your embroidery. You have given so many good tips! I have quilted for many years but just within the last 2 years have added some embroidery to my quilting. Thanks for sharing!

Darlene said...

Just discovered your blog today and I love your post about embroidery. I love, love embroidery so I'm thrilled to discover your love, as well.

Stitched With Prayer said...

I also just discovered your blog when I visited Kelly at Charming Chatter and oh I'm so glad I visited. I'm having some issues with my health that affect my hand and tracing is a challenge for me just now. I read this super post and I'm so excited to try some of the products you have talked about here. I have heard of Transfer Ez before but couldn't afford it...though I think I'm going to have to bite the bullet and try both that and the Fabric Solvy you talk about here. I love stitchery quilts so if I can get around all the tracing, maybe I can get back to more of them. Thanks so much for all the great tips and info on products that help us in our 'quest' to create. Looking at your beautiful stitched pieces has inspired me. I want to get down to my sewing room and get back to my stitched quilt blocks. Thanks for a wonderful post and your delightful blog. Now I've got to find the pattern for the 'sewing snow lady'...that is a must have!!! Hugs...

Little Pieces of My Life said...

OOO....I know what you mean. I can't watch TV or a movie without falling asleep unless I'm stitching! Your quilts are beautiful.I am a longarm quilter and have quilted several of the Winter Wonderland quilts for customers. One of my favorites. I have the panels stitched but not put together YET. My project last winter was "Vintage Baskets" in redwork for our Spring quilt show. Don't ya just love Debbie's (Busy As Can Be)free patterns. I made mine into a wall hanging. Thanks for all the stitching tips!

Kathryn D. Duke said...

just got in from the Quilt CArolina van trip with 8 quilting buddies...are you going?? lots of great deals and new stuff..

Karen said...

Thank you for all the wonderful information in this post. There are a lot of products on the market and it really helps to hear a personal opinion from someone like yourself who has used them. We don't always get them here in Aus so I appreciate reading a review so that I can consider buying them on-line.
Love your beautiful work, too.

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!

Judy C said...

Oh, I love reading your blog. Thanks to the Ghastlies, I just discovered it!!! And your opening quote, about being born a blank canvas, I am going to print that out and frame it. It is wonderful!!!

Thank you!!!