One of the fantastic things about hand embroidery is that it's so darn tootin' portable. I sit in my car and stitch when the kids are in activities, I stitch in waiting rooms, I stitch in front of the TV. And there's certain things I must keep in my embroidery bag. Thread heaven is one of them (conditions your floss when it's behaving naughtily) and another is the Embroidery Pocket Guide by Leisure Arts which is available at many stores including Daisy Cottage Quilting. It has illustrations of 51 different stitches in it... everything from running stitch to weaving stitches such as a cloud filling. It's a must have.
In the past most of my embroidery work was free-style (AKA: Flying by the seat of my pants without a pattern). If I wasn't free-stylin' I simply traced the pattern using a light box and a pencil, or more recently I've been using a Frixion pen.
I like this method for most of my work. However, when doing very tiny or detailed patterns, it's not super easy to trace accurately. For instance, the lettering on the Sewing Room Sampler got a little wonky. In fact, on the spool, I ended up pulling out all my stitching.
In the meantime, I had ordered Transfer-eze to try out. With Transfer-eze, you simply photocopy (or print out if you have a pdf) the pattern onto the sticky side of the paper. Then you just remove the freezer paper backing and place the printed pattern onto your fabric. It's like a sticker. You simply stitch over it and then it dissolves off your fabric in cold water.
I tried it with the spool design, and I'm absolutely loving it. Take a look at the difference in these two embroideries:
Traced and Wonky...
Neat and Transfer-eze-ized...
If I had the heart, I would have pulled out all the lettering and re-done that too... but I didn't... have the heart or the stomach for that.
If you'd like to try Transfer-eze, I ordered some for my shop and it will be here next week. I also ordered nifty iron-on transfer pens and vellum for tracing. And the heat and bond woven cotton fusible interfacing arrived this week.
PS... I did in fact finish my sampler. Just not before I got home from vacation. I'm making mine into a bag. Shocking, right?