I had an email today from a reader who said she would have wanted to do the sampler, but needed a bit of a 101 crash course on embroidery. She had few good questions, so I thought I'd back up and answer these. Surely, if she had these questions, others do too. I know I've mentioned some of this before, but I think it will be nice to have in one place. There will be a category for Embroidery 101 on the sidebar if you ever want to read it again.
Before I get started answering these questions, I want to say a little bit about how I'll answer. I like to answer questions in the first person. (i.e.: "I do this" or "I use this".) I'm trying to always do that because I want you to be aware that there are many ways to skin a cat, and I do not claim to be the foremost authority on embroidery. I love it, I do it a lot, I love sharing it, it was my first foray into sewing many moons ago and truth told, sometimes I make up my own rules... just so you know. Ahem.
Also, if you as a reader know a different way to do something, I invite you to share it. In fact, I'd love an article on it from you if you are interested in doing that. Just let me know.
Here are the questions this reader had:
1. What do you embroider on? Is it a special kind of cloth?
I love love love Cosmo flosses. I do design fabric for Lecien who makes it, but without bias I can tell you it doesn't knot up as much as some others do. It really stitches like butter. If I do have problems with my floss knotting, I use a product called thread heaven which is a thread conditioner. I also use Thread Heaven for applique and quilt binding when working with regular thread.
6. What about needles? What do I need to use?
I've noticed that if you ask stitchers about needles in particular, you get lots of different answers. I'd say It depends on what floss I am using and what kind of embroidery I am doing. For stranded flosses I love a size 10 embroidery needle (straw). I happen to like the Jeanne Kimballs needles. Crewel requires a crewel needle with a reatively large eye. Sometimes with perle cotton I'll use a chenille needle.
Needles are numbered. The larger the number the smaller the needle. I make sure the needle size I'm using is appropriate for my fabric and for my floss. In other words, if I'm using a chunky floss (perle or wool) I want a bigger eye. But I want to make sure I'm not going to poke great big holes in my fabric. I like to have an array of needles on hand so that I can test to see what is going to work best for the particular project I'm working on.
About finding supplies:
Many of the wonderful online retailers and I carry the products described in this post... please check out the We Love French Knots Supplier List to find them. (Note: the supplier list is not paid for advertising, it is currently a free service offered by We Love French Knots. If you'd like to be added to the supplier list please let me know by emailing me at bari at barijonline dot com.)