Monday, June 27, 2011

Stitching Week

One technique that all of us on the Creative Team seem to share a love for is stitching. Since we aren't revealing the next sketch until Sunday, July 3, we thought this week would be a great time for sharing some of our layouts showcasing different ways to incorporate stitching and tell you our favorite techniques, tools, and tips. This week is packed with so many great layouts and great ideas for adding stitching to your crafty projects.

Hand Stitching 101

Hand stitching is my number one go-to technique. I may not use it on every single project but it is definitely the most used technique. It's somewhat easy, I find it enjoyable, and it adds a wonderful finishing touch to projects. Plus, it's a technique that can be used in so many different and fun ways. Just like sketches, the possibilities are endless!

If you've never tried hand stitching here is little step by step of what you need to get started and how to use the most common stitch, a back stitch.

What you will need:

• a foam or cork board - You can use a small cork board found at office supply stores or, the one I recommend, is the In Stitch'z by Bazzill foam board. I really like the softness to it and the grid. (You can tell I use mine a lot!)

• a paper piercer - I use the In Stitch'z by Bazzill paper piercer. The wooden handle is comfortable and unlike other paper piercers I've tried, it doesn't hurt my hand when I've got a lot of holes to pierce.

• a needle - There are a few mistakes you can make with the wrong size of needle. If you get one that is too big it will widen the holes you pierced when you start stitching. When that happens you are left with holes that end up being distracting and take away from the stitched design. If you get ones that are teeny tiny they are difficult to hold and very, very hard to thread.

• embroidery floss - DMC is my favorite mostly because of the cost and the color options.

• Another great tool to have on hand is a ruler with a straight stitching guide. It isn't really needed to get started with stitching but it does come in handy! I use the one shown above from Timeless Touches. I like that it has two different options for hole spacing. The small side is great for stitching and the larger spacing works great for evenly spaced rows of brads. I've also heard great things about the Design Ruler by Tim Holtz

Getting Started

1. To begin, I lightly draw the design I want to stitch onto my paper with a pencil. This is a step that you can skip but I highly recommend doing this first. It's kind a little preview of what the stitched design will look like so you can see if it's going to work or not. Believe me, it's not fun to think a stitched design it going to work only to find out it doesn't. 

2. After I have my penciled design on the page, I start piercing the holes. If you want perfect, evenly spaced holes, this is where having a piercing ruler comes in handy. 

Once you get used to stitching, you'll find that the you don't need the ruler as often. I use my ruler mostly on straight lines, where the spacing doesn't really matter. When it comes to a design with curves like a flourish or letters, I do the piercing without a piercing guide. The reason for that is if your holes are too far apart on a curve it ends up having a rough, jagged line instead of a nice, smooth curve. 

After you have all the holes pierced, erase the pencil line. I recommend using soft, white erasers. They work wonderfully at removing the pencil lines and with little effort. Usually mechanical pencils have great erasers. 

3. When it comes to how many strands of the thread I use, I mostly go with three. Using all six is fine but I have found that it's harder to thread a needle with all six, it tends to be harder to pull through the paper, and it tangles more often. With three strands it's easier to thread the needle, pulls smoothly through the hole in the paper, and it doesn't seem to tangle as much. If you want to mimic the look of machine stitching try using only one or two strands. 

You also don't want to work with too long of a strand of thread. It can be a pain to pull the longer strand through the paper and it tangles more. 
Speaking of tangles, the one that pops up the most is a little loop with a knot. To untangle it pull on the loop with your needle and pull on of the strands from the knot with your fingers. The loop will get smaller until the knot clears and comes undone.

4. I always anchor the end of my thread on the back with a small adhesive square. It's quick and easy!

5. A back stitch is what you use whenever you want to end up with a continuous line of stitching. To begin a back stitch you will come up through the first hole...

6. and then you go back down the second hole.

7. Next you come up the third hole...

8. and go down through the second hole.

9. Up through the fourth hole...

10. and down through the third hole.

11. When you are finished you will have a continuous line of stitching.



dawn said...

Allison what a great idea for this week. Thanks for the tips/photos on hand stitching. It's looking a fun week for us.

MarciaD said...

So excited to see the theme this week! Thanks so much, time to get out my needle and thread!

Amy C said...

I have never stitched on my scrapbook pages before but have seen so many layouts where stitching is used. Now I have some direction on how to get started. Thanks so much for posting this! I can't wait to try it! GREAT idea for the week! :-) Love the teaching of techniques!!!!

Erica said...

Awesome tutorial! So many great suggestions to make stitching much easier. I always love how it looks but the effort and time it consumes means I very rarely use it! Thanks for clarifying some easier solutions!

Christel said...

I've been a cross stitcher for many years and so, naturally, I also love to stitch on my scrapbook pages. Instead of taping the embroidery floss to the back of the layout, I take one strand of floss, fold it in half, thread both ends of the floss through the eye of the needle, come up from the back of the layout, go down in the next hole, and then put my needle through the loop of floss on the back and then the thread is secure now and no tape needed! :) It makes stitching go a whole lot quicker. I hope this helps someone. I use both the Bazzill In-Stitches templates and the Tim Holtz ruler for stitching my pages. I have the WRMK Sew Easy, but haven't used it for a layout yet. I love how Allison will sometimes stitch around inside edge of a die cut or other page element. Love that look.

I love the layouts that were shown today, and can't wait to see what else you come up with this week. :)

luv2scrapinmt said...

I love this. Allison, the popsicle layout is one of those that touched my heart. Love, love, love your work. Thanks for sharing with us!

Luv2talk said...

I've always loved your stitching. You put so much time and effort into all your LOs. The stitching adds so much. Thanks for sharing some tips to get us started.