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
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.