Tuesday, July 15, 2008
Embroidered Hearts: The Teeny-Tiny Kind
One of my favorite shapes to embroider is the heart. There is a myriad of heart shapes and styles that can be created with a needle and thread, not to mention the unlimited amount of embroidery stitches that can be used to create your own personal heart design. My favorite heart to stitch is what I call the Teeny-Tiny Heart. Stitching these is sort of like eating potato chips...you always want to sew one more! Well, that's how I see it anyway.
When I am teaching a class on embroidery I always teach the simplest stitches there are.....the ones I call "schoolgirl stitches."
You know.....the ones you learned as a kid. Using these stitches, you can create designs from the simplest to the most complex.....and mastering them is easy. Just using these few stitches, you can entertain yourself for the rest of your life!
And, you know what they are: outline stitch, french knots, running stitch, lazy-daisy stitch, buttonhole stitch, backstitch, chain stitch, straight stitch, satin stitch, plus feather stitch and Herringbone stitch. With these few stitches, you can make a multitude of designs and not be overwhelmed.
The piece you see in the photo that is round in shape with stitches and writing on it is like one of my stitch "demo" pieces I make in class. I always have a piece of muslin in a hoop so that I can show my students how to do these stitches. Many times I have more than one hoop per class, so sometimes I give them away afterwards. This one I did in the middle of the night, removed it from the hoop, trimmed it, labeled the stitches and placed it on my working wall for my own "visual pleasure." This is one that just happens to have some of these gorgeous teeny-tiny hearts that I love.
I usually use DMC floss for these, using two strands. If they are smaller than the small ones you see here, I may use one strand. Sometimes I do a backstitch around the heart before doing the satin stitches. They are also pretty in perle cotton. I like to use a very thin needle to do the satin stitch...my favorite would be a #10 Milliner's needle. You could use a #12 if using one strand of floss. It is sometimes tricky to keep the stitching smooth. It will be helpful if you don't let the floss get twisted...just let the needle dangle in the air every once in a while and as it goes 'round and 'round, the thread will untwist itself. Also, try to make each stitch as close to the previous one as possible.
Rather than show completed projects here, I decided to show only the little hearts.....they are so "precious." Don't you think? Don't be afraid to try them....and then, you, too, will say making them is like eating potato chips! I have a habit of wanting to include one or more of these hearts on just about everything I make....whether the work needs a heart or not. Sometimes I just have to make myself refrain from adding one or two. Sort of like those chips, huh? Pat