Wednesday, September 27, 2006

How to Use a Transfer Pencil

So, you have a design or a drawing you want to embroider... but how do you get it from a piece of paper onto your fabric? What's a transfer pencil? I remember how confused I was when I started embroidering, too - so I hope this helps!

1. Find a transfer pencil and tracing paper - I bought my pencils online at Colonial Patterns, but they're also available at most big craft stores... The tracing paper is just regular old tracing paper!

2. Put your tracing paper over the drawing or pattern, and trace with the transfer pencil. Important: see how the letters in "Sew" are not facing the right way? This is the right way to do it! When you flip it over it will be facing the right way!
re-tracing "Sew" carefully

3. Flip the tracing paper over (image side down), pin into place and iron the tracing paper with a dry iron:
ironing the tracing paper

4. Presto! Your image has now been transferred to your fabric! Stick it in a hoop, and stitch away:
waiting to be stitched

See the completed shirt

A few free pattern sources:

Buy embroidery transfers (skip the pencil method):

How do I work that embroidery transfer, you may be asking? That's the easiest! Just iron it right on your fabric and you're ready to go - your pattern should come with ironing instructions...

So whip out that pencil and happy stitching, guys! (And I mean that in a totally gender-neutral way, too) :)

Bee Tidy tea towel

my first

I'm getting ready for a Tea Towel swap, so I'm digging through my stash of transfers and selecting my favorites... I especially loved these Busy Bees. I found the transfers on Ebay - they were part of a big batch of Vogart stuff I got... while most of the transfers had been used, there was enough left of the outline to trace with my transfer pencil...

Busy Bees


The towels are Martha Stewart flour sack towels I found at Kmart. I also ordered a pack of 7 flour sack towels from Colonial Patterns - they were a little bigger than the Martha Stewart brand, but a similar weight. Their white was also a little yellower than the Martha Stewart brand... It was easier to stitch on these than I thought - I'd heard a lot of complaints about stitching on flour sack towels. I hope my swap partner likes these bees as much as I do!

my favorite bee



Thursday, September 21, 2006

blowing dust off old projects

I like this geometric pattern


People ask me how I got into embroidery - I actually used to be a pretty avid cross-stitcher. I would pick up and drop the habit at random. For me, the main detraction to cross-stitching is the meticulous level of effort and time involved! I found myself getting too impatient and bored at doing numerous x's over and over - as a result I have many "started" projects waiting to be finished...



I was very inspired by the designs of Marilyn Leavitt-Imblum - actually by one pattern in particular. The face, clearly modeled on a Pre-Raphaelite heroine was comprised of so many tiny stitches it looked real... This angel, almost completely stitched waits for me in a box in Texas, and I hope one day to finally finish her. Marilyn offers free, small angel designs each Christmas, and I've stitched nearly every one:

finally finished

It is a little therapeutic at times, to turn your brain off and say to yourself "I will now execute 20 rows of cross-stitches in DMC 947..." I found, for the most part, it gave me headaches and made me crabby. :) I love embroidery because in comparison it is so freeing - it lets you give rein to your creativity, and most importantly - I can actually finish all of my projects! But, here, for your viewing pleasure, are two more old projects of mine:

little tree I'm working on... I was thinking of Frida Kahlo

Tuesday, September 12, 2006

Lucha Libre Pillowcase

all done!

I stitched this as a present for my brother, to (sort of) match the Carmencita pillowcase I made for my sister-in-law. I wanted to choose a "manly" subject, but have it be something that would definitely make him laugh, so I chose these funky Lucha Libre wrestlers from Sublime Stitching that crack me up...

closeup on the wrestler head

The words in Spanish, say "los hombres no deben llorar", which happens to be the title of one of my favorite sappy telenovela songs. I guess the closest equivalent is "boys don't cry", which also happens to be one of my favorite Cure songs... :) All in all, I hope it brings a smile to his face (he is allowed to cry, of course - I just hope, not too often).

closeup on the little wrestler

Monday, September 4, 2006

More cute kitchen "axioms"

it's not an apple

I stitched these little projects on the train to Montauk... the first was stitched on a tank top, using a dark pink scrap of fabric from a t-shirt I was getting rid of. Um, okay, so it's supposed to be a bell pepper, but I admit it looks more like an apple.

Well, either way I like it and plan to get some wear out of it. The second was stitched on a corner of dish towel... and I'm still thinking of a good place to put it. On an apron? As a potholder? Hmmm....

Red as a...