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anna_banana | Posted in General Discussion on

Hello I am new here just joined today, I would like to learn how to do embroidery and was wondering how do I get started? I have loads of time on my hands as I am awaiting major surgery on my knees…….could someone in the know on here give me the basics please? Thanks ever so much 🙂





  1. suesew | | #1

    Are you talking about machine embroidery? Which machine do you have?

    1. anna_banana | | #2

      no I dont have a machine I would like to learn hand embroidery?




      1. kayl | | #3

        Do you want to learn counted stitch embroidery or "surface embroidery",
        where stitches are placed wherever you like on the fabric?For counted stitch embroidery, cross stitch is generally the main
        introduction... you'll want a hoop, some even-weave fabric (aida is
        good for practice, and available at Walmart, etc.), "tapestry needles"
        that's the right size for the fabric, and some embroidery floss (also
        available at the same spot you get aida).Here's a basic starter for cross stitch:
        http://crossstitch.about.com/From there, you might go on to blackwork, needlepoint, hardanger,
        huck embroidery, etc... all counted thread work.For surface embroidery, you'll want a hoop, some fabric that's not
        terribly close-woven to start with ("flour sack dishtowels" are ####good beginner fabric), a package of "embroidery/crewel needles", and
        some embroidery floss. Here are some basic helps for some of the stitches:
        http://www.stitchguide.com/stitches/embroidery/index.htmlWhen you're ready to branch out from basic surface embroidery, you
        might want to go on to crewel, Brazillian embroidery, ribbon embroidery, goldwork, whitework, and many, many others.What interests you about embroidery? What style would you like to learn?Kay

        1. anna_banana | | #5

          thank you for that advice, I favour the surface embroidery as it does not look too difficult :-)




          1. kayl | | #7

            imho, most of the counted embroidery is easier to learn than surface embroidery... but surface embroidery is my real love. <g>Kay

      2. suesew | | #4

        Consider silk ribbon embroidery. It covers a lot of ground quickly, is easy to do and is gorgeous. There are a lot of books out there, probably at your local library, that would help you choose just what you want to do.

        1. anna_banana | | #6

          oh that sounds lovely silk ribbon, really appeals to me that....will have a look at my local library, thanks ever so much for your help, you are very kind :-)




          1. louise | | #8

            Dear Anna:

            Good luck with your surgery.  If I may wade into the fray (oops! no pun intended), when you are at your library also check  for general sewing and embroidery manuals: Coats and Clarks; Anchor; DMC; Reader's digest; Better Homes and Gardens etc.  They will have a comprehensive listing of most of the needle arts in one book.  They will also have illustrations of how to accomplish the stitch.  I particularly like the Readers Digest Complete Guide to Needlework and The Complete Stitch Encylopedia, by Jan Eaton.

             You will need to get yourself some decent embroidery needles - not as simple as it once was.  Look for needles that have a reasonably large eye across a range of lengths from about 1" up to about 1 2/3".  You will also need good, small, sharp- tipped embroidery scissors.  Next you will need a couple or three sizes of embroidery hoops.  There are several styles.  I favour the old fashioned steel ones which are rather like a spring-form pan without the bottom, barring that: either the wooden ones which screw tighten  on the outer ring - or - the plastic hoop with an inside rounded clip that you squeeze to set your fabric and then release to hold the fabric in place (between the clip and the plastic outer ring).  Each have advantages and disadvantages.  The wooden ones can be rough, requiring one to pad or wind with fabric; both styles have the disadvantage that at some point or another you will be stitching away and your thread suddenly tightens and snaps or slips through your needle because it is hung up on the tightening mechanism.

            Next, buy one of those strawberry pincushions with the separate little bag of emery sand attached to it by a fine cord.  Having a pincushion just for embroidery needles saves the frustration of hunting down your needles.  The little bag of emery keeps your needles shiny and can smooth down any burrs that may appear at the tip.  Finally, put your scissors on a long ribbon, about 36" or so and tie the end so that your can keep it around your neck or on anything close and stationary when you are stitching; that way you never have to hunt for them.  Falling scissors have probably accounted for a zillion adverse accidents which retard the healing of injured embroiders.

            Then you need the last obvious things:  A good supply of  brand name/quality threads and fabrics/clothing for embellishment and a sewing box, basket or firm bag.

            Now while all this may seem elementary, when you are limited in mobility having your supplies handy and set up to prevent falling or slipping under cushions can save your sanity and allow you to enjoy your new craft without twisting or bending in a way that may "open an old wound".  Trust me I know, I am a veteran of mutiple surgeries.

            Also Dover books has a large catalogue of iron on transfers which can be used more than once.  Phone or email them for a free catalogue (http://www.doverbooks.com I think).  Your local bookseller can order them in for you as well as ordering them from the source.

            Heal well and quickly.  Good luck.  Hail the hand embroiders!


            Edited 10/24/2004 12:25 pm ET by Louise

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