Welcome back for the final installment in this wool appliqué series. If you are just joining us, you can find the previous posts here: Part 1 and Part 2. This week it’s time to learn stitching! I will show how I stitch my wool projects and also show some fun stitches. Like the last two weeks, there will be a mini video tutorial at the end. So let’s get started!
Wool Appliqué Stitching
There are two basic stitches most commonly used by stitchers to secure their wool appliqué pieces to the background of their project. The first is the blanket stitch and looks like this diagram I have drawn below:
This is how the stitch actually looks on a project:
You can use threads that match the color of your wool piece or you can do a contrasting thread, like I did, so the stitches show. I like my stitches to show to give my projects a primitive look.
My favorite threads to use are perle cottons in neutral tones. I use Valdani size 8. You can use whatever brand of perle cottons you like or you can use embroidery floss. If you use floss, you will need to use enough strands to get the right amount of thickness you prefer.
The next stitch used is the whip stitch:
I like to use a whip stitch on tinier pieces that are not wide enough for the “teeth” of a blanket stitch, like thin stems. Or I will use the whip stitch when I do not want my stitches very visible, even if I am using matching threads. It’s easier to hide a whip stitch than a blanket stitch.
Here’s how the whip stitch looks on one of my stems:
The whip stitches appear as little “dots” along the edge of the wool. And if you use a thread that closely matches the color of the wool, those stitches will basically disappear.
Stitching Tips for Relaxing Stitching
Here are some of my favorite stitching tips that I share when I teach wool appliqué workshops. My aim is to make your stitching experience relaxing and fun… no stress as it should be!
Tip#1: Good lighting is essential when stitching. I like a task light that sits on the table, if I’m stitching there, or a floor lamp if I am stitching in a chair watching TV. Here’s my floor lamp:
The floor lamp has a magnifier which comes in handy for a close-up look of my stitches. I can inspect my stitches and make sure they are even and straight without straining my eyes. My desk top light also has a magnifier:
Tip #2: To get your thread prepared for stitching, pull off a piece of the thread no longer than 18″. If you have a longer piece, there is more of a chance that it gets tangled and frayed. To prevent as much fraying as possible, I use Thread Magic thread conditioner.
This is an acid free treatment for the thread that is not beeswax. It leaves no residue on your project. I like this brand because of the design of the container. The slots make it easier to run your thread through and enable you to use the entire amount of the product in the container. Here’s how it works:
Just run your thread over the top of the thread conditioner and it coats it for easy stitching.
Tip #3: If you worry about the evenness of your stitching, here is a technique you can use to make sure your stitches are evenly spaced. Mark two lines on your thumb and use that as a guide for stitch spacing.
Tip #4: As for needles, my favorite needle is called a chenille needle. I like the John James chenille needles, but you can use any brand you like. I’ve used sizes 22 and 24. I prefer the size 22 needles because they have a wider eye to accommodate the thicker perle cotton threads.
Tip #5: When you have finished stitching a piece or you have come to an end of your thread, here is a handy way to end so there is no knot on the back:
Simply guide the remainder of your thread through the last few stitches on the back of your project to secure your stitching.
Now Time for the Fun!
For fun, I like to add embellishments to my stitching. If you are really experienced with the large variety of embroidery stitches out there, consider “dressing up” your project with some of them. I confess, I only know how to make French knots and stitch a lazy daisy … but I am working on learning more!
Below, I stitched a criss-cross pattern on the stems on the left. On the right, I just stitched a running stitch down the center of the stem to secure it. These options would be instead of the blanket or whip stitch.
Also, to secure berries onto a project or the small square in the photo on the right, I use French knots or an “x” stitch. That square on the right is only 1/2 x 1/2″ so the “x” is probably the best way to stitch it down.
Finally, I had some fun on the center of the flower below. I used a French knot in the middle and then radiated stitches from it for an interesting design element.
So that’s all for my wool appliqué series for beginners! I really hope I gave you some great tips that you can apply to your stitching whether you are experienced or not.
Don’t forget to view the mini video tutorial at the end. I include a demonstration of how I handle points and inside corners while stitching. Leave comments or ask questions below and you will be entered into a drawing for my two newest Snugg-lets: Snugg-let Winter Friends and Snugg-let Sew with Friends.
The drawing will be next Monday, November 13th. Good luck!**We have a winner! Congrats, Diana DeWitt!**