We have arrived at the end of the series. I hope you have learned a lot! If you missed the earlier posts, find them here: Part 1 and Part 2. Now that you have navigated through all the steps to prepare your project, it’s time to work on stitching. That is what I will cover this week, including another mini video tutorial to demonstrate. 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:
Here’s how it actually looks on a real wool project:
For stitching, 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.
If you don’t want your stitches to be as visible as mine are, you can choose to use colors of perle cotton or floss that matches the color of your wool piece. I like to use colors that show up for a more primitive look.
The next stitch used is the whip stitch:
I like to use this stitch on thinner pieces like stems or small pennies that do not have a lot of area for the “teeth” of the blanket stitch. Here’s how the whip stitch looks on a stem:
Look closely and you will see little “dots” of thread along the edges.
Here’s my mini video tutorial on stitching, including stitching points and inside corners, to help demonstrate what I have covered:
Some Stitching Tips
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 for Some 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!
Here are some fun ways to stitch down stems if you do not want to use 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 it for this series! Leave a comment or ask a question below and you will be entered into the drawing for the Pumpkin Patch wool kit that includes the pattern and wool.
The drawing will be on Monday, October 10th. Good luck! ***We have a winner! Congrats, Carol!***
Happy Quilting & Stitching!
Thank you for this!!
Thanks for sharing, love the visuals!
Nancy Makouske says
Working on one of yourpatterns rigjt now. Thank you for all the guidance.
Cathy Cavagnaro says
I appreciate the information on supplies and techniques. Your posts are always informative and helpful.
Carol L says
Great pictures, like the idea of running the thread under the stitches on the back…
Susan L. says
I really need to try marking my thumb, b/c I sometimes struggle with even stitches.
Awesome tips as always! Thank you!
Sharon M Aurora says
Is the whip stitch as secure at holding the wool as the blanket stitch? I sometimes prefer it, especially on smaller pieces, but worry that it won’t hold.
I have not had any trouble with whip stitched pieces coming unstitched in my experience.
Nancy Olsen says
I have thoroughly enjoyed this series and learned so much! As a beginner, this definitely made me want to dive right into my new projects. Thank you for all your help and information!