I used to embroider quite abit, but it’s been a long time, and since I became obsessed with knitting, I’d not even thought about it for ages. But then a friend showed me one of her really cool embroidery projects. I was inspired. The pattern she was using came from Sublime Stitching. Their webpage announces: “This ain’t your gramma’s knitting”. I love it! There are such fun patterns there ranging from space aliens and rockets (which I bought) to roller derby girls and sexy librarians (which I did not buy – yet)!
So I thought – wouldn’t it be cool to embroider on my knitting! I wasn’t quite sure what the best way to go about this was, so I started looking around on the web – and I found a great tutorial.
I got very excited and immediately knit Davey a hat. The knitting wasn’t immediate, I guess, but it went really quickly as I used a bulky yarn. I made it from the same yarn that I used to make my Gap-tastic Cowl – a wool silk blend from Knit Picks. So anyway – great yarn, but maybe not a great first choice for embroidery. Here’s what I did:
I followed the tutorial which explained that to embroider on a knitted object, you need some kind of stabilizer. For one thing, it keeps the embroidery floss from disappearing into the knitting. This was very simple though, as it consisted of basting the pattern to the hat. I just used some embroidery floss. Like this:
(Make sure you cut the pattern large enough so that the basting doesn’t get near where you will make your embroidery stitches. I was cutting it a little close.)
Next I started embroidering.
Embroidering on paper has a different feel to it then typical embroidery, but I got used to it. My embroidery skills were (are) a little rusty, so that coupled with embroidering on the paper made it a little more tricky for me.
After I finished the embroidery, the tutorial (which has some good pictures) explained that I needed to very carefully rip and pick the paper out. If you don’t do it very carefully, the stitches will warp or get too loose. This is a little tricky, but the important thing is to go slowly and be patient.
So the finished project was ok, but not great. Notice in the hat below, the little star thing that I’d embroidered in the rocket is gone. Those lines of stitching got all loose and messed up when I worked the paper out. So I took it out.
I am not overly happy with this. The floss is not heavy enough against that bulky weight yarn and it doesn’t show up right. I also realized that I went for too much detail and close stitching like you see at the bottom of the rocket. It’s tricky to make it look nice. It was an ok first attempt, and Davey likes his new hat with earflaps, but I wanted to do better.
So I knitted some fingerless gloves using one of my favorite patterns the Jiffy Mitts. I used a much lighter weight fingering yarn. On both projects, I used all six strands of floss. I think in the tutorial that I followed, she used 3 strands, but I preferred the look of 6. I got a pattern from Sublime Stitching called “Fantasy Flowers” and I embroidered some flowers onto the gloves. I experimented with the split stitch and the stem stitch, and I found the stem stitch to be a little easier for me. I think I like the look of the stem stitch better, although I can’t tell that much difference, and I like the split as well.
Here are the finished gloves:
I kept them fairly simple, but I loved using different colors. Here is a little more zoomed in shot. Don’t look too closely at my embroidery. It is a work in progress.
I’m looking forward to trying this again soon. I want to make Davey another hat with lightweight yarn, so that I can do some better embroidery for him.