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Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Embroidery 101: Basic Supplies

While thread and fabric are obvious necessities, there are a few other supplies that will make your embroidery experience better. The first {maybe obviously} is a hoop.

Hoops come in a variety of materials, I usually prefer the plastic hoops because they're affordable {wood hoops vary in price and quality, and I don't really know the difference!}, and I like to have several different sizes for different projects.

When choosing a hoop size for a project, I prefer using the smallest hoop possible.  I usually chose something large enough to fit the whole design, but not much bigger than that.  I find it is easier to keep the fabric snug in a smaller hoop.

For needles, I choose the embroidery needles with the larger eye.  To choose the right size, pick a needle that is easy to thread with the thread for the project.  I always used to choose a smaller needle, but then it was not only difficult to thread, but much more difficult to pull the eye of the needle with the thread through the fabric.  With a larger needle, I don't seem to have any problems.

There are several options for transferring the design to the fabric.  I prefer to use either a water soluble pen or a disappearing ink pen.  The water soluble is my favorite, because then I can just rinse it away when I'm finished, whereas, this disappearing pen can take a few days to disappear, and I'm not always that patient.

However, when using either of these pens, test a small area first, to make sure it really will wash off/disappear. Also never iron on your markings!  Make sure you've put your stabilizer on the back first {more on that below} and then wait until the marking is completely removed before ironing your piece.

Another option is to use a transfer agent like Solvy.  The idea is that you trace onto the Solvy, then stitch through it, and then when you're finished, it just rinses away.  It theory it's great, but when I tried it, I noticed that it left ink on the thread where I stitched.  I may experiment with it more later, but am currently not a fan.

Finally, I wish I had a photo for this, but I use an iron-on stabilizer for the back of my fabric I'm embroidering.  I prefer a light-medium stabilizer, it seems to keep the fabric from wrinkling too much after it has been stitched, but doesn't change the texture too much either.

With these few times, purchasing embroidery supplies should be a little easier.  Stay tuned tomorrow for the details and supplies for the Stitch & Quilt Along!


  1. I use the blue marker myself, easy and works on most things. I am doing a piece on a printed fabric, so that was harder and I am just guessing and changing the spots I can't see, but it is an experiment, so ok if it is a mess, lol.


  2. Awesome! Melissa

  3. Darn! I knew I shouldn't have donated all my hoops to my quilting guild's Christmas auction! I got rid of them because I couldn't remember the last time I used on. Sigh... guess I'm hitting Hobby Lobby... (but I'm still excited!).

  4. The new hoops, I believe by Clover, are fantastic. They are a little more pricey, but the screw is sort of "built in" so it does not get caught in the thread. They are so much easier to work with.


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