Hand embroidery books and tools and accessories are all well and fine – we need them to inspire us, to help us learn, to get the job done. But when it comes to actually producing a beautiful piece of needlework, it’s the basic materials that make all the difference in the outcome of the work.
I’ve said it before, and I’m sure I’ll say it again. The fact is, average embroidery done on good materials will always look good. Exquisitely executed, perfectly stitched embroidery done with poor materials will never look better than just average. And poorly stitched embroidery with the wrong materials will pretty much always look like poorly stitched embroidery with the wrong materials.
The basic materials you use in your embroidery – the fabric and the thread – determine the difference between an average outcome and an exquisite outcome. If you take your embroidery seriously – if it’s more to you than just a fad or a craft that fills time and will eventually be faded, discarded, and forgotten – then eventually you’ll want to invest in the right materials for the best outcome and for the best chance of longevity.
Today’s give-away offers some of the Best basic materials on the market today for hand embroidery.
This is Dower Quality Legacy Linen, which is made (you could pretty much say) from the ground up specifically for the hand embroiderer. It is the finest embroidery linen available today, and absolutely beautiful stuff. Alabaster Angel is a 48 count linen, in white. It can be used for very fine counted work as well as all kinds of surface embroidery. This is my go-to linen for practically any type of surface embroidery and it works well for anything from free-style surface work to cutwork to whitework to goldwork – you name it. For example, I used it for my blackwork fish project a couple years ago. I’ve also used it extensively for goldwork and silk embroidery, and I’m currently using it as the ground in my Medallion project.
Napery Ivory is also a 48 count Legacy linen, in a barely-ivory color. It is similar to Alabaster Angel, and can be used for the same applications.
Both linens have plump, round threads that completely fill the weave, in both warp and weft directions. This is what makes them so ideal for surface work. Though you may run across the occasional small slub in the fabric (which is characteristic of linen), you will not run across super-thin threads with large gaping holes between them. Whether you’re working with heavier threads or very fine threads, these linens will take the thread well and give it good support. With very fine threads, using a sharp embroidery needle (a crewel needle or a chenille needle), you can split the threads of the fabric easily, to get the exact placement for each stitch you take.
The winners of today’s give-away will receive one or the other of the two linens, in a generous cut.
Each winner will also receive one Ensemble de Soie, a collection of various weights, twists, and types of silk thread. The majority of the threads in each ensemble are silk thread threads by the French manufacturer, Au Ver a Soie. The white ensemble includes 8 types of thread, all whole spools or skeins: Trebizond, Soie d’Alger, Soie 100/3, Soie Gobelins, Soie de Paris, Soie Perlee, Soie Chenille, and Accentuate Metallic Thread.
The black ensemble contains 10 types of thread, all whole spools or skeins: Trebizond, Soie d’Alger, Soie 100/3, Soie Gobelins, Soie de Paris, Soie Perlee, Soie Chenille, Accentuate Metallic Thread #971, Accentuate Metallic Thread #269, and Bijoux Metallic Thread #470.
Both collections of threads will give the beginner and the experienced embroiderer alike a wide variety of types of threads to experiment with, or to use in one or several projects.
If you’re looking for good hand embroidery linen for your fine embroidery projects, or you’re trying to track down beautiful silk threads and gold threads, or even all the accoutrements for embroidery, including good embroidery hoops, slate frames, and the like, add Hedgehog Handworks to your “favorites.” Not only do they carry everything you need for fine surface embroidery, but they offer great service and competitive prices. They can also special order anything that Access Commodities carries, that you might be looking for (Access Commodities is a wholesaler & manufacturer).
I have to admit, I’m a bit partial to Hedgehog, because it’s thanks to them that I found good embroidery supplies online when I needed them (and when it was really hard to find them!). It’s nice to know that there are still some shops out there that are willing to take the risk of stocking the really good surface embroidery supplies, when the general US needlework market isn’t necessarily focused on surface embroidery.
Today’s Ninth Day of Christmas give-away winners (two winners will be drawn) will each receive a generous cut of one of the fabrics above, plus one or the other of the silk thread ensembles described above.
1. Leave a comment at the end of today’s article. If you click on this link, it will take you directly to the comment area, so that there are no mishaps! Comments delivered via e-mail or on other articles will not be included in the give-away.
2. In your comment, answer the following question:
One project, or many? If you were to win this give-away, could you see yourself splitting these materials up between many smaller experimental projects, savoring them and stretching them out for a while, or could you see yourself launching into a full-sized, all-out dream project, utilizing all the thread types and all the fabric in one huge stitchfest?
3. Make sure you leave a recognizable name either in the body of your comment, or on the “name” line above the comment box.
4. Leave your comment before January 9th, 2012, at 5:00 am Central Standard Time (Kansas, USA!). All winners for this series will be selected on January 9th, and announced that day here on Needle ‘n Thread. You’ll have to check back on January 9th to see if you’ve won, because the winners will need to contact me within 3 days to claim their prizes. The Give-Away is Now Closed. Thanks for your interest!
Merry Ninth Day of Christmas!
Please do not panic if your comment does not show up immediately. All comments are moderated in the order in which they come in, and they will eventually be posted. If you are looking for your comment, please use the “older comments” and “newer comments” links at the top of the comments section. These will take you through all the comments pages, from newest to oldest.
Also, just another little note – though rather late in this whole give-away series – please don’t leave your e-mail address or residential address in the body of your comment. It’s just not a good idea to expose your addresses to the world. If nothing else, you probably don’t want to end up with a bunch of spam in your inbox. Just use the line provided in the comment form for your e-mail address. Thanks!