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fabric, thread, and needle

Hi ~ I know the subject contains lots of subjects, but I really only have a couple of questions, and I didn't have any luck in searching the posts for answers.
1) Mary, I notice that you use an evenweave fabric for your demonstration videos. Can embroidery be done on evenweave, and if so, what count would you recommend.
2) Also on the instructional videos, you use a thread that's already twisted into a rope-like thread. What kind of thread is this, and is it difficult to find?
3) Regarding needles. I have found that most embroidery needles (say, size 7) are too long for me to work comfortably with them. So I use size 28 tapestry needles, which are shorter and seem just as sharp. Any recommendations?
Thanks in advance for your help.
Melissa
Melissa
Joined: 6/6/2012 3:12 pm
Posts: 14

Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Hi, Melissa -

1. Sometimes I use evenweave because that's what I have set up on the frame. Sometimes, I use plain weave. As long as the count is high enough (I'd say 38 or higher) and the individual threads that make up the warp and weft are plump and fill the space, then it works great for embroidery. Embroidery can be done on anything.

2. Perle cotton, normally. In some upcoming videos, I'll be using coton a broder #25 and floche.

3. Tapestry needles don't quite do it for surface embroidery. You need something that will pierce the threads of the fabric. Otherwise, it's difficult to get a smooth curve, line, or fill. But, if regular embroidery or crewel needles are too uncomfortable of you, then... I don't know what to tell you. Maybe you should try larger sharps or betweens. Or maybe you could just work with the embroidery needles until you got used to them.

~MC
MaryCorbet
Joined: 6/1/2011 9:45 am
Posts: 1189
Location: Kansas
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Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Dear Mary ~
Thanks so much for your help. I know that was a lot of questions. My first (and only) piece was a small branch with daisy's as leaves. I used quilting cotton and an embroidery needle. When I watched a couple of your videos, though, I realized you were using an evenweave. I use that for cross-stitch, and the largest I had in the house was a 28, so I'll use that and we'll just see how my next "learning" pattern goes.
I do belong to a small group of women who cross-stitch, embroider, quilt, or some of each. One woman who embroiders a lot offered to teach me, so I will take her up on her offer at our next meeting. I'm also going to buy The Right-Handed Embroiderer's Companion. It looks like a good book. Next project will be with a much higher count fabric and a better needle.
Thanks again
Melissa
Melissa
Joined: 6/6/2012 3:12 pm
Posts: 14

Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Just a thought, but different brands of needles are different lengths for the same size. Mary had a recent post about needles that is worth reading. Also Japanese machine made, hand embroidery needles are short, sturdy with a large eye. Anne
AnneG
Joined: 6/27/2011 1:16 pm
Posts: 164

Re: fabric, thread, and needle

About needles: I work with a magnifier clamped to my frame, so there's not a lot of space vertically between the glass and the stitching, so I've taken to using betweens instead of embroidery needles--for instance, I use a #8 between where I would have used a #9 crewel/embroidery. The only thing is the eye is relatively smaller so threading can be a challenge. The longer needles feel clumsy to me now.
Joanna
Joined: 6/4/2012 9:32 pm
Posts: 5

Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Hi Mary ~
I ran into some difficulty in my second attempt at embroidery. I had traced a monogram onto 30-ct evenweave fabric, and was using a very pretty variegated #8 perle cotton. The problem was that, as I was using a low-count evenweave, I thought I could also use a tapestry needle, #28. The floss kept shredding, and I'm not exactly sure why. Was the fabric too coarse? Was there a problem with the eye of the needle - I had to re-thread the needle several times as I removed stitches to re-do them, or what? Or could I have been using too-heave a weight floss? (That seems unlikely - 1 strand of #8 perle cotton isn't very thick.) Any ideas? I'm going to re-do it on Kona cotton using a #9 embroidery needle, with the same floss. Maybe that will work out better.
Enjoy your day!
Melissa
PS - I also learned that, for me, it's much easier to hold the fabric just in my hands, rather than use a hoop or frame. Comments?
Melissa
Joined: 6/6/2012 3:12 pm
Posts: 14

Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Hi, Melissa -

I think a 28 tapestry needle is too small for a #8 perle cotton. Normally, a 28 would be used for one or two strands of regular cotton floss. I'd use a #8 or even 7 crewel needle with a #8 perle. A number nine works well with 2 strands of regular floss, or even with one strand, if you don't have a #10.

Working in hand without a hoop is fine for many stitches and techniques, but it really depends on the technique and the stitched, and your tension while stitching. But there are some techniques that require a hoop or frame. What type of stitching are you doing?

-MC
MaryCorbet
Joined: 6/1/2011 9:45 am
Posts: 1189
Location: Kansas
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Re: fabric, thread, and needle

Mary ~
I think I found a good needle that works on #8 perle as well as 1 or 2 strands of cotton floss - a #7. Right now, since I'm a beginner, I'm just practicing on some easy patterns that I got free from your web site. I'm experimenting with stem stitch, whipped back stitch, outline stitch, and lazy daisies. I'm working on Kona cotton, which I don't really like - it seems very hard to puncture, even with an embroidery needle. I tried a 28-count evenweave, which didn't work at all. As for the hoop, because I need to have my left hand on both the back and the front of the fabric at the same time (I'm right-handed), I can only use a 4" hoop, which is a real nuisance as the sewing method of embroidery moves along pretty fast; thus, I end up moving the hoop every few minutes. That's why I don't use one. Maybe there's another technique?
Thanks so much for helping a beginner. I look forward to the day I can embroider something good enough to use on a pillow or to frame, or whatever.
Melissa
Joined: 6/6/2012 3:12 pm
Posts: 14