Feature · I Wish You a Merry QAL

I Wish You a Merry QAL Block 5!

I am so proud to share the Snowman block I designed!  I used Moda Grunge Evergreen, White Paper, Onyx, and Red for the piecing portion of the block.  Mr. Snowman’s nose is a Moda Grunge Orange scrap.

When we first started planning this QAL, I jumped at the chance to make a Snowman block!  Snowmen are my favorite thing about winter and the holidays, especially cute snowmen.  As you can see, I made a lot of not-so-cute and not-so-proportional snowmen through the different iterations of the design I tried.

Continue reading “I Wish You a Merry QAL Block 5!”

Feature · Tutorial

Backstitch’s Back Alright!  (A Tutorial)

Pardon my ’90s parody title, but I couldn’t resist tying back to the Backstreet Boys. I also must preface this post that I do not regularly do any hand embroidery.  However if I do, it is a simple little backstitch to embellish my piece.  This may or may not a handy little technique that will be used later in the QAL I am currently hosting. (*hint hint)

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In order to backstitch, here are some supplies you may find handy.

  • Embroidery Floss:  There are different types of floss out there, the floss that I can easily source near me is the DMC brand.  You can find it at the local big box stores, and it typically ranges from 35-50 cents per skein/color.  In my photo above, you’ll see I wind my floss onto little boards and label with the color ID number.  Floss is made up of 6 strands, and I typically use all 6 strands while doing embroidery.
  • A Needle:  Make sure the eye of the needle is large enough for all 6 strands of the embroidery floss.  If the pattern calls for less, it should state how many strands to use.
  • Marking tool:  I use a Frixon pen to mark my embroidery pattern on the fabric.  You can use an air erasable pen or even a pencil, whatever you normally use to mark will be fine.
  • Sandpaper (300 grit or finer): This is optional.  I use sandpaper at a very fine grit to help stabilize the fabric when I write. The sandpaper catches the fabric just enough so it doesn’t shift.

Now that you have your supplies, let’s start. Thread the needle with the embroidery floss, and tie a knot at the end of the thread tail.

I have marked up the line we will be backstitching on.  The numbers will help indicate the order of where the needle is going and the numbers are on the top of the piece.

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Start by putting the needle through #1 and back down through #2, then up finally at #3.  This is how you’ll start any backstitch.

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The backstitching part comes next, notice that #4 is the same location as #2.  Now you’ll stitch back to #4 position and back up to #5.

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Repeat this backstitch for positions #6 and #7.

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If I wanted to end the backstitch line, I’d put the needle through #8 and tie off the embroidery and you’re done!  This is how the back of the piece should look, I haven’t ended the backstitch just yet so there is no ending knot.

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Easy peasy, right?! Well that’s how you embroider a simple backstitch.

Other helpful tips:

  • Stitch length:  This is going to be person dependent.  I try to have about 1/8″ stitch length on a straight line, but it’ll vary if I am backstitching on a curve.
  • Tension: Do not pull the floss too tight.  The fabric should not cinch up due to the floss being too tight.  The floss should be flush with the fabric both on the front and the back. 

Happy Stitching!

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