Wednesday, May 19, 2010

Tried This?

Hello kiddos!  I've been stitching a whole lot lately, so I've got nothing but needles and thread on my mind today.  It occurred to me that you guys might like to know some of the tips and tricks that I use when I'm embroidering.
One of the most common complaints with embroidery is how tough it is to work with metallic floss.  In the beginning, I felt the same way.  Years ago I suffered through a race car project made entirely of metallic floss... and all six strands of it too.  After a newcomer mistake like that it's a wonder I ever picked up a needle again.  I've mentioned Thread Heaven before as something that will help you out.  However, I'll show you a little something that you can do that won't cost you anything.  

Did you know that there is a correct way to thread your needle with metallic floss?  Yep, there sure is.  I know you're thinking, don't you just cut a piece, knot one end and put the other through the eye of the needle and then get to stitching?  Well, that will work too but trust me, once you try it the other way you'll never go back.  

Cut a piece of floss twice as long as the length you like working with.  Separate one strand of floss from the skein and fold it in half.

Thread the loop created by folding it through the eye of the needle.

Pull this loop over the sharp end of the needle.

Pull the loop back to the eye of the needle.

Adjust the loop so that it held securely under the eye of the needle.

Knot the loose end of the floss as you would normally and get to stitching.

Sometimes I like to mix metallic floss with a regular color.  You can use the same method to accomplish that, just place the two threads together before you fold them in the first step.  Running some thread conditioner or a damp cloth over them in the beginning with help when you are stitching with them.

A few more tips for metallic floss-
* Work slow, choosing the placement of your stitches carefully.  As this type of floss is stiffer than regular embroidery floss it will not lie the same against your fabric.

* Using a slightly larger needle helps too.  It allows the floss to pass through with less fraying.

* If you get tangled up, just let go.  Drop the needle and it will unwind itself.  And with this method you don't have to worry about losing the needle when you do this.

Did I forget anything?  Do you have a tip for working with tricky floss?  If so, I would love to hear it!
Thanks for looking, have a creative and productive day.  Go make something with your shiny floss.

P.S.  Dearest Sam... a teaser for you.  So, the copper floss I used to demonstrate this method?  One of your pieces has already used a whole skein of it!  Curious now, aren't you?  Hmmmm, what could it be?


Audio said...

Great tips, thank you! I have been scared into never wanting to use metallic floss, not that I embroider that much. If I ever get into embroidery again I'll make sure to keep these tips in mind, I'm nost so afraid anymore!

Giggly said...

I have never tried that! I really should, thanks! I dread using that floss. :-/

MafiosaGrrl said...

I'm glad that you guys found it useful. The first time i thought, Oh, whatever, how much of difference can it make... But wow! It makes it soooo much easier to use :)

artymess said...

i'm going to try that......great tip ....i read somewhere that if you work with rayon thread it's best to put it in the freezer first !!!....haven't tried it ....Lorna x

MafiosaGrrl said...

hmmmm, the freezer, huh? that seems easy enough I'll have to try that. yeah, using rayon floss bothers me a heck of a lot more than metallic, mainly because i can't get nice, tight stitches with it.

Sam said...

A whole skein of copper metallic floss? Is there a hint in there somewhere? You are a tease! ;-)

Thanks for the tips, I must try that trick with metallic floss as I LOVE it so much. I usually cheat and couch it.

MafiosaGrrl said...

muah ha ha- i know I'm evil :) I'll post a little pick for you sometime this weekend. hopefully i can get an angle that is totally confusing and doesn't give it away :)

Cate said...

Thanks for sharing this! I have a future project in mind that involves copious amounts of silver thread, but I was dreading it because the stuff always drives me nuts. I'll definitely give this a shot!

MafiosaGrrl said...

I hope it helps you! Trust me, once you try it you'll never do it different makes for a much more enjoyable experience.