Embroidery is enjoying a resurgence in popularity, much the same as quilting and knitting and other hand crafts. Many crafters who enjoy quilting also end up enjoying embroidery and might feel as if they have torn loyalties-which craft to pursue in the small amount of time available for hobbies? The good news is that quilting and embroidery make excellent companions. Crafters who love quilting but are attracted to the depth and color that embroidery stitches offer can follow both their loves by combining the two crafts.
A quilt embellished with embroidered stitches is one of the most beautiful hand-crafted creations imaginable. Take a look at some of the “crazy quilts” from the Victorian era. These quilts are most often made of silk, often from leftover men’s ties or other bits of fabric, and were pieced together in a random manner (hence the name) and then heavily embellished with embroidery. Even if your interest in quilting slants more toward traditional quilts, it’s worth taking a look at these crazy quilts to get ideas for using embroidery to embellish your quilts. Crazy quilts use embroidery extensively, in many cases covering nearly every bit of the quilt’s surface, but you can use touches of embroidery here and there on your quilts or quilted clothing to give it depth and texture.
Embroidery stitches are easy to learn, and you may even know some already. Browse through sites on the internet, and you’ll find many with clear photos or pictures of embroidery stitches. Some common embroidery stitches you might want to use include blanket and chain stitch for outlining, and feather, herringbone, lazy daisy, straight and cross stitches for decorative touches.
Many quilters enjoy doing appliqué as part of their quilting techniques, and embroidery is a natural partner to appliqué. The process of appliqué involves layering one fabric atop another, as opposed to sewing pieces of fabric together, and embroidery stitches such as the blanket stitch can be used to decorate the edges of the appliquéd piece. Or perhaps you may want to use embroidery on the background fabric, to emphasize the appliquéd pieces. The manufacturers of embroidery floss have kept pace with developments in the world of crafting, and now offer floss in an array of fibers, including perle cotton, rayon, silk and even linen and hemp. They also feature brilliant colors, with some even offering hand-dyed and variegated flosses.
Many quilters prefer to do their quilting by machine, instead of hand, and these same quilters may also prefer to do their embroidery by machine. With the huge variety of incredibly powerful sewing machines on the market, this is a snap. Many sewing machines have embroidery functions with extensive lists of stitches, which are as easy to accomplish as flipping a switch on the machine. As with embroidery floss, there are many specialty threads available for machine embroidery.
Look into adding embroidery to your quilting and open up a whole new world of quilting and crafting pleasure to your life.