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Learn About Hand Embroidery

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I recently introduced you to the idea of Slow Sewing. Well, nothing defines slow sewing better than hand embroidery. Unfortunately, I never learned hand embroidery, so I decided that this summer would be a good time to take on this task.

Learn About Hand Embroidery Pin

Learn About Hand Embroidery

My friend Kitty at Night Quilter was the one who inspired me to take on this project. She had been working on a color wheel sampler and I was intrigued. I particularly liked the fact that the project combined understanding color AND learning different embroidery stitches.


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Without delay, I went over to Etsy and purchased this Color Wheel Sampler by Dropcloth. My original plans were to use inexpensive embroidery floss. So, off to Hobby Lobby I went.

embroidery thread

The creator of the Dropcloth Sampler is Rebecca Ringquist and she has a class on CreativeBug where she teaches almost all of these stitches. You can get a Free Trial of the class here.  

Learning Different Methods

In the class, Rebecca uses embroidery floss with ease. I started my project using the embroidery floss but it kept knotting and was about to defeat me. I also felt like some of the more delicate stitches disappeared with the floss.

printed sampler

It’s pretty obvious that I am a newbie who doesn’t know the best way to use this thread. After doing a few sections, I undid all of my stitches.Then I remembered that Kitty from Night Quilter kept talking about this awesome 12 wt. thread from Aurifil. I emailed her and she shared her color list with me then later she posted it on her blog. Thanks, Kitty!


You need to understand that 12 wt. thread is really designed for hand quilting. Since this is Aurifil thread, it has a nice sheen and is very strong. The thread was not available anywhere around here, and I had to go to the internet to purchase it. You can find similar thread in a variety of colors.

embroidery thread

Once I received my thread, it was like night and day. I started to enjoy mastering hand embroidery. My favorite stitch {so far} is Herringbone. I like the way it is stitched and I love the outcome.

embroidery stitches

A week or so ago I overdid it at the gym and was really sore for a day. As in ~ could barely walk. This was the perfect opportunity to finish my Dropcloth Sampler. So, I parked myself on the sofa and finished my embroidery project.

Continuing to Learn

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While I liked the CreativeBug course, I found one on Craftsy that I absolutely love. It’s called Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery by Jessica Marquez.

The Craftsy class shows the stitches up close. Waaaayyyyy up close. I was able to sit on the sofa with my phone and watch a little video, pick up my embroidery, go back to the video, etc.

Craftsy embroidery class cover

Some Bumps Along the Way

I know I have a way to go on my Chain Stitch and don’t even get me started on those French Knots. One of the things I did was double my thread on some of the thinner stitches. I took out the Coral Stitch I had previously done and replaced it with one using doubled thread. If I had been using the embroidery floss, I probably could’ve kept my stitches. Oh well, live and learn.

finished sampler

Hand Quilting the Sampler

Since the 12 wt. thread is really a quilting thread I decided to have a little fun with it. I applied batting and linen backing to my project and drew some quilting lines.

hand quilting sampler

I quilted using the Running Stitch. Then I trimmed away the excess batting and left 1″ of linen around all sides to create a binding. I hand sewed this down and then top stitched with a Running Stitch.

It’s pretty easy to see all of the imperfections here. Of course, this sampler has no real use that I can see other than the calm and relaxation the project provided.

finished sampler

Things I Learned

One of the biggest bonuses to this entire project is the whole color wheel aspect. I kind of feel like I’ve turned a color corner.

finished sampler

Slow Sewing is so rewarding and I’m glad I have taken the time to slow down a bit and enjoy the process. Next up, a little hand appliqué.

I’ll keep you posted.

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