more embroidery Q & A

I'm off to Philadelphia tomorrow so won't have time to do a full Stitch School post. But I have more embroidery questions from readers and this seemed like a good time to answer them.

I wonder if you could explain how to do the lazy daisy flower with two contrasting threads. It's the last picture in your lazy daisy instructions. That flower is so beautiful! Just love to be able to learn it.Irene Heikes

This is the flower that Irene is referring to:


And this is what it looks like on the back:


I didn't do this embroidery so I can't be 100% certain of this, but it looks to me like it was done with two needles and two colors of thread. The technique is the same (see lazy daisy post) except that you'll need to hold the loop while you maneuver the second needle to make the small stitch that catches the curve of the loop. That may be a little awkward—it even sounds awkward. My other thought was to do the stitch as you usually would and go back over the catch stitch with your second color. I'm not sure it will cover completely and might be kind of lumpy.

I don't use a hoop. Is that wrong? When I use a hoop, I tend to push up the fabric to get the needle through. I do have a Q-Snap hoop. Maybe I should pull that out of the attic and try again. Will it make the stitches neater?Appliejuice

Everyone has to find their own best way of doing things and if you've found that embroidering without one works for you, then it's not wrong! Personally I think you get better results with some tension on the fabric but there are some things that I don't use a hoop for—like quilted baby bibs that have enough weight to them already. I do find that some stitches are a bit harder to do in a hoop and often will use a "stabbing" effect with the needle rather than a "skimming the surface" technique, which can cause the fabric distortion that you mentioned. As for neatness, I think that has more to do with the person doing the embroidery :)

I had a question about embroidering on pillowcases and I thought maybe you could help. Embroidering is so much easier when a hoop is used, and with my first three projects I have been able to use one without any problem, but what does a person do when you embroider on either pillowcases or flat sheets when the embroidery is on the edge and you can't get all the fabric in the hoop? How do you keep it taut?Carrie-Lee

They make very small embroidery hoops that might work for this, but I find that the area they contain is so small that you have to constantly move the hoop. You could try a stretcher frame. But there is another way and this will work for anything that's too small for a hoop. Take some wide strips of fabric and sew them (with long basting stitches so they'll be easy to remove later) onto the edge of your piece. Complete your embroidery, then remove the strips.

Since I began writing this I've received several more questions. So, if you haven't heard back from me, I haven't forgotten you. You'll be in the next batch!

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