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20 Common Embroidery Mistakes

Mistakes 11 through 20


20 Common Embroidery Mistakes
© Cheryl C. Fall, Licensed to About.com

Top 20 Embroidery Msitakes, Continued...

11. Not using an embroidery hoop or frame
Using an embroidery hoop, scroll frame or stretcher bars keeps the fabric taunt and makes it easier to work accurate, well-formed stitches. Using these tools helps your tension consistent, helps eliminate puckering or stitch distortion, and also keeps the work cleaner as you won’t be bunching the fabric in your “holding hand” as you stitch.

12. Rolling your fabric on a scroll frame in the wrong direction Fabric should be rolled on the bars of a scroll frame with the wrong sides of the fabric rolled to the outside (facing you). This helps keep the fabric clean as your project is worked, as the front side of the project is protected from your hands and airborne dirt by having it rolled to the inside.

13. Not removing the hoop before storing
Always remove your embroidery hoop before putting away your embroidery for the day, or storing it for any length of time. A hoop can leave a crease in the fabric that can be permanent or very difficult to remove. It is okay, however, to leave your work in a stretcher frame or scroll frame, as these tools do not cause creases. Be sure to also remove the needle from the fabric before storing, in case it rusts.

14. Not having enough floss or embroidery thread when starting the project
Before working the embroidery stitches, make sure you have all the necessary embroidery threads on-hand. This is especially true if you are using older threads from your stash, as older threads may have faded or have been pulled from the manufacturer’s current line, making it nearly impossible to find a new match.

15. Soiling your project
Always wash your hands before working on your embroidery project. If you have taken care while working on your design and washed your hands before stitching, you may not need to launder the finished piece. I must admit that I cringe whenever I see someone snacking while working on their embroidery projects. Often, certain oils and food colorings, or coffee and tea may not wash out of a finished piece, and snacking while stitching is a no-no!

16. Improper cleaning or laundering for the thread or fabric type
If an item does require laundering, be sure to check the fiber content of fabric and thread before washing. Crewel is often worked on cotton or linen in crewel wool and should be hand-washed, while some fabrics are meant to be dry-cleaned only. Washing these items the conventional way can cause shrinkage of the fabric or threads, ruining the finished project.

17. Improperly pressing a finished embroidery piece, smashing the stitching
As embroidery buffs, we work hard to create beautiful works of art with delicate and dimensional stitching. Don’t ruin the piece by pressing a project like you would a shirt. Instead, preserve the texture of the stitching by placing the piece face-down on a plush towel when pressing – this will help prevent flattened stitches.

18. Improperly storing needlework fabrics and finished pieces
Needlework is an investment of both time and materials. Properly storing your pieces will help avoid staining and fiber breakage, ensuring you get a lifetime of use from your items. Always use archival quality (acid-free) tissue to wrap each individual piece, and do not store the items directly on wood shelving (wood can leach chemicals that will cause yellowing). Also, do not starch your items before storing, as this can cause fibers to break along a crease or fold. Re-fold your treasures often to avoid permanent creases – or better yet, roll your items on acid-free cardboard tubing to avoid creases altogether.

19. Displaying needlework in direct sunlight
Many fabrics and threads used in embroidery like to promise that they are fade-resistant. But, Mother Nature will still find a way to fade your hard work when displayed in full sun, regardless of what the label on the thread or fabric indicates. To help avoid fading and sun damage, do not display needlework pieces in direct sunlight, and when framing your items under glass, be sure to use spacers between the needlework and the glass, and use UV-protective glass.

20. Rushing to fix a mistake
If you make a mistake and find yourself picking out stitching, do this carefully and slowly. Do not pull or tug threads to remove them. Instead, cut them carefully and remove them with tweezers so that you do not damage the base fabric.

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