These instructions apply to the the entire series of seasonal tree designs and should be read carefully before starting.
Tracing the Shape or Line Design On Canvas and Mounting It On Stretcher Bars
- Place your canvas on top of the template making sure that the design is centered and that the weave of the canvas is straight in relation to the drawn template.
- Use a fine line permanent marker to trace the shape. Micron brand Size 005 produces a fine and distinct line. These pens can be found in art supply stores. You can purchase them singly or in a pack of eight colors. If you purchase a pack you can use a color that is somewhat close to your thread color. This eliminates any show-through of your markings.
- Always mount the canvas on stretcher bars. Use staples or tacks to secure the canvas to the bars, beginning with a staple/tack in the center of each side. Pull on the canvas as you insert staples/tacks so that the canvas is taut.
- Canvas tends to stretch as it is stitched. If or when the canvas becomes loosened, be sure to retighten it on the stretcher bars.
Tracing the Shape or Line Design Onto Fabric For Surface Embroidery and Mounting It On Stretcher Bars or a Hoop
- Place your fabric on top of the template making sure that the design is centered and that the weave of the fabric is straight in relation to the drawn template.
- Paper clip or pin fabric and template together and hold up to a window. Use a fine line permanent marker (such as Micron brand Size 005 noted above) to trace the shape.
- If your fabric is too opaque to see the line drawing, use dressmaker’s carbon. Place the fabric on a table, then a sheet of the dressmaker’s carbon, and lay the line drawing on top. Trace the lines of the drawing using a pencil, carefully lifting up the drawing and carbon to check that the tracing is visible on the fabric. When tracing is complete, go over the lines with the fine-tip Micron marker specified above because the carbon wears off rather easily.
- Always mount the fabric on stretcher bars or an embroidery hoop. If you are using a hoop, be sure to loosen the hoop whenever you are not working on the piece.
Working with Threads
Splendor, Au Ver a Soie Soie d’Alger, Soie Cristale, Needlepoint Silk, and overdyed or space-dyed silks such as Silk n’ Colors or Waterlilies are treated just like 6-strand embroidery thread.
- 6-Strand Embroidery Thread
- Separate into individual strands.
- Use 3 to 4 individual strands on 18-count canvas (3 for diagonal stitches and 4 for straight stitches). Depending on your working tension and your familiarity with laying threads, you may need to add a strand to the number suggested.
- Use a laying tool to stroke or smooth the strands of thread. Each of the individual strands should lie straight and parallel to each other (not twisted).
- Work with a length of thread no longer than 24″.
- Watercolours and Wildflowers
It’s a good idea to not cut through the hank of thread. This allows you more control of the color variations of the thread. You can cut the thread so that your preferred colors occur in specified places or are more dominant in the area.
Watercolours – Separate into individual strands (3 per full strand), then use just one individual strand.
Wildflowers – Use one strand as it comes from the hank.
Stitching/Outlining the Ornament/Brooch Shape
- On canvas
Stitch two rows of continental (tent) stitch. Stitch one row all the way around, right on top of your drawn line. Stitch a second row, sharing canvas holes, outside the first row. These two rows of continental stitch serve several purposes. They provide a well-defined solid edge and a foundation of stitches for attaching the twisted cording when you are finishing the ornament. These stitches also establish the edge of the design so that you don’t have to constantly make decisions when you are working compensation stitches along the edge of the design.
- For surface embroidery
Stitch a row of backstitches or outline stitches on top of the traced oval.
Working the Stitches
- Begin your stitching with a waste knot (bring the thread length through the canvas or fabric so the knot is on top of the canvas approximately one inch forward to your starting point). You will secure the thread with your first inch of stitching and will cut off the knot when you reach it.
- Whenever possible, bring the needle up for a stitch in an empty canvas hole.
- On canvas when you are stitching in diagonal rows, always begin and end your thread either horizontally or vertically. Never place a waste knot or run your thread through the backs of stitches on the diagonal. Doing so may create diagonal ridges on the front of your work.