Wednesday, October 08, 2008

Add Life to your Quilting with Embroidery

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.

I had my own experience in embroidery at school where I made an apron and it was pinned up at the back of my school classroom when I was 10 years old and that was some unforgettable event for me. Of course it was just a simple work but to have your handiwork displayed sure give me some pride in that. Back to quilts, I got my first quilt from grandma as a little girl and it really keeps my body and heart warm. It was made and stitched with love after all.

These days 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.

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