I just found your blog and I wanted to say that I'm really happy to see a serious embroidery artist who is using aida cloth + pencil. The more embroidery resources I've seen online, the more I've felt like I'm committing sacrilege by using those instead of canvas/cotton/linen and fabric markers :P
Oh man, do I know that feeling. I have to be careful about how much time I spend looking at traditional embroidery/needlepoint blogs, because I want to be inspired but instead walk away feeling inadequate and “fake” due to my preferred techniques. (paint? instead of thread?? HOW DARE)
but I absolutely stand by the pencil and aida. I’ve discussed my preference for aida a few times (even recently), and nothing marks the aida better than pencil. Pencil also allows for error correction (because the aida is an erasable fabric! who knew? [us]), and it doesn’t fade unless you rub it intentionally with your fingers.
I once tried to use a fabric marker with ink that disappears with water, and I found out that after a few days, the ink disappears with air too. I can’t even stitch “Steve Rogers in the Shower” in a few days – something I am very motivated to stitch – so I need more staying power than that. Another tally for pencil!
I’m not saying that the pencil is The Perfect Pattern-Making Tool, but for aida cloth specifically, it’s pretty darn good. so I’m with you, and we can use each other’s confidence to make up for our own insecurities. 💕
(also, you think I’m a serious embroidery artist? i’m honored! especially since i was just writing about stitching steve rogers in the shower.)
Me again!!! Thank you for all the information with my last ask! I have another one. What specific paint color(s) do you use for skin tone? (Like your latest WW embroidery for example)
Hello! I’m glad I can be helpful and answer your questions!
The colors I used for Wonder Woman’s skin specifically are peach, white, burnt umber (dark brown), crimson (red), and violet.
The violet is KEY because it creates a softer and more pleasant shadow! 💜💟💜
Hey, What kind of stitch did you use for the lasso?
Hey there, it’s called the “couching” stitch! I hadn’t used it in a piece before, but it was perfect for the lasso.
Here’s quick overview of the stitch…
Thread A - the thread that lays on top of the fabric; it only goes up through the fabric once and back down through the fabric once.
Thread B - the thread that loops over and around Thread A to hold Thread A to the fabric
- Pull Thread A through the fabric.
- Hold Thread A along the fabric - you’ll likely need to do this in sections. Try to hold it as close to where you want it to be fixed as you can.
- Using Thread B, poke through on one side of Thread A, loop over it and go back through the fabric on the other side of Thread A. Don’t go back through the same hole you came up through, but instead very near it. Wherever possible, Thread B should be perpendicular over Thread A.
- Repeat this process until Thread A is fixed to the top of the fabric for the line segment. Once complete, pull Thread A back through the fabric. Try to evenly distribute the Thread B loops – the exception for the lasso was in areas where Thread A made tight direction changes, Thread B stitches were closer together in those spots.
It’s a pretty easy stitch for such a neat effect! I’ve circled a few of the Thread B stitches on that Wonder Woman couching angle:
For those curious about the floss colors: A = DMC E3852, B = DMC 680.
I’ve gone into more detail than asked for in your question, but I hope it still helps!
I love your art so much! Can I ask what are you using to color in the fabric when not using thread as a filler? How is it not bleeding?! You are clearly some type of wizard! 😂
And not a wizard, just practiced ;) I’ve learned how the watercolors at different concentrations soak into and bleed through the fabric and how to control it better, but that doesn’t mean that it never happens anymore. My tools for fixing are a black felt-tip pen and a white gel pen.
I’m working on that Wonder Woman, and I’ve had a few places that I’ve needed these fixin’ tools.
[Image: work in progress of Wonder Woman, areas circled show both color bleed and paint on the black thread]
Here’s what it looks like fixed (and a little more painted lol):
[Image: a slightly more complete wonder woman]
The blue bleed above the cape I covered with the white gel pen, the yellow-gold over the black thread I covered with the black felt-tip pen, and the yellow below the belt I had to let dry completely before I covered it with the blue of her plated skirt.
I definitely recommend trying watercolors with your stitching! And if you do, let me know!
I’m so glad they’re working for you, @sleeepysapphic!!
Hey @heiresscomics! I don’t know of any go-to resources, I learned just by practicing (and practicing and trying new things and those things both working and not working…)
I do have an Embroidery Starter Tutorial that I put together a few years ago – and I think it still holds up! I’ve answered lots of questions over the years about embroidery too – ultimately, I’m trying to give everyone a leg up from where I started! – so I’ve got a How-to Tag for all of them.
And I always welcome more questions 😊
This is the kind of needlework that 18. Century woman would have envied and respected
This is, genuinely, one of the coolest compliments my work has ever received, thank you.
How do you get your stitches so small on that fabric? Referencing the X-Men project
Well, I want to say “practice,” but I know that’s not the answer you’re looking for! 😄
I think it comes down to the fabric – I use aida cloth (22 ct) because aida is the only fabric I’ve found that provides the rigidity that I need. Most fabrics - especially the classic cotton or linen used by other embroiderers - either have stretch or are too loose of a weave, meaning the stitches pull on the cloth and distort the lines. No good! Aida also has enough fibers that allow for only fractions-of-a-millimeter differences between stitch location.
I’ve tried canvas, linen, Evenweave (28 ct), and muslin cotton, but none have the same properties as aida, and without those properties, I can’t stitch comics with the same detail and accuracy.
Aida is branded for cross-stitching, which is why it’s so stiff. Those X’s need to be straight and fixed in a grid, you don’t want them angled due to fabric distortion!
(Sidenote, I also love the distinct grid of aida, the grid makes it so much easier to stitch curves and straight lines [all about that slope, baybeeee 📈😎])
For anyone stitching similar detail embroidery, I recommend giving aida cloth a try!
embroidery still in progress, approximately 80-85 hours of stitching time … i think i’ll call this the halfway point