In my book, there are few fiber art projects that can't be improved with a little hand embroidery. Hand stitches add interest, texture, and the personal touch of the artist. Handwork can be used to create a focal point, move the eye around the piece, and emphasize lines, plus it's fun and relaxing to do.
Even the simples stitches like the cross stitch or French knot can add that "little something" a piece of art often needs.
|Hand embroidery stitches add interest and movement in this
fabric collage by Deborah Boschert.
Deborah Boschert is a fiber artist who almost always includes simple hand embroidery designs in her artwork. Not only is she an artist, but a busy mom who travels frequently. So I asked her for some tips on she works hand sewing into her life.
Deborah's Quick Tips for Hand Stitching
1. Hand embroidery is portable! I have several projects in plastic bags that I can take upstairs and stitch while I watch TV with my family. Each bag includes pre-chosen floss colors, needles, and notes about what stitches I've planned for the design.
2. No matchy-matchy. I've got lots of floss, but sometimes I run out of a specific color. Rather than going out to buy more, I just choose a close match and keep stitching. Often this will even add more interest to the design.
3. Rein in fugitive floss. When using just two or three strands of floss from a six-strand skein, I drape the remaining strands over my shoulder so I know exactly where they are when I'm ready to thread a new needle.
4. Stitch without a hoop. I use felt for batting on my small art quilt collages. The felt gives the collage a lot of body so I don't even need to use a hoop when I embroider. Felt is great for stitching through, too. No bearding! (That's when bits of batting pull through to the top of the art quilt.)
|These elongated Y embroidery stitches are a signature of Deborah's art.|
5. Eschew the rules. Play around and explore new ways to put stitches together. Create your own motifs, embroidery patterns, and fill designs.
6. Let your hand be your guide. If your fingers are feeling raw, you need a thimble. If your wrist is getting achy, you need a break. (Confession: Sometimes I forget to follow this advice myself!)
I love these tips! Deborah demonstrates how to design and compose fabric collages plus how to add hand embroidery stitches to add interest on her video, "Contemporary Fabric Collage," now available with your subscription to Craft Daily. Deborah's enthusiasm and techniques have you running to your stash ready to create collages and embellish them with embroidery.
P.S. What's your favorite hand embroidery tip? Share it in the comments section below.