Last week, while helping at Sit N Knit, Irene asked me about an embroidery project that she was about to attack. Someone had a small (four inches square) embroidery piece. They wanted Irene to add a name to the existing embroidery and then have it framed as a gift. What did I think about this? Did I have any books that discussed this?
Hmmm… I wasn’t sure what type of embroidery it was, but I do know that it wasn’t cross stitch. I guessed that it was probably crewel embroidery, so out came a childhood favorite: Erica Wilson’s The Craft of Crewel Embroidery. A small embroidered name in a stem or split stitch would probably work.
But how to approach this project?
- First, I wouldn’t embroider the name onto the original piece. It’s already small; how would you keep your tension? You’d need to attach additional fabric to the original in order to fit in a frame. So why not just appliqué the original embroidery to a nice cotton or linen canvas after embroidering the name on the new fabric? It protects the original work from excess handling and stress. No vintage or antique textile likes stress!
- Next: what style of lettering? There are many ways to do this, but I suggest 2 different possibilities: a nice, hand written pencil marking with beautiful script or choosing a font from your word processing program. Choose the size and font that appeals to you and print out a page with the exact writing. Take your embroidery canvas and press a piece of freezer paper to the wrong side. Then, tape the paper with the writing onto a window. Place your canvas on top of the paper and tape it as well (blue painter’s tape works well here). Trace the letters with a sharp HB or a number 2 pencil. If you have a light box, that works wonders, but not every home has one of those!
- Take your canvas off the window and you are ready to embroider!