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?

  1. 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!
  2. 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!
  3. Take your canvas off the window and you are ready to embroider!
Good luck Irene!  Here I come with the book to lend you…. can’t wait to see how this works for you.