What do I need to start embroidering?
Embroidery can be an intimidating craft to get started with - there are hundreds of different types of stitches to learn for starters - but don't let this put you off giving it a go! Most crafters tend to lean towards cross stitch when starting out their stitching journey - but actually embroidery can be easier to get to grips with plus you don't need to count your stitches. Plus you can create some beautiful detailled designs with a larger variety of texture!
The first thing that you will need when starting out on your embroidery journey is an embroidery hoop - these come in wood, bamboo or plastic typically! They are an easy way to maintain tension accross your fabric whilst you are stitching. Even tension will ensure that your stitches look neat and equal in size - plus it can be easier to stitch using an embroidery hoop as your fabric won't fold in on itself. Most beginner kits tend to come with embroidery hoops nowadays (all of ours do!) An additional benefit of using an embroidery hoop is that once you have finished your piece of embroidery you can use the hoop to frame your work and hang it up directly on your wall!
The second key thing that you will need when getting started with embroidery is a design that you want to embroider. Now you can just draw something yourself using a dressmakers pen (that will disappear when washed) directly onto your fabric. Or you could trace out a design using a source of light with the design taped underneath your fabric (windows work well for this). Or if this all sounds a bit too fiddly for you then you could also try using a kit that comes with preprinted fabric - where you won't need to do anything because the design is already to go on your fabric, just pop it into your hoop and you are ready! You can buy kits with all sorts of patterns some are very intricate and others are much more simple so read carefully to find the right one for you. Ideally as a beginner embroiderer you will be seeking a kit that only uses 1-3 different types of stitches - otherwise it can all get a bit overwhelming. The third thing that you need is the right sort of fabric. Embroidery can be quite detailled so you tend to use a delicate needle when stitching. Ideally when you are starting out the best fabric to use is one that is easy to pull your delicate embroidery needle through without creating massive holes in your fabric. You need fabric that isn't too loosely woven (such as aida) and also not too thick such as denim! Any fabric can be embroidered on (even thick fabrics such as leather or PVC) but ideally for the nicest stitching experience I'd reccommend using cotton poplin to start with. It's easy to sketch an embroidery design on to - holds it's shape well and is forgiving if you make a mistake!
The last two things that you need for embroidery is a delicate sewing needle. The smaller the needle the neater your embroidery stitches will be - most embroidery kits will come with a small sharp needle! And you will also need embroidery floss - typically the best way to tell if you have embroidery floss is if the thread will separate into 6 individual strands (you need 2 strands to stitch). There are lots of different degrees of quality embroidery floss out there - the lower the quality of your thread the more plasticky it is likely to feel. Having a thread that is good quality can make all the difference when stitching because it will help your thread to glide through the fabric and in some cases for really good thread such as DMC thread it will make your embroidery stitches glisten in the light. All of our kits use DMC thread - which is the highest quality embroidery floss around and comes in hundreds of colour options! Finally a bonus extra that can be really helpful to have to hand when getting started with embroidery is a pair of sharp embroidery scissors! These aren't essential but they can be really useful for trimming tiny details or unpicking if you make a mistake! I hope this little list helps you to get started on your embroidery journey! Love Becci x