Blocking your Embroidery
When I create a pincushion with a lot of hand embroidery, there are a few little challenges to deal with along the way. Since I've added a few of my pincushion patterns as kits in my Etsy shop, I thought it would be helpful to share some of the little things I've learned along the way.
When embroidering on linen, I usually mark my pattern using water soluble marker. It will disappear withing a few days, but if water is added, the marks disappear almost immediately. Just wet a piece of paper towel and dab the marks until they are gone.
After the embroidery is finished, the fabric is often a bit warped. Since I normally do not embroider in a hoop, this is especially an issue that needs some attention. The finished pincushion may be off if the fabric is not right. This would be a good time to sew a line of stay stitching around the pincushion edge, about 1/8ths inch from the edge. (Actually, I often stay stitch before I begin my embroidery. It helps to cut down on fraying fabric while you stitch.)
To block your fabric, follow these simple steps.
1. Wet the fabric with water. Be sure to soak evenly. While you are wetting the fabric, be certain that all your marks have disappeared completely.
2. Gently tug and stretch your fabric to smooth out any lumps or bumps caused by the embroidery. This fabric represents hours of embroidery so take your time and take care when you work.
3. I use a thick piece of closed cell foam, (the kind that comes in the box your electronics came in). You can buy a sheet at the craft store as well. I usually mark the foam with a pencil. For instance, I may draw a perfect circle just a tad larger than my finished piece of fabric. This gives me a guide when I am stretching the fabric. Before you put embroidery on it, take window cleaner and wipe the foam down. The pencil will fade but the indentation of the pencil mark will remain. You don't want to stain your embroidery!
4. I then lay the embroidered piece on the foam and start pinning. Use lots of pins! When placing the pins begin on one side and then place a pin on the opposite side. Continue pinning one side and then the other until all your pins are placed.
Now you know the secret of most great embroiderers. Don't tell them I told you. Once complete, your embroidery will look beautiful, even and flat. Attention to detail is a good thing and you'll be happy you took the time to bring out the beauty in your handwork.
Now go make something beautiful!