Friday, 26 December 2014

Embroidery Accessories I Love!

I love embroidery accessories, and there are some that are more useful than others.  This is a list of accessories that I love and why.

Please be aware that I have linked to particular items - that does not mean I endorse the brand.  It means that this is an example of the item.  I encourage you to use the item, but to shop around and find what suits you best.

  • Embroidery Hoops of various sizes   You can never have too many of these.  I recommend wooden hoops with screw clamps.  There are a number of different types - plastic, metal and PVC clamp types, but I prefer wood.  The wood is as flexible as needed and they are gentle on the fibres of the fabric you are stitching with.  I don't recommend metal at all - it can be too harsh on your fabric, and also many plastic hoops have an inner hoop of metal.  I also find wood grips the fabric better than any other material. 
  • Magnetic Board  If I am working off a chart, this board comes with strip magnets to hold it in place securely.  It also provides a solid surface for me to mark off what I have stitched, or to make any notations about changes I have made.  These boards come in various sizes (this is the largest size).
  • Magnetic Line Magnifier   Another essential for me!  My eyesight is getting worse as the years pass, and this gadget gives a great level of magnification and the line ensures that you don't loose your place in your chart.  
  • Light Box/Tracing table   Do yourself a favour.  Buy one of these.  This will make transferring designs to your fabric simple.  Over the years, I have used a number of different methods of transferring designs to fabric, but this is by far the easiest and best way.  A light box can also be used if you are doing counted work on dark fabric.  Place it on your lap and let the light shine upwards through the fabric.  It will make it easier to see the weave in the fabric. and allow you to count your stitches.
  • Transfer Pen   I use this in conjunction with my light box, or even for drawing a design freehand onto fabric for stitching. Look for a pen that is water erasable as it means that any visible lines can be removed by either dabbing damp sponge/cloth or by running under cold water.  A warning - if you wash this in laundry detergent or hot water, the lines will turn permanent, so always rinse your work in cold water before final laundering when you are finished.
  • Magnetic Needle Case   OK - I have to owe my good friend Ringwar for introducing me to these.  I hadn't seen one before, and when she pulled hers out I fell in love!  All of these cases have a strong magnet in them to hold the needles firmly in place.  The one above is fairly deep and holds a number of needles - plus it's very pretty! The one linked to will also hold pins. The one I have is smaller and only one needle deep and is perfect for me as I use it mostly when I am on the go, and don't have my regular needle case with me.  
  • Needle Case   Which brings me to this.  Thee come in very handy to keep your needles in.  I always drop a little foam in the bottom and top to cushion the ends of the needle and prevent them from burring, blunting or bending.  I actually have a couple of these - one that is similar to this, and a lovely carved wooden one that is considerably larger.  I use the wooden one for my larger and longer needles, and the smaller one for the embroidery needles I used often.  When I buy a new pack of needles, however, I don't immediately put them in the case.  In only add the needles when I have used them.  A needle case is better than the plastic and cardboard boards you buy needles in as they are easier to get the needles out of, and prevent you from sticking yourself as you rummage through your accessory box looking for a needle!
  • Emery Pin Cushion   You will be very familiar with these - the small strawberry shapes that often come attached to pincushions.  Don't be without one of these, and use it each time you pick up a needle to stitch.  These are filled with very fine emery powder and pushing your needle through this before you start to stitch, and after you have finished stitching, will ensure that the needle is kept sharp.  It will also remove any specks of rust or burring that may occur with use.  Using one of these regularly will extend the life of your needles - and pins!  
  • Thread Snippers  Not scissors, or a thread cutter.  Thread snippers are a design that goes back to the ancient Egyptians and examples are often found in many archaeological digs around the world.  This style has no hinge, but they also come with various style hinges that enable more control.  The design of these allows you to slip the threads very close to the fabric, and they can also be used to unpick small areas.  
These are just a few of the embroidery accessories I always have close to hand when I stitch.  Feel free to comment on what accessories you wouldn't be without when you stitch.

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