Think of this as a curated guide to all the tips and resources I wish I'd read/watched before I embroidered for the first time! It links to some YouTube tutorials from other artists and creators, and is designed to give you the best intro into completing your first embroidery piece.
If you have just purchased the OASIS Embroidery Kit, check out the OASIS Step by Step Walkthrough (Tips & Tricks - OASIS Walkthrough) page!
Pulling Thread Apart
Each thread has 6 individual strands, that can be pulled apart to embroider with. The best way to pull these apart is to seperate them at the end, hold onto one strand, and slide the other strands off. Trying to do this with more than one strand at a time never works for me!
How to Thread Your Needle
I always recommend this YouTube Tutorial by Thread Unravelled to show and explain threads and how to thread your needle for embroidery.
How Many Strands to Use
The instructions will state how many strands each stitch is meant to use for the given design. Different amounts of strands will create different textures.
As you can see above, there are 2 different ways to do 2 (and 4 and 6) strands. You can either pull the strands all the way through so they are completely in half, and tie all the strands at the end.
Or, the more common embroidery technique, is to pull the strands just through, and put a knot in only in the end of half the strands. When using this technique, pinch the needle at the eye when pulling it through the fabric, so that the strands don't pull back through.
Neither technique is wrong, just personal preference!
Mount & Tighten Fabric to Embroidery Hoop
Fabric Tension is Everything!
Maintaining fabric tension while embroidering is key to a smooth design - and also makes it much easier to embroider.
Below is what loose fabric looks like in the hoop - you can see the shadows and the fabric moves a lot while you embroider.
To fix this, tighten the screw up the top of the hoop, and pull the excess fabric through the hoop. When pulling the fabric through, I find it works best when you start on one side, gently pull some fabric through, then move your way slowly around the hoop until you can't see any more buckling in the fabric. Another way to check and know your fabric is tight enough - if you tap it, it should sound kind of like a drum!
Using Needle Threaders
Once you have separated your thread and have the correct number of strands, use the needle threaders provided to thread the needle! (Note, if you are threading 6 strands at once, it may take some wiggling to pull through)
Wash off the Blue Pattern
Once you have finished embroidering, take the embroidery out of the hoop (the hoop could get stained by the blue ink otherwise) and wash under a tap with cold or warm water. You may need to rub some of the blue off with your finger tips - if it is really stubborn you can use soap! It should all wash away in 2 or 3 minutes.
Hang it out to dry in a safe and clean space to dry.
NOTE: if there is a blue tinge once dried after you have washed the blue pattern away, just wash again with some soap until gone.
Once dried, mount the fabric back onto the hoop and trim the excess fabric.
How to 'Back a Hoop'
Once you have completed your embroidery art, you can choose to frame it or keep it in the embroidery hoop for display! Below are steps on how to back the hoop so it can be displayed in the embroidery hoop.
1. Cut the excess fabric around the hoop, but leave a good amount of fabric to work with as shown below.
2. Using some leftover thread, do a loose running stitch around the outside of this excess fabric.
3. Pull the thread tight so that the excess material collapses inwards like shown below.
4. Tie off the string, and hang on a wall! You can use a hook to hang them up and tie a string to the top of the hoop, or blue-tack works just as well.
Time to Meet The Stitches...
It can be very difficult to learn a new stitch just from a diagram, videos are the best answer to that!
This YouTube Tutorial by LoveCrafts is brilliant for explaining the top 10 embroidery stitches.
This technique is the preferred style for many embroiderers to create a tidy line.
As you stitch, move your stitching hand from the back of the fabric to the front of the work as needed (without flipping over the hoop).
1. Make a single stitch backward to the point where the stitching should begin by inserting the needle front to back.
2. Bring the needle up a short distance from the first stitch on the line to the right. This will be the start of the second stitch.
This stitch creates a rope like effect that is great for stems and other lines.
1. Bring the needle through on the left side of the line you are working on (1).
2. Insert the needle up and towards the right side of the line (2).
3. Come back through at (3) - halfway between points (1) and (2). Try as best you can to keep the stitches even for a smooth look.
Long & Short Stitch
Used to fill areas of a design too large for satin stitch and for creating colour gradients.
1. Begin by work a row of stitches along the top of the shape, alternating long and short stitches.2. Work long stitches in the gaps created when working the short stitches, working in rows until you fill in the entire area.
This is not an exact art - just fill the gaps and try to keep Stitch direction consistent.
Continue stitching in the same manner, repeating the steps above and making stitches side by side, covering your shape or area being filled.
This looks great for stems of plants or flowers. It is used for the stems in the Sunflowers kits and many of the Spring Collection Kits.
1. Bring the needle through point 1 and then reinsert back into the same hole, creating a loop.
2. Bring the needle back out at 2 through the loop and tighten
3. Repeat to create a chain. To end, make a small Stitch over the last loop to hold it in place.
Lazy Daisy Stitch
This is a gorgeous Stitch for flowers and leaves! It’s also not as hard as it first looks. If you have done Chain Stitch before, you will find this really easy!
1. Come up through the centre of your flower or base of your leaf (1)
2. Go back into the centre hole you just came out if, but don’t pull the thread through - leave a loop (2).
3. Come out at the tip of your leaf or flower under the loop (3) and pull the loop to the shape you want (leave it a little loose for it to look slightly round). Go back in just outside to secure the loop (4).
4. Come back up through the centre and repeat for the next leaf or petal.
Wagon Wheel Stitch (AKA Cobweb Rose Stitch)
This would have to be one of my all time favourite stitches, it’s incredibly satisfying!
1. To begin, bring the needle up and down through the fabric to make five straight stitches as shown below, forming a star. Try to make each stitch evenly spaced and the same length.
2. Bring the needle up through the back near the centre. Begin weaving the needle over and under each straight stitch spoke. Be careful not to catch any of the threads with your needle.
3. Continue weaving around the spokes until the circle is filled in and you can no longer see any of the spokes showing.
4. Take the needle down under the edge of the weaving at one of the spokes.If you run out of thread as you are weaving, bring the needle to the back, secure it, and bring up a new thread where you left off, continuing to weave as before.
Cartwheel Stitch (AKA Buttonhole Stitch)
Super cute Stitch usually used for alternative flowers, we use it in the Melbourne Spring and Daisy Dreams Kits!
1. Come up on the outside of the circle (1), and go back in the middle but leave the thread loose (2)
2. Come back through at the top of the next spoke (3), through the previous loop that was left loose
3. Go back through the centre (4) and repeat 1 & 2 working your way around the circle
4. To finish the last spoke, glide the needle under the first outer stitch and then go to the centre to create the last spoke.
This stitch has a reputation for being difficult but persist in your efforts. Once it clicks, you'll be sprinkling French knots all over.
1. Wrap the thread around the needle once for a small knot, twice for a larger knot. Avoid wrapping more than twice or you will end up with a lopsided knot.
2. Take the needle partway down into the fabric, close to the place where the needle came to the front. Gently tug thread to eliminate any slack and snug the knot close to the fabric surface.
3. Slowly pull the needle and working thread down through the wraps to complete a French knot. The needle should be able to slide smoothly through the loops of thread.Holding the working thread taut as you pull the needle and thread through; this tension helps create nice, even French knots.