Episode 211:

Retro Needlework
by Eric Drexler
Get the look of hand needlework in half the time. Create your own charted needlework design, and then easily stitch it using several expert tips.
•    Fabric or ready-made garment
•    Stabilizer: iron-on tear-away or lightweight cut-away, printable adhesive water-soluble stabilizer or printable water-soluble stabilizer
•    Thread: 40 wt. polyester or rayon & bobbin
•    Size 100/16 universal needle
•    Five size 10 (1.5mm x 17.75mm) metal knitting needles (See “Sources.”)
•    Presser foot: darning, embroidery or free-motion
•    Transparent tape
•    Velum sheet
•    Iron-on transfer pens (optional)
•    Temporary spray adhesive (optional)
•    Pinking shears (optional)
Sew It

1.    Select a pattern design (line drawing) of the design you wish to stitch. Download the "Line-Overlay" here.
2.    Decide if you want your pattern design to have horizontal or vertical lines of stitching when completed.
3.    Lay the chosen “Line-Overlay” face down in the copy machine; then place design face down over the “Line-Overlay”(you may want to tape them together to keep the “line-Overlay” and pattern from shifting when placing them in the copy machine).
4.    Color! – That’s right. It may be best to color in the design areas if they involve several colors. Coloring makes it easy to makes changes before spending a lot of time stitching. Even though the marker may not exactly match your thread shade choice – it will reduce stitching time if you code colors the thread choices for easy reference. Sulky’s Iron on Transfer pens are available in 8 permanent ink colors. Multiple transfers can be done from one drawing. If more are needed, just trace over it again.
5.    The other way to get color on the design is to print in color onto Sulky’s Paper Solvy. Apply the printed design onto the material with Sulky’s KK2000 Temporary Spray Adhesive. This way when the design is done the little bits of paper will wash right out.
6.    The newest tool that works the best yet is Sulky’s Sticky Back Fabri-Solvy. It comes in 8 ½“ X 11”, pre-cut pieces, to go into the printer. Simply print, cut out the design, peel off the paper release sheet and stick it into place. All of the stabilizer rinses out when it’s done.
7.    Note: Shapes take on a new look with the lines printed. When copying your design, you may wish to run it one vertical and one horizontal of “Line-Overlays” so you can choose the look that you really prefer.
8.    Always stabilize the back of the material. Sulky Cut Away Soft N Sheer Extra is a lightweight permanent cut away that provides stability without adding bulk. When the design is complete peel back the stabilizer, pink around the edges, and iron in place. If a tear away is preferred use Sulky Totally Stable, Temporary Iron-On Tear Away Stabilizer. When the design is complete the excess stabilizer can be torn away. On a lightweight knit, use both. Fusible first then the Totally Stable slightly larger ironed over that.
9.    Diagonal Lines, when stitched, seem to distort some fabrics since they are sewn on the bias of the fabric. Vertical Lines are easy to handle, and work well on most fabrics. If you are not sure of how your fabric may react to stitching: against the grain of the fabric; with it; or on the bias, then do a test on a scrap piece of the fabric (if available) stabilized as you intend to have the original piece.
10.    REMEMBER – PRESHRINKING PRE-SEWN GARMENTS and FABRIC TO BE SEWN is always a good idea before adding Charted Needlework Stitching.
11.    Note: When you first start sewing without the feed dogs, it may feel as if your sewing is going “wild.” Practice to get the feel of this kind of sewing. You will find that actually you have more control over your stitches than ever before.
12.    Sew It
13.    Wind 2 bobbins with bobbin thread for all charted sewing.
14.    Thread the machine with embroidery thread.
15.    Install Free Motion, Darning, or Embroidery presser foot
16.    Lower/cover the feed dogs.
17.    Prepare fabric by ironing a piece of Sulky Totally Stable (iron-on tear-away stabilizer) or Sulky Soft N Sheer Extra (soft Iron on cut away) to back of fabric to cover design area.
18.    If using Sulky Paper Solvy or printer paper spray Sulky KK2000 (temporary Spray adhesive) on the back of the design. If using Sticky Back Fabri-Solvy, simply print the design (in color) cut out the design. Peel off the paper backing, and stick it onto the material.
19.    Place prepared pattern under machine needle and position a knitting needle between the lines on pattern. Lower presser foot lever. You will be sewing through paper patterns, fabric and stabilizer.
20.    Set stitch width to zig zag just a little wider than the knitting needles. Test by turning the hand wheel by hand. This is similar to appliqué stitch but over a needle instead of flat. The first one might be a little wobbly but after there are two, the foot stays easily on top.
21.    Bring up the bobbin thread by turning the hand wheel one revolution. Hold onto     both threads. Straight stitch on one side of the knitting needle to tie off the end.
22.    Check again that the Zig Zag width is wide enough to clear the knitting needle. Zig zag stitch over charted needle, filling in color area as shown on pattern. A medium speed helps to fill in without to much bulk. You are in charge of the stitch length so keep it moving.
23.    Lay the next needle up against first needle and fill in that color area and continue to move across design, changing color according to pattern. When you are finished with a color, straight stitch in place to tie off before you cut your thread.
24.    Using 5 - 10 needles allows you to sew many rows without changing thread so often. Walk the needle across the design and between rows, by hand, to finish all of one color, before changing to the next color.
25.    When design is completed, remove excess paper from front and excess stabilizer from the back or wash in the case of Sticky back Fabri-Solvy.

Speedstitch carries size 10 metal knitting needles: (866) 829-7235, speedstitch.com.
Sulky of America provided the 40 wt. rayon, 60 wt. Polylite and Polylite bobbin thread, iron on transfer pens, KK2000 temporary spray adhesive, Paper Solvy, Soft ‘n Sheer Extra, Sticky Back Fabri-Solvy and Totally Stable stabilizer:(800) 874-4115, sulky.com.

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