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Joyful Stitching: Transform Fabric with Improvisational Embroidery

Joyful Stitching: Transform Fabric with Improvisational Embroidery

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Joyful Stitching: Transform Fabric with Improvisational Embroidery

5/5 (1 valutazione)
232 pagine
59 minuti
Jan 1, 2001


Dive into Laura’s delightful world of embroidery and learn how to create small, free-form embroidery pieces that are alive with color and texture. With instructions for 21 basic embroidery stitches and 6 projects, all in Laura’s signature colorful, whimsical style, you’ll transform a flat, plain surface into a joyful, design-packed art piece. Stitch on wool, felt, or silk, and enjoy the simple pleasure of slow stitching. Includes a gallery of display ideas, as well as additional ideas for using free-form stitching.
Jan 1, 2001

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Anteprima del libro

Joyful Stitching - Laura Wasilowski

Publisher: Amy Marson

Creative Director: Gailen Runge

Editor: Lynn Koolish

Technical Editor: Debbie Rodgers

Cover/Book Designer: April Mostek

Production Coordinator: Tim Manibusan

Production Editor: Alice Mace Nakanishi

Illustrator: Linda Johnson

Photo Assistant: Mai Yong Vang

Hand Model: Kristi VIsser

Photography by Diane Pedersen of C&T Publishing, Inc., unless otherwise noted

Published by C&T Publishing, Inc., P.O. Box 1456, Lafayette, CA 94549


To my grandchildren, who are always happily in my thoughts while I happily stitch


Thank you to my mother, Penelope, my first embroidery teacher.

And to the crew at C&T Publishing, who always make me look good.


Hand embroidery may seem like a quiet pastime for quiet people in a quiet room. But we all know there is a secret, creative power lurking in each stitch. Hand stitchery transforms fabric from a flat, plain surface into a world packed with color and texture and joyful pattern. In short, hand embroidery brings fabric to life.

A Rare Songbird by Laura Wasilowski, 7˝ × 9˝ (project instructions)

It is this transformation of fabric by stitch that makes free-form embroidery my passion. Yes, it is an art form that is compact, portable, uses few tools, and is meditative, but it is also a delightful challenge for an artist. Like any art form, you are constantly making decisions about color, line, pattern, and texture. Free-form embroidery pairs the warm, friendly, notion of the hand-made along with the heady thrill of improvisation.

In this book, I share with you the joys of free-form embroidery. There are six projects that begin with simple shapes destined for embellishment with a riot of thread. You’ll learn about the materials and tools needed to make these designs and about transferring designs for embroidery. You can review step-by-step embroidery stitch directions as needed. And there are more ideas for free-form embroidery to inspire you as well.

Free-form embroidery is not about being precise or meticulous. You have permission to be loose, relaxed, and cozy when stitching. Change the designs, use different colors, try new stitch combinations. Free-form embroideries are made just for the pleasure of stitching and the enjoyment of placing colorful thread on fabric.

I hope this book challenges you to invent new ways to mark fabric with stitches. I hope you discover the thrill of liberated stitching. And I hope you find this intimate art form a creative way to express yourself. So you see, I have high hopes for you in this joyful adventure.

And here is the best news: You can always remove stitches if they aren’t placed where you want them.

Your friend, Laura



Cotton and linen fabrics have long been the go-to fibers for hand embroidery on tea towels, hankies, and that cross-stitch sampler for a friend. The projects in this book can be made on those fabrics. But why not explore some new fibers? Fabrics such as boiled wool, silk, and felt make an attractive base for free-form hand embroidery. Selecting an unexpected background fabric elevates the work from that practical tea towel look to an art form.


The best wool fabric for hand embroidery is made of 100% sheep’s wool with a woven or knit structure that has been felted. The process of felting condenses the fibers to make a thicker fabric that is easy to grip and feels substantial in your hands. The needle and thread glide effortlessly through this bulkier fabric and the knots are hidden. My favorite version is boiled wool commonly found in heavy jackets and coats. Nearly ¼˝ thick, the needle travels through the fabric layer rather than to the back of the fabric at every stitch.

Do a few test stitches on your wool fabric before committing to a project. If wool is not felted enough, it feels thin and floppy and will be hard to handle. Beware of wool that is too tightly felted and compressed, making hand stitching difficult. Occasionally wool fabrics are fuzzy, and their short, wispy wool fibers tangle in the thread and interrupt stitching. Try pressing this fuzzy wool with a steam iron to flatten the fabric and make it easier to stitch.

Find wool at your local fabric store, online sources, and resale shops for used clothing. Or how about that old winter coat hiding in your closet—time to dismantle it and turn it into a work of art!

An Easy Way to Make Wool Felt

When starting with a woven or knit fabric, the process of shrinking it to compact the fibers and felt them is called fulling. Make sure you use a woven or knit fabric made of 100% sheep’s wool.

1. Place the

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