Long Winter’s Nap Tutorial

Very little is needed to make a happy life. -unknown

This post is lengthy and contains tutorials with photos 

Here we are the first day of the first project in my new book Handmade Christmas Cheer. I know you have chosen this book and the projects within because you have an interest or dare I say, love of handwork. I do too, and that is why I am so proud of this book! Tuesday will be our day for talking about the book let’s begin with how I am choosing projects. We will talk about all the projects in the book but the ones that take the most time ( I didn’t say they were difficult did I?!?). I chose Long Winter’s Nap As our first project. If you are going to do a large sheet you have some wonderful hours of stitching ahead. Not difficult but wonderfully time consuming. I love Netflix and books on tape so do you see a pattern here? Give me that needle and thread and I am soooo happy. 

Let’s get started: 

Chose the background fabric for your embroidery mine was White Bleached, Bella Solid by Moda # 9900 285.  Moda makes a Bleached White and White Bleached note the difference.

Measure and cut your background embroidery fabric  6½” x the width of the sheet + 2″.

I like to use a backing for my embroidery pieces. Muslin works fine but I really like to use  WOVEN fusible inner facing. My favorite brand is by Staple Sewing Aids.  Pellon makes a good product as well. These products are very light weight and prevent  shadowing or threads showing through from the back to  the front. They also prevent distortion of the fabric.  The bonus is tiny bit of body as well without affecting my ability to make small stitches. Cut the same length as the above embroidery background fabric.

I find it useful to use a light box to transfer my embroidery motifs to the front of the background fabric. My designs are broken into 2 sections 10″ each which can be turned and flipped to make a continuous line. This means you have 4 10″ sections or 40″ before repeating  the pattern. Trace the pattern so that it is stitched a bit OVER each end, you can  easily cut or adjust this later. Stitching the words I have provided are completely optional. (but pretty cute huh?)

What do I use to write with as I transfer the designs? My preference is to use a .05 Micron Pen in brown. Remember this is permanent so be careful. My stitchery will cover the drawn lines, no problem. Other choices are a wash off blue marker by Clover, or the FriXion Pens which disappear with heat from your iron (or in my case, in Atlanta if left in the car during the Summer).  Lots of choices out there, chances to experiment and find out what works for you.

Embroidery Tools Collage

Let’s talk thread! I am asked ALL THE TIME what my preference for thread would be. I will say that in the world of embroidery I like floss over a cotton. As for brand of floss (a deep well)  I honestly love Cosmo and Aurifil floss. However my choice of floss is determined by one factor, COLOR. I will choose Cosmo, Aurifil, DMC, Weeks etc. if the color is right then brand is a secondary consideration. Perhaps one exception is that I love the Cosmo Seasons floss for variegated work. The color changes more frequently with this floss.  The pine boughs in this project are Cosmo # 8034. You can get the thread right here  The Christmas lights are outlined and then accented with  metallic thread. Two strands are used throughout the project. 

Size 24 Chenille needle. I like a chenille needle over an embroidery needle because the point is sharper. I cannot live without my Clover needle threader for embroidery. See picture collage above.

Let’s sew. Stitch with or without a hoop, whichever is most effective for YOU. I write about this in my book on page 87.  I use a Stem Stitch throughout the whole project. The diagrams for Stem Stitch are on page 91 of my book. Remember to keep your stitches small and even and your work will be beautiful. Keep the tail of the working thread consistently above the needle or below. Back Stitch is easier and a little more forgiving and is described on page 90. Again this is your choice there is no right or wrong.

After you have stitched the pine boughs and words it is time to color tint and stitch the outlined bulbs and bubble bulbs and their sockets. Follow the book and notes on how to do this super easy and fast technique. I have included a pictorial of a bulb I drew for this blog. Save your coloring and outlining of the light bulbs until the end to avoid too much handling. Color tinting has been around for decades! Believe me the color does not wash out. My Grandmother had tea towels that were colored with embroidery and she washed them a zillion times.  It really kicks your embroidery up a notch too! I outlined the bulbs and then stitched x’s with metallic floss 2 strands for a tiny bit of sparkle. 

Tinting Collage 1-4Tinting Collage 3

After you have finished the project it is time to attach the embroidery header to the body of the sheet. Honestly the best descriptions, diagrams and tips are in the book (and this blog tutorial is already quite long). Read “Finish up” on page 19. It is really easy and works up quite quickly. After you are all done…..send me photos.

PS. Don’t forget all the same practices work for the pillow cases in case you want a smaller project for gifting! You guessed it THE BOOK pgs. 22-25!

See you next Tuesday for the Welcome Christmas stunning quilt. A big show stopper!

Purchase the book on my website www.silverthimblequilt.com

Martingale: www.shopmartingale.com