Another Day Another Embroidery

I learned this DIY on TikTok because I cannot dance.

Dearest Crafters,

Paint a canvas of your lover and walk through a garden cause we are doing embroidery. Okay so I know we already did an embroidery craft, but this week we are doing another. So I did this craft yesterday, just for me (yes, there are crafts I do that I don’t put on here) and I was planning on doing this pressed flower craft for the newsletter. However, my pressed flowers failed miserably. Like really bad. I think I might be able to think of a way to fix it, but it will take more research and maybe some more tries. But, I still wanted to send out one of these. So I am going to do one on the craft I made yesterday. I didn’t take photos of all the steps (because I didn’t think I would use it for this,) But I got all the important ones so hopefully, this will work!

If you haven’t read the first embroidery Craft Cult, I think it will be helpful overall, but I will still do a little break down of the stitches we are using for this one. The good news, there are only two stitches in this and one is technically optional. So really you don’t need almost any embroidery skills to pull this off. 

I first saw this craft on TikTok. It’s become super viral on the app thanks in part because it’s super relaxing. If you like those paint by number kits or the stick-on gem kits that Instagram thinks I need, this is probably the craft for you. I’m making two big changes from the majority of the ones I have seen on TikTok; they usually all have the same design and only use on stitch. 

But let’s get into it. To start, get a canvas and paint part of it with acrylic paint. Low-quality canvases work well for this. Mine is technically a “crafting board” from the dollar store. Don’t feel like you have to get an oil pant worthy canvas or anything like that.  I used a piece of tape to section off the canvas and painted one side red. Unfortunately, this is the part, I don’t have photos of. But feel free to paint your canvas however you want. I would just keep it relatively abstract because your lines will be easier to see in the last steps of this craft if you stick to simple shapes. 

Then draw or trace (if you are worried about your drawing skills) something. It really can be anything but try to make an image that doesn’t have too many short lines. 

If you can keep the majority of your lines connected. It will make later steps easier. For reference, most of the TikTok versions of this have a face made from one continuous line for the drawing. You can do that or anything else. 

Once you are happy with your sketch tape it down to your dry canvas. (I outlined mine in black because I had some sketch lines and wanted it to be clear and bold what I was going for.) 

With a needle or a thumbtack (I prefer thumbtack), poke holes along the outline. The distance between each poke should generally be around a ½ centimeter apart but might have to be even smaller around tight curves if you need to. Think about how long each stitch will be, it should be no longer than a grain of rice. 

When you are finished poking, you can take the paper off and you should have what looks like a connect the dots.

Now it’s time for the actual embroidery. Hopefully, you remember the backstitch from our first embroidery craft. First, come up through the back of your canvas through the first poked hole and then go back down through the next hole (2nd hole) in the line to create a stitch.  Then come up through the next empty pre-poked hole. Bring your needle back through the canvas at the second hole.

If it feels confusing, just try to remember that each new stitch has to go through the first available hole and then come back through the last used hole. This will give you a fairly solid line. Keep going until the line runs out or you change from one colored area of your canvas until the next.

You don’t have to do this, but it makes a great effect. Change your color of the string when the color of the canvas changes. I decided to flip mine to have white string on the red part and red string on the white part, but you can get creative with colors. 

If your drawing is a little confusing you can keep the original drawing near you to check. I decided to change a couple of lines on the fly given were some of my holes were, but this was a more challenging way to go about it. 

Once you are done with your backstitch through all your holes, if you like how it looks, you can be done here. However, if you have any embroidery left in your, try adding a whip stitch over your backstitch. I like this because it also covers up any small backstitch mistakes or uneven stitches you might have made. For the whip, come up through the hole at the end of the backstitch line. Bring the needle under a stitch of the backstitch on the right. Do this again and again (always on the same side as your first stitch, in this case, the right) until you are out of backstitches to go through. Go back through the canvas and tie off that the end. The whip can be hard to pull off around corners. If you need to you can always go down through the canvas and start a new whip close to the end of the old one. 

Your whip should look something like this. I decided for the roses on my piece to do a different color for the whip than the backstitch. I did the whip in a light pink. It gave it a sort of candy cane effect, but also helped differentiate the roses since my pattern was a little complex.  

When you are done with the whip, go back through the canvas. Make sure to tie off your string and cut off any excess and you are done. 

Honestly, I felt weird writing this week’s newsletter. There is so much happening in the world and especially we need to talk about police violence. If you can protest and can do it safely (from both the cops and the global pandemic… please wear a mask for both reasons) that is amazing, but that’s not true for a lot of people right now. I would really encourage everyone if they have the means to donate. The Cut published a pretty comprehensive list of places to donate. Money can be tight right now, but there are a lot of things you can do to take on racism if you are white. Need help? Learn more here. Also, do you want to learn more? Especially white people need to get educated about racism and read up and listen: here’s a list that might help. 

I hope you are safe and remember, the justice system is broken in our outside of a global pandemic.