Stitch up your backpack

Backpack

I added some hand embroidery to my canvas backpack recently and thought I would share what I learnt in case anyone else would like to do something similar.

I applied an iron-on embroidered patch of the Wonder Woman logo on the pocket and added a few stitches around the points and corners for some extra security.

I used size 6 embroidery needles and DMC embroidery floss for the stitching.  I used two strands of floss folded over and knotted together (i.e. four strands going through the fabric in total) for the outlines of the red stars on the pockets.  I soon realised that half the thickness (i.e. one strand folded and knotted, or two strands going through the fabric in total) was much easier to pull through the fabric, and used this thickness for the rest of the stitching.

The canvas was too thick to get through an embroidery hoop, so I just held the fabric in my left hand to control tension while stitching with my right hand.  I use the sewing method of stitching (as opposed to the stabbing method) wherever possible, just because it feels more natural to me and I came to embroidery from hand-quilting and hand-piecing.  Stitching up the backpack was no exception, so if you try a similar project you should be able to stab or sew according to your preference.

I used Sulky Solvy to transfer my patterns to the fabric, which I discovered through Rebecca Ringquist‘s brilliant Creativebug class on embroidery transfer techniques.  I think it added an extra layer of stability considering I didn’t use a hoop, but you could easily use a different transfer method.

I would definitely recommend all of Rebecca’s classes as well as her Embroidery Workshop book, by the way.  Her classes are what inspired and taught me how to embroider, and I love her ‘bend the rules’ approach – which also shines through her book.

The rose and bee patterns on the top of the bag are taken from the Little Blooms sheet by Jenny Hart at Sublime Stitching.  I love the simplicity and style of her patterns.

I ended up using a thimble on my middle finger to help push the needle through the fabric – I use an open sided metal one from Clover that I first bought for hand-quilting.  It probably would have helped to use a few band-aids or ‘thimblettes‘ for my pointer and thumb to help grip the needle as it came out the front of the fabric, because my fingertips were a bit sore afterwards.

I think that’s about it. Give me a shout in the comments or on instagram if you have any questions.

Here are some detail shots:

Backpack_pocket

Backpack_rose

Everyone’s favourite Amazonian

Wonder Woman cross stitch

I recently worked up this little Wonder Woman in cross stitch, and I’ve made the pattern available to download for free here.

The design measures 1.71″ x 2.79″, so she’s pretty petite. This would be a very quick stitching project, and suitable for beginners – only full stitches used, plus a little backstitch.

I chose to backstitch around Diana’s shoes, skin and bodice for a little extra definition, but that’s optional. I do think the gold-coloured backstitching around the lasso, bracelets, belt and tiara are worth doing though.

Enjoy!

How to cross stitch: resources for the beginner

Why Cross Stitch?

Totoro

I wasn’t seeking out another hobby when I rediscovered cross stitch – I’d learnt it as a child, but that was a very long time ago.

Five weeks ago I stumbled across the Craftivist Collective, and felt like I’d found a home. I’m passionate about social justice, think it’s important to reflect on big issues, find a state of ‘flow’ when I craft, and would like to be an activist but have yet to find my place as an introvert in that world. The collective seemed tailor-made for me.

I ordered A Little Book of Craftivism and a mini protest banner kit, and realised why embroidery is a great fit for craftivism: it’s such a direct way to communicate – whether the aim is beauty, meaning, or both.

Compared with knitting and crochet, where you create the fabric stitch by stitch, when you embroider you use an existing fabric and embellish it. When your aim is to communicate with your audience, getting straight to the message saves time and energy.

It’s a very beginner-friendly craft: you don’t need a lot of specialised knowledge or equipment, and the results of your labours are visible immediately. Even the more complex patterns require only patience, not necessarily years of practice or skill.

It’s also a great activity for warm weather climates, and very travel-friendly: you can have a whole stash of floss tucked away in one little box.

Embroidery and cross stitch are ancient arts that have been practiced all over the world, so there are centuries of rich tradition to draw upon for inspiration.

As well as all that, it’s fun. And that’s reason enough for me.

2014: I won’t miss you.

Birdwood Square, Perth

Oh, 2014, I don’t think I’ll miss you when you’re over. It’s been intense:

    I learnt how to crochet using strips of old sheets.

    My job got a whole lot bigger. More workload control. More work.

    We discovered the Perth International Vegetarian and Vegan Food Fair, held this year in April and November, and stuffed ourselves silly.

    I was diagnosed with skin cancer. Surgery. Medical bills.

    I taught two of my nieces to knit.

    I found that I was not alone in my fascination with the history, diversity, and story of textiles.

    I enrolled in study (a Cert. IV in Accounting), and despite everything else going on, managed to complete three units. Ten to go.

    I was depressed and disturbed by the trends described in this video, and then GamerGate happened.

    I made soup. And icipoles. And ate lots of burgers.

    Our computer had to be rebuilt, almost from scratch.

    I saw the end of one beloved detective series, and the resurrection of another.

    I found the Craftivist Collective, and installed my first craftivist work (see photo above).

    I discovered a love for cross-stitch.

Okay, so maybe it wasn’t all bad.

How was your 2014?