Monday, April 20, 2009

Embroidery on paper

Today the shop finally is having the new front window put in, so I am inviting a few friends around later in the week for the official opening of Stitch Bliss. Most of them have already been in to have a look, but I love an excuse for a glass of bubbly! Hence the need for invitations, otherwise the council would be after me for failure to have a liquor licence.
To make the invitation notes a little more special, I have added a little embroidery to the paper.

I quite like to jazz up cards or notes with a little simple stitching, but there are a few hazards to embroidering on paper.
1. It is important to match your paper to your thread.
I have used a standard #16 "bond" weight note paper, and glued a shop logo on #20 printing paper to the top. Both of these papers are inflexible, and are made from short fibres, so the likelihood of ripping the paper with each stitch is very high. These are disposable items, so this does not bother me, but I would not stitch with very high end, expensive threads on this quality of paper. However, the stiffness of this paper does lend itself to the use of DMC stranded metallic threads, which IMO are not shown at their best on more flexible surfaces, such as garment weight fabrics.
2. Stitch size, tension and position relative to other stitches may need to be modified to allow for the qualities of the paper
Due to the possible rip out described above, my embroidery on this paper is coarse. In the running stitch around the glued on logo, I have taken large stitches, leaving the 2 strands of metallic thread slightly more loose than I would chose to on fabric. For the lazy daisy, I have again used larger stitches for the detached chain, and in the stem stitch, have modified the stitch so much that it is not really stem stitch at all. In my first sample, I found that using the same hole for the second stitch made a large tear, so for this example, I chose to vary the length of the second and subsequent stitches and also to offset the stitches so that tear out was less likely.I also found that this deviation was much more noticeable, and quite ugly in the metallic thread, so have used regular DMC stranded cotton for the stem instead.
I would not choose complex embroidery stitches for this type of paper. Anything requiring multiple piercings of the paper will seriously weaken the structure, and wrapping techniques would make the embroidery too heavy, again making tearing a problem. I am also conscious that I am embroidering around 20 of these, and I want to mail them today!

3. You know how paper blunts your scissors, so you can always tell if some child has borrowed them for their homework? In our house it is our invisible fourth child, NotMe who is generally the culprit. Well, paper will blunt your needle too. Use a generic needle, not your very best Prym, John James or Mary Ardens.
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