Hand Craft Ideas

Additional Craft Information:

I originally started digitizing embroidery designs several years ago when I thought it would be fun and easy to create my own designs for every possible project. It would be so convenient to have perfect machine embroidery designs whether it was for quilts or linens, apparel or decor.

DIY Craft Essential #1: Washi tape

You'd be surprised at how many things you can do, and how many tutorials out there are obsessed, with washi tape. The versatile paper tape with adorable designs makes great wall decor, paper crafts or can even spruce up your furniture.

DIY Craft Essential #2: Needle nose pliers

This tiny tool is great for small projects. "This is not only your go­-to tool for opening and closing jump rings, bending wire, and securing crimp beads and ribbon ends, but pliers are also great for cutting through jewelry chain and wire," said Morin.

After getting my software, it didn't take me long to realize that this would be a very time consuming venture just for my own personal stitching pleasure. And, with the exception of a full-filled triangle for a fantasy costume for my son's friend, I have never digitized an embroidery design for my own personal use.

As the world of machine embroidery has grown and evolved, I have been pleased to see the original ideas and wonderful projects that the designers come up with! It makes it easy to find what I need for my own projects and saves me lots of time in not having to create my own.

Free-standing lace designs are my favorite. From ornaments and coasters to bowls and even lampshades, there truly is something for every taste and style. The best part is that the designers present me with ideas, projects and construction techniques that I might not have come up with on my own. That really keeps my creative juices flowing!

When stitching free-standing lace (FSL), it's important to think about the final project. Ornaments and coasters are easy. Stitch, rinse, and they're done. Bowls, mats, boxes and other intricate embroidery projects take a bit more planning, though.

DIY Craft Essential #3: X-acto knife

If you love stationary crafts, jewelry crafts or any delicate work -- you'll need a proper cutting tool. Not all scissors can do the job. "Remember first using scissors and cutting along the dotted lines in grade school?" Morin asked. "Hopefully, you’re attempting more challenging crafts as an adults."

DIY Craft Essential #4: Spray paint

Acrylic paints are also great for any DIY starter kit. However, if you're looking for a perfect, seamless finish on your furniture, art and home decor -- make some space to spray. It doesn't hurt to keep some cans in your favorite colors (as long as you store them properly).

For simple projects like ornaments, I like to use the clear water-soluble stabilizer (WSS) that looks like plastic or vinyl. When rinsing, I can decide if I want the ornament to be soft or slightly stiff. The stiffer I want it, the less I rinse. The remaining WSS acts like starch.

When creating bowls or mats, I prefer the WSS that looks like interfacing. While it is called a non-woven fabric, it has the feel of fabric, which makes it easy to handle the pieces for final construction. This type of stabilizer also rinsed out very easily!

While water-soluble stabilizers are more spendy than other stabilizers, having both in my embroidery supplies stash makes it possible for me to make any project at any time!

While most FSL projects are finished with a satin stitch to hold the pieces together, I've found that it's easy to be very creative with it.

Instead of the heavy satin stitch, I've found that other decorative stitches on my sewing machine can work beautifully. I've also had great results using ribbon to weave the edges together. My all-time favorite finish is to attach the FSL pieces together by crocheting them with a slip-stitch or single-crochet using embroidery floss. It is the perfect finish to those machine embroidery designs that mimic hand-crochet work. This is especially effective on larger projects like tablecloths.

Because digitizing for free-standing lace is very detailed and technical, I'm glad there are so many designers willing to create it! I don't think I would have gotten as much enjoyment from the embroidery of FSL if I had to digitize the embroidery designs myself.

If you've never given it a try, there are many digitizers that offer free embroidery designs as a sample to make sure you like their work. This is a great way to try this fabulous embroidery style. And, if you're like me, you'll be hooked!

DIY Craft Essential #5: Painter's tape

Painter's tape is "perfect for for attempting the c​olor block trend," said Morin. Plus, you'll need something to keep your projects neat and tidy, no matter what type of paints you use.

DIY Craft Essential #6: Hot glue gun

There are some tools that are too functional not to have. "This is one DIY workhorse tool you shouldn't do without," said Morin. Hot melt glue works on a variety of materials.
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