Since I’ve spent the last few weeks making several Shawshank Samplers and not much else, I figured I’d take a bit of a break and show off my tools.
I’m using a white evenweave 28-count fabric similar to this. I almost always choose it over Aida because I think fabric choice makes all the difference between “art in a fiber medium” and “kitschy craft project.”
I keep a small box of DMC embroidery floss selected from my larger stash, wound on paper bobbins and clearly marked with their numbers. I’m a little obsessive about it, but since I learned hand-stitching in junior high, I’ve had plenty of instances of half-finished projects that are doomed by unidentifiable thread colors.
I keep my favorite vintage teacup nearby to catch my threads, which has been a big help in keeping my living room neat – and is a great use for a piece of kitchenware you’re not 100% sure is food-safe.
I have my Gingher embroidery scissors and a pair of pinking shears for neat fabric edges. I have a bit of Velcro for stripping the embroidery floss (which, honestly, I do consistently when I’m embroidering and not-so-much when I’m working on samplers and cross-stitch).
For my own comfort, I have a compression glove for when my hands get tired and I’m working under a deadline, and my favorite non-greasy hand lotion.
And my favorite tool is my newest acquisition: my lap embroidery frame. Rather than holding an embroidery hoop with one hand and moving your stitching hand above and below the fabric, this frame sits under your leg and holds the fabric for you, so you can actively use both hands. I find it easiest to use my dominant hand under the fabric because it’s easier to find the right spot on the fabric without looking at it. Given how affordable this darn thing is, I can’t believe it’s taken so long for me to get one. It’s drastically changed how quickly and comfortably I can get work done.