Many embroidery tutorials start with the most common basic stitches. But there is an even more basic element to embroidery. Things like choosing the right hoop, transferring your design, how many plies to use for a stitch (and what dose that even mean?), and threading a needle are all essentials one must understand before attempting even the most basic stitch. So here are the most basic basics of embroidery.
Embroidery thread is called floss, it is made up of six individual threads plied together. A ply is when single strands of fiber are twisted around each other to improve overall strength and stability. You might recognize this term from yarn labels. You can embroider with all six threads together for a bold or chunky look, but most designs call for a variation in thickness created be separating the ply. They are pretty easy to pull apart, but be sure to cut the needed length off the skein first or you'll be in a whole world of tangle. Each of these six threads also contain two tiny plies, but don't attempt to separate those. I usually stitch with two threads unless I'm doing detail work.
1. Loop the threads around the needle.
2. Pull the thread tight around the needle. There is a little groove running vertical up the eye of the needle to the end, stick your thumbnail in that groove and pinch the loop against your finger.
3. Slide the needle out, keeping the thread pinned down to your finger with your thumbnail.
4. Line up the folded end of the thread with the eye of the needle, keep it pinned down and wiggle the needle against your finger to coax it though.
5. Pull one end all the way through and the needle is threaded!
Those are the basic basics, now you are ready to start stitching. Check back later this week to learn the stitches I used on my latest embroidery, Three Feathers.