Thursday, March 21, 2013

Stitch me up: Why embroidery is like golf


Welcome to the Stitch Me Up Blog Hop. A thank you to Jane for putting this all together and for Madame Samm for being the ultimate in inspiration. I will tell my tale and show my work below but first please visit these talented ladies.


THURSDAY March 21st



Janice@ That Other Blog

Angela@ That Other Blog

piece peace

Stitchin’ By The Lake


Phoenix Heirlooms


Sew Incredibly Crazy

Mamaccessories

Molly's Place


Kath's Creations

Get More Done Today

Sew Many Yarns

The Distracted Domestic

Sheila's Quilt World

UK City Crafter


I have always wanted to try my hand at embroidery (pun intended). The beautiful things I see you and others create inspire me. This blog hop seemed like the perfect time to try...and it was the perfect time.
Many people enjoy the game of golf. They live to play. I respect these people, however from my experience I agree with Mark Twain's notion that golf is a good walk spoiled. Trying to get that little ball into the hole with the different clubs was the most frustrating experience ever for me...until embroidery. Executing the actual stitches was enjoyable. The split stitch and back stitch and I were becoming BFFs. But..threading that needle was another story entirely. It became increasingly difficult to get the beautiful finca pearl thread through my lovely embroidery needle. With each failed attempt my blood pressure rose a little higher. After 35 mins without success, I knew this had to end. Either I gave myself permission to stop...or I stroked out. Instead of feeling like a complete failure (which is my go to in situations like this), I told myself every craft is not for every person.
Below is a picture of what I had completed before I started losing my mind. This precious design from Madame Samm reminded me of my Lillian. Just like this little girl, behind that smile and sparkling eyes is a bit of mischief. I was going to use this on an apron dress for her to wear this summer.
I am disappointed and you probably are, too. Maybe you will have mercy on me and...PLEASE, PLEASE, PLEASE share your embroidery needle threading secrets with me so I can try again another day.

I am still very grateful for this experience. More than ever, I am humbled by the talent in our community. Thank you for visiting me.

piece peace

85 comments:

  1. First, Thank you for sharing. You did not give up you just hit a bump in the road. I do love what you did accomplish. I do think this is a craft for you. I thread my needle with a little silver threader.. The kind that are free at Hotels. Of course you can purchase them. A hint, as you pull the threader and the thread, hold the metal too as sometimes it will pull out the metal threader. You will get a ton of tips and I know you will be able to finish. Thank you so much for sharing.

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  2. Patricia- I agree with Jane, a needle threader is the embroiderer's best friend. What you've done so far is great, but sometimes when we are frustrated, we need to put things away for awhile and go back to them later. I love your Mark Twain quote, he sure had a way with words. I have the same experience when I want to use that polyester see-through thread on my sewing machine. It sometimes takes me almost an hour to thread the needle, so when my patience wears thin, I do something else and then come back to it and then I'm usually successful. Thanks for sharing, I hope my suggestion helps.

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  3. Hey, you tried and that is important! I can't live without my needle threader, well that and my glasses. Besides the one that Jane shared, you can buy at a drug store a floss threader. sort of looks like this o-
    Poke your thread in the round thingy and put the straight thingy thru your needle hole and pull it through, yea, needle threaded!

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  4. Threading that needle is such a pain, but I got a few good suggestions when I threw the question out to other bloggers. Judy B.'s suggestion is a good one about using floss and there is a needle threader by Clover that I am definitely going to purchase. Don't give up...you'll come back to it someday with fresh eyes. :O)

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  5. Don't be discouraged! What you have completed is beautiful. Another day and better light and you could be on you way!

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  6. You can do it-the threads are awesome once you get the hang of it-& really there are so many beautiful colors!

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  7. I'm so sorry to hear that you had such a challenging time with needle threading. Another option is to try using a different needle, one with a larger eye--sometimes those small eyes make it really difficult to get the thread through them. Good luck and don't give up yet--you're off to such a great start!

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  8. I'm with Amy, don't be discouraged. Without needle threaders, a pair of $11 bifocals from Target, and a magnifier w/light I couldn't applique or embroider.

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    Replies
    1. I agree with the bifocals!! Seeing clearly made all the difference!

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  9. There are threaders for floss available but finding them can be tricky. Another way I have success with is to fold the floss over the needle eye, pull it tight and squeeze. It is two layers but if you get a good crease it goes through the eye easier than the end does. You can also use a needle with a slightly bigger eye. Don't give up! Good luck!

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  10. You have made a great start and I think you will love embroidery after practiced it a a few time.
    Thanks for sharing

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  11. Oh my how I wish we were neighbors! After several cups of tea and cookies I would be more than happy to teach you all of my 'needle tricks'! One of my favorite tricks...sharp scissors! Sometimes it helps to trim the thread so that it has a nice, flat even end. Another tip...check your needle...seriously...you may not be using an embroidery needle...it happens...try threading a beading needle floss...that's all I'm sharing about that fiasco....

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  12. I use a needle with a bigger eye and a pair of glasses and another pair over it. Then I am succeful. Please keep trying.

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  13. All I can suggest is a needle with a larger eye!!
    Please keep trying!

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  14. Don`t beat yourself up! All of us have had your experience. I would try a larger needle. A needle threader is my best friend as well as really good light! I`ve set aside a lot of embroidery. The stitching you accomplished is wonderful.

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  15. Well done for giving it a go - a bigger needle and a needle threader will really make a difference.

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  16. Someday you will pick up the embroidery and the stitches will be perfect and peaceful. Learning can be very frustrating. Happy future stitching.

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  17. Don't be too hard on yourself. These blog hops are for learning and sharing and we just do the best we can. You just hit a wall and got discouraged but you can do this! Like the others, I'll often use a larger needle. There are tons of needle threaders that can be used and I often fold the thread over the eye of the needle and then insert it through the eye....you actually have a folded nub of thread to insert, making it less floppy. (Hard to explain, but it works.) Take a breath and pick a quiet day when you can relax.... no pressure.... and give it another try. It will be so rewarding when it's finished and you'll be hooked on embroidery. Good luck!

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  18. This is what I do. I take the point of my needle and untwist about 1/2" of the loose end off the spool and flatten it, fold it over the eye of the needle pulling it tight, like mentioned above squeezing very tight slide the needle out of the fold, then bring the needle to where your fingers are squeezed and slide the needle onto the folded thread. Once threaded pull through desired amount and then pull desired amount off spool and knot the end you cut off the spool. The before stitching trim off that fuzzed out 1/2" that you made to thread needle with. It's important to knot the spool end. Less knotting and twisting of thread.

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  19. I keep needle threaders with all my stitching projects as well as various sized needles. Keep trying.

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  20. Needle threaders. I keep more than one size threader because of the size of needle and the thread itself! The beauty of embroidery, for me, is you can put it down, come back later, or much later, and it is still there waiting for you to just pick up where you left off. No need to hunt up where you left off in directions, etc. You can do this! B-)

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  21. At first I was a little frustrated with the threading of the needles and heavier thread in the package we purchased. I had never stitched with this heavy of a thread. I was able to try different methods and finally found one that I could use. Hang in there, please don't give up completely. It is so much fun once you learn how. You may find that joy when there is no pressure of a timeline. Now that I have used these needles and thread, I do not think I will use any other for my stitching projects. :) Angela

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  22. Three yuars ago I never thaught I would stitch some time and now I can hardly do it without! But the beginning is more work than fun, just keep on going, suddenly it changes! Love the curls!

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  23. Sometimes you need to take a deep breath and walk away for a bit. My suggestions area needle threader or perhaps a larger needle. You have a great start to your project!

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  24. Oh Patricia. we all begin somewhere....so give yourself some kudos for asking for some assistance...
    I noted write away...your fabric and hoop is backwards....take the hoop off now and turn your fabric so it is tight on the top....it makes it very hard to try to stitch when your fabric is in the valley...the rest of the comments about needle and thread well you will find it easier with a needle threader and practice...we all have begun something new when we thought...I DON"T KNOW lol. keep trying...

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  25. A valiant effort. It helps all of us to know that we aren't the only ones who tried something and just couldn't get it! A needle threader will be an easy solution to this problem, however! Good luck on finishing your project, and thanks for sharing your frustration.

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  26. Your embroidery looks great so far. I like your attitude. Everyonoe has mentioned the first things that came to my mind already except there is one additional one I haven't seen mentioned yet.
    1- Needle threader is a must but be careful when pulling through, it can break. (Sometimes I'll even use another piece of thread to become the needle threader if I'm having problems.)
    2- Try a larger eyed needle or a different type - who says it has to be an embroidery needle when a sharp gives you less problems.
    3- Load 5 needles on your thread first thing in the am and slide them back before you cut off any lengths of thread needed. A golf tee pin cushion holding them on works great to keep them on until you are ready. This makes it easier to use those 5 needles pulling thread through out the day and easier to load them when your patience and eyes are well rested.
    4- Yes, Madamme Samm was right. With the hoop upside down it is slow and awkward to embroider. Hoop your embroidery with the finished cloth right side up on the smaller hooped section, it really makes it so much easier.
    5- When threading different threads/yarns of specialty types, it sometimes is easier to fold the thread and pinch it between your thumb and finger. Just slide the needle onto the pinched fold that is barely showing. It catches all those fibers just right and makes difficult threads behave.
    You also were correct though, if you are fighting it every step of the way, perhaps it's not for you and that's okay too. Good luck and sorry that this is so wordy. With Kind Regards- Jane.

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  27. I loved this new thread to me, but also had trouble threading through my needle. I pulled at least 3 or 4 wires out of needle threaders and am happy to see other comments here to help me also in the future. Hope you will try again!

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  28. I am sorry that you had such a difficult time but I admire you for your laborious effort! Don't give up!

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  29. I agree with every comment above mine. That said, there are a few things I might add.
    You CAN break the rules.
    1. Try using a glue stick to stick a piece of batting to the back of your fabric. Then embroider right through it without using the hoop at all. (This might not work for every embroidery pattern, but I do this often when I embroider verses in my quilt borders.
    2. Large eyed needles are a must! You have to be sure they have sharp points and not a "ball point", but they are out there. "Audition" several to find the one that works best for your stitches.
    3. Sometimes the thread will go through more easily from the opposite end if you have tried unsuccessfully with the end presented as it comes off the skein. Also, if you have tried several times you might need to clip the thread end for a clean, unfrayed end.
    4. I have had to resort to flattening the end of the thread with a dab of glue stick and letting it dry. This will make it stiff enough to slip into the large eye.
    5. Sometimes the needle has a "barb" inside the eye (especially now that manufacturers are using cheaper methods). Turn the needle around and try from the opposite side of the eye. Sounds silly, but this often works for me!
    6. Last, try putting the eye of the needle OVER the thread as you hold the thread end very firmly between your fingers. This is the way an almost blind friend of my mothers does it.

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  30. There are a lot of awesome tips shared here, because you shared your experience with us! So thank you !
    Try "training wheels" ....maybe practice on a tea towel , with embroidery floss that comes in 6 strands, and you begin to thread and sew with 2 strands first. Use the threader, and find different size needle holes for embroidery and different threader-helpers.
    Seeing clearly , not being tired, good light, flatten that end (and I moisten it first). Practice, practice, practice and you will see progress.
    Good luck!
    Susie

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  31. Good on you for trying something new. You probably will find that it gets easier, doing the stitches anyway. I just had cataract surgeries which reversed me from near sighted to far sighted and I too am having far more difficulties threading needles now so I will read back through the suggestions the others have made.....even though I have been embroidering for years we all can learn something!!

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  32. That's awesome that you are trying something new. I love to do embroidery! Your little girl is cute.

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  33. Looks like a wonderful start, good for you for making the effort. I stitch a lot and I always keep a manual needle threader (the one with the wire or a loop attached) and an automatic needle threader ( the one that you place your needle in with the eye tip down, lay the thread crosswise and press the lever...needle threaded) the automatic one can accommodate two sizes of needles (amazon.com) the other helpful little tool is the clover needle organizer...thread up to 10 needles and they stay in order and tangle free even if you pull them out of sequence. The tips are protected so that you can easily take the case anywhere without fear of needles falling out.

    Hope this helps and maybe one day, take a deep breath and try again with no deadlines.

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  34. seems like you got good advice on threading the needle. don't give up.

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  35. Thank you for voicing the question a lot of us ask. I have to use "cheaters" with my contacts to even see the eye. I have learned a lot. Good luck on the threading of your needles.

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  36. I hope you will have better luck with threading the needle. I have had this problem before as well and it is so frustrating. I have gone to a needlepoint store and found some good needle threaders that last longer than one threading. Sometimes they have some thinner needles with larger holes too that help. Hope it works out for you. Your project sounds perfect for your daughter.

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  37. Looks like a beautiful job to me, you could certainly use thinner floss to stitch your designs and save some headache...I am a big fan of that to achieve more detail...

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  38. I love to hand embroider, even when all I do is the blanket stitch around an applique. I have been stitching for more than 40 years. My mom told me when I was a teen how to thread the needle. Others have mentioned this above already, but I will say it again perhaps in different words. Take your floss and place it over the needle so that an inch or more on the short end is hanging down and the rest is the long end. With your thumb and index finger, grab the floss with the needle in the middle and hold firmly as you pull your needle out and the thread is still firmly in between your thumb and index finger, making sure that the floss is sticking out a bit so you can see it between your thumb and finger. Now turn your needle in your other hand so you can see the eye of the needle. Take the folded edge of the floss that is sticking out between your thumb and finger and using a saw-like motion, gently saw back-and-forth until the floss enters into the eye of the needle. Then grab the floss an pull it through. make sure you have the correct size embroidery needle first. If you use a perle cotton that does not separate so you need the correct size needle for the thickness of the perle cotton you are using. If you use floss that has 6 strands, you can separate the strands. I usually use 2 strands of floss when I embroider. The thicker your floss of perle cotton the thicker your needle and of course the large you eye will be too.

    Practice is key. I feel your frustration, but you said you enjoyed the actual stitching, so just learn to thread your needle and all will be well. I have never used a needle threader with embroidery. I never use a hoop either. Some people like hoops, but I have never needed one or liked to use one. I use batting or lightweight fusible interfacing or whisper weft fusible interfacing behind my fabric to hide the threads and make the embroidery look better.

    Good luck and I hope you finish your sweet embroidered girl.

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  39. There are self threading needles on the market:) They are used by the Blind Quilter here in Texas too:)

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  40. I found with that particular brand of thread that I needed to use a needle with a larger eye or else I couldn't thread it either.

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  41. I am so sorry for your threading problems. I, too, get frustrated when trying to thread even a needle and sewing thread. I love that little girl, and I'm thinking of trying my hand at embroidery. I am glad you tried. You should pat yourself on the back for at least trying. Some people wouldn't do that much.

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  42. So sorry you had problems. I threaded my needle first with a loop of regular thread and then put the floss through the loop and pulled it through the eye of the needle. It took some tugging, but it worked. A needle with a larger eye would have made it much easier. Don't give up, you have made a great start and I think you will have fun once you get past the threading issue.

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  43. Your honesty suits you, you can't do everything in live and be an instant succes in all you try. So try again if you like, or enjoy the doings of others. Thanks for sharing your attempt to make something beautiful. Good luck next time.

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  44. You are right. Every craft or hobby is not for everyone. You are a amazeing person by realizeing that.

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  45. Your stiching is really very nice.

    You have many helpful commentse here to try if you ever wish to work on this again. If you do not, you will still enjoy a happy creative life doing other things.

    I do not think I will ever play golf, either, although it looks like a great way to spend some time outdoors.

    As I have always had troublesome eyesight and it is in rapid decline, I understand your frustrating problems with threading the needle. I also have some arthritis in my hands. I cannot embroider like I used to do, but I make small easy efforts and am pleased with the results. BP problems are also something I have much experience with.

    What works for me ... I have tried many different needle theaders and have had many of them, even metal ones, break while trying to use them. I usually go the "flattening the thread" route. Good lighting and a magnifying glass are essential tools for me. Also, I wet the needle ... not the thread ... it sometimes helps to catch the thread a little better. A large needle with a large eye is a necsssity for me. I use batting on the back of my fabric rather than a hoop.

    I also tried a new technique on my Stitch Me Up blog post where I machine stitched the outline of my design through the fabric and batting. This gave me a firm base for working and helped me keep my stitching straight. Sometimes I just need to find my own way of doing things.

    What I am saying is that you may find something creative that works for you even if it is not the standard way of doing things. If you feel inclined, pick it up sometime when you are not feeling under pressure to get something done for a blog hop deadline. Or not ... as you choose ... be happy and creative and relaxed in all you do ... have a happy quilty day ... :) Pat

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  46. Your stiching is really very nice.

    You have many helpful commentse here to try if you ever wish to work on this again. If you do not, you will still enjoy a happy creative life doing other things.

    I do not think I will ever play golf, either, although it looks like a great way to spend some time outdoors.

    As I have always had troublesome eyesight and it is in rapid decline, I understand your frustrating problems with threading the needle. I also have some arthritis in my hands. I cannot embroider like I used to do, but I make small easy efforts and am pleased with the results. BP problems are also something I have much experience with.

    What works for me ... I have tried many different needle theaders and have had many of them, even metal ones, break while trying to use them. I usually go the "flattening the thread" route. Good lighting and a magnifying glass are essential tools for me. Also, I wet the needle ... not the thread ... it sometimes helps to catch the thread a little better. A large needle with a large eye is a necsssity for me. I use batting on the back of my fabric rather than a hoop.

    I also tried a new technique on my Stitch Me Up blog post where I machine stitched the outline of my design through the fabric and batting. This gave me a firm base for working and helped me keep my stitching straight. Sometimes I just need to find my own way of doing things.

    What I am saying is that you may find something creative that works for you even if it is not the standard way of doing things. If you feel inclined, pick it up sometime when you are not feeling under pressure to get something done for a blog hop deadline. Or not ... as you choose ... be happy and creative and relaxed in all you do ... have a happy quilty day ... :) Pat

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  47. I hope you can figure it out because it looks like a darling pattern.

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  48. I use chenille needles. size 22 for sizes 12- 5 perle and 6 strands of floss
    size 24 for 2-4
    and 26 for one or two.
    they haven a huge, long eye for ribbon embroidery and I prefer them to standard embroidery needles by far

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  49. Don't let this bump stop you from trying again! You could use a larger needle, or like me, use a lighter thread. I personally prefer the look of regular embroidery floss. You have more options with how many threads you use to get different looks and it is much easier to thread. A useful tip: instead of threading your needle...needle your thread. I do the old standard of wetting the end of my thread with my mouth, then flatten the threads with your fingers. Pinch your threads until just a little bit is showing and then put your needle onto your threads. Hope this makes sense and helps!

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  50. Threading that needle gets harder and harder. I do just as Loralynn described and it's always worked for me. Sometimes I don't get the quite flat enough and have to flatten a little more. I admire you sticking to it!!! Not everyone would have tried so hard. Don't give up, just take a short break and try again. Good luck!

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  51. Don't feel bad about it we can't be perfect in everything we try. I am like that with crochet,Idon't know how ant times I have taken lessons and I just finally gave myself permission to stop.

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  52. No problem....I don't do it either...lol. quilting is my thing.

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  53. At least you tried so donèt feel badly , I am sure in time you will get the hang of it . Try using less thread in the needle , use one strand until you get use to threading this kind of thread , that may help . If all else fails get a needle threader that will definitely work ;-)

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  54. Maybe you can give it a try later on. What you did do looked good to me--who hasn't tried this yet--so, good luck and thanks for sharing. vickise at gmail dot com

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  55. So sorry to hear of your troubles. I hope you figure out a way to make it easier for you to try again!

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  56. At least you tried. I skipped the hop last summer that required paper piecing (not my best skill)and I have regretted it ever since. I think of these hops as learning new things with old friends. That's why so many came up with great helpful hints.

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  57. I use the needle threaders or they have needled you can puch your thread through the top and they dont come out!

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  58. ne thing I can tell you is not to give up. Your stitches truly do get better in time and you will be proud by the time you finish. It neds patience and maybe get the needles that were mentioned above to where you push the thread down into them. Then there is also something called Thread Heaven to actually keep your thread from tangling and in my opinion it works like a charm. Only use a length from your elbow to your wrist in the needle at one time no longer that helps also...Please don't give up you will be glad you didn't....If I can be of any help email me...

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  59. I am so sorry that you had such a hard time threading your needle and I can understand your frustration (not a great speller). I tryed to thread it that way too, but my eyes are not as good as they use to be, so I went to the store a brought 3 needle threaders and thank GOD it worked out fine. I use them all the time now to thread my needle and plan to buy stock in them. :)

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  60. I hope that you get back to stitching. What you got done was lovely. I would recommend a needle threader, I live by them! I now understand why every summer my grandmother would have me pre-thread a pincushion of needles for her in different shades of thread. I think of my sweet grandma every time I thread a needle. :)

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  61. We all have that challenge at times. I had the same frustration last night working with perle cotton. I went to a bit bigger needle, and DH finally just threaded for me. Your stitchery was very cute and you started out fantastic.

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  62. You have the beginnings of a great project there. I think the large needle and a needle threaded are all you need!

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  63. For the 6 strand threads: I have alot of trouble with fraying and it helps to wet your fingers and pinch the thread about a 1/2 inch below the fray and pull it through. It should iron the thread and make it easier to thread the needle. sometimes trimming just doesn't work for me, but this always does. Good luck and come back to it in a bit when you've had time to be less frustrated.

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  64. This comment has been removed by the author.

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  65. Don't give up! Perle cotton can be challenging for a beginner. Try again using a standard six-strand embroidery floss and pull off two strands for your first project. This will be easier to thread and easier to manage.

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  66. There are definitely frustrations in life. I know there are some great needle threaders out on the market so that might be the answer for you. :)

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  67. Don't give up Patricia....use a # 6 embroidery needle with a big eye. I found the #9 a wee bit small. The #9 would be great for 2 strands of the embroidery floss. If I use Perle cotton I use the back stitch rather than the stem stitch. Try again, with the bigger needle and the back stitch. I have just started using Perle cotton the last year or so...at first I didn't care for it. Now some designs look better in the Perle cotton and the back stitch...some look better using floss and the stem stitch or the outline stitch. You did great!! Happy stitching, Pauline

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  68. Stick at it the end result is always worth it. Gorgeous pattern.

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  69. good job! Thanks for sharing

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  70. You got lots of good advice already so I will just say...don't give up!

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  71. Hopefully you will be able to try again using some of the great advice you have been given and without a deadline looming you will have success~!

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  72. Every other Friday, I have a Day Stitchers group that meets up at Bean Traders HWY 54 and Fayetteville Rd. Come to that, I'll thread your needle for you. Also, I can fit you for a better needle and let you take home a needle threader for thicker threads. I'll pick two up next time I see them, mine just disappeared. The one you need looks like a flat hook. See the picture on this site. The metal flat hook. http://embroidery.about.com/od/Embroidery_Glossary/g/Needle-Threader.htm

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  73. Hi!!!! I used to use a threader...I guess that is what they are called..they have little wires that hold the floss or string and then you pull it through!!!! She is such a sweet little design!!!

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  74. I am glad to see the post above mine that somebody is going to help you!!!! That is what is great about being online!!!!

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  75. At first learning embroidery, like crochet or knitting, seems a bit overwhelming. But after a while it will be easier and easier. Join a group - you'll be glad you did! blessings, marlene

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  76. I have a Clover needle threader that I use to thread embroidery thread that has a sturdier metal threader than the usual miniscule and wimpy threader. It's green with shamrocks on it so it's prettier too. Also when even that threader tries to stop me threading the needle, I use a bigger needle! I hope you'll try again.

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  77. Love what you were able to do. I had to use a slightly larger eyed needle myself as it was so hard to thread.
    Thanks for sharing.

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  78. What a shame. You definitely need a needle threader. Also is there not a thread conditioner that might help? I'm a beginner too so can't be more help.

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