Painting with Thread: Modern Embroidery for Beginners | Danielle Clough | Skillshare

Playback Speed

  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x

Painting with Thread: Modern Embroidery for Beginners

teacher avatar Danielle Clough, Embroiderer

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Watch this class and thousands more

Get unlimited access to every class
Taught by industry leaders & working professionals
Topics include illustration, design, photography, and more

Lessons in This Class

    • 1.



    • 2.

      Break the Embroidery Mold


    • 3.

      Embroidery Tools


    • 4.

      Setting Up Your Hoop and Needle


    • 5.

      Learning to Stitch


    • 6.

      Bonus: Basics in Action


    • 7.

      Learning to Color Blend


    • 8.

      Taking Your Reference Photo


    • 9.

      Transferring Your Design


    • 10.

      Beginning Your Piece


    • 11.

      Finishing Your Piece


    • 12.

      Framing For Display


    • 13.

      Get Experimental


    • 14.

      Final Thoughts


  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.





About This Class

Embroidery is for everyone with something to say — and Danielle Clough is here to help you find your voice.

Stuffy embroidery with rigid rules is a thing of the past — find new inspiration and a new way to express your creativity with master embroiderer Danielle Clough! Known for her groundbreaking techniques and nontraditional materials, Danielle’s warm and funny teaching style will make you wonder why you’ve never tried this before.

Danielle believes that embroidery is for absolutely everyone, and her colorful class breaks down the process of stitching into simple, easy to follow steps. From preparing your needle, thread, and fabric, through basic stitches, to her signature (and surprisingly simple) color-blending stitching technique, this class will have you working with fabric and thread as comfortably as you do with your tablet, your paints, or your pencils.

Working with Danielle, you’ll learn how to:

  • Create a variety of basic stitches, including French knots
  • Use stitching to create different textures, color gradients, and dimension
  • Prepare your fabric, hoop, design, and needle and thread
  • Create a complete (and beautiful) floral embroidery

Pick up a complete beginner kit (don’t forget your plastic hoops) and get started with a brand new way to explore your creative voice!

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Danielle Clough



 As a photographer-designer-vj-embroiderer, Danielle Clough has lived a life forever bound to the hyphen.

Born and raised in Cape Town, South Africa (and referred to as “Dee” by those who know her), Clough completed her studies in art direction and graphic design at The Red and Yellow School before embarking on a career in visual art, digital design and thing-making.

Her combined interest in visual art, music and the South African street culture scene led to an experimental stint turned niche gig creating visuals for live music events. Using the stage name Fiance Knowles, Dee has performed with local artists Haezer, PH Fat, Hugh Masekela and internationals acts such as the Allah Las, Mick Jenkins, Cid Rim, The Black Lips and Black Sun Empire. She... See full profile

Level: Beginner

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • 0%
  • Yes
  • 0%
  • Somewhat
  • 0%
  • Not really
  • 0%

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.


1. Introduction: I'm so excited. My God. I'm excited. That's my coffee. I'm Danielle Clough. I'm an embroiderer from Cape Town, South Africa. I'm on Instagram as fiance_knowles, and I've worked with people such as Nike, Gucci, The United Nations, Netflix, and a bunch of other people. Today's class is about finding your own voice in embroidery, learning the basics like stitches, French knots, color blending, and how to transfer designs onto fabric. You'll also learn how to make your own reference images and then how to play with colors and create something very different from a traditional embroidered piece. If you already have a creative incarnation and just would love to see your work in a different form where you can just really viscerally experience it, it's just such a game changer and I really can recommend it enough that anybody who has a vision and wants defined and see it's through a different way. The one thing that I really hope that you take away from this class is a confidence to start something new and to make mistakes. Really, I can't emphasize enough how much it's totally part of the process to make mistakes. You can always take out just stitches and start again. This is only the beginning of growing and developing and becoming a stronger, better creative. I'm so excited to share this class with you. So let's get started. 2. Break the Embroidery Mold: So the very very first day I form Embroidery is actually embarrassing. I was working at a gallery at the time and I was given a laptop to work with and I could not for the life of me open this laptop. So I would slide the little latches and I tried to open it and I just couldn't open this laptop. So I new the gallery owner was going to come down in the stairs soon and if he found me unable to open a laptop and not doing anything, I was probably going to be in a lot of trouble. So I dug through my bag and I couldn't find anything to keep me busy except for a scrap piece of felt, and a needle, and thread which I had in my bag because I would make plush toys for friends at school. So with this needle, thread and piece of felt, I just used it almost like a pen and paper and doodled a rabbit, and I thought I had invented a hole new art form. So I called it thread sketching and I was pretty sure that I was the first person in the world to do it. I later realized that it had been around for centuries, and I definitely wasn't the first much to the dismay of my ego, but that was the first time I discovered this thing and I just loved it, and I kept doing it, and I kept doing these thread sketch doodles and they slowly evolved from material, to extra colors, to different surfaces, to it being my full-time job and my vocation. So the way that I found embroidery, I had no idea what the rules were. Not knowing what the rules are and the do's and don'ts, gave me so much freedom to just explore and play and develop my own technique in my own style. I think sometimes not knowing the rules just gives you so much freedom to express an experience yourself. So I'm hoping that through this process, you learn your own voices and styles by having the foundations and the basics of embroidery, but no rules to make you feel like you're wrong or doing anything that is outside of the formula. There is something so beautiful about making something with your hands, and especially when it's slow, calming, gentle process like embroidery. There is so many restrictions that I think people put on themselves to be an artist, but this being able to lean into the idea of being a crafter as well gives you so much space to just make something for the sake of making and not for the way that is perceived by other people. There's so much freedom in that, it's really really invaluable and it's given me so much confidence to just enjoy the process and to lean into the creativity as opposed to what the outcome is. So these lessons are going to show you everything from the beginning process all the way to the end exactly as I would do it to create one of my pieces. This will include the foundational stitches, creating your image, transferring your image onto your fabric, ways of stitching it onto your fabric, and then putting it into display hoop, and finishing it off. So let's get started. 3. Embroidery Tools: So to start your project, you'll need a hoop, some tape, some thread, needles, scissors, potentially a quick and pick, fabric, and your phone or iPad, whatever you're using to document your reference image. So there are a few basics that you need to start with knowing. First thing is your fabric. Fabrics, I really enjoy using all natural fabrics like linen and cotton. You get really affordable cottons like calico, which is unbleached and natural and hold your references and your line work really beautifully. All fabrics, you should wash before you use them. There is 20 percent shrinkage mostly when you using a natural fabric, so always wash them. A lot of fabrics will be pre starched like these beautiful shweshwes. When they feel stiff, that's because they're holding a lot of starch in them. So once you've watched them, they become soft and really easy to work with. This right here is a bleached calico. Then you have some really nice printed cottons which can be cool to work on. They can also choose your colors for you. The shweshwes which are starched, you can see are really stiff but also wash really soft and beautifully. Some muslins and linens. As you can see with the linens, they're quite sheer but really nice to work on. You should always make sure that your fabric doesn't have any stretch to it. Stretch is not your friend. You don't have to be too particular with your fabrics. Remember that you're cloth, anything like bags, you can use to sew on, just be mindful of the thickness of the fabric. Things like denims are going to be much harder to sew into than a tote bag or something that you have in your closet, like a cotton t-shirt. So the threads that I like working with are DMC. These are just traditional flats. They are stranded flats that come usually in six separate strands. So later on, I'll show you how to work with different thicknesses of the threads, then you can work with wools. I enjoy working with acrylic wools mainly because I don't like wasting really beautiful wools that could be used for scarfs embroidery. They also just work a lot better in terms of sewing with them. These are just the strands that had been wrapped onto flax cards. You can also get threads in hanks. So essentially you have three types of needles. You have a milliner where the shaft and eye are the same size. These are great for beading and for bullion knots. Then you have a tapestry needle. A tapestry needle, the eye is a bit bigger than the shaft, so it's easier to thread and it has a blunt tip. This is really nice with count work and fabrics with a quite an open weave that it doesn't pierce through the fabric and it's easy to get through the holes. But what I really like using is just a chenille or regular embroidery needle. DMC have a really amazing range of embroidery needles that come in a whole assortment of sizes, which I highly recommend buying so that you find a needle that you're comfortable with. So the hoops that I really enjoy working with are your regular plastic embroidery hoops. They hold the fabric really nice and tacky, it's very important that your fabric is taut in your hoop. That way you don't get any puckering. Bamboo hoops are really beautiful for display and you can use them to work with. I just find that the plastic hoops for working with just hold your fabric a lot tighter. Whereas the bamboo hoop, you have to consistently be stretching your fabrics to keep it in place. Either way, they both will definitely do the job and the bamboo hoops are more sustainable. If you're going to use past a few of this one and then keep reusing it. Then the last thing is you masking tape. I use masking tape to tape the ages so that they don't fray. I do this because I'm lazy and because you can write yourself notes on it. It's a really nice way of writing down the date that you started a project, how long or how many days you've been working on it. If you need a little motivational notes to keep you going. So any small scissors should do. You can get these at pretty much any stall. These are really nice, a little ones to just get in and to cut off any loose threads that you need to. Fabric scissors are really important when it comes to cutting your fabric. If your mom had a pair that was like, "Don't cut anything else with this," she was right it's because even paper, plastic, all blands the fabric scissors quite quickly and it's really nice to cut the fabric with a strong pair of sharp scissors. Little thing here is a quick and pick. I try not to use it too much. I don't think that making mistakes is a bad thing. So going backwards isn't necessary I don't think. But if you do feel like you need to use it, it's got a little point here which you slide underneath your stitch and just between us there is a blade which slices your stitch in half. Another little nice to have is a magnet. They're really nice to keep your needles all in one place, and you can stick them on the top of your embroidery hoops so nothing gets lost. 4. Setting Up Your Hoop and Needle: So we're going to start this process by choosing our fabric, preparing it, putting it in our hoop, and masking taping it. From there, we're going to get into some embroidery basics. So I've chosen a natural calico. I really enjoy it. I like that it's unbleached and it's got really nice textures on it, and it's slightly off-white. Just lay it down and place your hoop over it so you know how much to cut around. Ideally, I would cut about four centimeters around the hoop that you're choosing to work in. As you see, these fabrics can fray really, really easily, and really quickly. So as soon as you can, get your masking tape around it. You can just tear it off and fold it halfway over the edge of the fabric. Turn your fabric over and fold it over. Now, you're not going to get any frays and you don't have to waste time tacking the edges. Do this to all four sides. What I like to do from here, is to cut and round the corners so that your threads don't get hooked on them while you're sewing. So now, to put your fabric into your hoop, you just simply untwist the hoop and you separate the inside from the outside. The reason I really enjoy the plastic hoops is because they have a lip like this, which holds the fabric really beautifully. Place the hoop down, and your fabric over it, and place your outside hoop around your fabric. What's really important is that your fabric is consistent and tight. So stretch it over and screw it a little bit, stretch it a little bit more and stretch. You almost want it to sound like a drum. So when you keep doing this, it's got to just be as taut as possible. If you can feel, there isn't that much give here, and you can almost hear like a slight sound when you drum it, then you know that it's ready. So to get into basic stitches, we're just going to start with the back stitch. I'm going to draw a line. You have different options on how to draw onto your fabric. So you get these really nice air-erasable pens, which just disappear over time, which is fantastic. You can use a regular ballpoint pen, a pencil, and a dressmaker's pencil, which you get in different colors. The white ones are really nice to use on dark fabrics, but obviously, we won't need this now, but if you're using denim or sewing onto denim, anything black, these are great. So I'm just going to use my air-erasable pen, and to just draw a very simple straight line. So there we're going to thread our needle. I'm going to choose a needle, and I'm just using a regular embroidery needle with a nice gold tip and quite a big eye. So for this part, you can just choose any threads and take about 800 millimeters or an arm's length, for yourself. If the thread is too long, there's a risk of it getting tangled, but if it's too short, you're going to have to keep re-threading. So about 800 millimeters is a good length. So now, when you thread your needle, what you'll want to do is have a cut as flat as possible and just between your fingers like this, and you want to almost pop the eye of the needle over your thread, and push it through the eye. Then you want a tail, just a short tail of about 30 millimeters, so that your thread doesn't pull out of your eye while you're working. Don't forget to knot the end so that it doesn't come straight through your fabric. There are two ways to knot. One way is to twist around your finger like this, so you have an X, then roll it off, grab the top of the string, and pull that roll down, and then you have a knot. The other way to create a knot, which is called the quilter's knot. The quilters have been hiding this secret from us for a while, is to put it over your needle like this, and across, wrap it around three times, and then pull it down your string and you get left with a knot at the end. 5. Learning to Stitch: So we're going to start with the back stitch. A back stitch is really great for outlines, so just start putting your needle at the beginning of the line through the fabric and pull. A good distance for the stitch is about half the length of your fingernail. So I guess that would be just under a centimeter and pull it through. Then come up through your next stitch. Instead of going forward to create a running stitch, we're going to go backwards into the whole of our previous stitch like that. Now we have two stitches inversely together. Then our next, stitch will come out through the beginning of that one. This is really great for outlines, and you just keep going one forward, one backwards. As you can see, this line is slightly disappearing, which is really great with erasable pens. It's nice if you want to test out details that you're not sure if you want to commit to them because things like the pin and the carbon paper, which I'll show later is permanent and hard to get out, so you have to stitch over them whereas this is a noncommittal pin. So once you've finished your back stitch, just turn around and then the way that we finish, is you take your needle and you just go underneath one of your previous stitches to create a loop, and then take your needle through the loop and create a knot. What you can also do is just go under one more and then you're going to cut just underneath this, so that there's a nice neat finish on the onto many tails sticking out the back of your fabric. You can also trim them down if you feel like they're going to be an issue later. So here we have a basic back stitch. The next example of creating a straight line is Couching. Couching is simply just creating one stitch and using smaller stitches to hold it down. So I'm just going to create a line like this and I'm going to show how we can also use this to create nice curvature like that. So just choose a thread, any color, choose one that brings you joy. Thread your needle, create a knot. So you're going to go in at your first point, down at your next point, and then just along the line of that stitch, come up next to it and you just use one little stitch to hold it down. So there we have one straight line that has just been held down by too little stitches. You can also do this along an arch. Don't pull the thread too tight because obviously you're going to need enough thread to go along with the arch so that it's not straight and create a stitch like this. So this is where you just got to be careful not to pull too tight and then just hold it down. Do this a little bit further along the line and hold it down, one more, just fit it on the line and hold it down. Obviously, the more little grabs essentially that you create, the more defined and the more accurate the line will be. To knot it just go underneath one of your previous stitches to create your loop. Put your needle through the loop and snip. So from here I'm going to show you two different types of fill stitches. I'm just going to make a little square that we're going to color in, with the erasable pen and again, choose the color that makes you happy. So the first fill and the most simple fill that we're going to use is a satin stitch. So start off at any corner of your block and work your way down. Then come up next to you first stitch and then come down. Keep going like this until you've filled your block or whichever area is that you're working in. The satin stitch creates a really beautiful flat fill and depending on your thread, can pick up like a really amazing shine. So if you have a match thread, you'll have a very different look to if you have a straight with shine. It's okay if you've go a little bit skew like I have, I can just add extra stitches. As you can see, it's a nice flats solid fill. Another version of a satin stitch that I'm going to show you is going to be with a variegated thread. Variegated threads change color along the distance of the thread. So here we can see this one goes from a light purple to magenta fuchsia to a blue back to fuchsia. So whereas the previous satin stitch goes next to each other every time and the back looks the same as the front this one, we're going to go up down, up down. The reason we do this is so that we get the gentle gradients that happened with this rate all on the surface of the fabric as opposed to behind the fabric. So we don't lose the transitions and the magic of the variegation. So you start at any corner and then you go up to the top, but instead of coming down again at the beginning point, you come out just next to your previous hole and again. It is really important when you are using variegated threads to be mindful of those transitions. They're really nice when you're doing textured fills in a way to get an effect of lots of colors coming through but without having to constantly re-thread and change your needle. So here you can see the color is transitioning really seamlessly and it looks really beautiful. So you can see the difference between the two satin stitches when you turn it around. The first one, the front and the back look the same because essentially you're wrapping it around the fabric, whereas the second one because we're zigzagging, like this, you don't have the same amounts of stitches going around. This is actually a more economical way to create a satin stitch. Again when you tie it off, just go underneath any little stitch that you can, just like that, even if it's small, create your loop and go through. So the second fill I'm going to show you, is a long and short stitch. So the short and long stitch is exactly what it sounds like, a short and a long stitch. So we'll start again at the corner, create a stitch and the second stitch which we're going up, just like the satin stitch, will be a different length. So I'm going to show you how this works with two different colors. So I'm first going to use this pink to create stitches of different lengths. So this is how we create our own gradients and the foundation for color blending. Remember, you don't have to be too precious about exactly where your stitches go and they end up. The beauty of it is that it is reversible and it's really nice to just keep going and layering of the stitches. I think it's really important not to be hard on yourself about these being perfect. Here, I have my first color of shorts and long stitches. I'm going to choose my second color, which is going to be along this same color family, but just a lighter version. So with your second color, you're just going to go along the same distance, meeting up with the stitches that you made before. It's totally okay that these aren't shorts and long and there's really so much beauty and imperfection, and that's where you learn the most. So just keep going, filling it up, also if you feel like you need to compensate for areas that are missing, it doesn't have to be next to it. So I can see here, just over here, there's too much fabric sticking out, so I'm just going to go over, come out and pop into that. We're just going to keep layering until our area is full and we're happy with how our fill looks. So the last stitch I'm going to show you is a French knot. French knots are really nice for creating texture, so you just need to thread your needle about the same length of 800 millimeters and knot the end. So you just come through like this, then you want to wrap your thread around your needle three times, one, two, three and just put your needle through the fabric, next to the way your stitch came out. So here you can see this is the twist at the bottom of the needle just around the fabric. We're going to pull through, making sure that that twist is on the fabric and if you need to just open that loop up so that it's as close as possible and pull through. This is so satisfying when you get it right. So we're just going to wrap it around one, two, three times putting the needle in the fabric just next to where you came out and pulling through. Sometimes you need to just give it a extra wiggle, there we go, and super-fast it looks like this. Cool, so that's your French knot, which is really nice for creating lots of textures like landscapes, the leaves on trees, the pollen in flowers, and any other kind of textual detail. So those are just some of your basic stitches. A back stitch for outline, couching, satin stitches with variegated threads and plain threads, a long and short stitch, and French knots. So next we're going to take these basic stitches and put them all into one design and to show you how to color blend. 6. Bonus: Basics in Action: So we've gone through some basic stitches and I'd like to show you how I've implemented them in my own work. So here is some very basic color blending using the same tones, all with six strands. These textures here are created with the French knots, which we note over here. Using different colors, the color blending can create a whole different shape. But using the same color, we can seen here, as supposed to be color blended, this is just silk stitch. So we've got very simple shading techniques, all creating a piece with a lot of dimension. So in this piece, we can see the effects of the different thicknesses of threads. So the threads come in six strands which we see over here, but then split up in fours, twos and ones, creates so much more detail and really bring the dimension to the beard to life. This was really nice for pet portraits, beards, and hair in your work. So in areas here where there's smaller details, the thin threads ready bring it to life. So you can get a lot of dimension in small areas like the teeth, and the eyes, and around the glasses. Where these areas are a little bit bolder where we don't need as much attention to detail, are thicker and just using the traditional six stranded threads. So this piece uses a whole array of different styles to create lot of texture and to just showcase ways that stitches can be used. So we've got French knots here that have got extra beads just for more dimension and texture. We've got a silk stitch here which has been wrapped around wool just for dimension, and there's basic color blending, as well as just a scrappy color shading here to just give it a full textural feel. We've got glitter stitches and all sorts of things, just playing and experimenting to create a piece that has got a lot of variety in it. So as you can see, with just a few basics, you can create something really special and with a lot of dimension. 7. Learning to Color Blend: So for this section, I've drawn a watermelon onto the fabric, just using a pencil. So it's like a pie shape and just with a little area there for the rind. So we're going to go through all the previous stitches to show how they can be used and then a color blending. So we're going to start off by doing an outline. Just choose any color that you like, I think it's really important to choose nontraditional colors, that way you create individuality to each of your pieces. So I'm going to do my outline in this blue, cutting about 800 millimeter on arm's length again. We're going to use the backstitch technique to just go along the edge of the outline of our water melon. When you're doing backstitches around a curved line, you want to make them slightly smaller so that they can be more accurate. Again, I'm just knotting it the way we learned in the previous lesson. So next, I'm going to do a satin stitch inside the rind of the watermelon. I'm going to choose off green, I think it's really nice to choose your colors spontaneously. Just look in your box, see what you have, and choose a color that feels right at the time. So again, we're just going to start in a corner. I think it's really important to be mindful of where you're knots are. Because if you're going to go through this area here where you have your knots, it is possible that it's going to get caught or you're going to build up a back where there's just a bunch of knots. If you want to work back into that area, it's going to become difficult and very layered. So what I'm going to do instead, is I'm going to come up over here where there aren't any knots for me to work into. Again, my stitches over there so I'm just being mindful of where those knots are so they don't get in my way. For this satin stitch, instead of wrapping around like this, I'm going to come out and next to each other, just to save on thread, and that there aren't too many layers. Because it becomes more difficult the more layers that you have to work in over them. This is the second technique of satin stitch that we learned. So if you feel like you've missed spots like over here, just jump back don't be precious about where your stitches are and that they have to be next to each other. It is totally okay if the back is a mess, nobody is looking at the back of your embroidery. So just turn it around and go underneath the previous stitch, and if you just feel like these tails are bothering you, just again, go underneath the stitch and snip it off in case you're worried about it coming through or getting in your way. So now we're going to get into color blending, this is my favorite part of the process and it's a lot easier than it looks. The first thing we're going to do is choose our colors. I'm going to go for something that isn't exactly watermelon friendly, and just know that this takes a little bit of time. But the more you work into it, the more beautiful and more seamless, and refined your work is going to be. So first thing we're choosing our colors along like a tonal spectrum. So I'm going to choose a dark pink for the darkest tone, an orange for the mid-tone, and a dark yellow, light orange for the highlights. So we're going to go with our short and our along stitch that we did before and place these down first. Then we're going to work into it again to really blend the colors together within that spectrum. So first, let's map out this section. We're going to have a light tone at the top, a mid tone in the middle, and our dark tone at the bottom. So now we've mapped out the area here in this little section, and we're going to firstly take our light tone. If you're struggling to thread your needle, just put it in your mouth and between your teeth to flatten the end of the needle and to stick the threads together, especially with the stranded threads that can't separate. So then it's easier to pop through the eye of your needle. Start with the shorter long stitch and fill up your area. What I like to do is use this line as a guideline between working above and below for the short and long stitch, and always coming back to the center part. What's really important with embroidery is to consider direction, everything has direction; flowers, wood. So for me, the direction of this watermelon is going to be from the point at the top and then work its way out. So we're almost going to fan out the stitches from the center point. Again, don't be shy to just fill in spaces by jumping backwards and forwards, and put your stitches wherever you feel they need to be. Next, we're going to work with our mid-tones. I always use roughly the same length of thread, so that arm length, a little bit longer or shorter depending on the area that you're using. But it's nice to have that feeling of consistency. Then you get like subconsciously I guess, understand the thread and know when you're coming to the beginning or the end, or if it's hooked on something at the back. So it's nice to always have a gauge. So again, we're just going to be doing this just above and below the mid-tone line, and meeting up with your previous stitches. You can just layer, just keep working into them, cutting through the stitches. This part is really fun, this is free style embroidery and you can just keep going in any place you feel that the threads need to be. As you can see, a gradient is starting to form by virtue of your color choices. But what we want to do after we've put these layers down, is really refine it and make that gradient seamless. At this point, it's looking nice, but it's almost a bit chunky and naive. So let's put in our last dark-tones and see how it evolves from there. So at this point, we've almost got this naive gradients happening and because we're using the six stranded thread, it's quite chunky, but we've got the foundation of our color blending. You can also see that the back is starting to get messy which I love. It's almost like the map of the process. So now we want to start refining this section. I'm going to take my midtone for our stranded threads, take our arm's length, and then we're going to divide it. So the stranded threads come predominantly in sixes, as you can see when I split them here. So I'm dividing this now into three. So this is much thinner, it have thickness about sixes that we've been working with. So I'm going to take my needle, thread out three, and I'm going to start working in between our mid tones and our light tones and our mid tones and our dark tones. This is going to tighten up the whole embroidery and create a much more seamless gradients. There's also lots of gaps here that you can work in and you'll see that then it starts to become a little bit more difficult to discern, which is which stitch and becomes a lot more interesting. So here, I'm just working up into the light and down into the dark as I see necessary. When you're doing this, trust your eye and remember that the more you work into it, the more interesting your piece is going to be. So take your time and don't be hard on yourself if you don't feel like it's there, just keep working and enjoying the process. Already we've just started and as you can see, this side, we've got the refined threads and that side doesn't have them. So it's a lot chunkier there than it is here and we've only got the one color so far. So we just keep working up and down. So now I'm going to take my light tone and I think for this I'm going to use a two. Always keep your extra threads because you don't know if you're going to need them later. So here I have a two which I'm going to be working from my lights area back into my mid tones. I like working with the mid tone first because it gives you more control and a better vision of how it's all going to work out. Also, it's okay to work your colors all the way down, keeping those stitches short and nice. I'm going to work this very thin two in my light tone all the way almost to the pink just to create a lot more of a seamless gradients. The more you work, the less you'll notice that the more effective the whole piece will become. So what I'm going to do, because I feel like this orange and this pink is actually too much of a dramatic jump, I'm going to start using a different color in there, but also with a thin. So I'm going to take a pink. So I think I'm going to use a three here, but this is totally up to you. There's no formula to this, you just do what you think is right. The most important part about trusting your instincts is this is what you're going to develop your own style, which is really important and it's where you're going to find the most joy in the process. So here I'm working in my dark tones, but up and down into my mid, filling in gaps. So as you can see, this light pink has turned down this dark pink a lot and it's created quite a seamless gradient between the light orange, the mid tone orange, your pink, and your dark pink. It's a lot more refined and you can barely see the difference between the colors at first from a distance, but when you look into it, there's a lot of detail in it now. So we're going to finish this off with two very simple things. We want to give our watermelon some pips. I'm going to choose this dark red just because we're going to plant in some French knots. If you're worried about where you putting them and you don't want to freestyle it, you're more than welcome to use your erasable pen to put the dots down, because those will disappear even on the threads. Put in your little French knots. As you layer the threads, it will become a little bit harder to work with. This is why it's important to be mindful of where you've put your knots. As you can see in the back, it becomes a lot more chaotic. So our last little thing is we're going to create that little divide that a watermelon has between the flesh and the rind, which is usually a thin whites section. I'm going to use a nice light yellow. This is where we're going to use our couching to create that's slight curved line. If ever you've created a stitch that's long and you feel like it's getting a bit loose, just couch it down with another thread. That as well, if you don't want that couching to be so evident, you can use a thinner thread. So if you got a six stranded to create your line, but you use a two strands to couch it down, it'll be less evident. So I'm going to go from the beginning to the end, leaving a little bit of slack and then couch it down along the area where you want it. So here you have a watermelon that has been color blended with French knot pips, a couched section between the flesh and the rind, a satin stitch line, and a backstitch offline. So everything in the basic stitches you've learned put together into one little piece. So now that we've gone through the foundations and the basic stitches, we're going to work on something that is a lot more creative, that has more of your own inputs working from your own image and it's a lot more free and fun. 8. Taking Your Reference Photo: So this lesson is about taking your own reference photos. I love taking my own reference photos because I think it's really important and really special to be a part of every section of the process. I like to use my phone because it's something that you have with you wherever you go, and it's really nice to be able to use the tools that you've got every day with you so that you can be that creative whenever the feeling of inspiration hits you. So we're going to create a floral embroidery. We've got these really beautiful lilies. To take a good reference photo, I think it's important to have contrast. Because of the color shading that we're going to use, contrast is a really really nice way of getting dimension and tips into your image. I love using flowers because they've got history to them, a whole range of color varieties, and there's a lot of space to just be creative and to make mistakes and to fix them. We've all got a story behind them. So a really good way to make sure that you've got contrast in your image is to make sure you take an image next to a window or some other light source. Natural lighting is the best. So I'm going to create a small arrangement. I really love this lily over here and I think maybe with one leaf and one that has an opened up will create a nice image. So with my phone, I'm just going to open up the camera, and it's quite nice to take an image from the front or from the top. So I want to get as much of the flower in as possible making sure that I get that detailing in that I think will be really nice to stitch. So these are really pretty. Then making sure that I can see that there is lighting variations around it. I encourage you to really have fun with this and to just move things around and put parts in it that you enjoy. I really like this composition, and I'm loving this flower from this angle as opposed to from the top, but that's totally up to you. I like the three-quarter angle, then you can just make sure that you've got focus. Try and make sure that you've got every part of your image in, and snap your picture. So there are two things that I really enjoy doing with my images in my reference photos. I like having an image with a high contrast so that I can just see those color gradients, and I love working from black and white references. This way you don't feel so tight about what colors you feel you have to use and it really opens you up to color possibilities. So I'm going to import one of my last picture that I took and just edit it on VSCO Cam. VSCO Cam is a free editing app that has a lot of different color presets. Then you can go in and just individually edit it. So I like to push up my contrast and play with different color variations. So here I have one reference that's really saturated and I can see the gradients in the lily. I'm going to save this to my gallery and then I'm going to re-edit the same photo. So I'm going to re-import the original and I'm going to create a black and white reference. Black and white references are a really nice way to see color tones without being so stuck on the perfect colors. It's so much more fun to just choose colors as you go and to choose the colors that bring life to you when you see them. I finally get very bored and very over certain colors. So once I'm working with a purple too much, then I'll want to jump to maybe a blue or other tones and I think I work my colors around what I feel like and what works intuitively. I think that working from a black and white reference gives you so much more space to do that. It's really important to focus on the idea that you're not wrong. So now I have saved both to my gallery. I have a black and white image and a color image. This is the reference image that we're going to use to create our own unique embroidery. So now you have your reference photo, one that you've taken yourself and that you've edited in a way that you're happy with, and the next step is transferring this onto the fabric. 9. Transferring Your Design: So in this lesson, we're going to look at our reference images, different ways to play with it, and then to transfer it onto fabric. We're going to map out our working area, which is the inside of your hoop, because obviously you can only sew this area and not outside. So firstly, we're going to just take this and create a circle. So now you know this is how much space you have to work with. Essentially, this is your composition. We want to find out where the center of our circle is. The best way to do this is to create a cross here by folding over the tracing paper and letting the lines go over each other. We do this in one direction and then again in the other. So now we have a perfect cross here showing us exactly where the center of the circle is. So next we're going to take our edited photograph and we're going to put it over an entire circle. If you find that your reference image is slightly bigger than your screen will allow, make it the size that you want it to be in your composition and take a screenshot. Then again, move it making sure that it still remains the same size, and take your second screenshot. What's important about having the screenshots is, sometimes your fingers will pinch and zoom your image. But if you have the screenshots of the exact proportions that you need, then that's not going to be a problem, you can always go back to your image. So when you're tracing, make sure you have two fingers on your phone. That way, the phone won't register your pencil as an action or something to make sure that it pinches and zooms. This way, it stays static and in the same place. Just draw along the edges of the image and mark out your dark and light areas. It's really great with working from your own photographs so that you know the image better than anybody else. If you've used two screenshots, just go to your second image, place the lines over the ones that you really had. I recommend getting as detailed as possible in this process because it's really nice having all the information that you need in your reference image and then mapped onto your fabric. If there is unnecessary details, it's okay, you can just sew over it, but it's sometimes difficult to put that extra information in there afterwards. So here you have a very very simply mapped out version of a lily from a photograph I've just taken a few minutes ago. If you feel like the image is a bit sparse, you can also just keep looking at your photograph and add extra things in. It doesn't have to be exactly like your image. So for this one, I really like this part over here, I can just keep adding it and zooming in. You can also just work straits onto your tracing paper and add information and details that you think would work really well. You definitely don't need to have illustration skills to do this, you're just drawing an outline form of photograph that you take. But if you do want to draw and create your own designs, it's as simple as just drawing it to your fabric or piece of tracing paper. So now we're going to take our drawn reference from the photo that we've got on tracing paper and put it onto the fabric with carbon paper. Carbon papers which you find in checked books between the two pages, which transfers information from the one page to the other. You can buy them pretty much at any odd store in sheets like this. I often like to just cut mine down so that it's roughly the same size as my design. So cutting your carbon paper in half. With carbon paper, you have to be very mindful of smudging because it does transfer quite easily and it doesn't come out of the fabric. So when you are drawing, wherever you put your lines down, you're going to have to sew over that unless you want the lines to be showing. So what I'm going to do is turn my tracing paper around and tape my carbon paper to it, making sure that the transferable side is exposed because that's what's going to be on the fabric. Just using just small snippets of your masking tape, this way the carbon paper won't move around. So turning it around and making sure it's a sensitive to the fabric as possible, place the tracing paper down and tape it to the fabric. So now, we're going to go over the lines that you've already made. What's quite nice is to open up your reference image just so that you've got extra reference of where your lines are going and why you're putting them down, and then we're just going to draw over our tracing paper onto our fabric. So from here, just with the regular pen, just go over the lines that you've already created. Ideally, use a pen that's got quite a sharp neck and it's a ballpoint. So just being very mindful of way your hand goes and way your extra lines get put down, if you are adding, because the carbon paper is very destructive in terms of not washing out. If you want, you can gently lift one of the corners up to check how your design is transferring. Try not to do that too much because you might end up moving and then having double lines. If you're confident you've gotten all the details, gently remove your tracing paper and your carbon paper so you find your design on your fabric. Again, if you need to just compare what you've drawn to what you might need, and using a pencil or your erasable pen, add in any details that you think are necessary. It's normal to be nervous about the carbon paper, but you are also able to use it again and again and again. So if you make a mistake, just start over, your tracing paper process is also very easy, and you can reuse the same tracing paper outline and it's okay to make the mistakes. So now you've taken your photograph, transferred it onto tracing paper and you've got it on your fabric and you should be ready to stitch. So now, we're just going to put it back in to our hoop. I like to create a composition with flowers, either slightly on the left, the right, or the bottom of the frame. I like to do these compositions, because of the rule of thirds. It just is more aesthetically pleasing on the eyes. The rule of thirds is where something is not exactly seen and works within one of the third quadrants. Obviously, it's slightly different for the circle, but you can seen that it just looks better when it's not in the center, especially because with a flower like this, this is facing in this direction, it can look nicer. Now that I see it, I feel maybe I need a little bit more detail here and there, but I'm not 100 percent sure how I feel about it. So just for now, I'm going to add a random leaf here with the erasable pen. This is a commitment fabric pen, so it's fantastic. So have some shapes added in it to see how I feel a little bit less about adding details. These can also be done with beads, you can be really experimental with that. Cool. So now we have our pattern in our hoop and we're going to plan our colors. 10. Beginning Your Piece: So this next lesson is about color and playing with color, and really getting to a place we understand it a little bit better and are enjoying using it in your embroidery. So what I'd like to do is to choose a dark tone, a mid-tone, and a light tone. These don't necessarily have to be within the same hue. They can be any colors. You can also look at your fabrics or things around you to inspire those color ranges. So firstly, just choose your shadows and put one or two tones out. I'm going to choose blues mainly for my shadows and add one purple just to create an alternative tone in those shades. Then a few yellows for my highlights. Then looking at these two colors, I intuitively feel like using something like an orange. So add a few tones of orange in between, and this is how I'm going to start my color process and my color journey. So it's always a difficult thing to know where do you start with your embroidery. Also remember when you start stitching, you are going to cover up your lines. So what you want to do if you're not already stitching in your outline and you're working just creating something more photorealistic and less graphic, you want to essentially map out your lines by using your tones. So using one of your shadow tones, we're going to look at our reference image and outlines, and create an outline by shading in our shadow. So because for this, we're not doing outlines, what we're going to do is create outlines by starting off with our shadows. So looking at my reference image, I can see here this map top area is the shadow area. So starting with one of my deep blues, I'm going to work into this. This part of the process is the most fun and it's really important that you're not hurting yourself of putting a stitches in the exact right place, because you can always layer over them, take them out, cut them out. You really don't have to be precious. This is really important that you enjoy this part of the process. So when I'm deciding where to put my shadows, I'm just working straight from my reference photo, looking at different areas and going, okay, so I know that there's going to be shadows over there to create this shape. If you feel more comfortable, use your erasable pen to map it out. You don't have to work at one section at a time. If you feel like you want to add this blue over there, just jump across. I think it's really nice to just work intuitively. If you feel like that's what your stitches should go, that's the best way just develop your own style and really create a piece that is unique to what you think is right and what you want to do. So what's traditionally embroidery? The back is supposed to look as neat as the front, which I think is a little bit boring and restricting and it takes away from the creative process. I think it's more important that the front looks the way that you want it to and the back is just like a mind map of your process. The chaos is like, it's a lot like real life. Behind the scenes is always a little bit more complicated and messy, but the front is like this beautiful orchestrated image. If you're concerned about losing certain details with your shading, then just put them in loosely, because it's really nice to work in the details later, but just to map them out by creating your base layer. So here, I'm going to use a brown to do the statement, but later on I'm going to add French knots to create texture in those unique areas. If you feel like just adding another random color that's outside of the spectrum you have initially chosen, definitely do it. It's so important just to follow your color choices and do it in a way that just feels right to you. I once asked an art teacher if I should add more blue to a painting, and she was like, if you're asking yourself if you should add more blue, that means you should definitely add more blue. So I always go by those principles and if I feel like something should be there, then I add it in. The nice thing about embroidery is you can just take it away, or layer over it, or tone it down with more threads. So if you find that your threads are getting tangled and stuck, just cut them. There's no reason to suffer. So I feel like I've just finished all the areas with brown. So even though I haven't run out, I'm just going to cut it and just keep this aside in case I need to add more details and use it later. Even though it's a bit shorter, it's worth keeping and always nice to use your off cuts later may be in a separate piece. So here I have my blues and my shadows. I'm going to add a few more shadows looking at my reference image, but maybe not as dark as this because my shadows in these areas are lighter. So I'm going to use a slightly lighter blue because I know it's within the same shadow space. I like using my stitches in the natural direction of things. Everything has its own flows. So pixels will go along the petals and if you zoom into image, you'll usually see this, whether it's the grain of a tree, or the veins of a flower, or in its petals, and I like to mimic this with the stitches. This gives it a lot more emotion and it makes it feel a lot more natural. So here I'm using the short-term with the stitch with a different tone to tone this dark blue into a slightly lighter blue. When you layer the stitches, don't be too concerned about putting the threads back into the same holes that they came out. You're totally allowed to just put the stitches wherever, go over and layer, and keep jumping around. Don't be too precious about where you think things have to go. Just enjoy putting the stitches where you feel like they need to be. So I've come to the end of my blue. So just remember to go underneath the stitch, create a loop to create your knot. Then if you don't want to have that extra tail, just go underneath some stitches like this and then just snip it. Then there aren't that many loose tails in your work. We got some inflammation happening here. So using this blue again, I'm just going to keep working in along these lines with my darkest tone, just to make sure that I don't lose any details by going over the wrong line. If you feel like there's some details in the black and white photos that are confusing and you're not too sure if it's an outline or if it's a leaf or something, then go back to that edited color version and then you can see okay, that might have felt like it was a pixel in the black and white image, but actually it's a leaf. So that's why it's really nice to have both reference images with you. But still for the tonal variety and variations, I always think that the black and white is the way to be the most creative. It's really nice to choose your colors and to focus on your main subject first, and then choosing complimentary colors once you've got that down as the details around the work. So my leaves, I'm not too sure if they're going to be green now, but once I have a better idea of how the flower looks, I'll know which colors will work best with the leaves, and the buds and other details around. But some of the smaller details like these little stems here just splits the threads and so something thinner. So I'm going to use a full for now. I can always refine it later, but I don't want to lose that detail as I work into the main petals. Now working with a full, I'm just going to make sure that I have that mapped out. So because I can be unbelievably lazy and I don't feel restraining something else, I'm just going to take this one and add it into a different area. This is quite nice because you end up using colors in places that you wouldn't have know many decided to, and sometimes brings in really interesting emotion and different ways of using color. If I decide that this color isn't exactly what I want, I'll just go over it with something that is more appropriate. Now I'm going to start working in mid-tones before I do the highlights for the areas that are around here that are more like, it's more like the base layer. This is also why I like using the sixes because you can cover as much ground before adding in the extra detail. So again, I'm going to use a piece of floss about 800 centimeters or arms length, and really just try and cover as much ground as possible so that the piece progresses quickly. Here you can start using longest stitches if you covering big areas because you know that later on you're going to be holding those stitches down with extra layers. So I've just realized I've made a mistake, which is totally okay. So I've added this leaf in here afterwards and while sewing, thought it was a petal, which is totally okay because instead of making this orange, I'll just make the screen and add extra or whatever color just decides to make the leaves, and add extra shadows in there to make sure that that area matches itself. So mistakes are totally fine. So I'm going to start working in my highlight tones. I always make sure not to use my lightest tone or my darkest tone until the very end. I find that that's when everything comes together, when you put in your whites and your blacks. But so it's really nice to see everything coming together and that basic gradient by having your shadows, and your mid-tones, and your highlights. So now I'm using my highlights to map out the rest of my line work. I'm just going to keep sewing for awhile and just building the colors and making sure that the forms takes shape and there is dimension. So from here, it's just about building your colors, layering, and having fun, and I encourage you to do the same. In the next lesson, we'll be finishing off with final threads, details, and really bringing it to life with the highlights, shadows, and extra dimension. 11. Finishing Your Piece: So I've done the base layer of this using mostly sixes and fours to give it a full spectrum of color. The last pieces that I'm going to do are using twos and ones to really refine it, and to give it more detail. I like leaving the details for the end, because it gives you that incentive to finish the piece, it brings the whole thing to life and it pushes you through the laborious part. I'm going to start working into the stamen, and I'll have a better idea of what I need to do next once I've got those details down. I originally just put this brown there to just map out the area, but now I'm going to give it its own shading, so that it can stand out for itself. I also forgot to knot the end of my thread, which is our key area. I'm using a three here just to give it some more color and shape, and then I'll keep refining it with a two, and then very last a one. Fewer threads work better for details, because it just patterns a whole thing up and works with other stitches, so it's difficult to distinguish between them, which gives it a much more seamless and effortless look. So if you keep just working in, and just going and going and layering, it's going to look more and more, and more beautiful, and feel more like your own piece. So already, just with a few stitches, I've created dimension and more shape around the stamen. Once I put highlights in there, it'll really stand out and the whole piece will make more sense. This definitely doesn't have to be photo-realistic. It is nice to work from a reference and to be as close to the reference as possible. But I've already gone, of course, and added different elements that are my own. I think that there's a lot of pressure to have photo-realistic work, but why a photo-realistic work, when you can take a photograph. It does get harder the further along in the process that you go in the layers. But that's why it's important to be mindful of where you're knots are, and when you are knotting the back to try not to bulk it up too much. So as you can see, there are lots of knots and there are lots of layers here. When you do have areas that you need, specifically a lot of fine detail, like the eye, it's important to make sure that you don't put your knots in that space. Because if you're trying to put a highlight specifically in one section of the eye, and you've got a knot there, it's going to be hard to put it in the perfect place. So it's good to put your knot perhaps a little bit further down, and then work your threads to the area that you want to be putting your details into. So just by simply putting in a few docks that just really created more of a shape around this. So now I'm going to use a two or a one to put some highlights on these stamens, with a color that's different to the rest of the image. So I've got a lot of colors in here. So perhaps a light brown, or even a green to just really give it its own space. I think colors look different in different contexts because they really rift of each other. So this fuchsia, looks very pink next to this purple, but next to an orange, looks very purple. So how colors work together is really important. That's why it's important to choose your colors while you're working, and to be open to changing your color palette while you're working. Because you really don't always know from the beginning, how they're going to work together. So now I'm going to split this and start working with a single thread, to put in some finer details. The nice thing about working with singles is that you can just keep going over in the same area, if you feel like it needs to be thicker. You can't make your threads thinner while you're working. So the more you're working to your piece, so the variation of threads, it doesn't necessarily look like stitching anymore, which can have such a beautiful effect. From a distance, the colors really blend in beautifully together. If you get to the point where you're not too sure you know that the piece needs something, but you can't really point out exactly what it is, there's two ways to get around that, look at it upside down from a distance, give yourself a day or so between your work, and sometimes taking a photograph of it and looking at it through your phone, gives you a whole another perspective of what your piece looks like, and what it needs. So this is the first step in working with a single stitch to see on the highlights of this, and then over here with the leaf, and already you can see there's a difference between the stamen and the leaf ways before it was a little bit last. So I really encourage you to just keep working at it. The single stitches really help with creating like a seamless transition between the colors. You can't even see the difference between the lilac over here and the yellow, but it creates a lot flatter and a lot more beautiful look. So this part is a little bit boring and you don't really see much of a difference. Whereas, before when you're working with the sixes, you covering a lot of ground, and you really feel like the benefits of that where this is really the refining process, but it's the parts of the process that will take your piece from looking pretty nice to looking great. If you have any long stitches that feel like they're standing out too much, just use your coaching technique, and if you want it to be seen as just using a single stitches to hold them down. So this stitch over here, I feel is a little bit loose, and might later be a problem, so I'm just taking my little single lilac, and couching it down. Over here I feel the same, so I'm just going to take this stitch and couch it down. So there are a few final details I'd like to make. I want to work into these leaves, so that they don't look so chunky, and just to create connecting such as from this leaf to there using the blue to match with this. If you feel more comfortable drawing it and putting it down, you can use your pencil or your erasable pen, but also you can freestyle it and just do the stitches and put them wherever you feel comfortable, and you think it's right. It is reversible and you can unpick them if you're doubting yourself, but you shouldn't. You should trust your guts. Your guts, of course. So here, just using a three, the same color as I have in the shadows over here. I'm just going to create a stem, working down this petal, and creating a back stitch along with fabric. If you feel like it can be thicker, you can just keep going over it until you're happy with it. I love this part of the process where you stop seeing what each color starts and where it ends. They all melt together. So as a little hack, if you're needle has come off and you have a short tail at the back of your embroidery, instead of re-needling it and knotting it, what you can do is choose a color that you're going to put in the area close by. Put your needle through next to it, and instead of knotting the end of it, tie the two together. You can just trim it, and keep going. So for the highlights over here, what I would like to do is to use the lilac that I've used over here, and a light yellow. So there's a way that I can do this in one go. So you take your one single yellow thread and your lilacs thread, put them next to each other, and cut them so that they're equal length. Then you just throw both to them through your needle, to create one blended thread. You can do this with as many as your needle can take. This is really nice for doing fur on animals, beards, or anything else whether you want lots of colors in a small space. So I'm going to do this blender technique again, using the pinks in the petals and the orange is over there, just to create more of a blend between this area and the yellow. The last part can be really time consuming and sometimes take longer than the initial groundwork, because it's very difficult to know when you've finished your piece. But you should just do it when you're happy or until the needle won't enter through the fabric anymore. Like we are getting close. I'm just going to add slightly lighter areas around here, just so that the stamen pop out, and then some small freckles, which are on the details on the petal. I personally like to leave some areas a little bit more chunky than others. It almost mimics a depth of field, and when it comes to portraiture, I like to really refine it around the eyes and the details where you want to hold the focus of the work. So I'm using my ones, my twos mainly around the stamen and the center of the petals, whereas the leaves have still got a chunkier more unsophisticated look. So you really want to draw attention to the areas through its detail. So one other thing, if you feel like the color of your embroidery is too close to your fabric color, and maybe it's getting lost, you can create a fine line to almost mimic a shadow along your edge. So with my single blue that I have, I'm just going to stitch along the edge here. So it doesn't look like an outline, but more creates a slight dimension as if a shadow was falling off the stitches onto the fabric. So my final and favorite part is adding the French knot details. So with a French knots, if you want them to be smaller, just divide a six strands. I'm going to use a two, because I know that a six strand will look a bit chunky, whereas a two will be nice and fine. I'm just going to place these knots wherever I feel intuitively they should be. I can't follow the reference for this, but I think when you come into finer details and at the end, your own intuition is usually the best. So even just a few French knots placed along here and pulled tightly so that they sit inside the stitches, a makes a really nice detail in this petal and closer to what the actual image looks like. Don't film this part where I'm stuck. If your French knot ends up looking at little bit chunky, what you can't do, is just to create another stitch to couch it down. So just couching in the loop of your French knot and pulling it down. So when you finished your piece, have a look at your back and make sure that you don't have too many loose threads. So I have two here, which I'm just going to tie together and trim. Trim any excess tails that you have just so that you can't see them through the front of the fabric. So this is done. 12. Framing For Display: So now that I've finished with embroidery, we're going to finish off the piece by re-framing it in a smaller bamboo hoop and lacing the back. It's really important that you lace the back and don't use any glue on your hoops. Glue is not archival, it will destroy your fabric. So this is my PSA, please don't use glue. So find a hoop that works for you. I like to use hoops that are slightly smaller than your working hoop because after time, you will find that the edges of your work can become a little bit dirty and then the fabric also stretches around the hoop so sometimes can distort. So I like to use a hoop just slightly smaller. So have a look to see if it works for your composition and also know that it's going to be the size of the outside of your inside hoop. So this is actually your composition. Take your fabric out of your working hoop and just like you did in the beginning, place your embroidery over your inside hoop, loosening your outside hoop and positioning it. What you want to do is exactly like you did before, is slowly tighten, stretch, tighten, stretch so that you get out all your creases and your puckering. So I'm not exactly 100 percent happy with this composition. I feel like this is a little bit too high and the spaces around here aren't equal. So instead of taking the whole thing out, what I do is I just loosen it a little bit, pull it into the center and pull the section down. Then I'll start tightening again. So when you're happy with your positioning, turn your hoop around and cut a circle about 40 millimeters around your ring. It's okay to leave your masking tape there. Another really good thing about lacing is that, if you do want to re-hoop or frame your embroidery later, you can always just unstitch your laces or you can even just restitch them to tighten them in the hoop. It's non-destructive, which is a really, really big benefit to it. So for the lacing I like to use a purl. The purl is a twisted stranded threads. So it's a bit stronger and I just double it up just for extra strength. So I'll use about the circumference of the circle's length, which is roughly an arm's-length still and then just double that up. So to double up your thread, just feed the one side through the eye of your needle, pull until your two ends meet and tie them together. So what we're going to do first is go along the edge of your circle in just a basic running stitch which is just in and out. When your stitches get to the same place, start to pull it around to close the back of your embroidery. This is to get all your fabric done, you can just knot it tightly together so it's laced in place. So if you would like your lacing to be a bit tighter, just grab some more thread. Try and make it a nice long amounts because you're going to use quite a lot of it and stitch through the top, hook into it, create a little stitch just catching the fabric and pull nice and tight. Then you're going to go up close to where you were, to the left or the right and you are going to continuously do this going around your piece. You can do this as many times to make it as tight as you would like. To finish off your lacing, just create a stitch within the fold and feed your thread through. Okay. So now your finished embroidery is laced in a display hoop and you should be really proud of yourself. 13. Get Experimental: I think there's so much value in experiments, and looking at the things around you and giving them an alternative life. It's also really important to look at things and be able to see them as something that can be upcycled, re-used, or repaired. I really don't think you should be constricted to thinking that fabric is the only surface that you can sew on, and that there are only a few stitches you can use. Anything from tallinn to rackets, even something that you can find like a plastic mesh. If it has holes, you can make it work, I promised. So with something like a racket, even though this is technically non-existent space, you can create your own surface area by just putting down layers of wool and using other materials in your stitches such as beading, ok-letter or even using stamp works. So something like this which is your regular satin stitch and then sowing over wool to give it dimension. Other fabrics you can work on is anything like tallinn, things that you found at home and it's really nice to go and just re-embelish your clothes or even find second-hand clothes and just upcycled them. You also don't have to see string as your only stitching medium, anything from plastic lanyard, to wool, to laces can be used in your pieces. So as long as you're looking at things as potential, you'll be able to find new ways of using things around you. The reason I like getting experimental is because I find it's almost like problem-solving. I can see something and perhaps the potential in it, and then just challenging myself to try and make it work in a new way. It really just helps you push yourself a little bit further, and that challenge helps you create your own style and also something unique that maybe nobody else has seen before. It's such a gift being able to walk around and look at everything around you as potential to be something new. Seeing something like a pull triangle as a frame instead of just an old piece of wood that is no longer usable or a racket as something that can be a canvas to be recycled and upcycled and made into something new, is a really a beautiful way to navigate the world. So I think pushing yourself to look at surfaces as more than just what they are, is a really nice way to open up the potential of what things can actually become. 14. Final Thoughts: So through this process, you've gone and taken your own photograph, learned basic embroidery stitches, and made something, and I really hope you're proud of yourself and that you share it in the gallery. I've really enjoy giving this class, and I hope it's given you a little bit of confidence to just make mistakes and have fun and enjoy the process. This 100 percent doesn't have to be perfect, there's so much beauty in the mistakes that you make through this. Also know that learning is the most important part. So just doing the first piece is the beginning of doing the second, the third, and turning this into something that you can do whenever, wherever. Thank you so much for taking this class, and I can't wait to seen what you make.