NEEDLETHERAPY IN MINIATURE
Part 1. Where To Start With?
During last 3 years of my Bloggerland experience I met so many people all over the world with the amazing personality and the generous ability to share their talent and knowledge with the rest of the world. I made so many wonderful friends and the range of the countries is like the rainbow – limitless: Russia, Finland, Germany, the Netherlands, Singapore, Australia, Italy, Spain, USA, New Zealand, Turkey, France, Mexico, and many, many others…
During last year I've been asked to put together a Tutorial about the Needlework in miniature. In spite of the fact, that the Internet is full of needlework tutorials, after some hesitation and doubts, I finally decided to do it. I thought that if you stumbled upon my blog, that is fully devoted to the Needlework in miniature, you might want to try your hand in needlepoint and some other types of needlework the tips and hints of which I am planning to share with you.
Yes, please, keep in mind, that the goal of publishing these Tutorials is not teaching you “how-to”, I am only sharing the knowledge of what I've accumulated during last years.
First of all, if you are a beginner and decided to learn needlepoint in miniature, remember:
IF YOU CAN HOLD A NEEDLE, YOU CAN DO NEEDLEPOINT IN ANY SCALE!
Don’t be discouraged by the small scale, tons of work or amount of time you are going to spend on your little project, but remember, your success depends on 4 P’s:
PRACTICE - PERCISTANCE - PATIENCE – PERFECTION
Practice – try to devote at least 15-30 minutes of your time to the needlework daily.
Persistence – do you remember the Ovid’s saying “Gutta cavat lapidem” that means "A drop hollows out the stone"?
Patience - Little strokes fell great oaks and Rome was not build in a day! Keep stitching!
Perfection – What I am trying to say here is that No one is perfect… that’s why pencils have erasers, BUT “When you aim for perfection, you discover it’s a moving target” (George Fisher)
Another thing to take to the consideration is that it doesn't matter how long you spend on stitching remember to take care of your health. The reason behind is that needlework in 1/12th scale requires sitting and holding the arms in the same position for a long period of time; it also takes a lot of pressure on your eyes. After 15-20 minutes of stitching you will feel your eyes being tired and the back and arms need some stretching. Put your stitching aside, get up and do them. Don't laugh! It is very important!
Exercises for the fingers, wrists and arms:
1. Bend Your Fingers. Relax your hand. Begin by keeping your fingers straight and right next to each other. Gently bend the middle and end joints of all four fingers and keep your wrist and knuckles straight. Slowly move your fingers so they're straight again. Repeat this exercise with your other hand.
2. Make a fist. Begin with your fingers straight and apart from each other. Gently make a loose fist and wrap your thumb around your fingers. Don't squeeze your fingers too tightly together. Slowly return your fingers to their original position. Repeat and do this exercise with your other hand.
3. Wrist rotation. Hold a medium size can or light free weight in one hand. With your arm extended straight out in front of you and your palm facing down, using just the strength of your wrist, rotate the can 180 degrees so your wrist faces to your side.
4. Shoulder rotation. Stand straight with both arms extended out toward your sides. Start making clockwise--from front to back--circles with both arms. Repeat this movement for 20 seconds and rotate both of your arms counterclockwise--from back to front.
Find more exercises for fingers, wrists and arms here:
Now let’s talk about the exercises for your beautiful eyes.
My favorite complex of the exercises is by Mirzikarim Norbekov, Uzbek by origin, Russian self-healing teacher, that he describes in his book “The Experience of a Fool Who Had An Epiphany About How to Get Rid of His Glasses”. I highly recommend to read it.
If you are interested, you can spend more time on researching about Grunwald Eyebody Method and Emotional Freedom Technique.
I am not affiliate to any of these programs, but my personal preference is the complex of the exercises by M. Norbekov. You can read more about him here:
Start with these simple exercises:
Before to do any exercises, please, remove the glasses or contacts.
For the next 2 minutes blink every 3-4 seconds. After you are done blinking each 3-4 seconds during 2 minutes, blink for 30 seconds at a time for 2 minutes.
2. Palming is a way to relax your eyes and to relieve the stress around them.
- Make yourself comfortable
- Take a couple of deep breathes.
- Place your two hands over your eyes with the cup of your palm covering your eyes, your fingers on your forehead and the heel of your hand will rest on your cheekbone. Make sure you can blink freely and you are not putting too much pressure on your eyes. Hold it for 2 minutes. You can repeat it for several times.
3. The sign of бесконечности.
Imagine number 8 about 10 feet in front of you. Turn it on its side. Trace the figure of 8 with your eyes slowly, try not to move your head. You use only the eyes’ muscles. Do it in one way, then in opposite directions for a few minutes.
Stand in a place where there is a far way spot and zoom your eyes instead of squinting. You have to do it every day at 3 times/a day for 20-30 min.
5. And last but not least, my favorite of all: 3D dimension images.
I JUST LOVE THEM!
Have a great weekend,
TUTORIALS "NEEDLETHERAPY IN MINIATURE"
Part 2. What do I need and where to buy it?
Needlepoint is the art of covering a canvas with stitches.
The beauty of needlepoint/petite point depends on the use of the correct materials and equipment that is actually minimal.
You will need:
3. Magnifying Glasses
Co-coordinating the canvas, thread, and needle in order to interpret a stitch and design effectively is most important. That’s why, let’s talk about each of them individually.
In order to start working on your project you need to purchase a chart or a kit. If you have a kit – great. It comes almost with everything you need: canvas, needle, thread, chart. Your mission is to supply yourself with scissors, magnifying glasses (if you need), additional light, frame. In a case if you have only a chart/pattern, you need to buy canvas, needle, thread as well.
The patterns can be hand written and printed.
The patterns can be with black/white symbols and with color symbols. It is easier to stitch using the pattern with color symbols, but if it happened you have the pattern with black/white symbols, you always can color them with the color pencils based on your thread legend.
The patterns can be printed on 1 page or multiple pages (especially when it is a big project like a carpet). There are also patterns that show only 1/4 of the whole pattern (rug). In this case, after finishing stitching 1/4 of your pattern, you need to stitch the same 1/4 of the pattern but in mirror's reflection.
I use additional light even during the daylight when I am stitching. I use OffLite table Lamp that I purchased from Jo-Anne store.
3. Magnifying lamp/glasses.
You need to find a magnifying lamp or glasses that will work only for you.
Mini needlepoint may be worked in the hand or in a frame. Very small pieces may be worked on hand-held, while a large piece, like a rug, for instance, would be better worked on a hoop. It keeps the canvas flat and smooth, the stitches even. There are different kinds of frame on the market. Again, it comes to the point what it is comfortable for you to use: floor frame, table frame, sitting frame, etc… I use simple round plastic or wood hoop that comes in different sizes and you can buy at any craft store.
5. Scissors. A good pair of scissors makes needlepoint easier to do. The scissors need to be small, about 3 inches (7,5 cm) in length, for snipping fine thread.
6. Canvas. Oh, boy, of course I will say that it is a matter of the taste of your preference or the preference of your taste, possibilities and goals to choose what canvas to use for your miniature needlework. You can use 14 count Aida, 18 count mono-canvas, 32 count linen, 22 count Etamine canvas.
If you are struggling for that perfection in miniature needlework when the main goal is to be as close to the scale as possible, there is only one solution for you: to use silk gauze. Silk gauze comes in different counts: 18, 30, 32, 35, 40, 47, 48, 49, 56, 60, 72, 84, 90, 100 and 112. It means that there are 18 or higher count holes per 1 inch. Silk gauze is made from 100% silk.
Let's look at the pictures and compare:
This is 22 count stiff Etamine canvas, after finished project is washed, the canvas looses its stiffness.
and closer look at 22 count Etamine canvas
Here is a piece of 35 count silk gauze
and to compare I uploaded an image of 90 count silk gauze under the piece of 35 count silk gauze
Silk gauze comes in pieces in different sizes. You can buy framed silk gauze, again in different sizes. Framed silk gauze is more expansive than if you buy just pieces of it.
Silk gauze comes mainly in Ivory color. It is practically impossible to find silk gauze of white and black color nowadays. Anyway, if you wish to stitch on a piece of silk gauze of different color (in a case when you don't need to finish the background), you always can dye it.
What is the difference between stitching on 22 count canvas and silk gauze. First of all, the thickness of your finished project will be definitely different. Look at the pictures and compare. Even though that the Chinese rug (with light colors) is soft and drapes,
being stitched on 22 count it is still too thick for the 1/12th scale.
Another moment is that you can depict more details in your design while stitching on the fine silk gauze.
7. Thread. The main consideration when selecting a type of thread is whether it will completely cover the canvas with the kind of stitch you use. Other considerations are fibre content and quality.
DMC floss, 3 strands can be used for 22 count canvas, 18 count silk gauze
DMC floss, 2 strands can be used for 22 count canvas, 30, 32, 35 count silk gauze
DMC floss, 1 strand can be used for 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
For the higher count silk gauze the fine silk thread is used:
Gutermann silk , 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
Gloriana, over dyed silk, 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
The Silk Mill silk thread, 1 strand – 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
Splitted – 54, 60 count silk gauze
Au Ver a Soie – Soie d’Alger silk thread, 1 strand – 40 count
Tire silk, #100, 1 strand – 72 count
Eterna Stranded silk, 1 strand – 72 count
Needlepoint Inc, 1 strand – 40 count
Silk Mori, 1 strand – 40 count
YLI silk thread #100, 1 strand – 60, 72 count
Waterlillies, 1 strand – 40 count
Mulberry silk, 2 strands – 54-60 count
1 strand – 72 count
Piper’s silk, 1 strand – 54, 60, 72, 84, 90, 100 count
The correct choice of needle is essential. All come in a range of thickness and lengths.
There are 6 types of needle:
Chenille – have sharp points, designed for working on heavy plainweave fabrics with thick threads – NOT FOR MINIATURE WORK!!!
Tapestry – blunt needles with long, oval eyes for using on evenweave fabric. These needles have round points that do not break the thread of fabric and goes through the fabric and between threads smoothly.
Crewel the most versatile type of needles, long with easy-threaded eyes which take 1 or more strands
Sharps – are used for fine stitching and French knots
On this picture on the left side you can see sharp tip of chenille needle, on the right side - round tip of tapestry or cross-stitch needle.
Quilting – sewing needles
Beading – very fine and long needles for beading that are suitable for fine micro stitching.
All types of needles come in different sizes.
#26 Tapestry Needle is used for 18, 22, 24, 30, 32, 35 count canvas and silk gauze
#10 Crewel needle is used for 40, 47, 48, 49 count silk gauze
#12 Quilting needle is used for 54, 60 count silk gauze
#12 Sharps needle is used for 54, 60, 72 count silk gauze
# 13 and # 15 Beading needle is used for 54, 60, 72, 84, 90 count silk gauze
#15 beading needle is used for 84, 90, 100, 112 count silk gauze
Where to buy?
Mainly all supplies you can buy at the craft or fabric stores.
As for the silk gauze, I sell it at my Etsy store that you can find on the right hand side bar.
OffLite lights: http://www.joann.com/ottlite/
OffLite Magnifier Lamp: http://www.joann.com/ottlite-6x-and-3x-led-magnifier-lamp-with-base/zprd_10798767a/?green=B6C05FD2-2A34-5088-A90D-F31110190D0B
Here are the on-line web stores where you can purchase fine silk thread:
Gutermann silk is available at Jo-Anne store and sometimes they have holiday sales 50% off.
Gloriana silk can be purchased at
The company is located in Washington state and the owner is a very nice lady and answers promptly
The Silk Mill silk - this silk runs if washed - Be Careful! The company is located in the UK, they have huge sales too. It is comfortable to sign up with their Newsletter and get updates.
Beautiful Piper's silk can be purchased at their website:
I also would like to introduce you Chinese silk that is available on E-bay. It has very pretty shadows of one color and very, very suitable for Miniature Bargello.
There is also Indian silk
and very fine House of Embroidery silk out of South Africa
to be continued...
Have a great week!
TUTORIALS NEEDLETHERAPY IN MINIATURE
Part 3.1. Silk Gauze
Today we will talk about silk gauze and how to prepare it for the work.
Silk gauze is sold as cut pieces of different sizes or as framed pieces.
It is very comfortable to use framed silk gauze, especially if you work on a small project like a pillow, or a Christmas stocking, or a purse, etc… After you are done stitching, the same frame can be used up to 4-5 times. We will talk about how to mount your silk gauze on the frame later.
Today I will show you how to prepare unframed pieces of silk gauze for stitching.
First of all, you have to decide what size of silk gauze you need for your project. Then, you need to add at least ½” to all 4 sides of your piece of silk gauze. For instance, if you stitch a rug finished size of which is 5” x 7”, you need to cut a piece of silk gauze 5 ½” x 7 ½”. Many sources recommend to add 1” to each side. You can add 1” to each side, if it makes you feel more comfortable.
I will show you the method that I use. This method is fast and for those who is as lazy as I am. Дешево и сердито, ))
Take a piece of fabric of the size bigger than the frame you are planning to use (the size of the frame also depends on the size of your project).
Find the center on the piece of fabric and the piece of silk gauze. Connect them together by sawing. I find using the sewing machine is more helpful.
This is the front side.
This is the back side and this is the side we are going to work with.
Do a little cut on fabric with your sharp scissors, but be careful not to cut through the silk gauze.
Then cut out the piece of fabric leaving approximately ½” of fabric from the edges.
After you are done, make little cuts on each corner leaving some fabric to protect the corners.
Turn it and attach to the fabric using your sewing machine.
This is how it looks like now.
Now you can trim the edges of the fabric.
If you don’t like this way of preparing your silk gauze, here is another one, similar to the first.
Find a piece of fabric and cut 4 even stripes of the size that after being attached to the piece of silk gauze, it will fit your frame.
I won’t describe this method, just look at the pictures, please.
Advice: never frame a piece of silk gauze itself! First of all it is wasting of silk gauze. Second reason - distortion will occur.