I did it! I finished the cowl before bedtime (just) the other night, and it’s even pinned out to block now. It’s pretty squishy though, so I expect it’ll take a while to dry. I’ll be sure to show it off when it’s done. Since I finished the cowl, I’ve been knitting on Terra a lot – but even though I’ve almost finished the garter-y body section, it basically looks the same as in the photo I posted last week, only larger. Also, I did frog Umaro and restarted, but haven’t gotten past the moss stitch border yet.

Since my knitting has gotten suddenly unexciting, and since I hope to return to that darn stalled Sajou G tonight, and since we are planning (photo-worthy weather willing) to release our last couple of Little Dorrit & Co. Brothers Grimm embroidery patterns later this week, it seems like a good time to get back to a little stitchy posting.


On one of my recent posts, a commenter (hello blog-less Natasha, if you’re out there!) asked about the fabric we stitch on. Well, it’s a funny story, kind of. For years, neither my mother or I could find a fabric we were happy with for embroidery. They were all too thin and see-through-y and never felt substantial enough. But I do like Ikea’s cheap linen for less delicate projects, it’s got lovely texture and comes in a good range of colors. That and a similar fabric we’d tried from John Lewis made us try Robert Kaufman’s Essex linen – a nearly 50/50 cotton/linen blend. We love it – it’s got the subtle texture of fine linen, but handles more like cotton. It doesn’t crease like crazy, washes nicely – works perfectly. We should probably be buying it by the bolt!

No one asked about this, but while we’re on the subject, we use these Pilot Frixion pens for transferring designs. Guys, have you tried these pens?! We’re new converts – until a few weeks ago, we just used those insanely blue water-erasable markers. But the blue was making it hard to match colors, everything looked clashy against it, and I found recommendations for these Frixion pens on several crafty blogs. SNAP, these pens are awesome! Because they’re just normal pens, they write a lovely thin, crisp line – and in colors that aren’t horribly distracting to your work. But the awesome part is that your marks will disappear with just the tiniest wave of the iron – they’re heat-activated but will wipe clean even on a really low iron setting. This is The Bomb for embroidery, because erasing the pen has so little effect on your work. Really, I’m kind of shocked that Pilot hasn’t caught on yet and re-marketed these as crafty products and started selling them for twice the cost. Not that I’d want to give them any ideas.

11 Comments on Tools.

  1. Kristina
    February 28, 2012 at 18:12 (6 years ago)

    These are the best. pens. ever. Totally changes the embroidery transfer process. I’ve been meaning to blog about it, but you beat me to it! Every sewist needs one of these!!

  2. Jessica Kelly (@paperstitch)
    February 28, 2012 at 18:34 (6 years ago)

    This is the first I’ve heard about these pens, but I am definitely going to try it. I’ve been annoyed at my blue transfer pen bleeding lately.

  3. Qweenkaren
    February 28, 2012 at 19:04 (6 years ago)

    Damn, I work in stationery & never thought of using these pens like that… off to work now to find those free samples the suppliers gave us – hope I still have one :/

  4. Scrapiana
    February 28, 2012 at 23:15 (6 years ago)

    Ooh, what a killer tip! In fact, two killer tips (both fabric and pens). Thank you!

  5. Genevieve
    February 29, 2012 at 08:45 (6 years ago)

    I heard a rumor that the ink reappears when exposed to cold? Is this true?

    Thanks for the tips! My sis is just getting into embroidery and loving it.


    • julie
      February 29, 2012 at 15:57 (6 years ago)

      And I thought this was a boring post! :) Thank you all for chiming in – and I’m so happy to have suggested something to new to fellow stitichers. I hope you all like the pens as much as we do!

      Genevieve – I hadn’t heard that, but I decided to get a little Mr. Wizard and test it out for you. I ironed away some lines from a project a few days ago, so I held that area against – I’m ashamed to admit – a very clean tub of ice cream for a full 30 seconds and there wasn’t a speck of pen to be seen!

      • Scrapiana
        February 29, 2012 at 18:51 (6 years ago)

        What a funny coincidence! My son just came home with one of these Frixion babies, having done a pen swap at school. He’s going to let me experiment with it. :)

        • julie
          February 29, 2012 at 22:03 (6 years ago)

          Really?! Spooky timing! So did you play with them and see how they work? When we first got them, I drew a load of squiggles on a scrap and then ironed away little designs. :)

          • Scrapiana
            March 1, 2012 at 10:34 (6 years ago)

            Not had a chance yet but it will be that kind of thing, yes. :)

  6. Natasha
    March 1, 2012 at 02:43 (6 years ago)

    Hi Julie,
    Thanks so much for answering my fabric question. I never thought of Ikea and now I’m super intrigued to check out RK’s Essex linen. It sounds fabulous to stitch on;) Thanks for the tip on the Frixion pens too!! I’m still searching for a fine tipped iron-on transfer pen other than the Sulky brands. I’m glad I found your blog, its an enjoyable read;)

    Natasha-Blog-less in CT ;)

    • julie
      March 1, 2012 at 10:18 (6 years ago)

      The IKEA linen is pretty great – it’s not the best quality, but really fitting for certain projects, and because it’s so cheap, it’s a great linen for experimenting on. I hope you like the pens – I’ve never tried Sulky pens, I’m not sure we have access to those in the UK. But if you find an iron-on pen you’re happy with, please come back and let me know! That could be really handy.

      And thanks for reading along – and for commenting – there’s no way to tell you how much everyone’s comments mean to me! :)


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