Wondering about…{Embroidery}…answers

Sorry it’s taken a little while for me to check back in with you on this. It was actually kind of funny because that same day I stumbled across this post from Mary Cobert at Needle’n Thread, and then searched around her blog for some more tips. Basically she discouraged the use of anything that wouldn’t be archival on anything you want to keep really nice (like stitching on linen with silk thread), and I totally agree. I am all for good, archival quality materials for all my projects.

One of her suggestions was using a fine-tipped permanent marker to trace a design projected from behind the fabric with a light table, but that sounded a little too final for me (am I the only one who changes their designs on the fly while stitching?).

She also mentioned a Bohin ceramic pencil, which I would like to try, but I can’t find (anyone know a good place to get then in Utah county or online?)

The third suggestion was a #2 pencil. I kind of like the idea of using a pencil, but I am a little wary of what graphite does over time on fabric from my painter’s experience (that’s a whole different discussion, though).

She also mentioned using some webbing stuff in this post that dissolves in the wash after you’re done stitching, but she was concerned about it leaving some kind of residue, and I think I would be too. Plus, something you should know about me is that I try to avoid using synthetic materials if I can.

So this is what I’ve tried:

(I know the white is hard to see, but it’s there.)

a water soluble fine-tipped marker (fine-tipped is relative here, and it’s pretty hard to make a fine line on felt anyways) and a white pencil, for the dark felt. The marker was definitely easier to work with, but it didn’t show up on the dark felt. The white pencil was visible, but it wasn’t very precise. At most I was able to get the rough shapes drawn in, but it didn’t come close to an approximation of the original drawing.

(Forgive the drawing on the left; my toddler got hold of my sketchbook and amended several of my drawings.)

Plus, the pencil rubbed off as I sewed, so toward the end I had pretty much nothing to go on. Maybe if I were really careful about not touching it, the drawing would last better.

So I guess I’ll either need to get better at improvisational embroidery, or stop embroidering on felt. But I will keep the lookout for any marking device that might help me out. Any suggestions?