I am a tense individual. I tend to joke that I’ll relax when I’m dead, which although technically true, isn’t much help on a daily basis. The few times I attempted to learn how to knit, I had to cut the work off the knitting needles with an exacto knife – that is how tightly I knit. I was no longer able to move the links around, much less try to insert two needles into one link to knit.
When I started embroidery, I worked on lots of different fabrics, but mostly quilter’s 100% cotton. I mostly stuck to backstitch and stem stitch, because if I tried to use any filling stitches or any stitches that pierced the fabric too much, I tore it. I would do a block of satin or long and short stitch and end up seeing daylight through the fabric around the filled in area. Sometimes, like above, my stitches would bunch up the fabric and no hooping could fix it. (Pretty deer pattern by UrbanThreads) My French knots would rip right through the piece to the back of the fabric (and those are absolutely the worst to try and fix afterwards!).
As I was browsing at my local big box fabric store with my mother, my eye landed on Old Navy Twill, and I fell in love. It’s typically used to make uniforms and blazers. It has a great weight to it, and different textures on either side of the fabric. One side is more even, and one has small lines across it. I left the above file pretty large, so if you click through you should be able to see the difference between the first fold, which is the even side, and the lined ones below it. I have found it in about 10-15 colours, though my favourites to work with are the slightly off-whites. EDIT: I have also seen it once called Galaxy Twill, which may be a brand name for it, but may help you find it/ask for it in fabric stores!
It’s not normal fabric for embroidery. It’s probably not really recommended. What it does for me is allow me to use whatever stitch I want and whatever technique I want without worrying about being as gentle as possible in order to not rip French knots through the piece or pull the fabric part at the figurative seams. It takes pencil and chacopaper marks well which is always fabulous. It lets me play with my work instead of stressing about it.
What shortcuts/tricks do you use to make embroidery fun and less stressful? I’m also totally guilty of using quilter’s knots to start my threads (click the link for an awesome tutorial). Aren’t I a rebel?