When I first started blanket stitching, my corners were... how shall I put this... unique, interesting, inconsistent... in other words, a mess! Messy is okay for some projects, but I did want my corners to look better and to stay looking good after a project was finished. Time and trial brought me to the point where I was finally satisfied with my corners. Today I will be sharing how to blanket stitch corners and how to sew 2 pieces of felt together. I have a few tips that I hope will help you to improve your stitching :) Before you begin, make sure you have read Part 1 and Part 2, because I will not be re-teaching the techniques from the first two lessons:
Introduction: Because blanket stitching is so important to appliqueing and work with felt, it warrants close examination. Here's what we will be learning:
Today we are going to practice stitching 2 pieces of felt together and learn how to:
In lesson 2 we talked about using a toothed tracing wheel and tracing paper to mark our felt for practice. Today, we are going to talk about using graphing paper. Graph paper is paper that has been divided into squares of equal size. You can use this to mark your practice felt while you are perfecting your stitch. (I'll show you how in a minute) Most graph paper comes 1/4" x 1/4". But what if you want stitches that are closer together than 1/4" or even bigger than 1/4"? Luckily, there are some great, free resources on the net to help you. The site Incompetech has a graph paper generator. You just plug in how many squares you want per inch and print the page, and you are ready to go. Take a minute to check it out HERE. For today's lesson, print a page with 4 squares per inch. It should look like this:
Cut out a piece of graph paper 3" x 3". (That is 12 squares by 12 squares.) Refer to our tutorial on how to cut out felt found HERE, and using the graph paper as your pattern piece, cut out two pieces of felt.
Before stitching, staple or pin the 2 pieces together. I prefer to use staples because the thread does not get tangled in the pin point or head.
Cut out a piece of the pattern piece grid 1 block x 12 blocks.
We will be using the yellow felt as the front in this demonstration. Set your grid marker on the edge on the front piece of felt, and using a disappearing marker, make a dot at each grid line. You will use these dots as a stitching guide. Because the squares have the same width and depth, your stitches will make little boxes. If you want smaller stitches, simply create a grid with more boxes per inch. Not only will your stitches be closer together, the stitch length will be shorter.
Pick the middle of one side to begin. Using 3 strands of floss, knot the end of the floss. Separate the front piece from the back, and on the inside front piece, slide your needle through the felt into one of the dots. Pull the thread through so the knot is against the felt.
Insert the needle through the back piece of felt so it lines up with the front dot. Point the needle up so it is coming out the top between the two pieces of felt.
Turn the felt over so the front is facing you. As you pull the thread, the loop you just made will begin to pull the two pieces of felt together. Your needle and thread should be to the left of this loop. Continue to gently pull on the thread until the two pieces are together, and the loop is lying flat against the felt. The stitch should be perpendicular to the edge. Pull the stitch tight enough so the stitch lies flat, but not so tight that it puckers the felt.
Continue stitching as explained in Part 2 which can be found HERE. When stitching, it is very important that your needle goes straight through the 2 pieces of felt. The needle should enter the felt at a right angle.
If your needle is entering the felt at right angles, the stitches should be the same length on the front and back of your work.
If you enter the felt on an angle, the stitches on the back will be smaller than the stitches on the front. In projects where the back of your work will be visible, it is very important to keep your stitch length consistent. In the photos below, the last stitch is the result of a needle entering the felt on an angle. NOT what we want to do :)
Continue stitching to the corner. Sew a stitch in the corner dot. The next stitch will be put in diagonally, like the needle shown below.
From front to back, insert the needle through the same dot of your last stitch. It should come through the bottom of the last stitch on the back.
Gently pull on the thread like you would for any stitch, but you want the top loop to rest on the point.
When the stitch is in the proper place, firmly hold the stitch in place with your thumb and index finger.
From the back side, insert the needle into a wee bit of felt near the tip, then slide the needle under the thread, bringing it through to the front. You have just created a small knot on the corner, and anchored it to a small bit of felt. This part is very important. Without grabbing a little piece of felt, the stitch can slide off the corner with use.
Insert the needle back into the center dot. (This is the third time that dot is used.) Make sure the needle comes through the matching center point on the back. Pull the thread through like a normal stitch.
Your thread is now in position to continue stitching down the next side as usual.
When done right, you should have a little square in the corner, with a diagonal stitch in the middle. The front and back should look alike
Next time we will learn how to add new thread when you run out, and how to join the last stitch to the first stitch. Start practicing on your corners :)
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~ Kimara & Michelle