Monday, November 12, 2012

Patchstitch - Stitchpatch - Stitchery and sore fingers

Hi everyone:

This past week I've been focussing (yes, I have been!) on a new stitchery project. I have several small stitchery patterns that I will be releasing soon, but I've also been working on some designs that are a combination of quilting and stitchery. I'm still trying to find a technique name for these patterns: patchstitch just sounds like something cobbled together and stitchpatch isn't any better. Perhaps they'll just have to be quilt with stitchery patterns. 
Patchstich or Stitchpatch pattern in progress
Since my patterns usually include fusible web appliqué, these new designs do as well. As you know, fusible web adds a bit of stiffness, as well as an extra layer, to the fabric. 

Lots of hand embroidery through 3 layers of thickness
This isn't much of a concern for those designs that aren't going to be used as quilts, such as table runners and wall hangings. Nor is it a problem if you're machine quilting the completed project. It is a concern if you're trying to hand stitch through fabric, fusible web and more fabric - as I was this past week. 
More hand embroidery stitches through
fabric, fusible web and more fabric
I often have problems with my fingers cracking due to dryness (it's very dry here in Calgary and this only worsens in the colder winter  months). I always have a generous supply of Curel in the house and use it profusely, both at home and at work. It's not very easy to continually apply cream to your hands when you're hand stitching. What makes matters worse is when you have to push the needle through the fabric, fusible web and fabric and then pull it out the other side. Since I use a no. 5 or no. 8 perle cotton in my work, I need an embroidery or chenille needle since they are the only ones that have an eye large enough for this type of thread. 

Ouch, split finger!
These are also big needles with not nearly sharp enough ends to pierce through the fabric, fusible web, fabric sandwich without some force. As a result, I have sore fingers with small cuts (splits) on them this past week. Usually a generous dollop of Polysporin and a bandage overnight helps to restore them. I suppose that using a thimble might be helpful, but I haven't been able to find one small and comfortable enough to work for me. Of course, stopping the embroidery until they heal might also work, but I really wanted to finish this one project - and I did, late on Saturday night.
An ouchy on the index finger on my left hand too -
probably poked myself with the needle to get this one
Now my fingers will have a rest as I'm working on the pattern on the computer and doing some machine sewing. I think the next hand stitching that I'll be doing will just be through regular, thin fabric and my fingers should be okay.

What's your best suggestion for minimizing finger damage when stitching through thick materials? I could really use any ideas. I thank you - and so do my fingers :)


MoeWest said...

Have you tried Gloves in a Bottle. They have it at Sewing World. I got a sample there once and it seems nice.

Chatterbox Quilts said...

I've seen this produce, but nevertried it. May have to do this :)

SewCalGal said...

Really cute Kim.

I do like Gloves in a Bottle, although I don't do hand stitching. I just find whenever I'm working with fabric it is a good moisterizer to have on my hands.