I’ve owned an embroidery machine for 12 years but only really started machine embroidery 3 – 4 years ago since purchasing a new machine. I currently own a Pfaff Creative 4.5. I decided to enter the 2019 competition at Graceful Embroidery with my Hoops of Love Book. I had my embroidery hoops hung on hooks but read an article which said hanging them this way could distort the frames. When Hazel ran the competition I thought it would be an ideal opportunity to enter my first competition and create something to store and protect my hoops. As the theme of the competition was to show the ‘love of machine embroidery’ I felt this project would demonstrate this, as without hoops I would be unable to produce any of my embroideries.
When I realised the project wouldn’t work as a box file I considered it would work as a book. Two years ago I attended several machine embroidery classes in Blackburn and completed a book during the class. I took the measurements of my largest hoop size to determine the finished project size.
The fabrics, silk dupion and linen mix were from my stash. (I purchased about 7 metres of very sub-standard silk dupion approximately 10 years ago, it had been washed a couple of times in an attempt to remove marks). All other items were also from stock, apart from 3 small spools of thread, eyelets and Velcro. I estimate that the total cost within £20 which includes allowance for stabilisers and interfacing.
I originally planned to make the folder in a violet coloured silk taffeta fabric but unfortunately the fabric was man made and showed too many needle marks. I was happy with the colours of the embroideries though so substituted the taffeta for the linen mix. The back of each page features a different design from Almond Silk Paisley. All wording is created from my software. The pockets have buttonholes from a recent freebie and hoops are held in place by Velcro on the back of the buttonholes, and separate flowers sewn in place to imitate buttons. Each page and pocket are padded and have strong supporting interfacings down each side. The front and back are made from strong card and the whole project is secured by eyelets, cords and stitches.
The front cover, created in two ‘hoopings’ has a machine stitched border. I used the following designs from Graceful Embroidery: Celtic Grace Floral collection; Summer Meadows Collection; Graceful Silk Sampler; Almond Silk Paisley and freebies from buttonholes and Bridal Lace. Most of the embroidery was done with Madeira Rayon 40 wt.
The piping was made from violet taffeta and I used ribbon cord to tie the pages together. To give stability to the lightweight silk dupion when embroidering, I used lightweight interfacing.
I played around with the design for the front cover next and quilted the linen mix fabric border. The front cover was placed onto stiff card and the outer edge stuffed to given depth to the border. It was the most difficult part and I had to place Velcro onto the card and the edge of the embroidery to help stretch it into place.
The pages and pockets are all identical in size and have 1” pleats in each side of the pockets to allow for the width of the hoop. Pockets and pages were stitched together with linen mix binding and the pages decorated with left over beads from my daughter’s bridesmaids’ outfits.
Velcro was stitched on the back of each pocket and page to hold the hoops in place. The front cover and spine of the project were made in one fabric if I were to repeat this project I would make the spine separate and also put eyelets in the front cover as I did with the pages. This is something I may change on this project at some point.
The project measures 51 x 39 cm (20” x 15”) including front and back covers and has a total of twelve pages. The whole project took approximately 8 weeks to complete. Overall I was happy as I achieved my intention. I would use wadding rather than card for the front and back covers as although the card is very strong it makes the overall project heavier. This was a big learning curve for me. I would ensure in future I plan the project more thoroughly and definitely wish I’d started the project earlier due to it being a competition entry.
This was an amazing entry Lesley and I think we would all be proud to have made this book to store our embroidery hoops in safely. Thank you for sharing your experience with us all and I hope you will enter many more competitions at Graceful Embroidery.
Happy embroidering from Hazel