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  • Writer's pictureHannah Choi

Four Tips for Making Hand Embroidery Easier

Updated: Apr 5

Hey all! We're here today to bring you some tips to make your embroidery practice a little easier, so you can get started, get organized, and take care of yourself as you explore this beautiful craft. Read on to learn more!

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This post contains affiliate links. If you purchase something from these links BonnaH Co may make a small commission at no cost to you. See our full disclosure policy for details.

If you’ve just recently started dipping your toes into hand embroidery or it’s just been a while since you’ve gotten out your threads and embroidery hoop, you may want to check out our Video Resources page or go straight to our BonnaH Co Wanna Know playlist on YouTube. We cover many of the basic skills you’ll need to know to hand embroider. Starting with those is a great way to make hand embroidery much easier. 

Choose the Right Projects

When it comes to embroidery, not all projects are created equal. Some are simple and straightforward, perfect for beginners or those short on time. Others are more intricate and challenging, requiring a higher level of skill and dedication. Here are some aspects of projects you might want to consider before buying:

Spring Wildflowers by Capital Stitch Co. Wooden embroidery hoop with pink fabric and embroidered wildflowers in blue, pink, red, orange, and green.

Your interests, skill level, and available time: Are you drawn to delicate floral designs or bold geometric patterns? Do you have hours to dedicate to a large-scale embroidery masterpiece, or do you prefer quick and easy projects that you can finish in an afternoon?

Your financial and community values: Are you passionate about supporting small businesses and independent designers? If so, seek out patterns and kits from local artisans or online creators, like this sweet Spring Wildflowers project by Capital Stitch Co. For many people, affordability is a priority. There are lots of free patterns or budget-friendly designs and kits that won't break the bank. There are options for everyone out there, so look around!

Format of the instructions: It helps to pay attention to how instructions are provided for each project. Some may come with detailed written instructions, while others may include video tutorials or step-by-step photos. Choose a format that works best for your learning style and preferences. For example, we offer video instructions for some of our kits and printed fabric patterns, while others come with more basic printed or digital instructions. You’ll find variations across kit creators, so keep that in mind when shopping.

By carefully selecting projects that align with your interests, values, and skill level, you'll ensure a more enjoyable and rewarding embroidery experience.

Embroidery Organization

When our embroidery supplies and projects are easy to find, it is so much easier to start and finish projects. Getting organized is one thing and then staying organized is a whole other ballgame! Here are some tips for both! Because everyone's organizational style is different, we won't give specific solutions, but we will give you some places to start. Curious about your own style? Check out Cassandra Aarssen's for a helpful (and scarily accurate!) quiz and related organizational strategies. You can learn more about organization from Hannah's podcast, Focus Forward, in the episode From Chaos to Control: How to Better Organize Your Space, Data, and Belongings.

Getting Organized

You'll first need to find a place to store your stuff. You may have a separate craft room like our talented friend, @skooksplayground or maybe you keep your stuff in a small basket or a 3-tier rolling cart, or you might store it all in a small bag like our Embroidery Supply Kit. However you choose to do it, if it works, then it's the right way for you!

shelves with organized fabrics, embroidery, and other craft supplies

Here are four tips for getting your embroidery space and supplies organized.

  1. Figure out what kind of organizational style you have and what your goals are for your space. Envisioning what you want your space to look like can help. You might even want to draw out a quick sketch.

  2. Figure out the minimum supplies you need to get started or go through your current stash and pare it down to what you really need and will use.

  3. Collect the items you'll use to keep your embroidery supplies organized, whether it's the basket or the whole craft room. Reusing things from around the house can help you get started and then, if you want, you can upgrade once you figure out your system. Plastic bags, shoe boxes, twist ties, clothes pins, cardboard, and more can all double as embroidery supply organization tools.

  4. Keep it simple! From the supplies you keep on hand to the method of organization, it'll be much easier to set up if you have less and keep it simple. Intricate systems work really well for some people. For others, it may be too much to ask of our organizational and follow-through skills, and that's okay.

Staying Organized

BonnaH Co embroidery supply kit hoop, scissors, needles, threads, marking pen

Okay, so you’ve gotten your organization system set up, but then life happens and…it falls apart. Here are some tips for staying organized!

  1. Keeping it simple is the best thing you can do for yourself. If you have a really complicated way of storing your supplies and projects, you're much less likely to actually put them away.

  2. Think of cleaning up after a stitch session as "resetting your space" for next time instead of cleaning up. This positive reframe can help. It sets us up for success next time. "Yay! I can reset my stuff for next time!" can be more motivating than "ughhhh, time to clean up". We learned this strategy from James Clear in his book, Atomic Habits, a favorite book of ours!

  3. Notice the difference you feel when you don't clean up vs. when you do. Is it easier to get started? Do you feel more motivated to finish that project? Are you happier in your crafting space, whatever it looks like?

Skein Management

Have you ever found yourself knee-deep in a pile of embroidery floss, untangling a mess of colorful threads? It's a frustrating experience that can easily sap the joy out of your stitching session or make it something you even avoid doing! We don’t want that! That's why effective skein management is crucial for keeping your embroidery projects running smoothly.

Invest in a thread organizer or bobbin holder: These handy tools allow you to neatly wind your embroidery floss onto individual bobbins, keeping each color separate and tangle-free. You can then store your organized bobbins in a small box or container, making it easy to grab the colors you need without any hassle.

BonnaH co embroidery kit "Snowy Snuggles" with hoop, needles, and threads on board using lark's head knot

Create your own DIY skein management system: We are big fans of using materials you have on hand already. Household items like clothespins or small cardboard card can be used to easily make your own organization system for skeins. Simply wrap each color of embroidery floss around a separate card or pin, label them if necessary, and store them in a container or drawer.

We like to pre-cut threads and organize them on a cardboard piece with lark's head knots. In fact, our kits and class materials usually come this way, as you can see here in our class kit for our Holiday Hoop Art: Snowy Snuggles class. Another option is to prewrap your threads around a piece of cardboard. You can make small slits at the top and bottom to hold the loose ends. We both really like this method and chose to use it for thread storage in our Bloom+Bee kit.

BonnaH Co Bloom+Bee embroidery threads wrapped on cardboard, yellow black bee, pink cosmos flowers

The Hot Mess system: Some of us are just more laissez-faire when it comes to managing our embroidery thread skeins. We toss them in a box or bag when it’s time to reset our space for the next stitching session. This is a solution that works for many people but if it’s your current system and you suspect it might be a barrier to working on your embroidery projects, you might want to try out one of the above systems.

Whatever method you choose, remember that keeping your threads organized and accessible will likely make your embroidery experience easier and save you a lot of time and frustration.

Thread Makes a Difference!

Speaking of thread, it actually can make a big difference in your embroidery experience. Let's take a look at some aspects of thread you might consider before starting your embroidery project.

What kind of thread? Two of the most common embroidery threads are pearl cotton and stranded embroidery floss. Embroidery floss usually contains 6 individual threads which can be separated to change the thickness of the thread. Pearl cotton's strands are twisted and aren't meant to be separated. Pearl cotton is available in a variety of thicknesses, most commonly 3, 5, 8, or 12 (the smaller the number, the thicker the thread). Choosing the right thread for your project is key to making your embroidery easier.

Sulky Cotton Petites 12 wt thread in black, red, pink, yellow, blue and green

Consider the quality of your thread. Lower quality threads can break easily, fray or get fuzzy, or tangle easily. If they're not colorfast, they may bleed onto your fabric or fingers. Inexpensive craft thread can work, but if you're looking to make your embroidery experience easier, we really recommend going with a higher quality brand, such as DMC pearl cotton and embroidery floss or Sulky's line of threads for handwork. If you're crafting on a budget, look for sales at craft stores or keep your eyes peeled at your local thrift shop to score someone's collection.

Prepare your embroidery floss by separating or "stripping" your threads before stitching if you're using the stranded embroidery floss. First, cut the length of floss you'll stitch with. Then, pull each individual strand out and separate them all. Then, put them all back together, give it a fresh snip, and thread your needle.

Take Care of Your Body

Embroidery is a wonderfully relaxing and creative hobby, but it's important to remember to take care of your body while stitching. Sitting in the same position for extended periods can lead to stiffness, discomfort, and even injury. Here are a few tips for staying comfortable and healthy while embroidering:

Take regular breaks: Remember to give your eyes a rest by looking away from your embroidery project and focusing on something in the distance. Stand up, stretch, and walk around every hour or so to prevent muscle fatigue and stiffness.

Invest in ergonomic tools: Consider using a hoop stand to relieve hand strain and improve your stitching posture. Look for quality embroidery hoops and needles that are comfortable to hold and use. A hoop that keeps your work taut in the hoop without slipping is going to make stitching much easier and less frustrating. We love the 5" Morgan for a plastic hoop and the 6" wooden hoop from Sulky.

5" Morgan no-slip hoop and 6" wooden embroidery hoop

Use quality materials: Using high-quality embroidery floss, fabric, and other supplies can make a big difference in your stitching experience. Cheap materials can be more difficult to work with and may cause unnecessary frustration and stress.

Listen to your body: Pay attention to any signs of discomfort or strain, such as soreness in your hands or wrists. If you start to feel uncomfortable, take a break, change your posture, or switch to a different activity for a while. Remember to give your eyes a break, too! Every 20 minutes, look at something at least 20 feet away for at least 20 seconds and your eyes will thank you! By taking care of your body and prioritizing your comfort while embroidering, you'll be able to enjoy this wonderful hobby for years to come.

The Take-Away

Embroidery is not just a craft; it's a journey of creativity, self-expression, and mindful stitching. In this blog post, we've explored essential tips to make your embroidery practice easier, from choosing the right thread and projects to organizing your supplies and caring for your body. By prioritizing quality materials, thoughtful organization, and self-care, you can enhance your embroidery experience and unlock the full potential of this beautiful craft. Whether you're a beginner or a seasoned stitcher, remember to embrace the joy of creating with each and every stitch. So, gather your threads, set up your workspace, and embark on your stitching adventure with confidence.

What about YOU?

Do you have any embroidery tips or experiences to share? What makes embroidery easy for you? Did we miss anything? We'd love to hear from you! Drop us a comment below with your favorite embroidery hacks or join the conversation on our Instagram feed or Patreon. And don't forget to subscribe to our blog for more embroidery inspiration and helpful tips. We love building community and want you to be a part of ours!

Happy stitching!

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