One of the things that I love so much about hand embroidery is that it is a relatively inexpensive hobby. To start up this timeless hobby, you really only need 5 basic tools.
You should be able to pick an embroidery hoop up at any local fabric store. Double check for any splintering in the wood and be sure the the twist screw at the top is working. I also often purchase my embroidery hoops online. I really like this brand because the quality is consistently good. The biggest advice that I can give when it comes to embroidery hoops is that quality counts when you are stitching. With a bad quality hoop, you will be pulling and tugging at your fabric a lot. With a high-quality hoop, you have a lot less headaches. So what I like to do is use my expensive, high-quality hoop to complete my project and then I transfer the finished fabric to the less expensive hoop after I am done.
What size you choose for a needle really comes down to personal preference and what fabric you are stitching with. You can use a smaller needle on linen. But you will definitely want a stronger, more durable need if stitching on denim. Some people are very particular about their needles. And some people are not. I'm in the camp of using whatever I can find. Just be sure that the needle eye is big enough for the embroidery floss that you want to use. When in doubt, I highly recommend that you purchase a sampler set of needles that come in all different sizes. That will allow you to easily figure out the best needle for your project.
I am a DMC embroidery floss kind of girl. I know there are other brands available, but I love that I can order #dmcthreads on the DMC website or pick up at my local fabric store and all the colors are readily available. Plus, I know that when I purchase DMC floss, the color and quality will be consistent each time.
Pretty self explanatory, but you will need sharp scissors to cut your fabric and thread. Bonus points if your scissors are pretty. Here are my favorites.
This is another one that falls in the personal preference category. You can literally stitch on anything from linen to burlap to mesh fabric. For me, I love the texture and look of linen fabric for about 90% of my work. And then I stitch on tweed when I'm feeling a bit fancy.
For beginners, I recommend finding a non-stretchy, non-see-through cotton fabric (like Kona Cotton) to start out on. I find that this type of cotton is more forgiving for the beginner just trying to learn the craft. I use high-quality cotton in all my embroidery kits. To get started, take a look at these specific fabrics: cottonvill, cotton muslin, Kona cotton and Linen.
Embroidery Stitch Guide Book:This is my favorite book to recommend to those that are just starting out in hand embroidery. It shows a step by step guide to more than 200 stitches. I love that it teaches both the basics as well as more advanced techniques.
Now that we have gone through the basics, there are also a bunch of tools that are definitely in the fun, nice-to-have category as well.
Okay, so there you go. My favorite hand embroidery tools in a nut shell. And if you are like me and prefer to do as much of your shopping online, feel free to check out my favorites list on Amazon.
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