Embroidery on Knit Fabric

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Embroidery on Knit Fabric
5
Thu, 03-14-2013 - 12:25pm

How do you do it?  I know how to duplicate stitch, but I haven't tried actual embroidery on a knit piece of stockinette.  I've seen finished products where embroidery was done, but I've never tried it.  I think it looks a bit cleaner than duplicate stitch, and I'd like to try it with a flower or heart on a sweater I want to make for DD.  Any tips?

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Thu, 03-14-2013 - 11:21pm

Jen, I think there are two things one needs to do to embroider on knit... The first is to use a stabilizer so the fabric doesn't stretch or distort. There are several kinds out there ... I will have to check to see what kind is most suitable... I'm sure you may ave seen stabilizwrs inside the embroidery on sweat shirts and tee shirts...

The second is to transfer your pattern, although if you feel comfortable with free handing embroidery, this is less critical. 

What is the knit gauge on the sweater... Is it a fine knit or a chunkier, coarser one. This could well influence the size of your embroidery motifs as well as the kind of fiber (floss, yarn, silk ribbon) you use.

iVillage Member
Registered: 01-03-2001
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 9:30am

I've found a great site for you: http://sewforless.com/embroideryblog/index.php/2008/10/01/tiffanies-take-tips-for-embroidering-on-knit-fabric/.  This was written for machine embroidery on light-weight tee-shirt-style knits but it applies to hand embroidery on hand-knitting as well...This site has similar tips but is specifically for knitting: http://voices.yahoo.com/how-embroider-knitted-fabric-855513.html Make sure the stabilizer.interfacing you choose is cutaway, and while the first site recommends a sticky interfacing, I think I'd just baste a light-weight one to the back of the sweater. You don't want to have to peel that stuff off.... You don't want to stretch the knit or the embroidery by using a sticky or tear-away and you need to leave some of the stabilizer on to keep the gamrment form stretching out of shape, so a washable or water-soluble stabilizer wouldn't work either.

This is also a good site http://www.ehow.com/how_7768700_use-hand-embroidery-decorate-knitting.html but no pictutes, and I think pictures always help, don't you?

Personally, I would avoid floss as your stitching medium IF you are knitting or crocheting this sweater, and stick to a yarn close to the weight of that that you use to make the sweater. Or do some silk ribbon embroidery: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2rFSr9mrgkA . If the sweater is a knit fabric like a tee or sweatshirt, then floss would work, but I  think a hand-knit sweater would overshadow floss embroidery unless you really really did a dense pattern.

One site suggests transferring your pattern to a tissue paper or a dress pattern fabric, pin that to your sweater, stitch through it and then tear away the paper. Certainly easier than traying to transfer the pattern to the knit using pencils or pens (which is how it is done on woven fabrics)! This one takes you one step further and uses waste canvas...http://theyarnartcafe.blogspot.com/2012/03/embroidering-hand-knitted-and-crocheted.html The trouble with waste canvas is you often have to wet it to get the fibers out so if you go this route, be SURE your embroidery wool, ribbon or floss is colorfast... Even though they say it is all colorfast for many standard flosses like DMC, reds often aren't so test them (soak them in luke-warm water and place them wet on a white paper or fabric scrap to see if color is trnsferred... We have a VERY old thread here http://www.ivillage.com/forums/node/12820540 about how to test... ). I can pretty much guarantee than any "overdyed" specilaity threads like Gentle Arts, Weeks Dye works, etc. are NOT colorfast... If unsure, test!

As for stitches, the ubiquitous straight stitch, backstiching, chain stitches (and detatched chains to make flowers), French knots... even satin stitch would work (Just watch your tension and keep the stitches as loose as the knit itself. You don't want puckers...) . There is a great stitch libarary here: http://www.needlenthread.com/tips-techniques (scroll down about half-way). Also you might want to check out the YouTube ideos here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1MZrvZBtM9c and here: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=p0Dvzw98ALs and the Videojug tutorial here (Sorry for the ads): http://www.videojug.com/film/how-to-embroider-on-knitting

Hope this helps and thanks for dropping by. We'd love to see how the project finishes up!

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 9:59am

I normally knit with worsted weight yarn on US7 or 8 needles, so that usually gives me a gauge of 4 to 5 stitches per inch.

I didn't realize stabilizers should be used!  That makes sense, though.  Sewing and embroidery has never been something I've been good at.

iVillage Member
Registered: 05-15-2009
Fri, 03-15-2013 - 10:00am

Thank you!  I will check these out.  This gives me a really good starting point.

iVillage Member
Registered: 07-21-1998
Sat, 03-16-2013 - 2:00pm

http://www.ravelry.com/projects/fiddlerbird555/mittens-from-kit

.

This was a kit. There was a picture and at one point it just said, "Embroder the flower & vines on the cuff". It was pretty thick fabric (3 strands) so there weren't any tension issues.

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That's my sum-total of knowlege & experience about embroidering on knitting.

Cthulu Crochet