Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

We ♥ You Giveaway!

Do you ♥ us?

We hope so, because we love all of you! And to show a little love on this Valentine’s Day, we thought we’d do a quick and easy giveaway. Just leave a comment on this post by 11:59 p.m. tonight (that’s Central US time!) and one lucky valentine will be randomly chosen to win a $14 gift certificate to Urban Threads!


Happy Valentine’s Day, from all of us to you!

P.S. Craft Bunny wanted me to tell you all he loves you more than nomming scissors. I think that means he loves you all a lot.

*UPDATE* – Congrats to comment winner #240, Ruth! Hope you all had a happy Valentine’s Day.

The Monster Factory

We’ve got a really fun new feature this week that we hope will help you break out of the limits of your hoop, and your imagination! We’re calling it the Monster Factory, and the whole gang at UT got so excited about this new collection that we just had to go and create stuff to show you how awesome these things can be.

Usually it’s just me or sometimes one other Urban Threadster crafting stuff to show here on Urban Threads, but for this occasion the whole gang got involved and the results are pretty crazy. Everyone used the embroidery designs in totally different ways to make totally different creations. It’s so easy it might even be addictive, as a few of us got a bit monster-happy.


All these creations were made using our new Monster Factory collection, featuring a whole host of mouths, eyes, and accessories you can use you create, well, anything! Combine your favorites, turn smiles upside down, get extra wacky in your embroidery.

Want to see what we made with the collection?

designs used: nerd glasses (no eyes), highlighted eyes, moustache, bow tie

I decided I just had to use that moustache design, and with the addition of the glasses, one thing let to another and he kinda became my little hipster monster. I’m sure he listens to all kinds of great music. You know, if he has ears.

This kind of furry monster is simple to make, you just need to know a few tricks about embroidering on fur. Here’s a great tutorial explaining the finer points. Basically, you just need to remember to add some water soluble stabilizer as topping, to keep the fur out of your stitches. It works great! He’s super huggable and soft and now sits on my desk and keeps Craft Bunny company.

designs used: button eyes, stitched smile (upside down)

Karline, our marketing head and all-around Ringmaster, became a monster making machine. After making this stitchpunk hoodie, she couldn’t stop! Hoods are a great place to add some monster eyes and features since they’re pretty easy to hoop, so I don’t blame her. For an extra added touch to her sad stitched little button eyed guy, she went outside the monster collection and gave it a cute little stitched heart.

designs used: hat – highlighted eyes; hoodie – x eye, spooky eye, stitched scar

She also added some cute horns and some of those highlight eyes to a knit hat to make a terribly adorable monster hat, and some crazy eyes and some stitches to make a zombie hoodie! I think you could say Karline has hoods and hats covered this year. I wouldn’t be surprised if as I type this Karline is sneaking back with more hoodies to create…

designs used on red sweatshirt: angry eyes, growly mouth

Colman, UT illustrator & our resident Master of Skulls, created these awesome hoodies for his kids. They were a snap to hoop and quick to make! Letting your kids pick out their own custom creations is a great way to get them involved in crafting. The monster possibilities are endless!

designs used on grey sweatshirt: x eyes and mouth with tongue 

Just be careful, once the kids figure out they can create their own monsters, you might have a whole army of monsters on your hands.

Taylor, resident illustrator & official daydreamer, went full-on wild and wacky with his custom creature shirt. He hacked up three different shirts and franken-stitched them together to make this crazy creation. He then added a fun stitchy mouth (it’s the same as the one Karline used, just the other way ’round) and some spooky eyes with added applique behind them to make them white.

designs used: spooky eyes (w/ added applique), straight eyebrows, stitched smile, x eyes 

He then got extra creative with the “x” eyes and used them as “stitches” on his creation. Clever!

Danielle, our Digitizing Diva & Space Cadet, took this opportunity to capitalize on her spooky side and make this absolutely creepy Cheshire Kitty. She used the same spooky eyes Taylor did but to a much scarier effect. It just goes to show you that designs can look totally different depending on how they’re used!

designs used: spooky eyes, human mouth, nose from animal mouth. Paint added after.

Being a painter, she couldn’t help but dress up her creepy kitty even more, and hand-painted him after he was embroidered, to really bring out the effect. It truly makes her kitty one of a kind.

You have to know Danielle to understand that she thinks her kitty is adorable. I think it’s fantastic, and I also don’t think I’d want to fall asleep next to it at night for fear it might eat me.

Caitlin, our newest illustrator, also went a little monster crazy, and created three monsters in one! She created a mama and a baby monster to live in big monster’s pouch. For some reason she seems to have babies on the brain. Can’t imagine why…

designs used: cyclops eye, smiling mouth, ogre mouth

They both use the same eye but have different mouths to give them distinct personalities. I love the long arms and the fluffy fabric. These guys are totally huggable and soft!

designs used: highlighted eyes, snaggletooth mouth, monocle

As an extra added surprise, Caitlin made her big monster a “brain” that lives in his zippered head! The brain, being smart, of course has a monocle. Naturally.

The Monster Factory collection is great for folks of all hoop sizes, because you can really break out of its limitations. Re-hooping for each of your designs lets you create a much larger canvas than your hoop usually allows. Let your monsters live large!

Skyrim Inspired Stitches

You’d have to be a real gaming nerd to get this one, but if you are, you’ll laugh heartily. Skyrim inspired stitches from Embroidery Emporium.

Nothing like taking a needle to the thumb to end your illustrious embroidery career.

ppst… want in on the joke? Here’s a funny little vid that might help.

Fashion Embroidery on Mr X Stitch

If you’ve liked our previous experiments in fashion from The Lab with our Baroque Punk Blazer, or the Clockwork Natura Gown, I think you’ll like the new feature up on Mr X Stitch called Sequintial Art, all about embroidery in the fashion industry.

The first post is up, check it out!

Crafting Fails

Ever have one of those days? You leave the machine for five measly minutes and that’s all the sewing gnomes need to completely wreak havoc on your beautiful project. Or your machine decides it’s possessed and takes your sewing project into it’s own diabolical hands. Never fret.

We’ve all been there. Heck you can see how it happened to me on our latest project.

We asked the question on facebook, and got all kinds of fun responses. Here are a few occasions that fellow Urban Threadsters have shared of their most interesting mishaps or their most epic fails…


Sandy – Lots to mention, but the one that stands out the best was the day I sewed my finger at 1000 stitches a minute.

Julia – When I sew a project, I quite literally cannot complete it without sewing at least one seam backwards. Every time.

Elfie is an Embroidery Wizard

Elfie - See how I can make the thread jump out of the needle... WITHOUT BREAKING OFF THE DESIGN! It's either me, or the machine's been possessed again.

Angela – My biggest to date is just the good ol’ sewing my fabric into my embroidery design. SO FRUSTRATING (yet it has been repeated MORE THAN ONCE lol)

Catherine -I think my best one was forgetting to close the bobbin surround and ended up losing a needle, catching the cutting mechanism, braking a small piece off the bobbin case and bending the needle protector. Luckily with a couple of yanks and a few swears, everything moved back into place. I did end up putting a nice whole through my project though.

Lora – I think my most epic fail was when I was embroidering my first customer’s blanket that was also a gift for his troop leader. I ended up picking a font that was too thin and the thread was so dark that you couldn’t see the wording after I had washed away the stabilizer. So naturally I tried to rehoop and embroider it again only to get it slightly off the mark but it ended up looking like a shadow that I did on purpose. Thinking all was well I started taking it off the hoop only to discover somehow I had put a hole in it. I ended up making a small fleur de lis patch and sewing it by hand over the hole. Thank goodness my first customer was also a really good friend and he just laughed it off but boy was my face red!


Kristy -Embroidered myself while putting a name on my daughter's new beach towel. You can see half the needle in my finger. The other half was still on the machine. Ouch!

Brianne -A 92,000 stitch full back on a carhart jacket running 6 at a time, last minute rush- and 3 of them popped out of the hoop at 20K stitches to go. 🙁  I yelled the f word very loud.

Kei – I was making a sheet (full 360×200 hoop) of patches, on the final colours. I had been watching over the machine for 45 minutes when I got up to go get some water, I hear my husband yell “OH SHI-” and I come running in to find the entire hoop’s worth of fabric balled up in a tiny disaster about 4×6 and all underneathe of the needle. I spent 2 hours fixed it and salvaging what I could =/

Margaret - I live in Bryan/College Station, TX, home of Texas A&M University, and the girls here have a fad of wearing dresses made out of a favorite Aggie t-shirt to the football games. They call them "game day dresses." I was sewing away on one of these and at the last minute realized I had sewed the t-shirt part upside down. It was too funny. I think I must have been working too hard.

Judy – My motto is never turn your back on the little darling, much less leave the room! I was finishing a border on a Pashimi scarf, turned 90 degrees to my laptop and all H### broke loose. When I turned back to the machine the shawl was both under and through the embroidery foot. No saving without a big hole. Some day, I’ll cut the end off and start over!

Kristina – The damn needle broke in half in the middle of a scary scarecrow design. I still had to cut the needle with wire cutters and then I was able to release the hoop. Then as I was removing the top part of the needle, still in the machine, it drops into the gears below. Fearfull that nothing was going to work I turn it around and even upside down but that sharp part of the needle never fell out. Everytime I start a new design I fear this is the last time it will work.

Cathy – Never stitch late at night when tired. I have a Christmas tea towel I use in my kitchen that says “elgnij”. A design I mistakenly mirrored, instead of flipping, on my computer screen (“jingle” backwards).


So Urban Threadsters, don’t feel bad, it happens to all of us. Got an epic fail story to share? Leave it in the comments below, e-mail us, or you can upload an epic fail pic to our flickr group and tag it fail. We’ll keep sharing them as long as they keep coming in!

Nyan Cat!

Nyan Cat Wrist Rest

Inspired by our keyboard cat wrist rest tutorial, Flickr user Robot Hero out-memed me with this amazing Nyan Cat wrist rest.


Hand stitch and hand embroidered. Do you see that tiny little beading detail on the cat?

I’m in love.

Choosing an Embroidery Machine: 50 Questions from Vogue Patterns


Thinking about buying a fancy new stitching contraption? The February/March 2012 issue of Vogue Patterns has a really excellent article on choosing an embroidery machine. It’s got no fewer than fifty-count-’em-fifty questions to ask your dealer about the machines you may be considering. People often ask us what machine we’d recommend, and the answer is … well, depends what you’re looking for. But that can be hard to figure out as a newbie. I’d definitely recommend getting your hands on a copy if you’re in the market for a new embroidery machine — the issue should be on newsstands now, or you can buy a copy online if you’re so inclined.