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Natura Granny Squares Tutorial

Monday, January 26, 2015

We just can’t get enough of Natura Yarns over here at DMC.  The colors and texture are just so yummy to work with. Natura is the perfect yarn for knitting, crocheting, tatting, weaving and chunky cross stitch. 

With the growing trend to revisit vintage style, granny square patterns and projects have become popular again.  Granny squares are crocheted pieces that have many applications, the most common are blankets but the possibilities are endless: lamps, bags, pot holders, cushions, shawls, sweaters to name a few. The most typical granny square pattern is a square but there are hexagons, circles and other shapes as well. 

You might have seen a blanket of colored squares on your grandmother’s couch or in your mother’s guest room, those connecting shapes are the classic granny squares and were made all over the world.  Things to Knit presents the following step by step tutorial to make your own granny square.  You begin from the center and work to the outward spiral.  Things to Knit has used Natura Just Cotton in 4 colors but can make your own combination.  It’s the perfect project for all levels.

( The original content is in spanish from the fabulous Things to Knit Blog and was shared on the DMC Spain Blog. The material list/directions are translated into English below.)


DMC Natura Yarn; no.7. no.9, no.12, no. 32

-Crochet Needle (2.55 mm)


Tutorial ( directions in English below, see photos for step by step examples. )chart 1

  1. With preferred color for the center, start with a riding 8 chain stitch.
  2. Join the beginning of a crochet chain stitch at the end of it to go around.
  3. Then work 3 chain stitches up. 
  4. Work 15 double knit high points, so that the excess thread from the beginning is hidden while you weave.chart 2
  5. Cut the excess thread, once you’ve hidden it.
  6. When you finish the 15 point higher doubles, then join with at the beginning.
  7. With another color, begin the next round, as in the previous one, hide the excess thread while you weave.
  8. This turn is woven:  two high points together, 1 chain stitch.
  9. With the next color, begin the next round.
  10. Weave in: 3 high points, 1 chain stitch.chart 3
  11. Start with the next round, repeat 3 times; Three high points, one chain stitch, until you reach the corner.
  12. In the corner: add a double knit 3 points higher, 2 chain stitches, 3 high double points and return to work in more 3 high points, one chain stitch.
  13. Finally, just turn around, finish off and cut the thread, then you will have a completed granny square.

granny squares 13More tutorials later this week. Happy Monday!


From Cotton to Floss

Tuesday, October 21, 2014

DMC_CleanRawCottonHi Stitchers! Today I’m continuing my article about my visit to the DMC Factory in Mulhouse, France.

We’ll continue the tour by following a bale of clean, raw cotton, through the manufacturing process until it is ready for mercerizing and dyeing before being transformed into beautiful, ready to use needlework thread.  You can read Part 1 of this series here.

IMG_1029It’s amazing to think that our favorite threads have such a humble beginning, from a boll on a plant in the field to skein of thread in our hands.

DMC uses the Giza 88 variety of Egyptian cotton, due to its long fibers. The cotton is spun into a plied yarn and loaded onto large cones in Egyptian mills. The cones are then transported to our mill in France.

IMG_1039At this point, the thread is still very rough and a long way from being ready to use in your stitching! The next step in the process is called gassing, which removes all the fine hairs and impurities on the thread, helping to make the thread smooth and eliminate the dreaded fuzzies.

In the image to the left, you can see the thread being passed through a flame, burning off the hairy fuzz. It happens so quickly that the process is nearly invisible to the eye – and so quickly that it does not singe or burn the thread.

IMG_1044If you look closely at the image, you can see the fiber passing through the center of the flame. You can click the image to make it larger and easier to see.

I must admit, watching this process was mesmerizing (as opposed to mercerizing, which we’ll discuss next week, LOL!)

3stepsIn the image shown above right, you can see how different the yarn looks after gassing – the cone on the left is ungassed and is slightly larger.

The the cone on the right has been run through the gassing process, and is slightly smaller – it has lost a bit of it’s bulk because all of the those unwanted hairy, fuzzy fibers have been singed off. This is a very important step in manufacturing fine hand embroidery threads.

After gassing, the cones are loaded into another machine where 6 strands of plied yarn are twisted – usually in the opposite direction of the twist of the plied, gassed yarn.

The yarn is then wound from the large spool into a huge, 1 kg hank. The circumference of these hanks is 2.26 meters or about 7.41 feet in circumference (about 3 feet in length, based on my height and holding one of the hanks).

They’re big hanks, and at this point they are starting to look like thread instead of yarn.

Next week, we’ll explore the mercerizing, dyeing and packaging process for your favorite DMC Embroidery Threads, so stay tuned!


Crochet Basics

Tuesday, August 12, 2014

filetcrochetthrow.ashxCrochet can be used to create a wide variety of wearable and home decor objects using various weights of yarn. To help you get started with crochet, DMC has created a series of pages featuring things you need to know to start crocheting.

There are a large variety of crochet patterns available. A good place to start is the Inspiration section on this the DMC website. Other places include your local craft store, bookstores, and needlework catalogs which will have crochet leaflets, books, and magazines.

Pattern instruction symbols small.ashxCrochet pattern instructions include everything you will need to create the crochet design, including the quantity and type of crochet thread or yarn, hook size, gauge and complete row-by-row instructions. However, deciphering a pattern can seem daunting for a newbie.

To help you follow a crochet pattern, DMC has created a page dedicated to helping you Read a Crochet Pattern.   In addition to basic terminology, you’ll also find a section on common abbreviations and symbols.  These are used in instructions that are written row by row or round by round.

crochetfashiontop.ashxOnce you’ve picked up some Crochet Yarn and hooks and are ready to start a project, you can check out our How to Crochet pages where we feature a variety of helpful information on crochet, including a Stitch Guide and information on Blocking and Finishing a completed Project.

Free crochet patterns are also available from DMC, and can be downloaded from the Crochet Patterns page. – including the lacy throw and the pretty lace sweater shown here.

Once you’ve completed your project, be sure to check out the helpful tips for laundering your crochet items. We’ve got your crochet covered!


NEW from DMC!

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

DMC Loop to Loop  YarnWe’ve added a fun new yarn that I know you’ll want to try, using a totally new stitching technique!

It doesn’t matter if you’ve never knitted or crocheted before, you can create beautiful fashion items in a single afternoon with our brand new, lacy and lovely Loop to Loop™ yarn. Make a lightweight scarf or cowl to accessorize a summer outfit, or a bikini wrap for the beach or pool.

double project sm.ashxTo get started, you can download a PDF of the Cowl Scarf here, and the Bikini Wrap Here. Work either item in any of the 5 bright and beautiful colors to make your own lacy creation.

The instructions for the cowl can also be found on the label, along with diagrams for working the easy looping technique used to connect the strips of yearn to create the projects. Simply pull one loop through another using a crochet hook or just your fingers.

You’ll be creating stylish hand-made apparel before you know it. Some items can be made in less than an hour!

Our new yarn debuts this month at brick and mortar Michaels Stores locations. Check it out!


Rainbows of DMC threads!

Friday, March 7, 2014

Rainbow cross stitch pattern on Crafty MummyThis week, I’m all about Rainbows, and all the rainbow-themed DMC inspiration I can find online!

This lovely Rainbow Cross Stitch Pattern on The Crafty Mummy is the first in a series of 9 free patterns, and features our lovely DMC floss in a gorgeous rainbow palette of shades.

Pull up some Aida cloth in your favorite color, and get stitching for a rainbow-colored treat!

Rainbow Cake-Topper on Cassandra DesignI love the bright threads in this Rainbow Cake-Topper on Cassandra Design – such a clever use for our beautiful floss to make bright pom-poms!

Best of all, the wide range of our thread colors allow you to match any palette you can think of – using a birthday or shower invitation as inspiration, choose 5 shades to complement or match your color scheme for a perfectly color-coordinated cake-topper.

Embroidery floss in a rainbow of colors on BenzieFor more gorgeous DMC color combinations, how about the Embroidery floss palettes on Benzie, an online shop that specializes in rainbow shades of felt.

These luscious groupings of DMC threads complement their felt selection and are a wonderful starting point if you’re seeking inspiration for a new embroidery project!

Ombre-edge throw on Purl SohoThis Ombre-edge Throw on Purl Soho features a gorgeous selection of DMC shades in their signature, elegant choices of brights and neutrals.

As always, their tutorial is a visual feast, and I have to say I am also impressed with the appealing way they’ve twisted and displayed their hanks of DMC floss!

Thread organization on Hugs Are FunOnce you own a rainbow of DMC floss – how do you organize it? On the blog Hugs Are Fun, Rebecca shows off her thread organization photos.

The photos of her process and tips are every bit as inspiring as seeing a rainbow of threads before you – the possibilities are truly endless!


Using Water Soluble Pens

Wednesday, July 24, 2013

Water-soluble marking pens are made specifically to pre-mark an embroidery design on fabric. These pens create a temporary line that can be removed after completing the embroidery by giving the item a soak in mild detergent. Some stitchers love them, while others won’t touch them due to bad experiences.

Water-soluble fabric marking pens and wash-away markers (not iron-on pens or pencils) can be quite safe, and create a temporary mark. But, the successful use of these pens will depend on three important things: the brand of the pen you are using, the fiber content of both the embroidery fabric and thread, and thoroughly washing the item after stitching to remove the ink. The third item – washing after stitching – is where many people give up on the pens and toss them in the trash bin. This is also the cause of their seemingly bad reputation.

The term “washable” is the key to using a water soluble marking pen successfully in a project. The ink must be thoroughly removed from the fabric by soaking or thoroughly rinsing the item in room temperature water. The emphasis here is on thoroughly!

Because the ink must be actually removed and not just rinsed or dabbed until it disappears to the naked eye, fiber content plays and important role in your decision to use a disappearing ink, water soluble fabric marking pen. Use the same rule of thumb you would use for garments – if the embroidery threads or fabric must be dry-cleaned or shoud not be washed, do not use washable ink.

When you are ready to remove the markings, remember that holding the fabric uder running water for a quick rinsing, dabbing the fabric with water, or wetting the piece down with a spray bottle until the ink seemingly disappears will not properly remove the ink. If the ink is not removed, it will likely reappear after the fabric dries days, weeks, months or even years after rinsing, as the ink may reactiviate due to exposure to air or light.

For best results, elect a pen that has a fine point that will make the thinnest line possible, and cover the line with your embroidery. Some less expensive brands of these pens make a thick, ugly line that seeps into the fibers of the fabric. Thick lines are more difficult to completely cover with embroidery floss and are difficult to remove. I suspect that this is where many stitchers run into problems, as so much ink has seeped into the fabric.

I use the DMC pens for marking my fabric for most hand embroidery or surface embroidery project. The lines made by this particular pen are crisp and thin.  I’ve never had any problem removing the ink, nor has the ink ever reappeared, because I properly wash each piece after completing the embroidery. There are pieces in my collection that were worked years ago using water-soluble pens, and no traces of ink have reappeared. This is due to properly removing the ink from the fabric.

My best advice is to always test any temporary (or permanent) marking method to make sure performs as expected, and that it doesn’t bleed or smudge making it difficult to follow your stitching lines. If in doubt,  use an alternate marking method.

Stitch well, my friends…


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