Celtic Raven

Sharing another quick machine embroidery project today. I love the comfort of denim shirts (one size larger to layer) and they’re such an easy canvas. When I saw this design over at Embroidery Library, I just knew I had to use it on something.

My heritage is strongly Irish – dad emigrated from there and I also have a tad of Scott and English in the bloodlines – just about 100% Celtic. I live in a town called Murphy’s. So, Celtic themes and imagery (think Celtic knots more than leprechauns) are among those I enjoy.

Ravens appear in many mythologies throughout the world. From travels to Arizona and New Mexico, plus fantasy aka Urban Shaman by CE Murphy, I’m more familiar with and enjoy the Native American myths of Raven as creator or trickster. From the time I was in junior high through college, someone I knew died every year. The Morrigan fascinated me for a while. This design puts the raven and celtic knotwork together. How perfect!

Executing a machine embroidery project

1.   Figure out what you want to make – there are so many designs I love and projects I want to complete that narrowing the list down to what to do now is usually the hardest part for me.

2.   Select your fabric / item – a dense design with a lot of solid fill would not be a good choice for very light drapey fabric and an outline design might not show up well enough on a fabric with a pattern.

3.   Select your design.

4.   If your embroidery program lets you, resize and recolor the design to suit your tastes – and your thread stash.

5.   Determine the placement of your design.

6.   Choose the appropriate stabilizer for your design

7.   Hoop your stabilizer and fabric – some fabric should not go within the hoop but should be adhered to the stabilizer with a quick squirt of temporary adhesive or use of the sticky stabilizer (think velvet or something with a delicate nap, very thick fabrics).

8.   Fire up the machine and away you go.

9.   Unhoop your project, trim off any jump threads, from the back trim off the stabilizer as close to the image as you can. If your design will rest against skin, they now make an iron-on tricot product that you can place on the back of your design so it isn’t scratchy.

I’ve linked you to varied Embroidery Library’s instructions and tutorials – they saved me.  Although I was assured at purchase there would be classes to get me up and going, the store I bought my machine from was severely understaffed and ill-equipped to offer instruction much more than one topic every few months. That location and others in the chain simply tried to push you to buy DVDs to learn what you could do. Embroidery Library’s tutorials and videos are free, clear and great for anyone wanting to learn how to machine embroider. If you purchase an embroidery machine, you will need someone to walk you through commands and threading of your particular model. One of those “if I’d known then”- I tell everyone I would’ve purchased a machine at our local Country Cloth shop as they offer full support and frequent free classes for the machines they sell.

Oops, looks like someone didn’t get enough attention. Those who have cats understand, put down the project to go grab the applique scissors and see if you can get near your project when you return J – or at least not before you scratch someone behind the ears for a little while. Most machines do not embroider to the edge of the hoop, some designs won’t even be close. As you can see in the above two photos, you can develop the habit of slicing and saving the unused portions of stabilizer because as long as you keep the stabilizer types together and your stitching flat, you can stitch them together to use on another project.


Above you can also see the hoop marks and the stay stitching around the design.  On my Husqvarna Viking Topaz, I always use “Fix” to provide that basted edge around the design, except in rare cases where the fabric wouldn’t handle it.

Steam out the hoop marks and you’re set to go.

I may add a small design to the pocket, perhaps the cuff. But the pocket means stitching the pocket closed (easiest), stitching the design on netting or organza to then apply like a patch, or removing the pocket (hardest as matching the thread on the top stitching of the garment could be nigh impossible when you go to put the pocket back on, doable with invisible thread but perhaps too much work for me).

This post is participating in the parties linked below.

4 comments on “Celtic Raven

  1. audreyoka says:

    Really nice work. One of my kids aunts does embroidery and has given my girls shirts, jackets, sweatshirts and more. They love their individual, unique pieces.

  2. Meg says:

    Lovely! Great job. 😉

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