When you've planned a year-long series that requires at least one every month, you tend to jump at a sale on embroidery hoops. As I was standing there trying to choose sizes, I started to wonder exactly how small they could go. The store only carried down to 3 inch hoops, but I knew someone had to have pushed that particular envelope. They did, and I'm so excited to share them with you today!
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I found a couple of options, but the ones that I thought were the nicest came from Dandelyne on Etsy. She's located in Australia, but don't let that scare you away with fears of huge shipping costs. Seriously, we're talking under $2 to Oregon.
I ordered the Hoop Pack that included up to four 1" hoops and the hardware to make a necklace, ring and earrings. I messaged Sonia, the owner, to let her know I'm allergic to earrings, so she could just leave those out. She did, but sent me lots of extras instead!
On top of all that, she has a sweet Facebook group where members can share their mini creations. The skill level there is pretty inspiring!
But first let's talk about my skill level. I've never done any tiny embroidery before. There's a bit of a learning curve, but the good news is that it's fairly quick and if you end up with a dud it didn't take a ton of time and materials. And there were some duds. Fortunately though, I also ended up with keepers. Let me be clear - every single mistake I made was my own fault. Her directions were excellent.
The hoops I ordered were 1", so that gave me about 3/4" usable space. Unfortunately I originally thought it gave me 1", and that's were dud #1 came in. After I worked out that problem, I chose three designs I'd sketched. I cut a piece of fabric 4 1/2" square with a matching piece of medium weight fusible interfacing for each. It was much larger than the design, but it made it possible to put it into a small hoop for embroidery.
In order to transfer the designs on the fabric, I traced each on the back with my favorite iron-on transfer pens from Sublime Stitching.
I applied the interfacing to the fabric, then ironed the design into the center. One of my designs had lines that were just too close together and turned into a blur. Dud #2.
One of my designs had lines that were just too close together and turned into a blur. Dud #2.
My favorite embroidery medium is a nice, thick craft floss, but that wouldn't do for something so small. Dud #3. Instead I used three strands of regular embroidery floss. In hindsight, two probably would have been better, but it worked out. I got so involved in stitching that I failed to take any photos of the process, but it was basically stitching the tiniest of lines until each was filled in.
I couldn't bear to toss the one I couldn't stitch, so I added a pineapple in the corner and stitched it without a hoop.
Right here is where I'm going to tell you, and I can't stress this enough, watch her YouTube video that describes how these are put together. There are lots of instructions included in the package, but the video really helps make everything clear. I watched it after I was done. Ugh.
I cut my designs to a 1 1/4" circle, and next time I would go a little larger to make them easier to mount in the hoop.
I used a hot glue gun for the entire process of putting the designs into the hoops. It seemed to work well, but as I mentioned, the video shows some tips and tricks I wish I'd known ahead of time. My impatience bit me on that one.
I had a hard time deciding which jewelry hardware to try first, so I texted my pineapple-loving daughter to ask if she'd rather have a ring or necklace. She chose the ring, so I attached the hoop onto the ring form using E6000 glue. It's still curing, but it seems very secure already. I decided the ice cream cone would be a perfect summer ring for myself. This is definitely not something you see every day.
I wanted to try the necklaces next, so I went with one silver and one antique gold.
Can anyone tell me what the picture on the right is? It's a red bikini hanging on a clothesline with the sun overhead. Yeah, I probably aimed a little too high on that one. That other sunny guy with the shades is my favorite though.
These were SO much fun to make, even with a few fails sprinkled in. I have one hoop left, and I can't wait to try again. I'm thinking maybe a monogram this time.
Be sure to check out all the sizes and options for ordering in Dandelyne's shop, and tell her Crafty Staci sent you! ;-)