Tea Towel Sale!

You may have heard me mention that I have an embroidery book coming out soon. 🙂 (You can watch me open and flip through my author copy here.)

October 22, to be exact.

I’m super proud of it – and excited to see what you all make with the 500+ motifs in the book!

That’s right. Over 500 motifs to stitch. Woo hoo!

One of my favorite things to embroider is tea towels – and I love the colorful ones! At just $4.99 each, they’re perfect for adding a little stitching and giving as a gift. Need a hostess gift or a teacher gift for the holidays? Stitch up a few tea towels and you’re covered. I especially love using them as wrapping for a batch of cookies. 🙂

Bloom, Hearts and Birds have been my go-to patterns for a while, but now these book has all kinds of new options that are going to be so much fun to stitch and give! Of course there are flowers and birds – but there are also houseplants and succulents; farm motifs like a scarecrow, barn, tractor and veggies; kitchen gadgets like a whisk, spatula, stand mixer and Pyrex bowl; sweet treats like a donut, a pie and a macaron; household tools like a broom, a rake and a chainsaw – I really tried to include every conceivable theme!

So pre-order the book and stock up on colorful tea towels while you wait for it to arrive! Here are some handy ordering links for the book. . .

Send your proof of purchase (a receipt, screenshot of your order confirmation, etc.) to howtoembroider@quarto.com and the publisher will email you an extra page with over 20 additional motifs!

Order your tea towels here.

I stocked up on all the pretty colors, getting extras of fall and Christmas colors like orange, cranberry, and sage.

Use the code GIFT for 20% off! That makes them just $3.99 each, which is a great price for gifts!

Sale ends Sunday, October 6 at midnight eastern time.

If you need to stock up on any other embroidery supplies, you can find them here.

Happy stitching!


New! Teeny Tiny Dandelyne Hoops in the Shop!

New in the shop!

These teeny tiny embroidery hoops are so adorable!

The smallest ones are just 1 inch across. There’s also a slightly bigger set – 1.6 inches across. These are perfect for necklaces and brooches – and some of the sets even come with necklace chains and pin backs!

Use them for teeny tiny embroidery, or to frame up a special piece of fabric. 🙂

Get them here.

Happy stitching!


New Sulky Thread in the Shop!

Sulky Thread - I love these Sulky Petites spools of 12 wt. thread!

A lot of people have reported having trouble finding my favorite Sulky thread in their local fabric stores – especially the smaller spools of 12 wt. thread that I like using for Big Stitch quilting. That’s always a pretty good signal to me that I should add it to my shop. 🙂

So I brought in some Sulky Petites in nine pretty colors.

Sulky Thread - I love these Sulky Petites spools of 12 wt. thread!

If they do well I can definitely add a bigger color selection.

When I Use This Sulky Thread. . .

  • When I embroider the faces on my Dress Up Bunch dolls (both my hand and machine)
  • When I machine applique and want a thicker line outlining my pieces – especially for faces and whiskers
  • When I do Big Stitch Hand Quilting
  • Anytime I do hand embroidery and don’t want to use regular 6 stranded floss – especially in summer when I have gnarly garden hands that tend to really snag the DMC stuff

The 12 wt. thread is the same thickness as two strands of regular DMC 6 stranded floss.

You can use it for hand or machine work. For hand work I use a #8 embroidery needle. For machine work I recommend these topstitching needles.

You can see it used for hand embroidery in these free patterns, and in this freestyle mandala project. You can see it in some Big Stitch Quilting here. You can see it used in machine applique here.

Grab some pretty spools here and get stitching! 🙂

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How I use my favorite Sulky Petites 12 wt thread - I love it!

What’s Inside My Handwork Bag?

A peek at what's inside my handwork bag - from Wendi at Shiny Happy World

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

You know how I talk ALL THE TIME about how much I love handwork because it’s so portable?

Would you like to see just what I keep in my handwork bag? I’ll show you what tools are inside and how I keep everything organized so I can pull out my work whenever – and wherever – I have a few minutes to stitch.

All right then!

I’m currently working on two projects – hand quilting the Controlled Chaos quilt (not portable – I do this on the sofa)

Controlled Chaos handwork - big stitch quilting in progress

. . . and this little bit of thread therapy.

Thread Therapy handwork - a WIP from Shiny Happy World

My Handwork Bag

First let’s talk about the bag.

My Handwork Bag

I made it using the largest size option of the Stitch & Stash Project Bag (pattern from Betz White) with an added kitty applique from my Cats Quilt Pattern. You can read more about the bag and how I made it here.

The quilt won’t fit in it 🙂 but the 7 inch hoop does. I work on both projects on the sofa – but I also carry the hoop with me for random moments of handwork.

Here’s what’s in the bag with that hoop. . .

What's inside my handwork bag?

I’m using the Tutti Frutti embroidery thread bundle, so I pulled all of those colors off of my main embroidery ring and keep them together using a simple binder ring – available at any office supply store. (Here’s more info about how I organize my embroidery thread.) The last item in the bag is an Altoids-sized tool tin.

My Handwork Tool Tin

I love having a metal tin so I can store sharp objects inside without fear of them poking me or poking through my bag. Here’s what’s inside the tin. . .

What's inside my handwork tool tin?

My bag is always packed and sitting at my sofa spot, ready to grab and take along in case I’m going anywhere I might have a few extra minutes for some handwork.

Happy stitching!

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Freezer Paper, Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or Fusible Adhesive? Which to use when?

Freezer paper, Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy or Fusible Adhesive? Which product do I use when?

Want to learn the basics of hand embroidery with an easy online workshop – totally free?

Sign up for Embroidery 101 here. You’ll learn how to get started, the tools and supplies you’ll need, the four most basic stitches, how to transfer your pattern and how to display your work.

If you already know the basics – sign up for Embroidery 201. It’s also free! You’ll learn how to stitch on specialty fabrics like felt and stretchy T-shirts. Plus you’ll learn lots and lots and LOTS more stitches – all my favorites!

I rely heavily on three products for the work I do.

Freezer paper

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

Fusible Adhesive

I recently had someone ask when I use each one – and that’s a great question.

Here’s the rundown. . .

Freezer Paper

Freezer paper is an excellent stabilizer.

I use it most often to cut out felt pieces. I print the pattern pieces directly onto the freezer paper. (You can trace if you’re not as lazy as I am.) I iron the paper to the felt and then I cut the pieces out – cutting through the felt and the freezer paper at the same time. Since I label all my pieces it means I have a nice pile of labeled felt pieces, cut perfectly accurately, waiting for me to stitch them together. Awesome!

Freezer paper also works this way when cutting out regular fabric, but I only use it on fairly small pieces – so small that I can’t use pattern weights. I use it for ALL my felt cutting.

Freezer paper is also excellent for fusing to the back of any fabric that you’re going to draw or paint on. If you’ve ever tried to do that without a stabilizer, you know that the pen or marker will tend to drag the fabric along with it. It can be really hard to keep it flat and smooth. Freezer paper makes the fabric act like paper. Handy!

Finally, people use freezer paper for this appliqué method. That used to be my favorite method – until I tested some of the new fusible adhesives out on the market and found a new favorite. 🙂

In all cases – the freezer paper will peel right off when you’re done. It doesn’t leave any residue behind, and you can reuse it a LOT of times before it loses its ability to fuse.

Fusible Adhesive

Fusible adhesive is what I use in all my appliqué projects. That’s mostly quilts, but also T-shirts, tote bags, pillows and more. Unlike the freezer paper – which sticks temporarily to the fabric – the fusible adhesive is a permanent glue.

So the only time I use this product is when I want to permanently stick one piece of fabric to another.

I LOVE LOVE LOVE using this printable fusible adhesive, as opposed to the stuff you can buy by the bolt. It’s more expensive – yes – but it lets me skip over the tedious tracing step and jump right to the fun part of my appliqué project. That’s worth money to me. 🙂

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

The Magical Embroidery Stuff! This amazing invention has made every part of my crafting life easier and more fun. (I wrote a whole post about its awesomeness here.)

I use it to transfer embroidery patterns to EVERYTHING. There are other products you could use to transfer a pattern to light-colored, smooth, woven fabric – but Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy makes embroidery on every surface possible. And it makes stitching on smooth woven cotton easier and better.

With this stuff you can embroider stretchy fabrics like T-shirts and baby onesies (no extra stabilizer needed). You can embroider dark fabrics. You can embroider nappy fabrics like velvet and terrycloth and fleece. You can embroider felt. Oh! How I love embroidering on felt!

I use it to stabilize stretchy fabrics when I appliqué on them. It just washes away – leaving no itchy stabilizer behind.

I freehand all my quilting designs – but if I did anything fancy I would print or draw it on this and stitch through it, then soak it away later.

Freezer paper vs. Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

I think this is where most people get confused, because I use both of them extensively when I work with felt.

If I’m just cutting the shape out – I use freezer paper. It’s cheaper and doesn’t require soaking to remove.

If I’m embroidering something on the shape and then cutting it out – I use the Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy. Sometimes you’ll see me recommend both things in one project – like this snowman ornament.

Happy Snowman Felt Ornament Pattern

The hat, hat band, and carrot nose have no embroidery on them. Neither does the back of the ornament. I cut all of those pieces out with freezer paper.

The snowman front and the scarf both have embroidery on them, so for those I printed the pattern on Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy, stuck it to the felt, embroidered the details, cut it out on the lines, and soaked off the stabilizer. (You can see how this works in this post.)

If you order a kit from me, the pieces come pre-printed on whichever product is most appropriate for the piece.

I hope that answers your questions about which product I use in which situation! Let me know if you have any other questions about any of them. I love them all and I’m always happy to share info about products that make your crafting easier and more fun. 🙂

Here are links to buy all three. . .

Printable freezer paper sheets

Printable fusible adhesive

Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy

Happy stitching!


How to Care for your Craft Scissors

I have three pairs of scissors: a pair for cutting fabric, a pair for cutting tape and an all-purpose pair (that happen to be child-safe so I can use them for travel).


Having different pairs for different craft purposes allows you to keep them in tip-top-shape, and makes your crafting easier! Here are some tips I have for keeping your scissors healthy.

Mark your Scissors

Do you have a family member who might be tempted to use your fabric-only scissors for cutting construction paper? Add a label to them! And consider keeping your special scissors away with your fabric stash.

Clean Scissors with Rubbing Alcohol

I have a pair of scissors just for cutting packing tape. Because tape leaves a residue that makes scissors icky!

When mine get too icky, I use rubbing alcohol and a cotton ball to clean the blades. The sticky comes right off!

Get them Sharpened

Many craft stores have an occasional sharpening service. Just like nice knives, it pays to get your scissors sharpened!

Any tips to share?

How many scissors do you have? And what types are they?

Do you have any care tips you’d like to share?

Read about Wendi’s “Great Scissor Rotation” here.

Everything You Ever Wanted to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy

Everything You Need to Know about Sulky Sticky Fabri-solvy - one of my very favorite supplies

I call this The Magical Embroidery Stuff.


Well, partly because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is quite a mouthful. 🙂 But mostly because I use it for absolutely everything I stitch and it’s absolutely magical. It really is one of my favorite products ever.

I’ve written a lot about it in a lot of different posts, so today I’m bringing all that info together in one handy-dandy place.

What is it?

It’s a printable wash-away embroidery pattern transfer and stabilizer. Yes – it does all of that in one easy product! In a nutshell. . .

  1. You print your pattern right on the sheets. You can print them with an inkjet or laser printer, or photocopy onto it. You can also trace onto it – but I hate tracing.
  2. Peel off the paper back and stick the stuff right to the surface of what you’re embroidering.
  3. Hoop it up and start stitching. You stitch right through the stuff.
  4. Soak it in water and the stuff dissolves away like magic.

Want to see all of that in action? Watch this video.

Problem fabrics

I use this on everything I embroider. EVERYTHING. But it’s especially useful on problem fabrics. You know what I’m talking about – the ones that are really hard to transfer an image to.

  • dark fabrics
  • napped fabrics like velvet, terry cloth and cuddle fleece
  • plasticy fuzzy fabrics like polar fleece
  • thick fabrics that you can’t see through to trace – like felt
  • stretchy fabrics like T-shirts

It’s awesome on everything!

Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is great for transferring a face to cuddle fleece.

Look! You can stitch right through the stuff onto fluffy cuddle fleece.

Even felt?

YES! Felt gets its own category here because Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy is just so perfect for it. In fact – I wrote a whole post about using it with felt here.

I love it so much with felt that I include pattern pieces already printed on it in all my felt kits. It’s that awesome!

Using Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy - stitching and cutting

See? Beautiful stitching and nice, accurate cutting.

I’ve never run into shrinkage problems with it – but I know a couple of people have with projects that really needed to be very precisely cut. Larissa Holland came up with a great solution to that problem here.

What about stickiness?

I never ran into problems with stickiness until I left a project sitting in a hot car one summer afternoon. The next time I picked that project up (even though it wasn’t hot anymore) I found that I was getting a sticky residue on my needle. Not fun!

And then I discovered Thread Heaven. I was using it to solve another problem and discovered by accident that it totally eliminated any sticky needle problems. Fantastic! Especially since I love to carry my embroidery around with me and there was an excellent chance it would get left in a hot car again. Now I don’t need to worry about that!

Does the ink bleed?

It depends on the ink. I usually photocopy my projects or print them on my laser printer and those have never been an issue for me. But a couple of people reported the ink from their inkjet printers bleeding a bit when they rinsed off the stabilizer. Every brand is different so test the ink from your printer if you want to be sure! If you run into bleeding, try printing it out in draft mode – that uses a lot less ink.

The good people at Sulky let me know that one person had a issue with her laser printer. She said it didn’t actually bleed when she rinsed it, but it left little black specks all over her work. Yikes! The good news is that she sprayed it with Shout, washed it on the gentle cycle of her washing machine, and it came out as good as new. So if you run into laser printer problems, there’s an easy fix. 🙂

This isn’t a bleeding-ink issue – but it’s related. One customer reported that the ink wasn’t coming out of the centers of flowers where the stitching was the most dense. It wasn’t bleeding, but it’s like it was stuck there. She has very hard water and reported that a second long soak in distilled water took it out.


I want to add a special note here about T-shirts. I love embroidering on T-shirts, but it can be kind of fussy. You have to stabilize the fabric so it doesn’t stretch while you’re stitching. With traditional stabilizers you have to remove it after stitching. And stretch knits aren’t a treat to transfer the pattern to. All of these issues magically go away with Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy. Since it’s a pattern transfer and stabilizer all in one, you take care of both of those steps. And since it rinses out after stitching, there’s no fussy (and potentially destructive) removal of the stabilizer afterwards. It’s perfect!

embroidered dog T-shirt

That’s embroidered! 🙂

Now you know why I call Sulky Sticky Fabri-Solvy The Magical Embroidery Stuff. I love it!

Get it here!

I’ve heard that people use it for all kinds of other things too – like transferring complex patterns to a pumpkin for carving! If you’ve come up with an unusual use for it – let me know. I’d love to hear!

Happy stitching!

Applique Wendi (with fabulous hat)

Try my new embroidery book! Over 500 fun motifs – all embroidered using the easiest, most basic stitches. Get the book here.

Printable List of Felt and Embroidery Thread Colors

Just popping in for a quick update. When I posted about the new option to buy embroidery thread already matched the the felt colors in my shop, a few people asked if I would provide a printable version of the list for folks who already have a TON of embroidery thread, or who prefer to shop locally.

Of course! Sharing information is good. 🙂

You can download a printable version of the list here.

I hope it’s useful to you!

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The Perfect Match – just the right color thread for your felt embroidery

You all may have noticed that I love a little felt embroidery. 🙂

I love how portable it is. I love the way the thread looks on the wool felt. I love the way it feels in my hands. It’s all so yummy!

Flora - a free felt bird pattern from Shiny Happy WorldThe only part of the whole process I don’t enjoy is choosing matching thread colors.

I’m not talking about choosing thread colors for the design. That part is fun!

I’m talking about choosing embroidery thread that perfectly matches the felt color for sewing around the edges. Like sewing up this bird. (It’s a free pattern here.)

It’s important to get a good match – but the process is boooring. Try this thread. Nope – but close. How about this one? Ugh – definitely not. This one? Yes. It’s not a creative decision in any way. It’s just finding the best match. *yawn*

Every single time I do it I think to myself that I ought to write it down when I find the perfect match – so I don’t have to do it again for that color.

Then I started thinking I should have a master list of all the thread colors that match all my felt colors. That would be handy!

Update! Ask and you shall receive. A few people asked for a printable list of the matching colors – so I made one! You can download it here.

Then I started thinking I should make that master list and actually carry the thread in my shop, so you can buy the matching thread when you buy your felt. Now that would be super handy!

So I did it. I waited for one of those perfect-light days and pulled out all my felt and my DMC thread card and I found the perfect match for every color felt I carry. Then I ordered in all the thread and added it to the shop.

Get the felt here.

Get the matching thread here.

Enjoy! And have a fabulous weekend!

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