Hand Machine Embroidered Squirrel

By September 30, 2012 , , , , ,

Voting is now open! Please vote for my design in this linky, the top 10 designs advance to the next round!

When I saw blog favorite Prudent Baby post their Borderline Brilliant contest to win a Brother PE500 Embroidery Machine, I knew I had to come up with something awesome. (I’ve been lusting over this new machine for months!)
I had just made my Machine Stitch Sampler for my beloved Brother SQ-9000 I finally had a ‘real life’ reference tool for all 79 stitches it’s capable of. If you haven’t made one for your machine yet, do it, it’s so helpful! My Brother SQ-9000 Machine
So I decided to make my entry a bit of a challenge for myself, to only use I use only the stitches of the SQ-9000 had, with some very careful guiding!  (I did do a tiny bit of hand embroidery for his eye, mouth, and nose).  I chose to make a squirrel since I’m so excited for fall to finally arrive in Nashville, and since my sorority mascot is the squirrel.

Squirrel Embroidery Appliqe
It was a great challenge to test my creativity and was a lot of fun too! In the end I utilized 18 different stitches on my SQ-9000, and two hand embroidery stitches, for a total of 20!
Using a picture of my machine stitch sampler, I added labels and arrows to show which stitch I used for each!Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-038
Using decorative stitches to machine embroider by hand tips:
  • Stabilizer helps a ton to keep stitches crisp.
  • Control your speed, my machine has a little slider that controls the ‘top speed’ I use it all the time to make sure I don’t get a lead foot.
  • Figure out the best spots in the decorative stitch to ‘turn’ some flow well with a slow constant turn, but those with ‘linking’ straight stitches work best if you do all your ‘turning’ in that straight stitch section.
  • Take your time! You can’t easily pick out your mistakes, and the heat n bond make it’s hard to hide your needle holes.
  • Cut thread tails as you work, since you’re sewing over the same areas you don’t want a tail to get sucked into your bobbin case and cause your machine to jam.
Trace the pattern to the back of your Heat n Bond Lite, then iron on to the wrong side of your fabric, then using sharp embroidery scissors carefully cut along the lines.
What you want to do with your finished embroidery will dictate how big your backing felt is, mine is 11” x 17” ish. Cut some medium weight pellon stabilizer for the back to make it easier to machine stitch.
Iron on your squirrel to the center of your felt, then using a chalk pencil sketch out the features you’d like your squirrely to have.
Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-013 Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-014
I started with a curly cue stitch, which I stitched in a swirl pattern to create great a fuzzy looking chubby squirrel belly.
Then I did the ears using a satin stitch pattern, then I used a normal straight stitch to better define his little pink ears.
By setting my standard zig-zag stitch to a wide width but a short length I made a statin stitch triangle nose for squirrely.
I then used my triple stretch stitch to define his toes.
I used a stretch stitch, which is basically a long skinny zig-zag to define the border, and his arm and legs, I loved the effect! I’ll definitely be using this stitch for future appliques.
Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-021 Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-025
I had 6 different fur like and fall themed decorative stitches  which I used for the tail, I over lapped them in some places to add dimension, and sewed them matching the curve of the tail.

Using lots of different straight and swiggle stitches I created some ‘body’ fur. I also did some long straight stitches to add textures to the arm and foot of the squirrel. You can see the stitched I used in each place on the stitch directory.
With embroidery floss by hand I made a satin stitch oval shaped eye.
Again using embroidery floss I back stitched around his nose to ‘frame’ the machine satin stitch, then I backstitched a little smile for him.
I then ironed on the acorn and stitched it with an applique stitch. I used a stretch stitch in brown to border the acorn top, then a cross stitch style stitch to embellish the top.
Squirrel-Embroidery-Applique-Hello-Kirsti-033FrontBack of squirrel applique
Finish into your completed project. I chose to frame him, but he'd make a great little throw pillow or wall hanging as well.

Framed Squirrel Applique

Today (Thursday) the sun came out for the first time since Sunday, here's a photo of squirrely in the sun =)

Voting is now open! Please vote for my design in this linky, the top 10 designs advance to the next round!

This post is an entry in the Prudent Baby Borderline Brilliant Contest.
This post is partying here.

You Might Also Like


  1. That's beautiful! What a great accent!

  2. Just had to comment and say how impressive this is!! My sewing skills will never be this good. Well done you. :)

    1. Thank you! It was fun to really push my skills, and my patience! When you work on that patience thing you'll be amazed at what you can sew! haha!

  3. You got my vote, "sister." Seriously, so cute! Good luck (:

  4. I am so impressed with your gorgeous squirrel...love it! So beautifully created.

  5. oh my gosh, how cute and perfect for fall. if only all squirrels were framed, instead of digging up the pansies i planted, lol.

  6. That came out amazing. You are super talented. I would love for you to link this up to my Fall into Fall party that opens tonight at 8pm EST. Hope to see you there.

  7. Wow!!!So fun and cute!!!Love it!!Thanks so much for sharing.
    I'd love for you to visit my blog.

    Hugs from Portugal,

    Ana Love Craft