Crossroads Embroidery Series with Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction

on April 11 | in Contests & Giveaways, Sewing + Quilting Tips, Sewing Tutorials + Patterns, Slow Sewing, Sponsors + Partners | by | with 147 Comments

This giveaway is now closed. Thank you!

We’re excited to launch a new Crossroads Embroidery Series with Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction! Every month Amy will bring you a new stitching video, plus giveaways, tips for embroidery success and more. First up in the series are two videos to get you started, including this initial how-to for selecting the right thread and needles for your next project. Amy also has a generous giveaway you can enter below. Be sure to comment for a chance to WIN!

Embroidery projects are the perfect on-the-go sewing opportunity for busy spring and summer days. Here are some of our free embroidery projects, plus a handy needle comparison. We also have several projects from Amy here at Sew Mama Sew: Tea Towel Embroidery Project, The Adelaide Tank and the Summer Purse Pattern.


My name is Amy and I am the founder of the pattern company Indygo Junction. Over the last 25 years I have published patterns for home decor, accessories, quilting and garments. I have also published many patterns and books for needlework projects, including my most recent embroidery book, Stitched Style.

I am so excited to launch this Crossroads Embroidery Series with Sew Mama Sew. In the series I will share my love for hand embroidery and teach you how to get started stitching. The first two videos of the series will start with the basics: choosing your thread, foundation fabrics, and different trace and transfer methods. After we’ve covered the basics we will move on to embroidery stitches. I will demonstrate six stitches that are the basis of any stitch library: back stitch, stem stitch, cross stitch, chain stitch, the French knot and the lazy daisy. Today’s video is all about getting started with the right thread and needles– both important tools for hand embroidery.

Recently I have partnered with Sulky Threads to create a line of 12 weight Crossroads Threads, which coordinate with my Crossroads Denim fabric line. This series is a great way for me to share the unique features of the thread and also teach tips and valuable techniques for embroidery to help you achieve success in your stitching!

I was inspired to create Stitched Style after stitching on my Crossroads Denim fabric. I found that my denim– which I love to use for garments and purses– is also a great foundation fabric for embroidery. We created 65 embroidery designs for the book which are perfect for garments, but also great for other projects like purses and pincushions. Below, you can see a great example of the Crossroads Thread stitched on Crossroads Denim.

Indygo Junction’s Petite Stitched Purse

Before we get started stitching, we need to gather our materials. First and foremost we need thread. The most popular threads for hand embroidery are embroidery floss or Perle cotton. Embroidery floss is made of six strands of slightly glossy thread. Perle cotton has a 2-ply strand that comes in several weights. You don’t separate Perle cotton as you do embroidery floss; you choose the strand thickness when you choose the weight.

Both embroidery floss and Perle cotton come in hanks of thread, however my Crossroads thread comes on a spool. You may be surprised that you can embroider with thread on a spool (that can also be used on a sewing machine) but I find that I like working with spooled thread better than your typical embroidery floss. I think you will too!

When you work with spooled thread, you don’t get all those messy tangles that inevitably come with embroidery floss. You can easily pull your thread off the spool to the length you desire. One strand of 12-weight thread is as thick as two strands of embroidery floss. You can add or subtract strands to get your optimal stitching line thickness.

Crossroads thread is also extremely durable, which is great for my projects that get a lot of wear like purses, garments and dishtowels. However, you can also use it for machine work such as topstitching, machine embroidery and quilting.

After you have chosen your thread, it is time to get the right needles. You will want to look for embroidery needles which have sharp points, come in a variety of sizes and have large, easily threaded eyes. When choosing your needle size, keep in mind that you want the thread to pass through the fabric with minimal abrasion. However, keep an eye out; you don’t want the needle to leave a noticeable hole in the fabric after stitching.

Join me next month for tips on getting ready to stitch, including learning about foundation fabrics, trace and transfer methods and embroidery tools. In the meantime, ENTER TO WIN some Crossroad thread and fabric. Leave a comment below telling us your favorite stitch– or which stitch you are most excited to learn. See you soon!


Vintage Notions Bonus:

My vast library of vintage textiles and needle arts publications are a constant inspiration for my work and my collecting has become an addiction (there are many worse addictions, right?). I found this 1913 article in the McCall Embroidery Book. Check out this fun coupon that was still glued to a page in the front of the catalog. I find it fun and incredibly interesting to see what our sewing sisters from generations past were reading and want to share the history with you!

Click here to download the full excerpt from the book.

If you share a passion for learning more about our sewing sisterhood from past generations, check out my Vintage Notions Monthly magazine and subscribe today! (Shameless self-promotion is needed to fund my vintage addiction!)

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147 Responses to Crossroads Embroidery Series with Amy Barickman from Indygo Junction

  1. Susan Jonsson says:

    I love to make French knots and stem stitches.

    • Jeannie Provencher says:

      I love your patterns at Indygo Junction. I have many. I like using Sulky thread in my Baby Lock Sophia II. I would like to learn more about had applique work.

  2. barbara woods says:

    love french knots

  3. Barbara says:

    Sew many stitches to choose from, I think I like the petite stitches.

  4. Joan says:

    I have always liked the running stitch and dasey stich since I started embroidery as a child.

  5. Monica says:

    I love using old techniques and making something modern. My moto ‘I love anything with thread’

  6. Brenda says:

    I think my favorite in the past has to be the cross stitch, whether worked with fine silk thread on 40 ct. silk gauze or doing Berlin work with woolens on 5 count canvas. More sand more, though, I enjoy just free handing — whatever stitch comes to mind, mixing and matching to get the effect I want. For that type of work, the bigger the variety of threads and fibers, the better.

  7. Gail says:

    Your colors are beautiful – my new favorite stitch is the French knot which I just learned to make consistently. I love the texture and the effects one can achieve, especially with variegated thread. I am tackling the bullion stitch next – I think this will be a great addition to my current addiction of stitching flowers.

  8. Tina L. says:

    I’d love to improve my tiny library of stitches and learn a few variations of the feather stitch with these colorful threads.

  9. Well, the only stitch I am decent at making is the backstitch, though I’ve tried others! This looks to be a really interesting series 🙂

  10. Lindsay in Iowa says:

    My favorite is stem stitch, and I’m most excited to see how you do French knots. I’ve read about how to do them and watched videos but just can’t get consistent results. So hopefully I finally will!

  11. Lydia R. says:

    I am happy to learn the embroidery stitches in your videos, as I have an upcycled jacket in mind that would be so lovely with embroidery to complete.

  12. Cathy says:

    I like the smooth flowing lines of the stem stitch best.

  13. Beth K says:

    I would love to learn how to do a bullion stitch. Thanks for the giveaway!

  14. kim t. says:

    I need to learn to not do the stem stitch backwards!

  15. Karen says:

    I love the colors! I’m excited to learn to make neater french knots. Mine are always so knobbly, and if I have to make a few near each other, they look messy because they never seem to be the same size.

  16. bobbie says:

    I love embroidery. I used to do cross stitch but love the variety of embroidery stitches to make pictures. I’m reviving ribbon embroidery for my clothes and am looking forward to using your embroidery patterns for dish towels. Love that vintage kitchen look.

  17. A nice smooth satin stitch is my favorite!

  18. Rose says:

    I’d love to learn how to stitch those woven raised roses.

  19. Susan B says:

    i love the buttonhole stitch and the french knot.

  20. Pallavi Vishwanath says:

    I love the cross Stitch since its so deceptively simple and yet so versatile!

  21. carolee c. says:

    I would love to get back in to embroidery which I haven’t done in years. This would be a nice collection to use!

  22. Jess says:

    I hate to admit it, but every time I try to do a French Knot, it is a complete failure; so that would be my goal.

  23. Heather S says:

    A daisy stitch is my favorite 🙂

  24. Renae says:

    I enjoy hand embroidery. I don’t have a favorite stitch, I like them all!

  25. Diana Finkenaur says:

    I’d like to learn some couching stitches. I love the look of embroidery, and I’m about to start a quilt with a lot of embroidered details on it.

  26. Nancy Hilderbrand says:

    I like counted cross stitch because I have to use my brain and at my age it is important.

  27. Kristin says:

    I’d like to learn the French knot.

  28. Carol W says:

    I like stem stitch – it is relaxing to do!

  29. Annie Rimler says:

    The cross stitch!

  30. Annie Rimler says:

    My favorite? The simple cross stitch. So versatile. Thanks !

  31. drP says:

    There’s a stitch like a french knot that I saw on a sewing programme once. It starts off similar but there’s a small change which makes it look different when sewn……I wish I knew what it is called! Googling “french not but different” isn’t getting me far!

  32. Marjory W says:

    I need to be better at French Knots. Mine never seem to come out as nicely as I’d like.

  33. Priyanka says:

    I like doing the raised chain band stitch most for my embroidered projects 🙂

  34. Karen says:

    I know some basic embroidery stitches but would like to learn more for quilt embellishing and crazy quilting.

  35. Ginger says:

    I like the split stitch.

  36. Nancy M says:

    My favorite stitch since I was a kid is the lazy Daisy. I like it’s name, too.

  37. Judi says:

    I am so thrilled that your thread comes on a spool! I smock and separating those strands are so time consuming and messy. I never seem to save the “extra ” lengths. I can use one or two strands for geometric smocking depending on the look I want and two for picture smocking. I also,love cross stitch and this will get mt stitching a lot faster! I love these colors!

  38. Karen Christensen says:

    It’s been many years since I did any hand embroidery and that was using a kit with instructions for each stitch which I’ve long forgotten how to do so any stitches would be great to learn.

  39. CJ says:

    I love making French knots. It took me “forever” to learn and not have them pull out under my finger. Once I succeeded I would attempt to see what designs I could do just with a French knot!
    Love your bright colors.

  40. Rosalind B. says:

    I would like to learn the chain stitch and the stem stitch. I am so excited about the beautiful colors in the 12 wt thread and can’t wait to use them.

  41. Marsha Law says:

    I learned some of the basic stitches when I was a kid but I didn’t know the names of them. I recently came across the leaf stitch and I want to put leaves on everything now.

  42. Rachel B says:

    Nice crossover with Amy and Crossroads.

  43. Barb B says:

    I have seen embroidery everywhere lately. And want to learn! French knots, daisy stitch are top of the list. Thanks for the chance to win a starter kit.

  44. Maïlys Arbault says:

    Oh gosh, the colours are gorgeous!

  45. Susan Grancio says:

    I use the back stitch and French knots the most. Would love to try your thread on denim. Wound on the spool is a terrific idea!

  46. Tami Durfey says:

    My daughter’s favorite stitch is the cross stitch.

  47. Shannon says:

    I’ve been making lots of felt fish for my son’s kindergarten so I’m finally getting good at French knots!

  48. Michele T says:

    I love to embellish quilted pieces with embroidery, it gives it that extra special touch!!

  49. Kathy Green says:

    I only know the chain stitch. I want to learn more about hand embroidery and am looking forward to your series.

  50. lizzyd says:

    I am working really hard to make my chain stitches even. How exciting it would be to use thread from a spool. I can’t wait to try embroidering with it. The stitch I would like master is the satin and lazy daisy stitch. I found some old leaflets that my grandma had, giving instruction for different types of hand stitching. I can’tell wait!

  51. Ari says:

    I’ve got a set of curtains that I’ve been meaning to embroider and make less boring.

  52. Lynn S says:

    I love to embroider! This is a new line of thread for me! Thanks for sharing! I like the Colonial Knot

  53. Kathy h says:

    I love embroidery and would like to learn how to do fancier stitches like bullion stitching.

  54. Lori Nicholas says:

    I love the lazy daisy stitch and think it will look beautiful with this thread and gorgeous Crossroads denim!!

  55. Wendy says:

    I love the stem embroidery stitch

  56. Sarah M says:

    I really want to get better at French Knots!

  57. Tina says:

    I have done some cross stitch but would like to learn other stitches. Thanks for the chance. I love the colors of the embroidery threads.

  58. Diane in VA says:

    Thank you so much Amy . I love the Crossroads Denim as much as the 12wt threads…all so beautiful. All your tips and teaching is appreciated…it’s been too long since I picked up a needle and thread of this kind. Thanks for bringing this art back to my world.

  59. Shirley Cheng says:

    Thanks for the tips! I’ve recently gotten into embroidery and this was very helpful.

  60. Bridget says:

    I love the French Knot stitch because it’s so versatile. It was the first stitch I learned when my grandmother taught me how to embroider when I was a young girl.

  61. Debby says:

    I am so new to embroidery. I just got some hoops over at Goodwill to give it a try. I am excited about blanket and chain stitches.

  62. Rebeckah Austin says:

    I really enjoy the rope, and chain stitches.

  63. Carmen N says:

    I’ve always liked the chain stitch.

  64. Quilting Tangent says:

    Cross stitch is the easiest, French knot is tricky but finally mastered it. Working on other stitches.

  65. Alicia says:

    I love French knots!

  66. Ruth L says:

    I have followed Amy’s work for many years and love her Magic Pattern Book. I enjoy hand embroidery and especially the French Knot. The concept of embroidery floss on a spool is ingenious! I love to keep some sort of hand work near my chair – finding joy in a few moments here and there for stitching or in the evenings with my dear husband nearby!

  67. Jayne says:

    Honestly…I would love to learn any and all stitches. Embroidery is something I have wanted to learn for a long time!

  68. Kristin Farwig says:

    I’ve only tried embroidery a few times but would like to learn more!

  69. Shelley says:

    My favorite stitch is the stem stitch. Thank you for this wonderful giveaway. I am anxious to try these new threads. Separating floss can really be a headache so these threads will be a breeze to use in my embroidery projects.

  70. Fransak says:

    I Love French knots. I would like to learn some tips for satin stitch.

  71. Katarina says:

    Cross stitch is actually the only stitch I really used for embroidery (and even that was when I was still a young girl) so I’m looking forward to learn all the other stitches and try to refresh my clothing style with some cute personal embroidery details 🙂

  72. Darlene P. says:

    I love the stem and chain stitch, but I often have trouble with the French knot. I can never seem to get a consistent look. Thank you for this generous giveaway!

  73. I haven’t yet learned to hand embroider. I am so looking forward to these videos!! The Crossroads threads look awesome!

  74. JANN E LECLAIRE says:

    I WOULD LOVE TO IMPROVE ON THE BASKETWEAVE STITCH – IT IS SO LOVELY. THANK YOU FOR THIS GIVEAWAY – I AM A BIG FAN OF YOUR WEBSITE AND ALL IT ENCOMPASSES!

  75. Angela says:

    It’s a beautiful bag and great giveaway. I really don’t have a favorite stitch I just am excited to learn more about embroidery and how I can better my stitches.

  76. Jean says:

    My current favourite stitch is chain, put and want to expand my knowledge,

  77. Anita says:

    My favorite stitch is Lazy Daisy.

  78. MelodyJ says:

    I like the colors in this set.

  79. Rebecca says:

    I love the idea of embroidery thread on a spool–maybe it will finally put an end to my tangled thread bag! I’ve been practicing making flowers with the cast-on stitch. That’s my most recent challenge.

  80. Wendy says:

    I don’t have a favourite stitch, though i enjoy french knots. I’m just about to go to a silk ribbon embroidery class and i’m excited about that!

  81. wanda says:

    Love cross stitch, and have for a new love in paper punch embroidery……

  82. Beth T. says:

    My favorite stitch is the sweet, old-timey “lazy daisy”. I love the summery, carefree look it brings to any of my stitcheries.

  83. Chris says:

    I use stem stitch the most but I need to practice my Lazy Daisy stitch for a pattern I’m working on.

  84. I love some french knots! Looking forward to the series!

  85. Terry Fetzek says:

    XXXXXXX It would certainly be fun to cross stitch with Crossroads! XXXXXXX

  86. Marilyn says:

    I am interested in learning the French knot and laisy daisy.

  87. Tina L. says:

    I’m excited to try Crossroads thread in my next embroidery project. I love the simplicity of the back stitch but really like to use the French knot to create texture. I’ve been working on a stitch sampler and love trying out new stitches. Thanks for introducing me to Crossroads thread and fabric!

  88. Kathy E. says:

    Such beautiful colored threads! I’ve always been a pro when it came to making French Knots! When others would struggle with getting those knots round and tight to the cloth, I could so easily make perfect ones every time!

  89. Sharon says:

    The lazy Daisey sounds exciting to learn

  90. Lynne Tilley says:

    My favorite stitch is the cross-stitch.

  91. Katy M says:

    I love that tea towel!

  92. Ashley says:

    Interested in learning the lazy daisy!

  93. Jonquil says:

    my favorite embroidery stitch is counted cross stitch. It’s been my favorite for 30+ years. It’s a great help especially when my ADD flares…so meditative! I’m excited to try these fibers out! Where may I pick up a selection of your Crossroads fiber & fabric?

  94. Becky G says:

    I would love to learn to embroider. I have only done cross-stitch. Thanks!

  95. Danielle Judd says:

    Thanks for sponsoring the giveaway! I enjoy using stem, buttonhole, and fly stitches and also enjoy learning new stitches. I was very excited when I finally learned how to stitch French knots and have them hold rather than slip through the fabric.

  96. Sandy K says:

    The threads are so pretty. I would love to try them, I haven’t used 12wt thread. I haven’t embroidered in a long time so I could use a refresher.

  97. Sandy A in St. Louis says:

    I love the daisy stitch. It is so fun to see the little flowers come together when several are put together!

  98. Vicki H says:

    I don’t know the names of embroidery stitches, I guess I do a running stitch? I haven’t tried 12wt thread before.

  99. indira says:

    My most favorite stitch is french knot. I am always looking for new ways to get them right.

  100. Rebecca says:

    I love the cute daisy stitch. this thread looks awesome! WOW what a great idea of putting it on a spool.

  101. Lori Morton says:

    I only know a few stitches…the cross-stitch of course…daisy stitch is my fave I think, love making flowers…and think one called back-stitch? too. Haven’t embroidered in awhile..but planning to teach the Grangirlie thru the Summer …so I will be relearning along the way! 🙂

    Thank you for chance to win this Awesome Give-a-way!! 😀

  102. Natalie F says:

    There is so much I need to learn and want to learn. I am a beginner. I would like to learn the Chevron stitch. Thanks for the giveaway.

  103. I don’t do embroidery, but I’d love to try with this beautiful thread.

  104. Allison C says:

    I don’t have much experience stitching, but learning is on my to-do list!

  105. --anu says:

    On of my favorites is fly stitch but the one I keep going back to is actually running stitch with its variations.

  106. Shannon Phillips says:

    My favorite stitch is a split stitch. I love doing french knots too.

  107. Terri says:

    Wow, great info. I knew a few of the basic (chain and crosstitch, but was glad to learn the lazy daisy stitch! So, for now that is my favorite!!! 😀 Thanks for teaching us newbies and I sincerely appreciate your talents. Again, thank you from the bottom of my stitches….

  108. Pam Wagner says:

    I love the lazy daisy with French knots for centers! This sounds like a great series,so excited to learn something new!

  109. Sue says:

    I love the lazy daisy stitch!

  110. Nancy Page says:

    My favorite stitch is the Lazy Daisy Stitch! I have learned to love the French Knot and the Satin Stitch. I do want to learn more.
    Thank you for this great giveaway!
    Have a great day!

  111. christina says:

    The only stitch I know is a cross stitch so I’d love to expand my skills. The spool thread is very exciting too.

  112. Marian Allen says:

    I love all stitches, but love what you can do with a simple running stitch, by doing two parallel rows, and wrapping and crossing between the two, using multiple colors!

  113. Julie says:

    Something wonderful about a lazy daisy stich. Can be used in so many ways!

    Fingers crossed!

  114. Jennie says:

    I really love to embroider with ribbon, but I’d love to learn how to properly do a bullion stitch. Mine don’t look like roses or anything else recognizable.

  115. Susan says:

    I guess my favorite stitch is the cross-stitch. I am looking forward to learning more stitches.

  116. Linda L. says:

    I learned to embroider as a child and haven’t touched it since my teens. I keep seeing embellishments I’d like to add to something I’ve made. I’m looking forward to re-learning all the stitches. I can’t remember having a favourite stitch though.

  117. Emma says:

    I just recently learned the coral stitch. Simple and very nice looking.

  118. carolyn white says:

    I love the french knot-it can really make EYES pop!

  119. Nancy G says:

    I’m excited to learn how to use the lettering on my Husqvarna machine – I want to spell my name! haha!

  120. Kate says:

    I’ve always loved stem stitch!

  121. Sarah J says:

    My goal for this summer is to learn embroidery. There are quite a few projects that have caught my eye and I think I need a project that travels. I am so excited to learn the basics and then go from there!

  122. Emily C says:

    I love Satin Stitch and I love learning new stitches. I have been playing with stumpwork lately, so much fun.

  123. One of my favorite stitches is cross stitch.

  124. STH says:

    I really like good old chain stitch–easy to use, but pretty!

  125. LINDA says:

    LOVE YOUR BLOG! LEARNING DECORATIVE EMBROIDERY>LIKE THE STEM STITCH! THANKS YOU FOR SHARING A SWEET GIVEAWAY!

  126. Hope Mitchner says:

    My favorite embroidery stitch is just the plain old stem stitch.

  127. ParisGrrl says:

    I love the chain stitch; I find it relaxing.

  128. Nancy says:

    I learned to embroider from my mom when I was about 5 or 6, but I learned only the basic stitches – chain stitch and daisy petals (or whatever they’re called) so any stitch other than those will be new to me and I’m interested in learning them.

  129. Daisy says:

    Great giveaway! I would like to master the French knot.

  130. karen in CA USA says:

    I don’t know enough about embroidery to say which stitch I like best. I have used embroidery floss before to do some hand quilting.

  131. Sue says:

    I’m very new to embroidery and have only done very basic stitches, but I’m trying to learn how to add stitches together to make lovely designs.

  132. Jessica C says:

    Seriously, I still can’t seem to fully learn the french knot. I have it down.. and then poof! Its gone.

  133. Alison says:

    I don’t have much embroidery experience, but I liked the French knot as a kid.

  134. Dawn H says:

    Oh boy! I would love to win some of your Crossroad thread and fabric! I am excited to follow along with this Series. I love learning new embroidery stitches and also reviewing stitches I already know. I think Feather stitch is my favorite. Dawn

  135. Janie says:

    Mine is the chain stitch. I am still trying to perfect that. Thank you for the giveaway. I follow Amy from Indygo Junction, they are so inspirational.

  136. Sally says:

    I’ve always love the Lazy Daisy stitch – adds such a sweet touch to flowers. Love the colors – thanks for the chance.

  137. Tonia Jeffery says:

    I enjoy doing cross stitch.

  138. Stephanie says:

    Well I am super new to the whole embroidery thing so a basic French knot would be great or anything really. I just recently started trying it out when I went to a retreat and I do like it. Wonderful giveaway and such great stuff!

  139. Allison says:

    Opps forgot my fav stitch is cross-stitch!

  140. Cinnamom in MN says:

    Oh this thread looks so delicious. I am finally venturing out and trying more threads than DMC stranded cotton, and I have been enjoying it very much. This would be so amazing to win. Thank you for the chance.

    • Cinnamom in MN says:

      Sorry, my favorite stitch is the French knot.

  141. L says:

    I’d like to learn to do a smooth satin stitch

  142. Jennifer You says:

    I’m excited to learn all the stitches – I don’t know much about embroidery.

  143. Allison Church Bird says:

    I remember those books – my grandmother had them in her sewing stash of things! Loved those old embroidery transfers!

  144. Jessie Hansen says:

    I did a 7″ hooped Assassin’s Creed logo once all in French knots. I love them. They are my friends.

  145. Amruta Tengase says:

    Wow nice collection of threads. Would be excited to learn all basic stitches

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