How to Embroider on Knitted or Crocheted Items

  • 01 of 04

    Stitching on Knit or Crochet Wear

    Stitching on Knitwear
    Mollie Johanson

    Have you ever had a great sweater that was just a little plain? Perhaps you've crocheted a simple scarf and you'd like it to be a little fancier? Or maybe you found a cute hat and want to personalize it? 

    While it's possible to work designs into knit and crochet wear as they are created, that's not the only way to add motifs to these kinds of pieces.

    Embroidery is the solution you're looking for!

    In fact, adding embroidery to a finished item can turn it into one of the most...MORE unique things you own or gift! The principle for accomplishing this is the same as any other kind of hand embroidery. There are just a few things to keep in mind as you get started. 

    Note: For the sake of simplicity, in this tutorial the term "knit" is used when referring to the items you can stitch on, but both crocheted and knitted pieces can be embroidered using the same technique.

    Continue to 2 of 4 below.
  • 02 of 04

    Choosing Supplies

    Supplies for Knitwear Embroidery
    Mollie Johanson

    To start, you will need a knitted or crocheted item. It can be handmade or pre-made, but choose something that has a tighter or more solid knit. A more open knit can be difficult to embroider.

    The hat shown here has a fine knit, as well as a jersey knit lining.

    Any type of embroidery thread can work for this, but choosing one with a weight and fiber content similar to what you are stitching on is helpful, especially if the item will need to be washed.

    For chunkier knits try using yarn for your...MORE stitching. Crewel wool would also work well on a fine knit. 

    Continue to 3 of 4 below.
  • 03 of 04

    Adding Embroidery

    Embroidering on a Knit Hat
    Mollie Johanson

    When choosing a pattern to work with, start with something simple. As you feel more comfortable, select something with more details, or add them yourself. The "M" pattern in the example is from the free monogram pattern set

    One of the biggest challenges in working on a knit item is transferring the pattern. The tracing paper or water-soluble stabilizer methods are best for this. 

    If at all possible, work without a hoop. Placing the item in a hoop can stretch the knitted material and...MORE misshape it. 

    Stitch through the material and the knit wear as you would with any other embroidery, but avoid pulling the stitches too tight. Most items like this need to have a bit of stretch, and making the stitches tight would prevent that. 

    Continue to 4 of 4 below.
  • 04 of 04

    Finishing the Embroidery

    Embroidered Knit Hat
    Mollie Johanson

    After you've finished stitching, tear away the tissue paper or soak away the stabilizer. If soaking, gently squeeze out the excess water with a towel, then lay the knit wear flat to dry. 

    A simple monogram can be completed in an evening, which means you'll have a special item in hardly any time at all. And you won't even need to learn how to knit or crochet!

    Before long you'll be looking for more knit and crochet pieces to add your embroidered mark. And after you've exhausted...MORE your closet, check thrift stores for great finds. 

    You can also work without a pattern, and freehand embellish your work. Artist Dottie Angel creates beautiful work this way, which she refers to as "Wooly Tattoos." You can also refer to the bold and beautiful florals tutorial for ideas and guidance.

    Who would have thought that knitting or crocheting and embroidery could go so well together?