early as 2002 I was hearing rumors about people
stitching on screen. "Impossible," I thought.
"And what in the world do you do with it?"
Then I started seeing some fantastic and
creative projects from embroiderers, such as
Geri's screen door with hummingbirds,
Judie's Kanji-themed bag (below), and
Rose's decorative fireplace screen. Sure
enough -- they made a believer out of me.
of screen or mesh to embroider on is
called "pet screen." Pet screen was
originally developed to guard
against holes made in regular screen
by little four-legged pals (such as
Deb's monstrous kitties, Rocco and
Trixie). Now pet screen is an
embroiderer's dream, giving way to
scads of fantastic ideas and
Pet screen is a fiberglass/
polyester mesh that's coated with
vinyl. The vinyl addition makes it
seven times stronger than regular
fiberglass screen. It's pliable,
dent-proof, and is tear-resistant.
Kanji-themed screen tote bag
by Judie Sparling of Canada.
As with everything, pet screen is easy to find
once you know where to look. Hardware stores and
home improvement stores carry the screen in
basic black. When I went to Home Depot I asked
two employees where to find the pet screen. I
got two blank stares in reply, and emphatic
insistence that they didn't carry such a thing.
But I had a hunch, and headed over to the
regular metal screen section in the store. And
of course, that's where the pet screen was
Along with pet screen available in hardware and
home improvement stores, some quilt and fabric
stores carry the screen in a rainbow of colors.
And, a search for "Pet Screen" at Google gives a
variety of results.
those results by clicking here.
You might think that because pet
screen has open areas (the holes),
light designs are best to stitch.
However, I've found that the
opposite is true. Designs that are
medium to high in complexity show up
best on screen. Light designs, such
as Redwork or toile, get a little
lost in the mesh.
Judie Sparling, embroiderer
extraordinaire from Canada, made
this beautiful grape-themed tote
grape bunch design and
coordinating fabric. The
grape design is one that I'd
consider to be high in complexity,
as there is significant shading and
detail. It looks "wine"derful on the
use a medium-to-heavy weight water-soluble
stabilizer on the back of the screen. Some use
tear-away stabilizer. I used Sulky Ultra Solvy (that's a heavy
weight), and it worked great.
Some embroiderers use a water-soluble stabilizer
on the top of the screen, too. However, I didn't
find that was necessary. As water-soluble
stabilizer can be a bit pricey, I like to
economize when I can. But, as always, if a
different technique works for you, then by all
means use it!
I used a 75/11 sharp sewing needle. I'd
recommend using a needle with a fine point, and
stay away from needles that have rounded points
(such as ballpoint or stretch needles). Remember
when I mentioned how pet screen resists tears
from paws and claws? Yep, you'll need a sharp,
fine-point needle to make a stitch in the mesh.
Below are the
basic steps for embroidering on screen: