Today I had the bright idea that I would do a little bit of embroidery, then write a blog post. So I spent about two hours hand-sewing this frigging 6-inch section of muslin with drawn thread hemstitching. I used a regular old sewing needle and waxed sewing thread, which I can't recommend enough for hand-sewing.
Most craft stores sell little blocks of wax in a plastic container. You pull the thread through the wax, grab a piece of scrap fabric, sandwich the thread in between two layers of the fabric, and run the iron over the whole length of thread - I usually press four or five inches on one end of the thread, then set the iron down on top of my thread sandwich and pull the rest of the thread through. This sets the wax and keeps the thread from twisting around so much.
Anyhow, the first hour and a half of sewing this? Totally fun. You essentially pull some weft threads and bind the two edges that it creates, bundling the bare warp threads as you go. It was pretty cool to watch the whole thing go from holey to pretty and lined in tiny, tiny stitches.
The last half hour, however, sucked. My hands started cramping up and I practically started going crosseyed. Luckily, now that I've done this, any embroidery that I do on this swatch next is guaranteed to be painless! Probably. Hopefully. Please.