Sugar Skull Embroidery

I’m officially finished with all my swaps, and I’m taking a break! Sent off and received for the Dia De Los Muertos swap last week, expect pictures of all that goodness to come- in the meantime have a teaser:
random free-hand sugar skull embroidery, that was becoming an applique at this stage. 
I think he’s kinda cute. 
I’m noticing a pattern in my embroidery however, and that is a lack of a pattern or template of any kind. It’s laziness really. To find a pattern I like, and then to transfer it onto the fabric, and then stitch it, all the while freaking out every time a teeny smudge of the transfer disappears. It’s too many extra steps. I know my pieces would improve though if I used a pattern. 
What are your preferred transfer methods for embroidery? Or, are you like me and just go for it and hope it turns out ok? So far I’ve tried tracing a design over transfer paper (so messy! blue smudges everywhere!) and sketching a free-hand design with a fabric pen. Haven’t yet explored the world of iron-on patterns, but I’ll probably explore that next. 
Life has been so busy lately, I’m not allowing myself to sign up for any more swaps until July, or until the next Hoopla swap- whichever comes first. In the meantime, I may have to be selfish and make a few things for myself. We’ll see. ;) 
Go and make things- W

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