Friday Freebie Pattern for May… Hand Embroidered Lily of the Valley…

Welcome to May’s Friday Freebie Pattern. Following on with the chosen theme of Birth Flowers, the pattern for May is Lily of the Valley.

Lily of the Valley symbolises happiness, humility and sweetness …

Once you have the template downloaded (from the link above) – transfer the pattern on to your fabric ready to stitch.

I used Robert Kauffman Essex Linen in Sand.

Choose your colours. I used DMC stranded threads – 2 strands for all the stitches in the following colours …

For the 3 large leaves, I used 1 strand of #699 plus 1 strand of #3345 to give a variegated look to the leaf. Thread up your needle with the 2 different colours (1 strand of each).

I Stitched the leaves with Brick Stitch. Starting in the centre of the first leaf – Brick stitch a line all the way up from the bottom to the top of the leaf so you have a good starting point. Then continue to fill in the leaf with brick stitch working from your centre line outwards on each side.

Before you stitch the middle leaf, using #704, stem stitch the stems for the flowers otherwise your brick stitch will cover them up.

The best order for stitching the individual parts where they overlap each other is Main Leaf, then green stems, then white flowers.

Here’s a nice close up for you with stitch and colour guide for each part of the flower…

Lily of the Valley Free Pattern by StitchDoodles

Finally, I decided to Back stitch a line in black where the leaves meet so they could be distinguished from one another ( if preferred, leave this step out.)

So there you have it, frame as desired, sit back and admire!

Show me how you get on if you decide to stitch some of these flowers for yourself.

Stitch Tuesday – Turkey Rug Stitch

I have not done a stitch tutorial for a while and my latest pattern called for a ‘fluffy’ stitch for a squirrels tail so I decided to see if the Turkey Rug stitch would do the job!

Turkey Rug Stitch is basically a series of loops worked within a shape that can then be cut to form a pile (hence the ‘rug’ reference as it can be used for making rugs).

Here’s a run down of how the stitch is worked… I did a couple of practice shapes on my doodle cloth…

Firstly, draw a shape you want to fill with the loops and use at least 3 strands of thread for stitching. Bring the thread down on the left corner of your shape and don’t pull it all the way through – leave about 1/2 inch of thread sticking out of the left corner on the right side of the shape.

Bring the needle up at ‘1’ just to the right of the thread tail and then take it down at ‘2’ just above the thread tail. Pull it all the way through and this creates a small holding stitch (3).

Bring the needle up at ‘4’ just below the holding stitch and next to the thread tail. Take the needle down to the right at ‘5’ creating a loop (similar in height to the thread tail).

Next, you are going to make a small holding stitch over the right side of the loop which catches the thread and stops it from pulling through so the loop is secure. Come up at ‘6’ – directly to the right of the loop – and then take the needle down in between the loop trapping the base of the loop when you pull the thread all the way through and creating a small stitch.

Create a second loop next to the first in exactly the same way as before and secure with a holding stitch.

Continue along the edge of the shape to the right and finish at the end with a holding stitch.

Create the second row directly above the first working in the opposite direction so you will be taking your stitches to the left each time and bringing the holding stitch over the left side of the loop in to the centre to secure.

Continue working rows of loops to fill the whole shape going in alternate directions. At the end of the last row bring the needle up under the last holding stitch and snip off.

The next step, using sharp embroidery scissors, is to cut through the top of the loops so that you have a nice spiky looking shape!

Trim to your desired length and neaten around the edges so the shape is clearly defined.

This was a really fun stitch and I did a couple of examples so I could get the hang of it.

As I said at the start of this post, my reason for trying this out was for a little squirrel who appears in my latest pattern. I stitched him up and used the stitch for the tail and as you can see it was perfect for the fluffy effect!

I can think of so many fun ways to use this stitch so give it a go and you will be wanting to create some fluffy creatures of your own!

How to start an embroidery project for the best results (the necessary bits before the stitching!) …

So, you have fallen in love with a new pattern and can’t wait to get stitching – taking a bit of time with the prep can make all the difference to how enjoyable it is to stitch as well as the finished result.

First things First – choose your fabric…

Tip… For beginners and those wanting an easier transfer journey consider choosing a light fabric.

Fabric Size… Depending on the frame or hoop you are going to use to stitch the design in as well as the way you intend to frame it at the end will determine how much extra fabric you need around the design. Usually 3 inches extra fabric around the whole design is enough – too much and it gets in the way as you stitch, too little and it doesn’t hold tight in the frame or you have to keep moving the frame around the design both of which spoil the embroidery.

In the above photos, I chose a bar frame to stitch the pattern in, firstly making sure the frame fits around the pattern with plenty of space around the pattern edge. I then placed the frame on the fabric and cut the fabric at least 2-3 inches bigger than the frame.

Finish off the edges with pinking shears to prevent as much fraying as possible as you stitch. It is so annoying have frayed edges catching in your stitches and puckering the edges of your project.

Now on to transferring the pattern to the fabric…

How you choose to transfer can depend on a variety of factors. With more detailed designs, I actually prefer to trace them as it gives a much nicer end result and it actually isn’t as difficult or time consuming as you may think.

A good light box is so much easier than a window!

Print out your pattern at 100% and tape this pattern to the light box to prevent slipping.

Light box illuminating the pattern through the fabric for tracing

Place your fabric over the pattern centrally and secure with tape to the back of the light box to help stop it moving. Carefully trace your design using your preferred pen – I love Frixion pens as they write on smoothly, show up well on the fabric and once all the stitching is done are erasable by heat so a quick iron will rid any marks left showing.

Resulting pattern completely traced and ready to stitch.

Finally, make sure it is nice and taut for stitching…

Whether you use a hoop or a frame to stitch in the key is to make it taut! I can’t emphasise this enough. Your stitches look better, the end result looks more professional and most importantly it is so much more enjoyable stitching a pattern when it is properly stretched as it just makes it easier from start to finish.

If you want to find out how to use a stretcher bar frame like the one above, you can read my blog post here

Take that bit of extra time to set the project off on the right track and you will love how much better it makes your piece look in the end.

New Pattern in Progress stitching some lovely wildlife, foliage and flowers.

If you love wildlife, flowers and colour then this pattern will hopefully appeal to you!

I am loving every minute designing this pattern and have tryed to get in a lot of different elements to add interest. There are birds, dragonfly’s, snails and hedgehogs as well as a resident badger, bunny and squirrell!

Nestled in between the little critters are plenty of wildflowers and mushrooms as well as leaves and acorns. There is a nice variety of stitches so it will hopefully appeal to lots of happy stitchers out there.

Not sure when this will be ready but I will let you know as soon as it is!

How to create a truly unique colour palette with a skein of yarn for hand embroidering.

I have done quite a bit of knitting in the past and the one thing I miss with hand embroidery is a gorgeous skein of beautifully crafted yarn!

There is loads of choice with embroidery thread as far as colour and type but it can be tricky sometimes picking the right colours to go with one another. I used this as my excuse for purchasing this wonderful skein recently!

The colours were just too hard to resist in this Filigran lace weight yarn

It is a 100% superwash merino wool and the 100g skein has a massive 600 metres to play with!

The question was – what to do with it – adding to my stash and just admiring it now and again was an option but I really wanted to stitch something in the amazing colours! I found a design I had done a while ago and figured this would be perfect for this type of colour explosion…

I soon realised that I couldn’t just start stitching – in order to make the most of all of the colours in the skein they needed to be split off so I could pick and choose and have them dotted all over the lovely flowers.

So, a bit of hand winding is required if you choose to use a skein like this but it is definately worth it for the rewards at the end. All you need to do is start winding the first colour off from the skein in to a ball and finish when the colour does. Do this for all of the different colours in the yarn and you have a whole set of colours that go together perfectly.

The beauty with the Filigran yarn was that the colours were non repeating so you got a whole ball of that colour off in one go and there was still a variation in that particular colour which will look like a variagated thread when stitched.

I chose the lace weight yarn as it is 2ply and therefore still quite a thin thread for hand stitching as I didn’t want it to look too heavy on the design.

Once all your colours are ready to go you can get stitching. This yarn proved to be really nice to stitch with. It had a good amount of strength to it so the thread did not break up or become too weak too soon as you stitched.

Here’s how the pattern looked when finished – absolutely stunning colours…

This will be available as a PDF pattern very soon and I can definately say I will be using this yarn again and already have my eye on a few more types to try out!