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!

Friday Freebie Pattern for April… Hand Embroidered Daisies…

Welcome to April’s Friday Freebie Pattern. Following on with the chosen theme of Birth Flowers, April’s pattern is of 2 beautiful daisies.

The Birth Flower for April is both Sweetpeas and Daisies. I decided to go with Daisies as they make beautiful and versatile designs for hand embroidery… Hope you enjoy!

Daisies symbolise innocence, love and loyalty so a great choice as a gift for a loved one…  First Download the template…

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

For the Daisy petals choose 2 contrasting colours – one for the main colour and the second for adding some contrast over the top. I chose a pink/purple combination. I used DMC stranded threads – 2 strands for all the stitching.

Satin stitch each of the petals, working your way around the whole flower.

When all the petals are satin stitched in the main colour, take 2 strands of your chosen contrasting colour and stitch long vertical straight stitches around the flower – 2 on each petal and sometimes in between the petals where there is a gap.

Using a third colour, straight stitch around the centre of the flower (as in the photo). This will just add a little bit more interest to the flower as a whole.

Finally stitch some french knots to fill the centre gap to complete the flower.

For the stems, choose a green of your choice and Stem stitch down the main stem and then satin stitch the leaves.

For the second daisy, I used the same colours but just switched them around for a different effect.

So there you have it, these daisies would look wonderful as brooches, on cards, or as a simple wall hanging.

Tag me in on your makes to let me see how you choose to use your daisies.

Happy Stitching!

How to Mount Hand Embroidery on Canvas Board

My latest design has thrown me a whole host of different challenges, not only in the way I stitch the piece but also in the way it is displayed.

Traditionally, the easiest way to display hand embroidery is in a hoop – it’s quick, simple and inexpensive so why would you choose anything else! I suppose the reason I wanted to move away from this is because you can be restricted in the design and size with a hoop, whereas mounting on a board has no limitations either in size or shape which I find opens up a whole host of new possibilities.

My newest design is an 8 inch square and my intention from the very start was to get this mounted on to a canvas board to show off the piece to its full effect.

I will take you through the steps for mounting this 8 inch square embroidery design on to canvas board but these principles can be applied to whatever you choose to frame in this way.

The first step is to remove your work from the frame you stitched it in and then iron it on the reverse ready for mounting on to the Canvas Board.

Flat Canvas board is ideal for embroidery as it is sturdy and pre prepared. You can get it in many sizes from most craft stores as well as online. Make sure you choose a good quality one.

Tip: I like to use a second calico fabric as a stabilser on my embroidery as I stitch which means when I come to mount it on the board I already have 2 layers of fabric as a base. If you don’t use a stabiliser, you may want to attach a layer of Calico to the Canvas Board before you attach the actual embroidery for a better and smoother result.

Choosing the size of the Board: How do you know what size to choose? This basically depends on the embroidery and if you want it to have space around its edge or not. With my 8 inch square design I wanted a 1 inch border around it so chose a 10 inch square canvas board. You don’t have to have any border and can choose one that is the same size as your finished piece.

As you can see, the 10 inch markers show what the design will look like with a 1 inch border around its edges when it is on the 10 inch square canvas board.

Mark the corners of where the canvas board will be with pins on the front of the fabric (see black arrows above).

Next, turn your fabric over to the reverse side and place your canvas board over the design, matching up the corners to the pins you just placed. With a pencil mark each corner of the the canvas board so you know where it needs to go. (black arrows below).

Next mark a 1.5 inch border from the edges of the canvas board ( this is the fabric you will fold to the back). Cut around this border to remove any excess fabric.

Once you have the corners marked as well as an additional 1.5 inch fabric allowance out from these – place your Canvas Board face down over the back of the design (matching up the corners with the corner marks!) ready to mount.

The following photos show a much smaller board being wrapped just for the purpose of showing you the process more easily.

Step 1… Pull the fabric allowance over to the back on one side and starting from the centre place a pin in to the edge to secure it in place. Keep pulling the fabric over and pinning the rest of that side from the centre out to the edge as in the above photos.

With your first side pinned, you need to repeat this on the opposite side – this time making sure you pull it across and wrap the fabric around to the back nice and tight to keep it smooth on the front.

As you can see from the front, the fabric is nice and tight over the board. Next you need to do the other 2 sides in the same way. Keeping tension as you go.

Here is the Garden Glory Design pinned on all 4 sides and a nice tension achieved so the design is smooth throughout. It is nicely centred on the board.

If you are not happy with anything at this point it is best to sort it out now by readjusting, or making it tighter as you won’t be able to do this after this point.

The next step is to fold the corners over at the back neatly and stitch to hold them in place.

Using the following photos as a guide, firstly bring the point of the fabric over the corner of the board squarely.

Keeping the fabric tucked in to the edge, Fold one side up – make sure you keep the corner nice and neat by keeping the fold of the fabric tucked under in the right place.

Lastly, do the same with the other side, folding it up whilst keeping it tucked under.

Don’t be disheartened with this step as it can take a few attempts to get it right by fiddling and re doing (it’s not as easy as it looks!). Many people say to pin this in place at this point but I found it didn’t keep the corner nice and crisp so opted to stitch the 2 sides together which also helped to pull the corner tighter in the process.

Here’s a close up of the corner stitched to secure the 2 sides in place. It isn’t pretty but I kept checking it looked perfect from the front (which is the main thing!). Plus I can hide the back which you will see in a bit!

Now you need to use some STRONG thread (!) for the next part. ( I used a size 8 perle thread and doubled it to give it the strength I needed to stop it from breaking. ) You are basically going to pull the 2 opposite sides together nice and tight with the thread.

To secure the top and bottom sides to one another, bring your thread up in the centre at ‘1’ approx. half an inch from the fabric edge and secure with a knot. Take the thread directly down to the bottom edge fabric and come up at ‘2’ (half inch in from edge).

You will need a really long piece of thread to continue along – going up at ‘3’ then down and through at ‘4’, back up at ‘5’, back down at ‘6’ etc etc. Finish at the bottom edge to secure. You need to maintain a nice tight and even tension from number ‘1’ all the way to the point at which it will be secured so that the embroidery continues to stay tight on the front.

When you have done the first half of vertical stitches, return to the centre and do the other half in the same way and secure. Providing it is all nice and secure and you are happy with the tension you can remove the pins on the top and bottom edges.

Now you just need to do the exact same process to pull each of the remaining 2 sides together. Once it is all secure, remove the pins and your embroidery is now mounted.

As you do all of the steps above, keep checking back to the front to make sure it is looking as you want it to. The tighter it is the smoother it will look.

As a final step to cover the back, cut a piece of felt half an inch smaller than the finished size. (Mine was 9.5 inches.)

Whip stitch this in place around the outer edge to complete your work.

Attach a picture hook for hanging.

So there you have an easy and simple way to give your embroidery a contemporary edge. There is no right and wrong way of doing this so long as you achieve the result you are after.

If you would like to purchase the Garden Glory Pattern which is featured in this post you can get it here

If you have any questions you can email me or post a comment. Thanks for reading!

Doodle Cloth Tuesday – Pearl Stitch

This week I decided to try a line stitch that I haven’t done before and came across the Knotted Pearl Stitch. This turned out to be a really nice stitch once you get in to a rythym and I can definately say I will use it in future designs.

Draw a line and come up on the edge. (1) Take a stitch along and slightly above the line and take your needle down (2). Next come up directly below where you came out at ‘2’, this time on the other side of the line a little distance from it (3).

Form the knot by slipping the needle through the stitch you made (4) and keeping the thread taut (as in the photos), releasing it gradually as you pull the thread through the stitch to form the knot. The rest of the stitches are made in the same way along the line forming knots as you go.

Playing around with different thickness of thread as well as varying the distance between the knots means this is quite a versatile stitch. The orange Pearl stitch was worked with 3 strands of DMC thread. The Green is 2 strands of perle thread no. 12, and then the yellow is a thick pearl cotton.

The Knotted Pearl Stitch would make a fabulous decorative edging on lots of different designs.

Doodle Cloth Tuesday – Woven Picot

Woven Picot are traditionally used in Lace work and I have shied away from this one in my work – no idea why! Let’s give it a go..

There are several different types of woven picot so let’s start with a version that is stitched to the cloth rather than detached as you very often see.

Stitch a triangle as above. Start at A and go down at B, Come back at C and go back in at D. Then stitch a central line up the middle coming out at E and back in at F.

Woven Picot Stitch

After you have pulled your thread though at F, come back out where the arrow indicates and then start weaving your thread in and out, completing each row in this way to fill the Picot.

Once you have weaved all the way to the bottom, take the thread through to the back in the centre and secure at the back.

Now you are able to do a simple Woven Picot, experiment with different threads to see the difference it makes.

You can also try a detached Woven Picot Stitch…

Use a Pin to act as an anchor for your weaving. Pop the pin in your fabric and then come up at A and take the thread around the pin and then back in the fabric at B. Come back up at C, and again take the thread around the back of the pin – this time do not take the thread to the back, instead you are going to start weaving it back and too as you did before to fill in the shape.

Once you have filled in, take the thread to the back of the work and secure off.

Remove the pin and you have a lovely detached Woven Picot!

I did a few of these over my doodle cloth to try and perfect them and they got better each time! If you google woven Picot there are some gorgeous flowers you can create with this stitch, definately one to use for something special.

There are lots of stitch ‘doodles’ on the cloth now, can’t wait to have a look through my books and pick another one for next week!