I’m quite a beginner in gardening and have never grown foxgloves. All I know about them is that they are incredibly tall and bumblebees love them. So when I started stitching my next flower from ‘Garden Party’ design I thought it wouldn’t be my favourite one. I’m also usually sceptical about scaling down large plants for miniature silk ribbon embroidery, as, let’s be honest, it is very hard to make tiny piece that still got enough detail to look life-like. After all, two already finished flowers — forget-me-not and wisteria — are quite rich in detail, the foxglove should match them to feel in place. With these thoughts and somewhat skeptical attitude I made the first bright pink foxglove (or it might be a hollyhock) and immediately fell in love with it as soon as it was finished. There are so much details in this small embroidery. You don’t notice them when you see the whole picture, but you do recognise them whilst stitching. And the flowers are so bright and crisp in colour — everything that I love.
It’s common to stitch foxglove flowers with ribbon stitches, that’s why I reckon it might be a mistake in a magazine where I got the pattern from and it’s a hollyhock as a matter of fact. Anyway, I like Helen Ericsson’s choice to go for the gathered flowers. They might look not as an identical copy of real foxgloves, but the stylisation is absolutely charming, and the flowers are strikingly recognisable. They remind me of a cottage garden.
I’m still very enthusiastic about completing Garden Party design by talented Helen Eriksson and here is one more plant finished — a wisteria. It’s the second flower out of nine, the first one is forget-me-not that I’ve shared earlier. The whole panel is worked in silk ribbon embroidery technique, and what I love about it most is that finishing each flower takes no time at all and all of them look very realistic indeed (at least on photos in a magazine with stitching instructions). I wasn’t sure when I just started stitching the wisteria that my embroidered version would look real-like, but as soon as finished it, I totally fell in love with it and there’s no doubt in me that it’s highly recognisable.
Wisteria Branch – Silk Ribbon Embroidery
At first I thought that suggested silk ribbon would be too pale for the design, but surprisingly its subtle variations worked well here, so I didn’t consider any other options at all. I used the darkest ribbon sections for upper parts of the bunches and the rest for lower parts as were recommended in the magazine.
I’m totally in love with my new textile postcard. It’s stitched on one of those fabric backgrounds I stock. I’m still not sure if it’s a cherry or an apple blossom. First I thought it’s an apple, but pink stamens made me a bit suspicious and now it looks more like a cherry for me. Anyway, flowers of both species are similar in shape and it’s the same way to go about stitching them. I used my favourite silk ribbon embroidery technique to brighten up the print.
Every now and then I am asked whether there are any plans to stock printed panels for silk ribbon embroidery, so I have been considering it for some time. The problem is that it’s not an easy job to make a quality print to serve as a backdrop for embroidery. After all, if it was easy, there would have been plenty of them on the market!
However, I’m delighted to report that after a number of false starts and dead ends I managed to tackle numerous obstacles, so now I think I have an answer. Please welcome — crisp in colour and fine in detail — a series of vintage fabric postcards!
Most of us make New Year resolutions, and I’m not an exception. Every year I promise myself that I won’t start any new stitching project until I finish numerous ones I started before. Frankly there’s quite a few unfinished pieces in my so called ‘Project Box’. Every year I break my own promise and start a new piece that later on ends up in the ‘Project Box’! It definitely isn’t working this way and so this year I’ve made a resolution not to start anything big and focus on the contents of the box. I’m making progress actually. For example, I finished one goldwork embroidery that had spent two years in the box waiting, and there’s a couple of embroideries I’m currently working on. This branch of forget-me-not flowers is one of those pieces.
I stitched this piece just before Easter, but couldn’t find time for sharing it. We moved house, at the end of March, then it was Easter break, then it was never-ending struggle with boxes all over the place, and finally yesterday I finished unpacking my studio stuff and put all the things on their places, so I can comfortably do my job again. The rest of the house is still a real mess though, but at least one room here — my studio — looks nice and tidy. To celebrate the fact I’ve arranged some photo shooting today whilst it’s still spring here and my seasonal embroidery hasn’t got completely outdated. If you follow me on Instagram, you might have seen it already there. I managed to post a photo of the unfinished embroidery just before moving.
This is a postcard I made. I love simple ways of finishing embroidery pieces, and I’ve got an idea of making a collection of silk ribbon embroidery postcards. They would look lovely pinned to a wall in my studio, and it does take little time to complete such a small embroidery. In fact it took me about two evenings to finish it including time I spent making the design and choosing materials!
Britain is in daffodil bloom and even in my shady garden the flowers have opened. I have not met a person who doesn’t love daffodils. They are pure sun and its so much joy to walk past yellow flower carpets. Daffodils are truly messengers of spring, and when I see their strong stems and leaves that show over ground, I know Spring is almost here, and the most beautiful season of bloom is ready to come.
Here is a tutorial on how to easily embroider beautiful daffodils with silk ribbons. The tute is well suitable for those who have not tried silk ribbon embroidery before, and want to give it a go.
To stitch the daffodils, you’ll need:
- Two pieces of cotton fabric plain or patterned. I used Moda fabric bought in a quilt shop.
- 4mm wide Yellow Sun and Light Emerald hand-dyed silk ribbon, one three meter-long skein of each
- 2mm wide Gold Yellow silk ribbon, one three meter-long skein
- Chenille (size 18) needle to stitch with ribbon
- Embroidery hoop
- HB pencil to transfer a pattern onto fabric
Thinking of February it’s hard not to think about Valentine day and hearts. I don’t think I’ve ever seen a Valentine card embroidered with silk ribbons, and I thought it would be an interesting challenge to design one. I love such sort of challenges when there’s a need to create something for a specific occasion using specific techniques and materials. It gives my brain an exercise as it’s not an easy task to make a nice design that doesn’t take lots of materials, time, and effort when someone makes one trying to follow a tutorial afterwards. So… I hope you like it and if you haven’t yet tried stitching on a piece of card, this is a perfect opportunity to give it a go 🙂
To make a card like this, you’ll need:
- A4 sheet of photo paper. Choose one that is thick enough to make a card (260gsm will be good) with satin finish. I bought mine from Ryman. Make sure you get photo paper, not just card, as colours will look dull on normal card;
- 4mm wide Citrus, 7mm wide Deep Carmine, and 2mm wide Hydrangea hand-dyed silk ribbons;
- sewing or embroidery floss in red;
- embroidery needle to stitch with floss and a chenille (size 18) needle to stitch with ribbon;
- scissors or a roller cutter with a ruler;
- single sided and double sided adhesive tape.
I played with 2mm silk ribbon today and stitched a lovely tiny bunch of snowdrops! The tallest flower is just 4 cm high. It turns out that smaller bunch is even easier and quicker to embroider that ones I stitched with 7mm and 4mm silk ribbons a week before (I posted a tutorial earlier if you missed it).
Silk Ribbon Tutorial – Tiny Snowdrops
This time I got lazy and didn’t transfer the patten onto fabric, so I didn’t follow the steps of my own tutorial strictly and went the other way round. The flowers were stitched at first, not stems and leaves as it is said in the tutorial. It’s quite easy to start with flower heads when there isn’t any layout on fabric. I worked flowers as described in the tutorial, but used 4mm white silk ribbon instead of 7mm one. For some snowdrops I stitched three petals, for others just two. Then I worked calyxes on top of each flower with 2mm wide Pastel Green silk ribbon and a straight stitch again as it’s suggested in the tutorial.
Snowdrops are one of the most lovely woodland flowers. They’re beautiful spreading in white endless carpets making our walks in woods so much more enjoyable. I love how rich green shades of their leaves bring forward white delicacy of flowers. It’s amazing colour combination that is easy to replicate in silk ribbon embroidery. There’s only one stitch needed to create real-looking flowers. It’s a straight stitch with 7mm (1/4 inch) wide silk ribbon for petals and 4mm (1/8 inch) wide one for leaves. Follow this easy tutorial to embroider a bunch of those beautiful flowers.
To stitch flowers like these, you’ll need:
- Two pieces of cotton fabric. You might like to paint a background on one of them with watercolour paints like I did.
- Six-strand embroidery floss in green
- 4mm wide Dark Spring Green and Avocado Green hand-dyed silk ribbon, one three meter-long skein of each
- 7mm wide White silk ribbon, one three meter-long skein
- Embroidery needle to stitch with floss and a chenille (size 18) needle to stitch with ribbon
- Embroidery hoop
- HB pencil to transfer a pattern onto fabric