This is the beginning of a series of designs in various stitch styles. They will all use the basic 4X4 inch design and adapt it for the different styles of embroidery.
Crewel is one of my favorite embroidery styles. There is just something about the softness of the wool and the variety of stitch texture that makes me smile as I’m stitching. It doesn’t hurt that once you get familiar with the stitches, crewel wool covers the ground fabric quite quickly and is therefore very quick to work, relatively speaking. (I am VERY slow when it comes to counted work, so it is a pleasant change to embroidery something I can finish easily.)
- Linen or cotton twill or cotton canvas (NOT needlepoint canvas).
- 6 inch embroidery hoop or 8 inch Q-Snaps — something to stabilize your work.
- Paternayan tapestry wool in the following colors — your choice of shades:
- gold or mustard
- Chenille needle, size 20
Note: Since this is such a small design, work everything with one strand of wool unless otherwise noted. Links are to Sharon Boggin’s online stitch dictionary, which has the best instructions for stitches that I’ve ever found on the web.
Click on any of the images for a larger view.
Transfer Design to center of fabric. Use your favorite transfer method. I used a heat transfer pencil, which reversed the design, something I wasn’t worried about. Note, though, that these work better on fabric that has a bit of polyester in them… Since mine was 100% cotton, it took a lot longer to transfer, and wasn’t completely clear.
- Center design in hoop.
- Begin stitching the stem of the flower at the end furthest from the flower. Work in Reverse chain stitch with green wool. If you prefer, start at the flower end and use chain stitch. I prefer reverse chain stitch in this type of design area because it’s easier for me to judge how large the stitches are and make them even.
- Whip the chain stitch from the flower back to the stem.
- Work the tendril in outline stitch or stem stitch with of green.
- Work the large petals in laid filling work in red. Work outline stitch around the outside area (that isn’t part of the small petals).
- Work the smaller petals in satin stitch, radiating from the sepals out to the point in blue.
- Fill the flower center with French knots worked with two strands of gold. I used one wrap on the knots, rather than the two I usually use. You could probably get the same effect with one strand and two wraps.
- With green, outline the top leaf with buttonhole stitch. Because of the curved edges, the lines will bend toward each other on the inside of the leaf.
- Again with green, outline the bottom leaf with four rows of outline (crewel) stitch.
Laid filling stitch - lay long stitches in a grid across the petal and then “tie” them down where they cross with a small diagonal stitch. The direction you lay the grid and how uniform you make it is up to you, and can help define the character of the embroidery.
All done! And ready for a frame, to be made into a pillow, or used as part of a quilt block. I’m considering using all the different samples of this series each as the center of its own crazy quilt block… a sampler of sorts. Hopefully similar colors and the design will unify them. We’ll see.