Lotus Flower

For my latest embroidery project I ventured a bit into unknown territory. I have been contemplating stitching a lotus flower for some time now. Lots of ideas, but no progress at all. I then came across a lovely design for a lotus flower from Pauline Texidor, a French embroiderer. It is not a full kit, but you can download the design, with instructions. You still have to find your own fabric and threads etc. Here is my completed attempt.

img_0851-1

The fabric is I think a medium linen, something that was hidden in my stash. Easy to work with and a nice neutral colour to show off the colours. The instructions are very helpful and fairly easy to follow. They are detailed for some of the sections, thereafter you have to work it out based on what went before.

I pretty much followed the suggestions with the design, using the recommended colour scheme. Though of course you could work with any colour combination you wanted.

DMC stranded cotton was used throughout. Only one strand at a time. This I found quite challenging for the silk shading sections – most of it in other words. Four colours make up the design. The stem and leaves are in shades of acquamarine and seagreen. The veins of the leaves are stitched with a grey green shade.

The bud is stitched in shades of blue and lavender, with a touch of violet. The same colours were used for the petals with the addition of shades of plum, with a touch of cranberry.

The stems were appropriately stitched with stem stitch – five adjacent rows. Stem stitch was also used for the veins of the leaves.

The rest of the work was stitched in silk shading or long and short stitch. Most of the time I managed this reasonably well. But on a few too many occasions I found this very difficult to maintain the curves that are demanded for the design.

The other challenge was to get the right balance of shades from dark to light. This has worked mostly quite well with the leaves and some of the petals. Not so sure about all of the petals though. In particular I feel the two lower and large blue petals show a bit too much of the light blues. May have to go over these two again. At the moment I am just going to leave it as it is for a while.

I find this type of surface embroidery very slow work. Very challenging and very enjoyable. This particular piece has so far taken up 39 hours of stitching.

If you are interested in more of Pauline Texidor’s designs you can visit her instagram account here. I came across her work via le temps de broder, a Swiss embroidery site, full of fascinating articles and links. Both are well worth visiting.

Robin

I have recently completed another little robin. The first was very small, designed to illustrate a Christmas card. The recipient, a cousin of mine in New York liked the robin, and mentioned that she had a friend who was very fond of robins. So I offered to embroider one for her friend.  Here it is.IMG_0387The fabric is an Essex linen in ivory. Though called a linen it is 55% linen and 45% cotton. Still a lovely fabric to embroider with.  Most of the stitching was done with two strands of cotton thread. Silk shading or long and short stitch was used for almost all of the body of the robin. The eyes, beak and legs are the exception. The branch at the bottom is stitched in heavy chain stitch with one strand of Appleton wool in dark brown.

As this piece was for someone, I decided, (better late than never!) to check up on the colouring of robins. So I looked up the Royal Society for the Protection of Birds site for guidance. Not a great deal of surprises, though I did discover that grey featured quite prominently on the upper body. Neither did I expect to see bits of yellow on the lower feathers.  Nor that the legs were a pinky brown colour!

The red breast is predominantly a dark coral red with a bit of bright orange. The lower body has three colours – ultra very light mocha brown, cream and a few highlights in winter white. For the legs I put together a light rose and a light brown thread and used this in a simple whipped back stitch. Kinda works.

I spent about 12 and a half hours stitching this robin, and very enjoyable it was too. It looks quite snug in the 13cm Nurge hoop. The robin, minus the hoop, is now on its way across the Atlantic to New York and a new home.

Autumn Petals

My latest project is one I have been keenly anticipating since early September. This was when I took possession of some gorgeous yarn from elvincraft on the isle of skye. It has taken me this long to figure out what to do with the yarn and then to complete the embroidery. Finally done though and here it is.IMG_0311The design is from a pattern in a DMC book on Colbert Embroideries. I have just used the central design of eight petals. I wanted something that would show off the full colour range of the beautiful yarn, and I think this design does that. The petals are all stitched in silk shading. The centre circle is made up of three concentric rows of heavy chain stitch. For this I used only the dark purple parts of the yarn.

The finished piece is approximately 15cm in diameter. I hope to show it off in a suitable sized hoop. It took me just under 21 hours of stitching to complete the work. Looking forward to more embroidering with this yarn, which I would recommend to anyone looking for something different to stitch with.

The fabric is a Robert Kaufman Essex linen in natural colour. Though called linen the fabric is a mix of 55% linen and 45% cotton. Quite fine and lovely to work on. The yarn is a 2ply hand painted blend of 70% alpaca and 30% silk. It is primarily for lace work or knitting. According to elvincraft the variegated colours are inspired by Highland hill blackthorn in autumn sloes and autumn leaves!

I liked the look of the colours and decided to give the yarn a try for embroidery. So far so good. The yarn comes in a 800 metres long bundle. Which no doubt is fine for knitting, but not so easy for embroidery. Here is what the original bundle looked like.IMG_0231The first task before embroidering anything is to cut the yarn into manageable lengths. A bit of a hassle to unpick the yarn, but you get to choose which colours to highlight. I chose to cut a full length of yarn going from the start of one colour back to its beginning. This length was then halved to make a longish but useable length for working with. Below is an example, where I wanted to get a good section of greens in one of the lengths.IMG_0306