A modern cactus pattern by Ink and Ocean

After becoming smitten with my first attempt at hand embroidery, it was time to look for my second project. I searched Etsy and decided on this Ink and Ocean modern cactus pattern.

The first project was a kit that included thread and the pattern already printed on the fabric. For this second project, I would add to my skills by selecting fabric, transferring the project onto fabric, and choose the colors for the threads.

I wasn’t sure what type of fabric to buy, but the first kit seemed to be on a cotton. So I picked up a pre-cut fat quarter quilting cotton.

For transferring methods, I watched part of an embroidery course on Bluprint, which taught a couple methods, so I took to basic internet searches to learn more. I settled on using Frixion pens. These pens can have their marks erased (after stitching is completed) by applying the heat of a hair dryer.

Note: Many people do not like these pens because the marks can return if the temperature drops below freezing. But if your work will never face those temps, it’s not something you have to worry about. And you can always remove them again via hairdryer.

When tracing a pattern onto fabric, it helps to have a light source, such as a lightbox or even a window. But I realized that my iPad might do the trick. I did a search on the App Store and found the Trace Table App, which turns iPads into light boxes by displaying a white screen. You can also size an image and lock it in place.

Planning colors for threads took a little time. At first, I stood in front of an embroidery floss display, picked up colors and see if they go well together. Then I noticed a pack of threads and the bundle was cheaper than buying individual flosses, so I did that and then chose the colors from that pack.

What I like about Ink and Ocean patterns is that stitch suggestions are made but you can stitch the line drawing patterns however you like.

I knew I wanted to fill in the pattern and not just outline it. My knowledge of stitches was very limited. What I wanted was a satin stitch for the pots. What I ended up doing was a laid stitch. I was trying to save thread and a laid stitch uses far less thread than a satin stitch. But this project taught me that I don’t personally find the laid stitch as aesthetically pleasing.

I also experimented with various methods of outlining and filling in the cacti. For outlines, I did chain stitch and stem stitch. I really love stem stitching…when it looks good, lol. For filling, I used more laid stitches and stem stitches.

For the second project of a self-taught embroiderer, I think it turned out pretty well.

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