Winter Floral, a gorgeous embroidery pattern by Lark Rising

In early 2019, I started working on Winter Floral by Lark Rising. I worked on it off and on for a few months and completed it in May.

At the end of the pattern instructions, the artist requests that any deviations from the pattern should be noted when sharing on the internet. I’ll do my best to share what I changed.

completed Winter Floral embroidery pattern by Lark Rising
completed Winter Floral embroidery pattern by Lark Rising

First up, the colors. The colors called for by the pattern are gorgeous, but for Christmas 2018, I got a large pack of DMC floss with dozens of colors. I wanted to use what was in my stash rather than collect more floss. So, I selected thread from that pack that most closely matched the colors in the pattern.

Also, the pattern often calls for three threads. I honored those instructions at times but during others, I went with 2 threads because that’s I prefer how 2 looks versus 3.

angled look at completed Winter Floral embroidery pattern by Lark Rising

Lastly, I transferred this pattern before I learned to tape things in place so they won’t slip. Due to some slippage, the pattern wasn’t traced 100% precisely.

This pattern takes awhile because of all the elements and they are all filled in. It is worth the effort because the finished product is so beautiful. I’m also happy to see how my stitching is improving over time.

A free, flowered cactus pattern by DMC

For my third embroidery project I again went with a cactus motif, this time via a free pattern called Cactus in Bloom offered by DMC. I didn’t follow the color scheme exactly. I chose to use green instead of black for the actual cactus, bolder oranges for the flower and warmer browns for the stones.

Cactus in Bloom by DMC with slightly altered colors
Cactus in Bloom by DMC with slightly altered colors

This time I used satin stitch instead of laid stitch and was much more pleased with how the stitches looked. I was frustrated that the satin stitch tends to pull the fabric, creating big holes, but that’s something I would learn to deal with better over time. Also, some fabrics tend to settle after a while and the holes reduce.

But things are looking pretty good for only my third project.

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.

My Hand Embroidery Origin Story

In the summer of 2018, my husband and I were on our way to visit family in his hometown of Norwalk, Ohio. The plan was to then head to Kelleys Island, a vacation island in Lake Erie accessible only by ferry. I wasn’t sure what we would do there. Would there be television? Wifi? So I wanted to plan to have things to do. I also knew that my mother-in-law was interested in needlecraft. I wasn’t, but I thought it would be fun to try an activity with her. So I bought two Kiriki Press embroidery kits, a fox for myself and a llama for her.

I was surprised how much I loved hand embroidery. There was something soothing about hand stitching that I can’t quite explain. I never thought I would be interested in any type of needle arts. I had done some knitting in the past, but I wasn’t prepared for the pure and immediate enjoyment I would experience simply from pushing a needle with thread through fabric in an artful manner.

I tried to tell myself that I shouldn’t continue with hand embroidery since I was getting back into sewing. And it has been a long time goal of mine to learn to sew clothes for myself. Stay focused.

But I couldn’t forget the joy I felt from hand stitching. And hey, couldn’t I learn to sew and then embroider those garments?

So those are two of my goals. This website is dedicated to embroidery. And this is my embroidery origin story.