This past weekend, I put the finishing stitches in this little embroidered garden scene that I showed you a couple weeks ago.
This is the scene we’ll be using for kids’ classes this summer. What I like about it – besides that it’s a bright, cheery summer scene – is that it doesn’t look as basic as it actually is!
And there’s plenty of room to make it even simpler, or to dress it up and make things a bit more complex, all depending on the level of the embroiderer or the amount of time the embroiderer wants to put into the project.
I’ll explain what I mean below, sharing some tips for simplifying or dressing up basic embroidery designs like these.
The embroidered design extends a little bit beyond my hoop area. If you want to see the rest of the scene, you’ll find it in this first article on this particular project. And you can see the little purple sprigs up close here.
In this whole little garden, there are eight stitches employed, and all of them fall into what I consider basic embroidery stitches:
Backstitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, daisy stitch (detached chain stitch), straight stitch, seed stitch, fishbone stitch, and French knot. You can find tutorials for each of these stitches here on Needle ‘n Thread.
Anywhere that you see shapes filled with fishbone stitch – the flower petals in the photo above, and several of the leaves on the whole piece – you can simplify by just outlining the element. The flower petals don’t have to be filled, and neither do all the leaves. Backstitch, chain stitch, and stem stitch all make easy outline stitches to take the place of filled elements.
The center of the yellow flower is filled with seed stitch in dark and light brown. Again, this flower center could be a simple line stitch. If you were outlining the petals, it would make more sense to outline the center as well, rather than fill it. Otherwise, the center would end up looking mighty heavy against the outlined petals.
Straight stitches dress the humble daisy stitch up quite a bit.
Adding a contrasting color of straight stitch down the center of a daisy stitch will give a tiny flower a bit more depth and color and really make it come to life – especially if you use a yellow or similar bright color down the center of the petal.
If you want to add more depth, you can even split that center straight stitch with another color.
But if you want to keep things simple and you want to move the project along, plain daisy stitches will do the job just fine!
Three line stitches are employed on this piece: stem stitch, backstitch, and chain stitch. I use stem stitch the most frequently for neat lines, as it is a beautiful stitch in its own right – and it gives the stitcher an abundant amount of practice on a stitch that is worth knowing how to do well.
But if you want to create heavier lines – maybe heavier stems on flowers – chain stitch will come in handy for that! And if you don’t want the look of the open links of a chain, whip the chain stitch line, and you’ll end up with a nice, solid and heavier line.
For slender and more delicate lines, backstitch works well. If you don’t want the dashed texture that a backstitched line provides, whip the backstitch with one strand of the same color, and you’ll end up with a smoother line.
And while each of these extra touches extends the time that you’d spend on a project like this, they can change the look of the project dramatically, no matter which direction you go – whether you go simpler, or you decide to get a little more complex with extra touches or additions to the stitches.
I’ll be putting this pattern together in a set of three designs that range from simple to more complex (this is the middle of the three) in the future. The set will similar in concept to the Floral Corner set, only these are straight-line garden scenes that work more as a border. They’re an excellent way to indulge in very relaxing, uncomplicated embroidery that’s cheerful, that lifts the spirits, and that’s just fun to do!
In the meantime, as a thank you to my patrons over on Patreon*, I’ll be adding the pattern for this garden scene there later today, so you don’t have to wait for it if you’re keen to stitch it.
Otherwise, it will show up in the future here on Needle ‘n Thread in some form or another. I’ll keep you posted!
Hope your week is off to a great start! You already know what I’m doing – kitting, writing, stitching, prepping for kids’ classes. That’s the order of work this week!
*What’s Patreon? It’s a platform where patrons can collectively support websites, craftspersons, artists, and so forth who gives them something of value. I use it primarily to keep Needle ‘n Thread (and my YouTube channel) free of annoying network advertising that you find on most blogs and videos today. You can choose your level of support – as little as a dollar a month. If this interests you, you can find my Patreon page here.