Today, we venture into a new little project: embroidered strawberries!
In this series of tutorials, we will journey through embroidering a stylized, simplified bunch of five strawberries. Each strawberry is embroidered in a different technique, so that you can experience several ways to stitch your own scrumptious berries.
The series is suitable for beginners and beyond. I’ve tried to keep everything, from the design to the techniques, accessible to all levels of stitchers. You should know how to transfer a design and set up your project for stitching.
Today, we’ll talk about materials and I’ll give you the design! Let’s go!
Whenever I start a project and I have the design and fabric situated, the big chore is picking threads.
For these tutorials, selecting threads involves foraging through my DMC stranded cotton drawers. I want these tutorials to be as accessible to as many people as possible, with as little trouble as possible when it comes to getting threads. DMC stranded cotton is fairly widely available!
But what I don’t have is a good selection of perle cottons in the finer weights, 8 and 12. While foraging, I came across a few House of Embroidery perle cottons that worked for me.
There are several choices for the perle cottons:
1. If you have stash, substitute from threads you have in your stash that you think will look great, because they probably will!
2. Pick from among the DMC stranded cottons you have, and either use a few strands of those (3 for perle #8, 2 for perle #12). The finished look may be slightly different, but that’s ok!
3. Take the DMC stranded cotton numbers for colors like red or light pink that are already on the list, look for DMC perle in #8 or #12, whichever is relevant, in the same color number or something very close. DMC’s colors across the perle cottons and stranded cotton are the same, so you might be able to find the same reds or light pinks that we’re using in DMC stranded cotton also available in DMC perle. Perle doesn’t come in as many colors, but they’ll have something close.
4. You can try get your hands on the House of Embroidery threads I’m using. The problem with HoE threads is figuring out how they actually number their threads. They always seem to be numbered differently, depending on how you’re buying them. I have never quite been able to get my head around their numbering system. So I’ll describe the collections the threads I used came from, and the color number within that collection, and you can try to hunt it down. I didn’t have a chance to touch base with retailers or distributors to try to figure out their thread numbering.
Really, the easiest approach – and it wouldn’t make that much difference – is #2, unless you have stash.
For this project, I chose a natural colored linen called Manuscript Vellum here in the States. It is the same linen used on the Sea to Stitch projects in Elisabetta Sforza’s book.
It is also part of the natural colored linen sampler pack that I launched last Friday and subsequently ran out of (I’m re-stocking those – if you emailed for advanced notice, I have you on the list!)
You can use whatever fabric you want to use! Just understand that the outcome may be different, as is always the case. If you’re just practicing, and you don’t want to invest a lot, use cotton muslin or twill or something similar. If you’ve got fabric in your own stash, pick something you like. If you only have white linen or green linen or pink linen – go for it! If you want to work on black, work on black! Use whatever fabric you like or you want to use.
I chose natural colored linen because I love reds and greens and pinks on the natural background, and I was also considering some white blossoms, which stand out more on a natural colored background. I picked it, in short, because I like it. You pick what you like.
Let’s start with DMC. I pulled a massive amount of threads for this, but didn’t use as many as you see in the photo. Still, it’s quite a few!
Yellows: 725, 727
Whites: 3865, Ecru
Greens: 772, 890, 986, 987, 989, 702, 703
Pinks: 967, 3705, 760, 761
Reds: 321, 304, 815
The House of Embroidery perle cottons I used are:
#12 perle cottons in green:
4C from the 72 color collection box
6A from the Green Collection
5 from the Green Collection
#12 perle cotton in pink: 43B from the 72 color collection box
#8 perle cotton in red, #78B from the Vintage Collection
You’ll want a hoop or a frame to mount your embroidery in while you stitch. A 7 or 8″ hoop will work fine.
You need scissors! Small and sharp!
Needles: #9 crewel, #7 crewel, #24 or 26 tapestry.
The link below will open the PDF of the design. The bunch of strawberries will print at about 5.5″ high, if you choose “100%” or “actual size” or something similar in your printer dialog box.
Five Ways to Embroider Strawberries – PDF printable
Your first steps, if you’re stitching along: Print the design, gather your materials and tools, transfer your design!
If you’re not stitching along, I hope you enjoy the progress of the project nonetheless. I’ll be sharing tips, techniques, and troubleshooting as we go.
Next time we visit this project, we will start simple with a little strawberry, and then we will grow from there.
If you are a member on Patreon, I’ll be publishing these episodes of the Strawberry Series as printable PDFs for you, with little extras along the way. Look for this first episode on Patreon later today!