This year, we’ve enjoyed a few different series of embroidery tutorials covering a range of stylized botanical subjects, including wheat, strawberries, daisies, and grapes. You can find all these tutorials listed here, in the How to Embroider (Blank) index.
The last series of tutorials for this year is going to focus on something not-so-botanical, but garden-related nonetheless: the dragonfly.
Reaching back into the dark recesses of my memory, I’m pretty sure the reason for exploring this particular wingéd creature was related more to the materials rather than the subject. Don’t get me wrong – I love dragonflies. They’re such curiously different bugs.
But really, it was more about the materials when I thought of this particular project.
Dragonflies present the opportunity to stitch with some different materials, and in this case, besides regular floss, we used two different types of metallics and some beads.
Some metallics can be a real source of frustration for the stitcher. With the techniques used on the dragonfly, the point was to decrease the frustration level for the stitcher while allowing the satisfactory sparkle of metallics to play center stage.
When pulling supplies at the beginning of this type of project, it’s a matter of selecting from supplies that I’ve got on hand. Unfortunately, this doesn’t always translate into supplies that you’ve got on hand.
With this particular project series, then, please keep in mind that I’m offering ideas and tips. You don’t have to use the exact supplies. You can use what you have on hand, or what you can find easily available. I’ll list the supplies used in the two examples in this series when I can. I think some of the beads are random and un-labeled, but I’ll describe them as best as I can so that you can find something similar if you want to.
But the best approach, I think, is to use what you have on hand, or what you come across that you think will work for you.
Admittedly, I’m saying all of this in advance to “cover my six” (as my dad would put it!) because I won’t necessarily be able to tell you the exact name, color, size of every bead. I’ll be able to tell you what threads, but they might not be easily available (though some are). So please feel free, if you want to stitch a dragonfly with me, to use whatever materials you want to that will yield similar results!
Speaking of supplies and whatnot, what do you think of a tutorial series here on the website, with a supply kit you can purchase so that stitching along is a lot easier? I often wonder if folks would be interested in having the option of a supply kit on hand. Let me know what you think! You can comment here if you want.
The supplies in the photo above are initial “pulls” from my thread drawers and bead trays. They aren’t necessarily the final choices.
But the fabric is! Many of you have purchased the white linen fabric sample pack available in my shop. I used the Glass Linen from that collection for the ground fabric for the dragonfly designs that we’ll walk through together.
I wanted to show you that you can actually stitch on it, despite the delicate look of it. And it doesn’t have to be used only for whitework or very delicate pulled work and the like, even though it’s perfect for those applications.
My idea when choosing this very lightweight, semi-transparent linen was to put a color behind it when framing it. I think it would be neat to use a colored fabric behind the linen, and then to frame the piece.
I haven’t actually tried it yet, but we shall see.
I like the airiness of this particular linen. And dragonflies being the airy creatures that they are, I thought they worked well together.
You can see the openness of the linen weave in the photo above, but alas, I don’t have a good colored fabric to put behind the linen yet. It’s on my hunting list for the next time I’m out and about.
In the meantime, though, we’ll get started on these tutorials together. There are two projects with the dragonflies. The first works through a single isolated dragonfly. The second brings in a very “muted” background with a dragonfly in a different color scheme.
In the first installment, we’ll go over the materials list and I’ll supply the design for the isolated dragonfly. I’ll also chat a bit about tools and design transfer.
As we work through the series, the installments will also be available as downloadable PDFs for members of our Needle ‘n Thread community on Patreon. If you’re a member over there, you’ll also find the last installments of the grapes going up this week, too.
I hope you enjoy the series! I’ll see you on Friday with designs and more!