a simple flower embroidery tutorial

Lilipopo rose tutorial extra 2

My sketchbooks tend to be filled with drawings of flowers and my camera is filled with photographs of flowers at this time of year so it's no surprise that my stitch play has been just a little inspired by flowers too.

These woven roses are some of the simplest and most satisfying stitching I have done recently.  I love the way you can play with them.  You can use one colour or an array of colours.  You can use two strands or all six strands.  Your base stitches can be simple long straight stitches like spokes or detached chain stitches to create leaves underneath the flowers.

Best of all they are so very simple to stitch, in fact really they are woven.

Lilipopo lavender bag tutorial

For this little rose lavender bag I used

Robert Kauffman essex linen in natural (use doubled if you are worried about knots showing through)

a number 7 crewel needle (or larger, ie a lower number)

a 3" wooden hoop

DMC stranded cotton in

 DMC 760, DMC  761 and DMC 502

Lilipopo tutorial 1 

Begin by drawing a circle about 2.5cm (1") diameter using a removable pen and segment it with 5 lines roughly equal distance apart as above.  Now you take 3 strands of DMC 502 and create 5 large detached chain stitches from the centre out to the edge as above.

Lilipopo tutorial 3

this is the base of your flower.  You could use straight stitches if you prefer but I like the leaf effect of the detached chain stitches.

Now you are going to weave your rose.

Lilipopo tutorial 5

now take 6 strands of DMC 760, and bring it up through the fabric very close to the centre just to the left of the top leaf as shown above.  (I tied a knot at the back as there won't really be anything to anchor the back to).

Lilipopo tutorial 7

And now the fun part you simply weave the thread over and under the leaves in a circle pulling it into the centre as you go.  You don't go through the fabric, you are simply weaving over and under your green leaves.

Lilipopo tutorial 8

You just keep going round until you are happy with the centre of the flower.  You can push your stitches closer to the centre to stop the green showing through as you go.

Lilipopo tutorial 9

Lilipopo tutorial 11

When you want to change colour just go down through your fabric with the needle just after an under stitch and tie a knot to fasten it in place.  Then come up with the new colour just after the under stitch and continue in the same way

Lilipopo tutorial 12

Keep going until just the tips of the leaves are left showing.  Take your needle down through the fabric and tie the thread off.

Then make lots more

Lilipopo rose tutorial extra 3

You can experiment with size of circle, number of spokes, colours and thread tension for different effects.  You could use different numbers of threads, perhaps even doubling the six strands over so you are working with 12 strands.

  IMG_7003

you can also experiment with using straight stitches for the base and wrapping the flower thread around each strand as you go.  For the purple flower I wrapped the thread around each spoke instead of weaving over and under.

Next week we are off to WOMAD for a few days of dancing, music and (fingers crossed after last year) sunshine so the lilipopo shop will be closed from Thursday to Monday evening and there will be no blog post.

I hope you have a lovely week filling scraps of fabric with woven roses.


x

 


IMG_6637

I've been busy over the last few weeks with a lot of admin type work and testing out printed panels but in between all of that I have been doing a little bit of sketching and this little pattern came out of it all.  Butterfly girls is two embroidery patterns that would sit together nicely in either a 5" or a 6" frame (I've shown both in the picture).  I've kept the stitching deliberately simple so the most difficult stitch is a french knot, most of the rest is back stitch, satin stitch or couching and a little bit of fern stitch.

IMG_6633

I tried out a few colourways for this pattern but in the end I liked these muted soft colours the most so both patterns share most of the colours.  This one is a little more rose pink

IMG_6634

and this one has more of a blue green feel to it.  I loved keeping the girl simple so I could get carried away with all the flowers and butterflies.  I just love embellishing.  I did stop myself though so it's not too busy (I hope!).

The butterfly girl pattern is available in my Etsy shop over here

Now I'm thinking about winter patterns, which seems so strange when summer feels as though it's only just beginning.  I find it easier to work in the late evenings so I can forget the season I am in for a while as it's still quite cool here in the evenings.  It's difficult for me to think of anything but flowers at the moment!  Perhaps I will try knitting something, that always feels a bit wintry.

I'm looking forward to this weekend as it is our  Golowan festival which is always full of lots of inspiring costumes and creatures in the processions through the town along with lots of lovely stalls and music and it looks like sunshine too!

But my very favourite part is the Serpent dance late tonight after the fire works with the slightly scary 'oss.

So I will be dancing tonight and enjoying the sunshine tomorrow (hopefully).  I hope you have some lovely weekend plans too whether you are in Summer or Winter.

x


 


A weekend holiday

Teague

This weekend was my middle 6ft3 'child's' 21st birthday.  I only have one left under 18 and not for very much longer!  We hired a car (we don't have a car, we love walking, trains and bikes usually) and took local trips that we can't always do.  Saturday was spent at Sennen beach with a surfboard, body boards and an evening picnic with friends watching the sun go down over the sea.  A beautiful way to spend the evening before his birthday.

IMG_6614

Sunday afternoon (the poor boy had to work in the morning, saving for college) was spent at the most beautiful place in the whole of Cornwall (well we think so), Nanjizal cove.  It even has a beautiful name! Lovely family time and lemon drizzle birthday cake.

IMG_6552

IMG_6545
IMG_6545
IMG_6545
There are flowers everywhere here in Cornwall at the moment.  I love this time of year,  the hedgerows are overflowing with flowers, everything looks beautiful and it's so easy to forget that it was ever winter.  We are well into pink and purple flower season now as you can tell.

IMG_6634

I did also manage to get some stitching done last week.  I am working on a new pattern, that comprises of two designs that sit well together, inspired by flowers and butterflies.  I've kept the girl very simple and then embellished with lots of flowers and butterflies.

IMG_6636

I was enticed by quite muted colours for these two hoops (I am in love with DMC 3726 and DMC 316 at the moment) but I think they would look nice in bright colours or pastels too.

There was a bit of a gap between posts over May, it turned into a very busy month with a lot of exam stress as my youngest is doing her final A level exams but I should be back to more regular blogging now.

I hope you are all enjoying the seasons (whichever you may be in) and having a little time for stitching

x

 

 

 


remembering my threads

Lilipopo thread folder fullI have a terrible habit of absolutely loving a particular colour, coming to the end of it and then completely forgetting what it was.  I probably should have been keeping a record of my colours before now but there we go!

So this week I gradually started wrapping some of my favourite colours around card and labeling them.  

Lilipopo thread folderThey are not in any particular order, although it might have been nicer to have them all graded.  But I have a card for each colour group (or I will have when they are finished)  and then I keep all the cards in a folder in my Midori notebook.

At first I just snipped a small piece and taping it down but you don't get such a clear idea of the colour so I started again and wrapped each colour around the card 5 times which is much better.

Lilipopo liberty fabrics

and it's not just thread colours that I forget!  Liberty have a habit of discontinuing their fabrics sometimes.  When this happens I have to go on a trawl around the internet to see if I can find another stockist who still has some left.  The only trouble is I can never remember the name of the fabric so I have to look through all the liberty fabrics (such a chore ;)) to find the one I want.  Not any more!  Now I am keeping swatches with names in my Midori.  Again I would recommend keeping quite large snips of the fabric as some of the prints can be very similar, especially if you are looking at photos online, so it's good to be able to see as much of the pattern as possible.

I'm actually enjoying wrapping the threads, it's quite meditative and allows me a little time to think about colour.

On another note I will have my princess pattern available on Friday 

  Lilipopo princess embroidery pattern I have loved working on this little princess, surrounding myself in pink for a while.  

The pattern also has a version with an embroidered dress and one to fit an oval hoop.  I will share more pictures on Friday

I would love to hear if you have methods for remembering your favourite threads and fabrics.

Have a lovely week

x

x


how long should my stitches be?

Lilipopo blog stitch length copyA question I get asked quite a lot is how long my stitches are.  The first time I was asked I took a ruler and measured, a fairly consistent 3mm.  But this morning I was a little distracted while I was stitching this first draft of a princess and listening to podcasts and when I looked down I noticed something strange.  I had naturally stitched much smaller stitches on the inside curve of the dress.  I expected my stitches to be the same size throughout as I do such a lot of back stitch but my subconscious had decided that the waist of the dress would be better with smaller stitches.  The funny thing is I think it does look better, it adds to the sense of the dress pulling in tightly around the waist then billowing out into the full skirt.

Door and borderI do know that the backstitch on my little caravan door is bigger than 3mm probably because it's a longer straighter line.  I've realized that I often don't think too much about the stitch size.  It seems to happen naturally.  There are occasions when I might deliberately use a tiny stitch or a much longer stitch for a particular effect but usually I just start stitching.

In the past I haven't included a suggested stitch length in the pattern but now I'm thinking it might be helpful for beginner stitchers to have a sense of how big the stitches should be.  After all I have no idea if other people's back stitch is the same length as mine or not.

Lilipopo chain stitch hairMy stitch length and tension are something I have been paying more attention to recently because I have been playing around with chain stitch.  Chain stitch changes so completely according to the stitch length and tension so you can create really different effects.  A tight tension and smaller stitch makes beautiful hair (this would work on the ballet dancers hair too) whereas a looser chain with bigger stitches looks completely different.

I will share more of my chain stitching explorations soon.

Today is a beautiful sunny day but I am stuck indoors waiting for a parcel for my son hoping the sunshine will last for the weekend.

I hope you have a beautiful weekend no matter what the weather

x

 

 

 


A beautiful book by Yumiko Higuchi

IMG_6180When I first began Lilipopo it was zakka sewing that interested and encouraged me.  I love the way very simple designs can be beautiful with a little care.  So over the Easter weekend I had a little time to do some personal stitching and pulled out my zakka embroidery book by Yumiko Higuchi.  I have had this book  for quite a while now.  I did stitch one design when I first received it, loved it and then put the book in my bookcase and left it.  This week my train pass wallet fell to pieces in my hands so I decided that, rather than get another ugly plastic one from Great Western Rail, I would stitch my own pretty one and I remembered this book

IMG_6181 (1)There is a card wallet pattern in the book but I wanted a different design on it so I used the wallet pattern but spent some time working out where to put elements of the botanical design onto the wallet pattern.  I think most of the designs can be put onto most of the projects.  I love this design!  Flowers and insects are fabulous for stitching.  

IMG_6182

this little bee is stitched with stem or outline stitch in the book.  I got ahead of myself and misread the pattern and stitched it using backstitch.  But he still looks great.  I had to use double my normal number of strands but I love the way it stands out from the fabric but it still has the details.

IMG_6184I really wanted to stitch this flower!  I was a little wary of all the chain stitch and at first I did have to do some undoing until I had a chain that seemed a good size but, once I got stitching, it was a dream to stitch.  I love love love the effect of the chain stalk and the running stitch petals.  I'm not too sure why I put the bird where I did other than that I wanted to stitch the bird!  I think he could be elsewhere but I still love the simple design.  The final wallet is perfect for my train pass and library card.

IMG_6185

and I am so addicted to these designs that I have started another tile pattern.  This is a little lavender or pin cushion, I haven't decided yet... I just wanted to stitch it.  Lots more chain stitch practice.  I think chain could be my new addiction, which surprises me because it's not a stitch I would normally use very much.

I absolutely recommend this book, it's perfect for making small projects that you can carry around anywhere with you.  The focus is on one or two colours so you don't even need lots of threads to take about with you.  The projects would make beautiful gifts too. 

I would love to hear about your favourite embroidery books, after all you can never have too many!

Now I'll hide this stitching away for the weekend and get on with my work!

x

 


Easter and bunnies

Lilipopo little bunnies coasters

Spring keeps showing it's head for a moment here and then disappearing back into cold grey rain.  I think it's probably always like this at this time of year but I do love the sunny days!  So I wanted a happy project to fill a little time this week.

Lilipopo little bunnies idea

With Easter rapidly on it's way... this weekend!  I decided a quick bunny stitch was in order.  I took the little bunnies embroidery pattern  and played around with it a little to make two little coasters.  This pattern is so quick to stitch up and would fit nicely onto little drawstring bags for mini eggs too.  

Lilipopo little bunnies backing and lace

I cut a 4.75" square from some white linen (Robert Kauffman Essex linen) and the same of pink phoebe liberty fabric for the back. Then I cut a 5" square of quilt batting (warm and natural) for the wadding.  I traced the elements of the bunny pattern that I wanted onto the linen square.

Next I centred the linen onto the wadding and hooped up and embroidered through both.

Lilipopo little bunnies stitched

I like the padded effect of stitching through the batting too.  I used just four colours for this - DMC 451 (brown) DMC 603 (pink) DMC 761 (pale pink) and DMC 564 green

Lilipopo little bunnies applique tummy

I gave this little bunny an appliqued liberty pink tummy using bondaweb to stick the fabric down and little pale pink stitches to keep it in place.

After embroidering the pattern I added french knots in the pale pink all around the bunny, leaving a space all around the edge for the seam allowance (0.25")

Lilipopo little bunnies embroidered

and then, because I realized I would have to get my machine out I stitched another bunny on natural linen and added a lace trim and a liberty print border.  I also appliqued a little heart onto the linen backing fabric.

Lilipopo little bunnies machine stitching

These little coasters are very easy to finish just place your padded embroidery right side up and then place your backing fabric right side down on top of it.  Now stitch around the edge leaving a 1.5" - 2" gap for turning (I used a 0.25" seam allowance)

Lilipopo little bunnies finished 2

Once you turn them out poke the corners gently out, hand stitch the gap closed and give them a gentle press.  These were such fun to stitch, especially as they embroider up very quickly and you could add all sorts of trims to them or, if you're a quilter, bind the edges.

I hope you all have a very happy Easter and we get to enjoy some sunny spring weather, unless you are in the Southern hemisphere in which case cosy Autumn stitching is probably in order.

Happy Easter 

x


embroidery essentials - tools

Lilipopo tools of the trade

Today's #marchmeetthemaker prompt was tools that I use so I thought I would write a blog post about the tools that I use and where I buy them (in the UK).

The thing I really love about embroidery is that you need very few tools and materials, a needle, thread and fabric with a pair of scissors and you can start stitching.  But there are a few other things that can make life easier...

Lilipopo simple tools

These are my most basic tools.  I use wooden hoops because I prefer them, they are reasonably priced  and they look prettier if you decide to frame your embroidery in the hoop (you can even paint them).  They come in lots of sizes and I do have lots of sizes but my go to hoop is a 5".  I like to use a small hoop and move it around my embroidery as I find bigger hoops harder to manipulate when I get to the centre of my stitching.

My pen for transferring the pattern is (as I have probably mentioned many times before!) a pilot frixion heat (or friction) removable pen.  I have just read somewhere that you can use a hairdryer to remove the pen, which would save hovering over my embroidery with a hot iron, but I haven't tried it yet so I will let you know (or if you have tried it you could let me know).

I have a mini sun light pad for transferring but you can use a window.

I have a pretty vintage pair of embroidery scissors to snip the threads but any small scissors will do.

My usual needle is a crewel number 7.  I occasionally use an 8 for single threads but to be honest I usually just use the 7.  I put a crewel 7 needle in the kits.

IMG_6054

I mainly use two fabrics, the first is an organic calico which is a soft (after washing) medium weight cotton that has a natural creamy look to it and is never completely smooth or flat.  The second fabric I use is Robert Kauffman essex linen in natural.  I have also used the ivory, white and linen.  These are lighter and I now use a backing cloth so that any stray threads don't show through.  I usually use the same fabric as a backing cloth and stitch through both layers.

Sometimes if I want a more padded effect I use a quilt wadding as a backing (warm and natural).  My needle cushion was backed with quilt wadding, it made the cushion a little firmer.

IMG_6056

and these are the little extras.  I find it absolutely necessary to have at  least ten different pin cushions to hold my needles!  Partly because I love making them and partly because I am always leaving them around the house.  I also use a metal thimble because this is the one I have had most success with.  If you don't like the metal ones there are lots of others out there ranging from leather to rubber.  I only use a thimble when I have a lot of stitching to do (I think my fingers are hardened to the needle now!) so it's not a necessary item.

IMG_6057

I love all threads and one of the beauties of embroidery is that you can stitch with any thread and get different effects.  But, because I design patterns for other people to use I stick to DMC threads.  I used to use Anchor thread too (some of my older patterns will still have some anchor threads in them) but I found customers were finding Anchor harder to get hold of so I do stick with DMC.  I also only use six stranded thread rather than perle because you can choose the number of threads for the thickness of line that you want.  It also means you don't have to buy lots of different threads for a single pattern.  DMC thread is beautiful quality and there are lots and lots of gorgeous colours.

Once I start the threads I wrap them on a card holder with the number written on it and they get stored in a box.

Lilipopo notebook

One thing I can't do without is my notebook and pen!  (I write this as though I only have one, no-one ever has only one notebook do they?) I take notes on all the threads and stitches that I use and draw little diagrams for any tricky stitchy bits.

The things I didn't photograph - my tea, always by my side while stitching and my phone playing podcasts, audio books (I have a penchant for crime thrillers but at the moment it's 'Middlemarch') or radio 6 music.

Where I buy my things

needles and hoops - siesta frames 

threads, needles, card thread holders and more - sew and so

organic calico - raystitch

essex linen (where ever has it in stock) - emma's fabric studio  or celtic fusion fabrics  

warm and natural quilt wadding - the cottonpatch  

My pens I buy locally at Ryman's I think they are quite easy to find now.  My mini sun A4 light pad was bought from Amazon.

I do also have a magnifying craft lamp (mainly because our house is very wind proof but also quite dark in the winter!).  I don't think it's available any more but it's by the daylight company and has worked well for me.  It's also great for colour work using long short stitch.

I think I've covered everything that I use regularly.  If you are a beginner stitcher and would like to know more about transferring the patterns and starting stitching I have posts here

beginning stitching

I hope you found this post useful and please pop a comment in with the tools and materials that you like to use.  I always love to find new ones 

x



 


March meet the maker

IMG_5887

I don't normally like to begin my blog post with a huge picture of me but this month I have been taking part in instagram's #meetthemaker (my instagram account is @lilipoposketches) and so I decided to come out from the shadows and share a little about myself.

My name is Kate and I do all of the things at LiliPopo.  The name came from my daughter (many years ago when she was only nine) mixing my middle name and surname up together and we both thought it suited the first design that I sold.

Still stitching

she wasn't the first girl that I stitched but she was the first pattern that I sold and she is still there in my shop.  She also got featured in Mollie Makes magazine so she is still very important to me.

As some of you will know I was home educating for more years than I care to remember and while I was doing that I was drawing and stitching.  These things go back to my childhood as we always had paper and pencils, especially on rainy days.  I still think they are the best boredom busters on rainy days.  I started sharing pictures of my stitching on flickr and opened a folksy shop selling little purses with simple embroideries on them.  Other stitchers began to ask if I sold patterns so I looked into how to go about it, took a little advice from my partner and eldest son on how to use Adobe illustrator and set up my Etsy shop.  

IMG_5934

At the moment this is my workspace, although the stitching tends to happen wherever there is a comfy seat and someone to listen to chatting away (usually my daughter, teenage life is so much better than a soap opera).  This is about as tidy as my space has ever been as I am usually quite a messy worker (I always thought I would be a tidy worker).

IMG_5951

The next prompt is all about routine so I may share that next week, a sort of day in the life of...

If you pop over to instagram and have a look at the hashtag #marchmeetthemaker there are lots of lovely makers sharing their workspaces, routines and stories, a nice way to while away a little spare time.

x

 


March but not spring!


IMG_5799

March has arrived and spring really should have sprung here in Cornwall.  It was definitely on its way towards the end of February 

IMG_5777

This is the magnolia in our local park (Morrab Gardens) in full and beautiful bloom against a blue blue sky.  For me this always means that spring has arrived but this year is a very strange one because two days ago this happened

IMG_5793

We almost NEVER get snow in Penzance, it has been years since we last saw proper snow.  So even though the weather warnings were out there we still didn't expect it.  Two days of proper thick sledging, snowman building snow.  I'm so glad that we made the most of it because this morning we woke up to grey wet and not a sign that it had ever snowed.  Although it's still pretty chilly!  A very exciting blip in our year!

Hopefully the grey will lift and we will be left with my idea of March, full of spring flowers and sunshine.

IMG_5798 (1)
  

I've loved using chain stitch for the lettering on this personal piece this week.  I have had quite a few commissioned pieces to stitch with names on them and I'm finding chain stitch a great way to stitch letters, especially joined up writing.  It's a very satisfying stitch once you get into a rhythm.  It has taken me a long time to find my rhythm with chain stitch but sometimes that's just how it is and now it feels worth the struggle.

I have lots of plans for March, probably more than can actually be done in March but we'll see.  I have begun two new patterns that I'm working on at the same time one with birds and birdhouses and also flowers in my hair which I sketched and began last year but it got put away for a while.  I will share pictures of my progress here as I go.  There will be kits and samplers back in stock later this month too.  And there's some painting and drawing going on too.

Do you have your March plans ready (the nice crafty stitchy ones) I would love to hear about your projects and your weather as I know you don't all live in the UK!

Have a lovely stitchy weekend

x