embroidery

new Kitty colour ways, kits and panels and autumn

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I would like to say I'm sorry I've been away because I've been so busy but the truth is we have had a long long dry summer with warm weather and we are lucky enough to live in Cornwall.  Usually August is wet and I get lots of work done but this year I got lots of sea swimming and walking and beach stitching and sketching done but not so much sitting at the computer work done!  In fact the sun has come back to us over the last few days so we are experiencing a little bit of a second summer (although not quite as warm).  

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With lots of time for stitching I decided to stitch a couple of new colour ways for my 'Kitty' embroidery pattern (which Etsy tells me is a 'best seller'!)  I thought I would pop the colours on my blog for anyone who has the pattern and fancies stitching it up in different colours.

This is the pinks version because this is lilipopo and pinks are irresistible to me.

DMC 3350 - a delicious red pink

DMC 3354 - a mid pink

DMC 3713 - a pale pink

DMC 758 - peach for a peachy kitten

DMC 453 - a very pale beige

DMC 451 - my usual brown

DMC3053 - a lovely soft green

Scarf second colour

a close up of the hat so you can see how the colours were used.

Full blue pic

And then the blues, although if you look carefully there is a little bit of pink in there.

DMC 926 - a darkish softish blue

DMC 927 - a mid blue

DMC 3023 - another lovely grey green

DMC 677 - a soft straw like yellow

DMC 3713 - that ubiquitous pale pink

DMC 453 - light beige

DMC 451 - brown

Hair outline

These were stitched onto the Kitty printed fabric panels (so no pattern transferring) they are printed in a very light grey so the lines do not show through the soft colours.

In the next couple of weeks I will be offering these as kits with an option for either blue or pink and with instructions for backing the hoop with felt.

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I have also finally got some linen/cotton mix lavender girl kits available.  The fabric is nice and soft, quite thick and the weave is more open than the cotton.  They are also a more natural colour rather than white which I love.  I am running low on the soft pink one on the left but I will be trying to put a couple more in the shop next week.

I have been doing a lot of sketching over the summer and have a folder full of ideas for patterns that I am quite excited about, they will be arriving over the next few months one at a time!

I'm also going to try to have more of the patterns available as printed panels and kits for those who prefer them.

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and now it's my favourite time of year with longer evenings and autumnal fruits. The blackberries are picked, I actually think Jason did pick all the blackberries, they are all in our freezer if anyone is looking for them.  I pottered around in the sunshine sketching flowers and taking photographs but then I make all of the blackberry and apple crumbles (he's also been scrumping apples).

Time for stitching in the cosy evenings with hot chocolate and apple and blackberry crumble.

I hope you are enjoying the season that you are in whether it's cosying down for the winter or starting to venture back out into the sunshine.

x

 

 

 


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.

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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.

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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).

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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.

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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.

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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

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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

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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.

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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

 


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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.

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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

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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


 


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.  

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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.

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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


a mermaid tale

Lilipopo mermaid stitch fixed

I have been enjoying a quiet but busy January so far, lots of stitching and even more sketching and painting.  Yesterday I decided it was time to warm up the old computer so I could get on with finishing the mermaid pattern and this morning I have her in my Etsy shop 

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I have been having some fun playing around a little with stitches and so I came up with her tail stitch which fills the tail very prettily.  I have also been practicing consistency with my chain stitch (testing my patience a little) but I think I finally have a rhythm going, as long as no-one interrupts me. 

Generally speaking I like to use a hoop as I find I can keep the tension in my stitching more even.  But I found long lines of chain stitch a little easier without the hoop really or at least with a small hoop just covering the area I have to stitch.  An 8" hoop can be a little unwieldy for rhythmic stitching sometimes.  Do you prefer to hoop or not to hoop?

The fish tail stitch is very simple and began with rows of back stitch

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I made sure that my stitches met at the top point of all the half stars.  My star stitches are roughly the same size as my back stitch

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 2

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Once the half star stitches were in place I added french knots in between using 3 strands of thread instead of 2 and a contrasting colour.

Lilipopo mermaid stitch 4

This is such a simple stitch but I love the textural effect.

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I think the mermaid would make a nice cushion doll.  Just stitched on her own and then cut out with a seam allowance and backed and stuffed.  This might be my next bit of stitching...

Lilipopo mushroom reader

Another project that I have been busy with this month is creating this girl who has found a quiet spot to do a bit of reading.  I am thinking of creating prints of this and possibly notecards (I have an addiction to notecards!).

I hope you are enjoying a quiet cozy creative January

x


stems and outlines some tips

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Stem stitch is not a stitch I use a great deal for outlining my figures because it tends to create a thicker line than I like but it can make a good outline for clothing or a decorative line but also fabulous hair. 

For the longest time I have been stitching two different stitches under the mistaken impression that they were the same stitch just approached from a different direction.  I thought both stitches were stem stitch but it turns out that one was stem stitch while the other was outline stitch.  I had even seen it referred to as outline stitch but there are quite often different names for the same stitch so I didn't pay too much attention.  It was only when I came to do some research for this post that I realized that they are indeed two stitches.  One, outline stitch, has a smoother edge while the other, stem stitch has a more jaggedy edge

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The example above is outline stitch  (it is stitched onto a piece of Robert Kauffman Essex linen in dusty blue).

and I stitched the top straight row using 4 strands of thread.  The second straight row and the curved row were stitched using 2 strands.

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To begin make a straight stitch but before you pull the thread all the way through bring your needle up through the fabric about half way along the stitch making sure the loop from the first stitch is above your needle (or further away from you).  This is what makes it an outline stitch.

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Pull the whole thing through and you can see that my thread, in the picture above, is  coming from underneath the first stitch.  Now take your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch (your actual stitch length goes back to the middle of the previous stitch).  Again don't pull your stitch right through

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Now bring your needle up at the end of the previous stitch as shown above.  You will continue in this way until you get to the end of the line.

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You can also follow a curved line beautifully.  Making the stitches shorter or longer can also change the way the stitch looks.  I like to use this stitch with more threads to create a thick rope like line, it makes fabulous hair because it curves nicely.

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For stem stitch you create your first stitch but pull it through fully then bring your needle just above the middle of the stitch as shown above

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Next bring your needle down about half a stitch length from the end of the first stitch as you did for outline stitch and pull through

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Bring your needle back up just above the middle of the last stitch and continue in the same way

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I'm sorry for the slight blur (fast fading light in winter!)  Hopefully you can see the stem stitched pink line has a more twisted edge than the lower green outlined line.  Both can be used well on curves you just need to decide whether you want a smoother edge or a more decorative edge for your stitching.

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A fun use for stem stitch are these little flowers.  I made a french knot using 4 strands of a paler pink (I double wrapped it).

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Next I made a small straight stitch along the edge of the knot (you can push it into place with your fingers so it doesn't cover the knot).

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Then, using the same stem stitch technique, I brought the needle up just above the centre of the first stitch and made another stitch moving around the french knot centre.  You just continue going round until the flower is as big as you would like it to be.  The stitches should be a little longer on each round.

Have a lovely weekend and I hope you find some time for a little cosy stitching.

x


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and pattern (part two)

Today I have the instructions for sewing the needle book together.  If you are looking for the pattern and the embroidery tutorial it is over here

To sew the needle book together

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Place the lining fabric and the embroidered/quilted piece right sides together and stitch around the edge with a 1" or 2" gap for turning (see picture above).  Stitch with a 1cm seam allowance.

Trim the edges and clip the corners.  My edges are about 0.5cm from the stitching line

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Then squish the whole thing through the gap and turn the right way around.

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press it open making sure you have good sharp corners.  Whip stitch the gap closed by hand. 

Now you will need your piece of felt

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Place your felt inside the needlebook with about a half centimetre around the edge as above.  Find the centre by folding the whole thing in half (you can draw a chalk line on the felt if your fold isn't clear) then stitch down the centre line using running stitch and anchor 874.

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To attach the fastening threads measure half way up the side of the needlebook where the lining meets the front cover.

thread your needle with 3 strands of Anchor 874 about 20cm long.  Put your needle in at the half way point and pull the thread through as though you are making a tiny stitch (as above) but only pull the thread half way through then take the needle off.  You are left with two tails about 10cm long.

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Now tie a knot close to the edge of the needlebook to fasten your threads there.

Do exactly the same on the opposite side of the needlebook

Now you can tie the threads together to close the needlebook as shown below

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I hope you enjoy stitching your little butterfly and (for those of us in the Northern Hemisphere) it reminds you that spring is on its way, especially when we get to February that longest shortest month!

Happy New Year and I will see you again in 2018

x

 

 

 

 


embroidered butterfly needlebook tutorial and free pattern (part one)

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I hope you have all enjoyed the winter celebrations and are looking forward to a wonderful New Year.  As a little thank you for all the lovely support you have given me over this past year I have created a little butterfly pattern that you can download here

I used it for the cover of a little needlebook but you could pop it anywhere.  I think it would look sweet on a little notebook cover.  You could add flowers or stitch lots of butterflies.

These are the threads I used for the butterfly

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DMC 598 blue

DMC 3854 orange

DMC 352 coral

DMC ecru

Anchor 874 gold (the equivalent DMC is DMC 834)

DMC 451 brown

 

a piece of cotton or linen (I used cotton calico) 17cm x 11cm

a piece of quilt batting 17cm x 11cm

a piece of co-ordinating lining fabric 17cm x 11cm (I used Liberty tana lawn Claire Aude D)

a piece of co-ordinating felt 14cm x 8cm

a number 7 crewel needle

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If you are making the needle book you need to fold your calico in half and trace the pattern onto the left side (what will be the front of the needlebook) using a removable pen (transferring patterns). 

Now, using 3 strands of DMC 598 and stem stitch outline the top wings of the butterfly.  Next, using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and stem stitch outline the lower wings.

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Now work on the upper wings stitching both in the same way.

Take 3 strands of DMC 352 and, using rows of back stitch fill the edging of the top wings on both sides as above.

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Now fill the tall triangles on the top wings using 3 strands of DMC 3854 and back stitch.

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Fill the circles with Anchor 874 and satin stitch, again using 3 strands.

Next fill the wings with ecru thread and back stitch.  I used a slightly longer stitch than usual for this part (about 3 - 4mm)  Just stitch lines of back stitch and then add more lines next to those until you have filled the whole area

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Next take 3 strands of DMC 451 and use back stitch to outline the body and stitch the antennae but not the tail

then fill the body with the same thread and stitch

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For the tail stitch alternate single stitches using first DMC ecru then DMC 451 until the tail is filled

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I stitched the very tip of the tail using DMC 451 and vertical stitches.

Next, using Anchor 874 and stem stitch embroider the lines on the lower wings.

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Pop coral french knots in between the gold lines as above using 3 strands DMC 352.

Next add more french knots to the top wings where indicated using 3 strands of DMC 352.

Add a coral french knot to the top of each antennae using the same.

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Once you have finished the butterfly stitching you need to place the embroidered calico onto the quilt batting ready to add the french knots and running stitch

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Leave a 1cm border all the way around as a seam allowance as shown.  Then stitch through the cotton and batting making lots of french knots (you could use seed stitch if you prefer) on the front cover.  

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For the back I drew straight lines 0.5cm apart and then stitched through the cotton and batting using running stitch

Tomorrow I will share how to stitch the needlebook together

x

 

part two of the tutorial