Since I began my year of stitchiness, I have surprised myself by falling back in love with cross stitch. I have managed to draft a number of my own designs and have been working away at them diligently. However, repeating the same stitch over and over can get rather dull so I generally try to have at least one embroidery project on the go for a little variety. Yesterday I realised that I had only been working on cross stitch for the last couple of weeks and I had started to notice my creative energy and enthusiasm had dropped considerably. It was time for action!
I decided the occasion called for another of my flower windows. For a quick and easy pop of colour and texture, in my opinion, they cannot be beaten. Flower windows are simple to do and give me the opportunity to work as many different embroidery stitches as I may care to.
It starts with some floral fabric. Those lovely, vintage bedsheets are the very best because they have nice bold, defined flower shapes. The picture above is pretty much all of the fabric I carried to Italy with me. They are not big pieces but I have found that by cutting carefully, I have been able to get several projects out of them and I still have plenty leftover. You could work a similar project with any pictures or shapes printed on fabric so, if you wanted to try this project, I would really encourage looking at what fabric you may already have before buying any more.
I selected the shapes I wanted, cut around them, backed them with Bondaweb and then cut out the shape properly. Because the flowers overlap each other a lot, I used some of the flowers right on the edge of the fabric, so as little as possible was used up. I find it useful to cut out a small number of flowers, and add more if required.
I then started positioning the flowers on the backing fabric as I wanted them. I used very cheap cotton for the backing – it didn’t matter too much what it looked like because it won’t be seen. The only requirement is that it doesn’t stretch easily. I wasn’t going for an arrangement, as such, I just want to make sure I had a nice balance of colour to fill the mount. I also wanted to make sure that as little of the backing fabric as possible is showing through. I don’t worry if a little does though – I can fill those in later. It is useful to have the mount to hand to position over the work so you have an idea if it is working out. When I was happy with how it looked I ironed it all down so the Bondaweb fused them to the backing fabric.
This is is the composition with the mount over it. I try to take a picture at this point so I can be clear about the area I will be working. I will also mark the area with a running stitch. This is important because some of the appliqué will be hidden by the mount. If I work the whole piece, my embroidery will stop the mount from resting on the backing fabric fully and can spoil the effect.
Here it is without the mount on. It looks a bit peculiar at this stage! Now I am ready for the fun part: decided what colour floss to add and which stitches to use. Embellishing in this way really brings the piece to life. I could brighten it up, tone it down or just enhance what is is already there.
Because the window is relatively small this time, I am considering the Spring palette I mentioned in this post (I haven’t managed to start the Spring Fair Isle pattern yet!). When I get going with the stitching, I will grab my small jar of buttons and beads and see what else I want to add. As for the stitches – it is now a matter of whatever I fancy doing! I like to challenge myself to add at least one stitch I have never done before. Does anyone have any unusual stitch suggestions?!
I will let you know this project progresses.