Thursday, 30 September 2010

Flower petals

With the petals outlined with buttonhole stitch, they now need to be filled in.  I'm going to use split stitch for this, partly because it's historically accurate, but also because I like it. I've nothing against satin stitch or long and short, but for my own work, I prefer the subtlety of shading and the texture split stitch gives.

I'm using two colours for the petals - Madeira 0103 and 0104, with 0104 being the slightly darker of the two.  Even though the flowers are pretty small and the shading won't really be that noticeable unless someone gets up quite close, I think it's worth doing as otherwise the flowers could look quite flat, while hopefully with some shading, they should look more natural even if the technique used to achieve this isn't immediately obvious.  That's the plan, anyway!

So, I want each petal to be slightly darker at the centre of the flower.  I worked a band of stitches in 0104 around the central 'star':

This band is deliberately irregular, as I don't want the flowers looking stiff or formal, but want a softer line.

I'll go into more detail on this when I'm working on something a bit larger and it's easier to show what I'm doing, but I then added a second band that introduces the shading:

And then finally filled in the rest of the petals in the lighter shade, 0103, which is the one I used for the buttonhole outline:

As you can see, I've stitched over the buttonhole stitch 'legs'.  This completely covers the design lines that had been showing through.  As a bonus, the stitches over the legs around the edge are slightly higher than the ones that are not; this makes each petal slightly concave, and while it's hardly pronounced enough to qualify as stumpwork, it does help to make the flowers less flat and a little more natural.

Here are all the flowers, up to this stage, and almost completed:

To finish them off, I added a few French knots in the centre, in 0103:

So here are all of the very first sheet of flowers, completed:

I think they've turned out nicely, if I do say so myself!


  1. They are perfect Ruth! Beautiful work

  2. Looking lovely (tho I had to put on my sunglasses to tone the brightness of the photos down a bit - says the world's suckiest photographer)

    This is the FIRST sheet? How many are there to do? Will they vary in colour/design?

  3. Ruth,
    The flowers look really lovely! How many more do you have to do? How will you fasten them? I suppose I should be patient and wait.

  4. @Elmsley Rose: OK, I know! I never claimed to be much of a photographer! I'll try and do better in future, though I can't guarantee it.

    @Cynthia: I'll get onto the fastening bit later, though you are going to have to be a bit patient, I'm afraid.

    Both: I haven't counted the number of flowers as I didn't really want to know. 'Lots' is about as far as I got. You could check back on the design and have a go at counting them yourselves if you liked, though I'm not sure I want to know the answer!

  5. Sorry - it was rude of me to comment on the actual photography after me putting SO many really terrible photos on my own blog.

  6. It's ok - you're quite right and the photos aren't marvellous. I tell myself that I need a better camera or better lighting, but I think I'm just not that good at it, really. Though maybe with a big expensive camera I'd be better...

  7. Those flowers are lovely; such fantastic work.

    Thank you for taking us through how you work each flower. It is the next best thing to actually sitting next to you as you work :)