It's now time to start applying the flowers to the velvet panel fabric. This is a big moment, and rather a nerve-wracking one, though I suppose the worst that can happen is that I make a mess of a flower and need to stitch it again, which I don't want to have to do, but which wouldn't be the end of the world.
So with that calming thought in mind, here goes. With the grid in place it shouldn't make any difference where I start adding the flowers, but I've decided to build the design up by starting in the centre and working outwards. This seems the best way to see it develop and to make sure it's balanced, but does have the down side that this makes the cowslip the very first flower I have to do. This is the fiddliest shape of the lot, though I suppose once I've done this one, the rest should be easy!
With a deep breath, I cut out the cowslip flower heads and leaves very roughly:
Then, with very sharp embroidery scissors, I cut them out properly, leaving a small edge around the flower itself:
The biggest one is the most central, so that goes first: using the grid drawn on the design for reference, I positioned it on the panel fabric, and started to stitch it in place. To do this, I used one strand of the shade I used to edge the flower, in this case Madeira 0105, so that the stitches used to hold the applied piece in place shouldn't be visible.
Using small stitches a few millimetres apart, I caught the cut out flower head down; each stitch went just inside the buttonhole stitch edging:
Here's the flower head, completely stitched into place:
And all three flower heads and the leaves:
I should stress that this is not the final version - I know the cut linen edging looks a bit rough, but don't worry: once all the flowers are in position, I'll edge them all with gold, which will cover the rough edges up and finish the flowers nicely. I'll also add the stalks, and some other goldwork detailing, but that's all to come.
I must say I'm very pleased with the red infill stitches between some of the individual cowslip flowers. Apart from the fact they look rather neater at the moment, I don't think you can tell that they're stitched and not the red velvet showing through.