Thursday, August 24, 2017

Flora and Fauna of Germany: A Free Pattern Stitch-Along

Welcome to our first Stitch-Along!

Our first design inspiration for our Block of the Month Stitch-Along is this beautiful butterfly. While I am not a lepidopterist, I believe this particular butterfly is a fritillary of some type. A couple of months ago, they could be seen everywhere along our paths, and I thought this would be a fun image to use for our first block. 

As I mentioned in last week's post, the goal for this project is to create relatively simple blocks that are suitable for cotton appliqué, wool appliqué, or embroidery, and can be finished easily. In each block, I will share how it was put together, along with any stitches I may have used to embellish it. Without further ado, let's get started!

A week ago, I showed some of the fabrics being considered for this butterfly. I knew that I was going to use the natural colored linen for the background, but I was undecided about what I would use for the butterfly. The final choice was the lovely piece of hand-dyed wool by Tracy Trevethan.

The first step was to get my leaves down. My favorite method of appliqué is back-basting so I transferred the design to the back of my fabric using transfer paper and began to get my leaf pieces ready to stitch.

Design on back of block

Back basted and ready to needleturn

All three leaves appliquéd

I cut out the butterfly from the pattern and pinned it to my background using the leaves, the image on the back, and my window to get the placement correct. 

Ready to trace and cut out

Pinned and ready to stitch

I used one strand of matching embroidery floss to stitch the butterfly down, but if you have matching sewing thread, that would work as well.

All stitched down and ready for embroidery

Transferring a design to embroider on top of wool can be a challenge. My preferred method is to use Glad® Press 'N' Seal® plastic wrap.

1. Put a square of Press 'N' Seal over the design.

2. Use a rollerball pen or sharpie and trace the design onto the plastic wrap. (I use white pens that I buy here.)

The design is traced.

Ready to place on wool
3. Once the design is traced, place the plastic wrap onto the butterfly, aligning the edges as pictured below. Pin all around the plastic for added protection against shifting as you stitch.

4. Stitch through the plastic wrap following the designs. Once all the embroidery is done, remove the plastic by using your finger to press on the embroidery as you remove the plastic wrap with tweezers.

Stitches and threads used
#5 brown pearl cotton for the French knots on wings and for head (Sue Spargo Eleganza color #EZM02)
3 strands of brown floss (Weeks Molasses)  for the chain-stitched thicker lines on the butterfly
2 strands of brown floss  (Weeks Molasses)for the stem-stitched, thin lines on wings
3 strands of variegated yellow/orange floss (Weeks Marigold) for stem stitch around butterfly, except for the top of the wings
#5 pearl cotton for stem stitch around butterfly body (Sue Spargo Eleganza color #EZM07)
#12 pearl cotton (Valdani M90) for bullion knots on bottom wings, outline stitch on top of wings, chain stitches on butterfly body, stem-stitched antennae with a chain stitch at the end, and chain stitches for leaf stem

The finished butterfly!

A close-up of the embroidery.

I really wanted to keep the palette for this butterfly as close to the real one as possible, but these designs are meant to be interpreted in any way you choose. If you would rather not use wool, try a solid cotton or a print. With variety in mind, I decided to do another butterfly and let the fabric's print take the place of the embroidery.

A fussy cut butterfly!

I was able to use the viscose ribbon tape I had purchased from Oliver Twists Fibres for the body,
along with some Weeks Dye Works  #12 pearl cotton color #1282

Two different versions of the same pattern and both very different. You can use your imagination to interpret this butterfly in many different ways. Hopefully these two will inspire you to get started!

All of the threads I used and the finished butterflies!

Will you join us as we stitch along together?  Each month, we will have a new free block that you can download as a PDF and print. You don't have to sign up for anything, or even commit to doing a certain number of blocks—just stitch! Feel free to ask any questions along the way or share your own tips. We'd love to be inspired by everyone's blocks and by sharing pictures of your version, you can do just that. When you complete a block, please post a picture of it on our Facebook page. For every block picture you share, you will earn an entry for our grand finale giveaway!

Are you ready? Let's stitch!

Download the butterfly pattern by clicking here.


  1. Beautiful. Thanks for sharing. Now all I need is time!

  2. How will we know when a new pattern is available?

    1. It will most always be the same time of month and we will let you know via Facebook and Instagram. I hope you will join us!

  3. What a sweet project! Yes I agree with Wendy I also wish there were more hours in a day. LOL Thank you so much for giving us this free design and I look forward to doing a project you each month. Do you have a newsletter that we can sign up to.

    1. You are welcome!. If you add your email to the box at the top of this post, our posts will come to your inbox each week. You will receive an email from blogger asking you to confirm that you want to follow us. Once you confirm, you will receive the posts. We look forward to doing this project with you!

  4. Great ideas, can't wait to start. Thanks Vivian Shea

  5. The butterfly size is about 4.5 by 4.5 inches. It is the correct size?

  6. Easily, the article is actually the best topic on this registry related issue. I fit in with your conclusions and will eagerly look forward to your next updates. Just saying thanks will not just be sufficient, for the fantasti c lucidity in your writing. I will instantly grab your rss feed to stay informed of any updates. قصص