Thursday, February 25, 2021

Hopeful Flowers Week 4

It has been nice focusing on flowers while many of us have had nothing but cold, snowy weather. Here in Germany, we are experiencing a bit of spring weather, and the snowdrops and crocuses are starting to show their faces. I (Kara) can't believe we are on our last flower in this stitch along!

This week's block is one of my favorites—mainly because it has the cast-on stitch as the center focal point. The cast-on stitch can be a little tricky, but once you get the hang of it, you can do so many things with it. It is a cousin to the bullion stitch and is often used in Brazilian embroidery. The leaves in this block are also a favorite, because we have taken a basic stitch and amped it up by using two colors and two different types of thread. So without further ado, let's get started!

Block 4: Rose Flower

As in the previous blocks, we marked our stems using a light box or window and then hooped our block when doing the stitches for the stems.

Stitches used:

Cast-on, Hungarian braided chain, fly, and stem stitch

The cast-on stitch is, as I said, similar to the bullion stitch. It is helpful to use a milliners needle for this stitch, as the eye has the same width as the shaft of the needle, allowing for the wraps to pass the eye more easily. 

We will set the groundwork for our cast-on stitches by surrounding the center with blanket stitches in varying lengths forming an arc for each petal as shown below.

If you are a knitter, then the "cast-on" action might not be a problem for you. It is probably a little hard to show in pictures, so take a look at the videos we have linked for this stitch as well. 

Come up on a small blanket stitch.
Bring your needle down on the other small
blanket stitch and
back out where you came up.

I hold my needle straight up and take my
working thread and make my first loop/wrap.

The working thread needs to be underneath 
the loop.

Make enough wraps to curve over the blanket stitch arc.
Each stitch on the large flower has 25 wraps, 20 for the medium, 
and 16 for the small. That may vary depending on what thread you use.

Here you can see the "ridges" that form from the wraps.

When you have all your wraps on your needle, hold on to the wraps and pull the needle through.

Lay your wraps over the arc. You will need to bring your needle
underneath the wraps as shown so that the stitch lays flat
and that the ridges are on top.

Bring the needle down in the same spot that you came out before.

We are going to anchor our cast-on stitch
by coming up underneath it at the top
of our longest blanket stitch.
Bring your needle down in the cast-on stitch
just below the ridge.

The finished cast-on stitch.

Here is a little video to show how I do the cast-on stitch. (Please excuse my horrible winter hands!)

The Hungarian braided chain is similar to the heavy chain stitch but has a completely different look. This is a great go-to for a nice thick stem.

As we did in the heavy chain stitch, make 
a small stitch at the top of the line, and
then back up on the line below the stitch.
 Bring the back of your needle through 
the stitch.

Come back up a little below the stitch again.

Your first stitch should look like this.

Bring your needle to the back leaving
two loops on either side of the chain 
as shown.

Bring the back of your needle through
the little stitch at the top, but don't pull it
all the way through.

Bring the needle up on the line below the stitch.

Bring the back of the needle under the inner chain and
over the outer chain.

Pull the working thread snugly against the needle.

Bring the needle through leaving a loop on the right.

Complete the chain and leave a loop on the left.

Come up below the stitches on the line.

Bring the back of the needle under the inner chain and over the outer chain.

Pull the working thread snugly against the needle.
Continue on down the stem repeating the same steps.

The stitches on the leaves are very simple. We used a #8 pearl to make fly stitches down the center of the leaf and took the arms of the fly to the outside of the leaf. Then we took two strands of floss in a darker color and did fly stitches in between the previous ones.

To get your free download, follow these instructions:

1. Click on the link below that says Hopeful Flowers Block 4.
2. You will be directed to our What's Happening Page. It may ask you if you would like to go to that page, and if so, click the link provided.
3. Scroll down until you see the Hopeful Flowers wallhanging.
4. Follow the directions there for downloading your free pattern.

And just like that we have finished covering all four blocks! We hope you have enjoyed learning some unique new stitches. Embroidery can add so much to our wool and cotton appliqué—we really feel that it brings it to life. Do you have a favorite stitch from our four blocks? 

Next week we will wrap this project up and share how we completed our wallhanging, so stay tuned, and happy stitching!