Thursday, February 4, 2021

Tea and Blooms

What a wonderful week this has been! We released our Potted Petals Mystery Stitch Along block (#4)—Tea and Blooms—to such an overwhelming response. Many thanks to all of you who have visited our website, downloaded the free digital pattern, and ordered kits or printed patterns. We are humbled and grateful.

If you haven't yet gotten your free pattern, it is not too late! The digital download will remain available for free throughout the stitch along. Click HERE to learn more.

I (Teri) thought I'd share a few photos of the steps I took as I stitched this block to give you an idea of how we created our dimension and embellishments for our block. We hope you will enjoy stitching up this lovely teapot as much as we did! Just wait until you see the project Kara has created with the block she made...but you'll have to—wait, that is. 

If you are new to wool appliqué, you can check out our post describing the techniques we use for preparing our projects by clicking HERE.

After cutting out the pattern pieces, I used my 12-inch square ruler to be sure I had the everything within the design area. I would suggest lightly marking that 12-inch design square on your background fabric before laying everything out on your background.

The pattern gives instructions about the order of placement of the pattern elements. If you choose to use a fusible, we recommend NOT adding the fusible to the purples or the white, so that your flowers will have dimension. We use a regular appliqué stitch around the table, books, teapot, and cup (including their design pieces.) The lace is just tacked down with white thread along the edges and in several places throughout to prevent it from buckling.

With a piece of wool roving, roll it between your hands to get the fibers to blend and felt together a bit. Manipulate it to the shape you want to fit at the top of your cup. You could use some pins or felting needles if you have them, and poke the wad of roving into a piece of foam or a pillow to further felt the it a bit. BEFORE fusing the cup in place, place the roving at the top of the cup so the cup overlaps the bottom of the roving; then fuse.

Use your needle and a fine matching thread to shape the wool as you stitch around the edges. Take some tack stitches randomly throughout the green to keep it in place. Ultimately, you will be adding embroidery and a flower, which will also help to secure it.

To create the ribbon leaves, thread the ribbon into a chenille needle—it has a long, flat eye—and bring the ribbon up between two red circles. Make a ribbon stitch: gently smooth the ribbon in the direction of your leaf and hold it smooth with your thumb, then take the needle down into the center of the ribbon where you want the point to be and carefully pull the ribbon to the back. Do not tug tightly or you will lose your point. You could also just make a straight stitch with the ribbon and also get a leaf. Be SURE to pull the ribbon gently! If it is tight, you just have a curled spoke of ribbon. Easy does it! 
I used a chalk pencil to mark a circle in the center of the red circles on the teapot/cup designs. Using red pearl cotton, I made a star shape, with five straight stitches going from the center to the outer edge of the circle. 

Using all six strands of orange floss, come up at the center of the star and weave your way around the star, going over and under the spokes and pushing your threads toward the center. Because there is an odd number of spokes, you will achieve a woven look. 

Continue around the circle until you have covered the spokes. To finish your woven wheel circles, take your thread to the back at the point where you go under the final spoke and knot off your thread. To see a video of this stitch, click HERE

With orange floss, you will stitch a stem stitch along both sides of the blue stripes. 
To achieve symmetry in the designs beside the flowers, I trace them onto PressN'Seal with a white gel pen and placed it on my design. I could then use a ruler to check to be sure they were straight and balanced. Using blue pearl cotton thread, follow the design with French or colonial knots. Gently hold the knots and pull the paper away from your stitches when you are finished. Two tips: a milliners needle makes the best knots because of the way it is shaped, and tweezers are a helpful tool in removing any hard-to-get pieces of the plastic paper. 

I did not fuse the leaves down, because I wanted to have them look a bit puffy, so at this point I stapled my leaves in place and appliquéd them down. You could fuse them if you wish; it is a matter of preference. After they were appliquéd, I surrounded each leaf with a chain stitch, and then stitched a series of fly stitches in the center of each leaf for the veins. Using my chalk pencil, I traced the stems and stitched those using a pekinese stitch. (To see that stitch, click HERE.)

I used the same technique for the lettering as for the knotted design on the teapot and cup. BLOOMS is stitched with a backstitch, and TEA is stitched using a stem stitch.

You can write whatever you want at the top of the books, or nothing at all. I made some tea leaves and put the date, because after the crazy year of 2020....

...I am full of hope that 2021 will bloom!!

To make the chamomile, I cut out the white circles and made 8 to 11 snips around the circle, as pictured. Then I smoothed out one edge of the petals, all the way around, so the points were curved.

I turned the flower over, and I smoothed the pointed edges of the other side of the petals all the way around, so that each petal was rounded. Small, sharp scissors are essential for this step! Continue to shape the petals until you are satisfied. But remember: there are no perfect petals—give yourself permission to have each petal be unique. (Or you'll got crazy trying!)

Mark a small circle in the center of each flowers. Place the chamomile blossoms where you want them to be and put a small mark on your background for placement. Stitch them on by filling the circles with knots. We used wool thread. The petals are not appliquéd or fused down; they are allowed to blow in the wind.

Using my chalk pencil, I traced where the stems would be stitched, and I used floss to feather-stitch the greenery. Note that this photo has a few more flowers that the pattern ends up having; the chamomile was overpowering the block, so a few of mine got pruned. The greenery remained. 

The violets are similarly made, but are attached with three beads in the center rather than the knots. I suggest stitching the violets first, as the chamomile petals are more fragile because the petals are smaller. From this angle, you can see the dimension added by leaving the petal free and unstitched.

The butterfly is pretty basic: seed stitches in the orange sections, that are surrounded by a stem stitch. The butterfly is stitched to the background using a blanket stitch with the wool thread from the chamomile centers. His body is a heavy chain stitch (see tutorial HERE) and two bullion stitches—one at the bottom and a curved one at the top for his head. You can create his antennae either by bending a flower pistil (included in our kit) in half and tacking it at the V beneath his head, or by stitching pistil stitches (or straight stitches with knots at the end.)

I hope that gives you a visual idea of the techniques we used in creating this design. If you have any questions, feel free to email us, or better yet, join the Potted Petals Facebook group to see if your questions might help other stitchers as well!

The digital download will be available for free until mid-April. Be sure to put the correct pattern in your cart—only the DIGITAL pattern is free—and type in the code PETALS; this cost will go to $0. If it doesn't, check to see if you have the printed pattern in your cart. That is available for purchase if you want, but it is not free, and the code will not work for the printed version. If you would like to purchase a wool kit, thread kit, or printed pattern, those are available on the website as well.

This might be one of my favorites; I had so much fun creating this block. How can you go wrong with tea, books, flowers, and a butterfly?!

Happy stitching!!


  1. WOW! What a beautiful pattern (thank you) and your tutorial is top notch! Much appreciated.

  2. I love all the wonderful detail in this block. Thank you!

  3. This is a gorgeous pattern - one of the best I've seen -- and the tutorial is so helpful.

  4. Wow! Thank you so much for this excellent tutorial! This was really incredibly kind of you. Now I have the confidence to tackle your lovely block.

  5. Wow, this is so helpful, so glad you took the time to share!

    1. Sorry for the delayed response! We are so happy that you found it helpful. Happy Stitching!