Thursday, May 27, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Robin and Forsythia

While I (Kara) was in Germany, the only robins I saw were the smaller English robins. They are adorable, and we have brought them to life in other blocks that we have created. The halfway point of our In the Garden re-visit brings us to the Robin and Forsythia block, but this time our robin is the larger, but equally beautiful American Robin. Simple stitches will bring this robin to life, and he will look like he is ready to fly away!

This week, you can use the coupon code ROBIN10 to receive a 10% discount on the printed Robin pattern with ribbon.


Thursday, March 22, 2018

"In the Garden"—Robin and Forsythia

Spring is on it's way! Teri and I (Kara) saw evidence when we were down in Williamsburg, Virginia, at the Appliqué Academy a couple of weeks ago. The daffodils and forsythia were displaying their brilliant yellow for all to see, and the trees were just starting to have that faint, rosy cast as their buds start to swell. We even saw multiple bluebirds during our visit! With so many signs of spring, how appropriate is this month's In the Garden block, featuring two classic harbingers of spring; the robin and forsythia?

The robin and branch are wool and the forsythia flowers are made of lots of silk ribbon which is included in the pattern—soon available on our website!

The wool pieces went down first and the robin's breast was put down last. Before I stitched it down, I cut out a piece of polyester batting slightly smaller than the breast piece and put it underneath to give a little padding in that area. Then I stitched it down and began the embroidery.

All stitched down and ready for embroidery

I wanted to transform the color of the brown wool used for the body and did so by adding multiple straight stitches in a dark, brown, wool on the head—giving the head a darker look than the rest of the body. The satin-stitched eye is surrounded by two bullion stitches done in white. The white is also used for the throat and a couple of stitches near the eye.

The feather stitches add a subtle shading to the breast.
Once I finished the head, I moved on to the breast. I just wanted to add a little shading to highlight the padding, so I used a thread that is slightly darker than the wool and did about 3 rows of the feather stitch. It's subtle, but I think it works.

You can see the marks I made for the wing design. I used my white, roller ball pen to put those on the wing. A stem stitch was used for all the wing stitching, using a variegated, brown wool.

The tail is stitched with three rows of chain stitches done in the same dark brown wool as the head.

The last bit of embroidery needed was to add the legs. I used Press and Seal™ for the legs, tracing onto it with my white, pen. Pulling out the pieces of plastic can be a pain but it really works for transferring a design and a pair of tweezers helps to get the little bits out safely.

The traced legs
The first set of chain stitches
The finished legs

With the robin embroidery finished, it was time to move on to the forsythia. I went through once putting the yellow, silk, ribbon blooms on with straight stitches.

Round one of the forsythia blooms looked a little sparse.

After putting a few flowers on, I decided I needed to fill it in a bit more. I tried making a couple of forsythia with a lazy daisy stitch, but thought it didn't add to the look and just kept to the straight stitches.

The extra blooms did the trick.
French knots in the center were the final touch.

It was so fun to be back in the states and meet some of the ladies from our In the Garden classes. My extended time in the US, after going to the Academy, allowed me to attend and help teach this robin block. The ladies were awesome, and they did such a great job bringing their robins to life.

Getting ready to stitch some forsythia!
Stitching friends.

What a treat to be able to spend time with these ladies!

The Robin and Forsythia pattern will be available on our website early next week, because Teri is vacationing and unable to mail your orders. She will have it on the website ( on Monday!

If you have made any of our In the Garden patterns, we would love to see pictures!

Past posts in the BOM series:

Thursday, May 20, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Rose

Both Kara and I (Teri) have June birthdays, so it is no surprise that we enjoy creating roses. You will see them in many of our designs—in fabric, ribbon, and embroidery. And thus, we knew we would dedicate a block In the Garden to our June flower, the Rose. We layered the petals and accentuated them with stitching and a sprinkle of beaded dewdrops. As you'll see, there are other ways to interpret the pattern. How will your rose bloom?

We love when stitchers make the patterns their own:
one student shared her dimensional rose, created with a
long strip of hand-dyed wool, twisted and tacked in place.
There's always room for adventure—even with roses!

You can find our Rose pattern—and all of the In the Garden patterns—in our website shop. This week, you can use the coupon code ROSE10 to receive a 10% discount on the printed Rose pattern with ribbon.


Wednesday, February 14, 2018

"In the Garden"—Rose

Happy Valentine's Day! In the spirit of the holiday, we stitched a rose for our garden this month. Whether the red rose signifies love or warm, summer days for you, who doesn't enjoy the beauty of this perennial floral favorite?

While the rose is made with wool, the buds are created using wired ribbon, adding a different texture, and of course, a bit of fun! We also added beads around the bloom for a bit of sparkle—a hint of early morning sun shining on dew drops, perhaps. 

This new block in our In the Garden Block of the Month series is now available on our website, and it comes with the ribbon needed to stitch the buds and calyxes. Here are a few highlights of the rose.

The leaves are placed and appliquéd, and then the rose petals. Each petal is surrounded by a chain stitch. A feather stitch creates the leaf veins, and a blanket stitch with the spokes going outward toward the tip form the serration of the leaves.

The folded rosebud used a 2-inch piece of wired ribbon. From the center point, each half is folded down at a 45-degree angle, so that the edges meet. 


Using the wired edge on the back, fold down again to shape the ribbon bud so that it will fit neatly behind the sepal pieces. 

For the smaller bud, use a 3/4-inch piece of ribbon. Fold raw edges under as pictured below, and then angled, so that it will be covered by the wool piece.


When the buds are the desired shape and size, place them on the background and tack them so they are secure, but the stitches will not be seen. Appliqué the wool sepal pieces on top of the ribbon buds with matching thread. 

Using hand-dyed 4mm-wide silk ribbon, twist your ribbon and do a
long straight stitch to create the small stems between the rose and the buds. 

Create the small leaves at the base of the buds using a ribbon stitch with that same ribbon.
Using wool thread, do small feather stitches randomly around the buds.

Two bullion stitches top the smaller bud, but you could also use the twisted ribbon, if you choose. Finally, attach size 15 red seed beads randomly within the chain stitches around the rose petals.

We had a great time making our roses bloom in our class at
Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks...

...and we were excited to see what next month will bring to our gardens!

If you would like to join us In the Garden, all the patterns for the first five months are now available on our website: Any ribbon needed to complete the patterns is included with the pattern. Our newest addition is, of course, the Rose.


Past posts in the BOM series:

Thursday, May 13, 2021

"In the Garden" Again: Cardinals and Holly

Use coupon code CARDINAL10 for
10% off the printed block pattern. 

We are certainly stitching through the seasons quickly! This week, we might stitch a bit of snow onto our holly leaves. When I (Teri) first made this block, it seemed to call for a few snowflakes glistening on the holly leaves. But I always thought this would make a lovely stocking, so last fall, I did a bit of rearranging and designed the Cardinals and Holly Stocking pattern. I skipped the snow on that one. So you see, there are always options, depending on your mood!


Thursday, January 25, 2018

"In the Garden"—Cardinals and Holly

We are spanning the seasons In the Garden! The January block in our BOM series is Cardinals and Holly, seen prolifically here in Maryland in the winter. How about where you live?

We're having a wonderful time in our monthly classes at Primitive Homespuns Wool & Needleworks. A number of ladies have been there every month, and some just choose a favorite block or two and join those classes. We tell some stories, and share quite a few laughs. Stitching with friends is always a fun time! If you can't join us at the shop, you can still stitch along with us: the patterns are available on our website——and the Cardinals have joined the garden.

Here is a photo tour of how these birds took flight.

The branches were stitched first, and then all the other components
were stapled to the background to keep them in place while stitching.

I like the puff that is achieved when I appliqué and embroider
the units; I miss that when it is fused.

With everything in place, this made some great car trip stitching
when we traveled from Florida to Maryland.

I used Valdani #12 pearl cotton for the center vein.
To be sure I stitched the arc in the outer veins, I marked them
with my chalk pencil, which easily disappeared after stitching.

Whenever I stitch a bird, I feel oddly compelled to include some feather and fly stitches.
The tail is filled with "feathers" and the wing with "fly"—of course!

I stitched the berries in place, and thought that I could be finished.
But it is winter, after all, so I decided a bit of snow might be nice.  

I added random straight stitches and knots with Weeks Dye Works floss—aptly named Snowflake.
Do you know how many variations of white floss there are? It took me a while to find just the right one.
I confess, the name helped me decide!

A few size 15 beads added some sparkly ice to the snow.

Mr. Cardinal looks rather happy!


We had some Show and Tell with blocks—in progress or finished—from previous classes.

Kara and I are enjoying creating our wooly/ribbony garden. Embellishing with embroidery is always our favorite part, and these blocks give us plenty of opportunity for that. The Cardinals and Holly pattern is now available on our website, both in digital and hard copy format, as well as all the patterns in the series thus far.

We would love to have you join us In the Garden!

Cardinals and Holly

Past posts in the BOM series: