Are you surrounded by colorful, cheerful, bright flowers today? I hope so; a spot of nature always refreshes, and even more so when it comes in the form of beautiful, aromatic flowers. Where I am on the east coast of the United States, spring has everything in bloom. It has me inspired to share four creative ideas for making stitched flowers—that is, for making stitched flowers that stand out. No need to be dull when it comes to this motif. Nature is dimensional, colorful, textural…carry these features along into your embroidery.
1. Outline them with metallic threads. This is the simplest way to make a flower stand out, no matter what you’ve used to stitch your flower. Simply work a backstitch in a metallic thread (to contrast with cotton, wool, or silk floss), or couch a decorative thread around the motif. You will be amazed at how it transforms your design.
2. Stitch the centers in metallic threads. Flower centers are usually totally different than the petal part of the plant. Use this contrast as a texture opportunity, with threads and stitches as your medium. I am a fan of making flower centers stand out by using a shimmery metallic thread. Again, the contrast with a silk, cotton, or wool petal will be eye-catching and refreshing.
3. Add beads. Generally, I’m not a big fan of beads because I seem to lose more than I actually stitch onto my work. However, they are beautiful additions to any embroidery, especially flowers. You are working on layers in a floral motif, so make one of them a beaded stitch. It’s an easy and effective technique.
4. Make them dimensional. While everything I’ve mentioned so far creates dimension in a stitched flower, here I am suggesting that you make the flower separate from your embroidery, then applique it onto your design. If you dabble in crochet, tatting, punchneedle, or other stitching areas, now is a great time to combine them with embroidery. It’s fun, creative, and makes a design into a handmade bouquet.
Dena Lenham, aka KreinikGirl, is Creative Director at Kreinik Manufacturing Company, a family-owned, USA-based business that manufactures high-quality yarns and threads made of metallics, silks and real metals from their West Virginia factory. Dena’s monthly column, Kreinik Calling, sheds light on the fascinating fibres that we all use and love.