Hello friend, it’s already time for a new mini-embroidery pattern for the 2022 Tea Party Mini-Quilt Stitch-along! For August, we have a sweet little posy of hydrangeas in a vase, freshly picked from the garden and ready to adorn our tea table. I spent a very peaceful afternoon playing around with different stitches and colour combinations to embroider the hydrangeas, and thought I’d share a bit of my process with you here today.
An endlessly fascinating and beautiful subject, florals can be embroidered in about as many different ways as there are embroiderers. I absolutely love scrolling through Instagram or Pinterest to see how everyone likes to stitch flowers. There are so many lovely colours, and so many stitches to choose from! The best way to figure out what works best is to just try out different things and have fun.
August’s Hydrangea Posy
I absolutely love a good hydrangea bush, all puffy with big pastel pompoms. And when dried well, they look nearly just as good in a vase as they do crowding the front steps. They are also wonderful to look at during the colder months.
For this mini-embroidery pattern, I knew that the hydrangeas would be quite small so anything too detailed (like long & short stitch) would likely not work. French knots and lazy-daisy stitch are both so versatile and useful for depicting many kinds of flowers, especially for small subjects. So I had a go an embroidering hydrangeas with both stitches, and ran a little poll on Insta to see what people preferred.
The French knots won, but I admit I was more drawn to the lazy-daisy stitch version. I love the fullness that the French knots give, but I feel it could also be mistaken for other flowers (like chrysanthemums or zinnias) and looks a bit too abstract. The lazy-daisy stitches give it a bit more definition. You can place your stitches to form an “X” to imitate the petals, but since the flower was pretty small, they kinda crowded over each other and ended up looking a bit messy.
French Knots vs. Lazy-Daisy Stitches
I think the size of the flower greatly influences the type of stitch that works best. For a very small flower, the French knots are perfect for giving it dimension and texture. The lovely combination of the sweet shades of blue #3811 and #827 leave it with no mistake that it is in fact a hydrangea. (Plus, when it’s your embroidery, you can absolutely claim that it’s whatever flower you say it is, even if it doesn’t exist!). If I were stitching a hydrangea bush or flowering pot, I would definitely use French knots, since they would be depicted from even further away.
But for a single flower, I really do love the lazy-daisy stitches.
I made this one bigger, and used the same two shades of blue. It’s not as dimensional, but it does have more definition and works better for this size. The bigger is it, the easier it is to add details. If I were to stitch a much larger, detailed version, I would probably use satin stitch or long & short, and perhaps bullion knots to add some texture, much like I did for the lilac branch project.
This was a fun little exercise, but in the end I just couldn’t decide! Both versions ended up in the August pattern! Everything is stitched with 2 strands, but you can of course substitute the lazy-daisies for French knots or vice versa. Or use another stitch altogether, if you have another way to embroider hydrangeas! I’d love to know.
Also, if anyone has any great tips for drying hydrangeas to display, please let me know! The last bunch I tried failed miserably, and the ones I did manage from a few years ago have sadly lost most of their colour.
I hope you enjoyed these different ways to embroider hydrangeas, and that you enjoy stitching the August pattern. Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram (@northernbelle.atelier) and use the hashtag #northernbellesal. I always love to see your work!