Hello! It feels like a while since I posted anything here, and now it’s already 2023! Happy New Year to you and I hope you are having a lovely January so far. I’m thrilled to announce a new stitch-along again for this year, free to all my email subscribers.
If you’re new around here (warmest welcome!), last year I ran the Tea Party Mini-Quilt stitch-along, which consisted of 12 mini-embroidered hexies turned into a mini-quilt. The project combined embroidery, EPP and hand-quilting, and was tons of fun! Each month, I sent out a small embroidery pattern to my email subscribers, and at the end of the year I put together instructions for making the hexies into a mini-quilt. (You can find more info about it in the post linked above)
This year, my theme will be “Floral Garden” and instead of a mini-quilt, we will be making a nice string of bunting. It’s something I’ve been meaning to try for a while now and this project will be the perfect opportunity. Of course, if you prefer to make a mini-quilt again, or anything else you fancy, feel free to do so!
The January Anemone
For January, I’m starting off with a fanciful version of a white anemone, after having been inspired amongst other things by this beautiful wreath from Stitch Floral. I knew I wanted a blue flower for January, and after much Pinterest scrolling and deliberation over the palest DMC shades, I finally settled on two beautiful blues and the palest purple and sat down to stitch.
Of course, I had to do a little needle-painting to get the effect I was looking for, and I wasn’t disappointed! Since it’s a mini-pattern, it doesn’t take too long to stitch and yet it yields a very satisfying result. If you’re new to needle-painting, fear not! Not every pattern in this stitch-along will feature needle-painting, and to make things easier I’ve put together a little tutorial for you, specifically for this flower.
I already have a tutorial for the long & short stitch here, which is the technique most often used and referred to as “needle-painting”, but I wanted to simplify it a bit for this project. Since the pattern is so small, you don’t need to work many rows and the shape is quite forgiving. The addition of the grey-blue thread around the center will also hide any imperfections 😉
You could decide to use the satin stitch if you prefer, but personally I find the long & short easier to get a better definition and control of each stitch.
Easy Long & Short Stitch Tutorial
1. So, to begin, you want to be using only 1 strand of floss in your needle. This is one of those stitches that is much harder to lay smoothly if you use many strands. (I’m using a darker blue for this tutorial than I did in the original pattern, for the sake of the photos.)
Start by outlining the shape with split stitch. This will give you a nice edge to work with.
Then, start your first “long” or “short” stitch in the middle of the petal, outside the split stitch edge. We want to be covering this edge by using it as our guide to start stitches evenly.
2. Work more stitches on either side of that first stitch, spaced out, in the direction you want your stitches to go. For this project, you want to angle them towards the center as much as possible, to create definition along the edges.
3. Begin filling in-between those guiding stitches by working “long” and “short” stitches. Since this is a small area, it doesn’t matter if most of your stitches are about the same length. It will end up looking a bit like satin stitch, but gives you more flexibility to work around the curved edges.
Keep your stitches nice and tight against each other – you don’t want any gaps! You can use the tip your needle to smooth out and “comb” through the stitches before making the next one.
4. You don’t need to stitch all the way to the bottom of the petal, since we will add the darker blue there. Stop when you have just a little bit left.
5. Add stitches with the grey-blue colour by starting through the previous row and ending right along the center edge. You will only need to add a few stitches with this colour, just to give it that extra pop and really make the petals come out. Vary the lengths of the stitches so you have visibly long and shorter ones.
And there you go! You’ll notice that the petals will sort of melt into each other, but that’s ok! The more you keep your stitches angled, the more definition they’ll have.
I hope this was helpful and I can’t wait to see your beautiful anemones! Don’t forget to tag me on Instagram and use the hashtag #northernbellesal if you share your creations. Happy stitching!