Happy Easter, dear friend! I hope you had a lovely long weekend, full of Spring’s blessings and renewed gratitude for the mystery of the Resurrection. What a beautiful holiday Easter is! It’s always been one of my favourite times of year. April is very unpredictable here, all sunshine and birdsong one day, cold and snowy the next. Today, unfortunately, is the latter. The flowers have yet to appear, but despite the snow the grass is greener and the birds are nesting. While I seek to appreciate Spring’s slow appearance, the flowers of my dreams are in full bloom in my embroidery atelier. In today’s post I’ll be showing you my latest creation: a soft pink, needle-painted lily.
Buy this pattern in my Etsy shop: Lovely Pink Lily
If you’ve been following me for a while, you might remember that I embroidered a pink lily last summer as part of my Garden Bouquet project. It was mostly done with ribbon which created a beautifully raised effect.
I really loved that lily, and had been wanting to re-embroider it in a different technique for Easter. I know Easter lilies are usually white, but I kept visualizing it in pink and decided to keep it that way. I wanted a soft, pale pink lily embroidered in needle-painting.
I’m still learning so much about needle-painting techniques, but I’m very pleased with how it turned out! It seemed to go much quicker than when I was working on the wild roses in the bouquet. I tried to keep it simple and not use too many colours. The petals are done with 5 different shades of DMC cotton floss, and the stem and leaves with only 2 shades. Simple, but lovely.
Learn to Needle-Paint!
Needle-painting can be really intimidating at first, but if you break it down bit by bit, it becomes very manageable. If you already draw or paint, you will likely find it easier since it’s so dependent on direction. The main stitch used for needle-painting is the long & short stitch, which allows you to control the length and direction of every single stitch. The fewer strands you use, the more precise and fine your work will be.
For my lily, I used only 1 strand to work the long & short stitch. I found it helpful to divide each petal into smaller sections (lightly marked in pencil on the fabric) to help decide where to place each colour.
It worked really well, and also helped immensely to keep the stitches going in the right direction. A flower is an excellent subject for long & short stitch practice, and you can check out this tutorial I posted a few weeks ago if you’d like to give it a try!
The lily design is now available to download in my Etsy shop! It’s perfect for anyone wanting to give this technique a try, or simply refine their skills. I have included lots of diagrams to help with colour distribution and stitch direction. 😉
Which other flowers would you like to see in this style? I’m thinking of working on the wild roses again, and giving them an embroidery piece of their own. Then perhaps I will try a flower that isn’t pink, haha! It’s so nice to work with pink shades, though.
I wanted to talk about fabric for a minute, to praise the absolutely lovely cotton I used for this needle-painted lily! Most often, I use fabric scraps from my stash for my projects (though I recently fell in love with antique linen), but there are only so many “scrappy” fabrics that are suitable for larger embroideries. I prefer to work with natural fibers, but good quality cotton or linen can be a bit hard to find for a good price sometimes. Which is why I was so happy to discover that IKEA sells some beautiful cottons at a very reasonable price!
I used the white Ditte cotton for this project and it worked amazingly well. It’s very lightweight so I doubled it, stitching through two layers instead of one. I hadn’t really tried that before, but I love it! It certainly adds stability and prevents threads at the back from showing through. I basted the two layers together along the hoop allowance so they wouldn’t shift, and it was perfect.
Highly recommend popping by IKEA for some fabric if you don’t know where to get good cotton. They were out of stock on a lot of them, but luckily they still had that dreamy white, and an icy grey-blue of the same name.
What fabric do you like to embroider on? And if you’re in Canada, where else do you like to buy fabric?
I hope you enjoyed taking a peek at my new project, and I look forward to releasing the pattern soon! Hopefully before long, the lilies will be back in my garden in full bloom. Until then, let’s keep stitching!
Happy Easter again dear kindred spirit, and until next time,
Kathryn J says
This is beautiful Anne! such a pretty pink lily and a perfect subject for needle painting as well as ribbon embroidery. It can be fun trying different techniques for the same subject. Needle painting is something I hope to spend more time with and I have several Trish Burr projects lined up ready to go soon. I am going to be using the Belgian linen fabric I bought through her shop as I’ve found it hard to obtain anything quite so fine and firm in the UK. I’ll let you know how I get on with it, but the IKEA fabric sounds interesting. I’ll have to pick up a piece to try next time we shop there. Thank you for the tip and I look forward to seeing your future flowery additions to this design series.
Thank you so much, dear Kathryn! It’s funny because I usually don’t like the idea of stitching the same thing twice, but since ribbonwork and needle-painting are so different, it felt like a completely different project. I can’t wait to see which Trish Burr projects you’ll stitch! Her work is so gorgeous. I’m hoping to embroider one of her bird designs this year, and also her little pansies. I’d love to know how the Belgian linen works out! It certainly looks very beautiful. The IKEA cotton worked incredibly well, and it was only 4$ a meter! I was so sad they were out of the natural-coloured one.