Hello dear friend, and welcome to the second instalment of the Garden Bouquet project: the wild roses! (Click here for Part 1 if you missed it)
I’ve worked long and hard on this part, so I’m really excited to share it with you. We will be looking at the wild roses today! Roses are probably my favourite flower (although I kinda love any flower), and it was a real delight to bring these to life.
My plan from the beginning was to embroider the wild roses in needle-painting style using the long & short stitch. I knew they would probably take the longest to stitch out of all the elements in the bouquet, so I decided to do them first. They did indeed take forever. That’s the downside of needle-painting with one strand, but the results are worth it!
Here’s a little breakdown of all the threads I used for my wild roses:
First, I stitched the branches. That was the easiest part, I actually used two strands and took pretty big stitches. The blending is pretty careless, and it looks a little chunky in certain spots. This was (semi) intentional to give the branches a more natural look. I could have used more than one shade of brown to add more dimension, but decided to keep it simple and only used DMC #898.
Next, I tackled the leaves, since they are more in the background than the flowers themselves. I also stitched them using long & short stitches, in a few different shades of green. Each leaf is fairly small so I knew the shading would be a bit tricky, but I think it turned out really well.
I started by outlining each petal with a split stitch, using one strand of green floss. Since the outline ends up being entirely covered, it doesn’t really matter which shade you pick. Ideally not the darkest (sometimes it can be seen through the stitches), unless the stitches covering the outline will be dark as well.
Once the shape is outlined, I begin making long & short stitches in one shade of green to cover a certain area. Here I sometimes used two strands to go a little faster, but results are definitely nicer with only one strand. I planned in advance where I wanted the shade to hit my leaves, and which part of the leaves would require darker thread. Wild rose leaves have darker veins, so I knew the middle of my leaves would be darker.
I also tried to create a jagged edge to each leaf to make them appear natural. Wild rose leaves have tiny little dark red thorns all around them, but I decided to just leave it at green since my leaves were very small. I created the jagged edge by ending stitches a little further than the splitstitched outline (usually stitches are evenly placed just outside that edge) and spacing them out.
I used DMC #3363 and Brillanté d’Alger #594 to cover the leaves in long & short stitches, and then added a few more stitches in DMC #3345 to create the veins and add a bit more shadow as desired.
Here’s a look at the finished leaves:
Once the branches and leaves were complete, it was finally time to stitch the rose flowers. They were hands-down the most time-consuming part of this entire project by a long shot, but I loved making them. Working with so many pinks was absolutely fantastic! Definitely a colour palette I really like.
I used the same approach as I did with the leaves. Splitstitch outline each petal first, then gradually fill with long & short stitches to create the needle-painting effect.
I played around with my different shades of pink a lot before deciding which ones I’d use, and how I’d use them. I had recourse to Trish Burr’s fabulous book Colour Confidence in Embroidery to help me out a bit. In particular, I observed and analyzed the shading in the French Rose project. It’s a red rose, but it gave me a good idea of where to place my lighter and darker shades.
I still experimented as I went along, and if you look closely at each finished flower you can easily see that they’re all different, and that most petals within the same flower are also different. The effect isn’t always very realistic, but for the purposes of the project, it works. 😊 I’ll be honest, I’m really no expert in long & short stitch. I’m still playing around with it, practicing, and learning how to do it better. But I must say I’m really pleased with how most of my petals turned out!
Here’s a look at how I fill a petal:
1. I decide which shades I want to use and in which order. I used seven different pinks to make my roses, but I didn’t use all shades in each petal. The gradients varied, as did the placement of lighter and darker shades.
2. In this case, I’m going dark to light. So I stitch the first layer in DMC #603. I like to make guidelines with my thread to keep the angle right, especially with a petal shape. The stitches are long and short, varying in length, creating a very uneven edge.
3. Once the first layer is completed, I pick a slightly lighter colour (DMC #605) and begin to fill the second layer. I prefer to stitch from bottom to top, so I begin my stitch towards the base of the petal, and end it somewhere in the first layer. To create a beautiful blending effect, the idea is to end the stitches of a new layer well within the previous ones. In other words, I don’t end my stitches at the edge of the first layer, but higher, nestled among the stitches of the previous layer. Again, the length of these stitches shouldn’t be uniform. It looks more naturally blended if the stitches are of varying lengths.
I repeat these steps with as many colours as I wish. For this petal, I added a third and fourth layer, using DMC #776 and #963.
Doing this with only one strand of floss at a time is incredibly time-consuming, but it’s oh so lovely!
Here’s a look at a different wild rose, where I did the shading in the petals differently.
Wild Roses in progress…
Once all my petals were stitched, it was time to pick some joyful yellows for the centers. I went with DMC #728, #729, #743, and #744 (#729 is a little darker, a very light goldenish brown). I made straight stitches from the center to the petals using #743 and #744, leaving a very small circle in the middle (the center of the center, lol). In this little center, I used two strands of #743 to make three French knots, filling up the space. Still using only one strand of floss, I used DMC #728, #729, and #744 to make French knots scattered all around the outer edge of the center (at the base of the petals). As much as possible, I made them close to the end of the straight stitches.
Using only one strand of floss, I used DMC #728, #729, and #744 to make more French knots, scattered all around the outer edge of the center (at the base of the petals). As much as possible, I made them close to the end of the straight stitches.
It really makes the rose come alive, doesn’t it?? I’m so happy with how that turned out, they almost look real!
The last little touch was adding little thorns along the branches. I used one strand of DMC #898 (same colour as the branch).
And here we are! WILD ROSES COMPLETED!! WEEEE!!! (Sorry but this totally deserved some all caps squealing for joy :P)
I read in a book once that a rose by any other name would smell as sweet, but I’ve never been able to believe it. I don’t believe a rose would be as nice if it was called a thistle or a skunk cabbage.”L.M. Montgomery, Anne of Green Gables
I hope you enjoyed following along and I can’t wait to show you Part 3! Raspberries and currants are up next! 😊
Other posts you might find useful:
- How to Start & End Embroidery Stitches
- The Only Embroidery Tools You Need
- French Knot Made Easy: Tutorial
And just in case you missed, here’s PART 1 of the Garden Bouquet project, all about the inspiration behind the pattern & setting up for stitching.