Delectable Morsels – A slow moving Bouquet!

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The Next Delectable Morsels Package

A couple of months ago, Alison sent out the next ‘Delectable Morsel’s’ package. This time with a ‘bouquet’ theme. We don’t have to use the theme Alison provides. It is merely inspiration for the threads and other goodies she has supplied us with. But as soon as I saw what was in the box, I knew exactly what I wanted to do! Sadly, it is one very slow moving project, and there is still not a lot to show you. However, I have made some improvements with my stitching, which I wanted to share with you.

The goodies we received

Like our first package, this one was also beautifully presented. It really looked like a box of chocolate – my hubby thought I was hiding chocolate from him!

We received a beautiful silk, some stumpwork wire, a few ‘beetle wings’ and various threads. Again, I didn’t take a photo. Maybe next time.

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So, what is my idea?

This is something to get me out of my comfort zone! I have decided to make a bouquet of flowers that is completely free standing. With a lot of stumpwork flowers, the flower is attached to the main fabric, with one or two petals being stitched directly onto the background fabric. I thought for quite a while on how I could change this to a complete freestanding work, and I thinkย I have it worked out. Time will tell, but first, there are a lot of petals to stitch!

Stumpwork petals worked using a variety of techniques to test the best method

Oh, so many petals!

I have decided I will make four flowers of five petals each. One of the reasons I’m struggling to get to the end of all those petals is the monotony of it all! I had originally thought I’d be able to make this piece up in a couple of days. But there have been times when I really haven’t done much as I’m just not that excited by doing another petal. One thing the RSN Certificate has taught me (especially in the canvaswork piece), is that perseverance does pay off. The other motivating factor is the improvement I can see from the first petals, to the most recently stitched ones.

Techniques tried in stitching the petals

It has been a while since I have done any stumpwork embroidery. One of the problems I have always had are the ‘holes’ I create between the buttonhole edge around the wire, and the stitching on the inside of the shape.

For the first few petals, I used the same technique I always have. Not surprisingly, those ‘holes’ appeared. This method is to buttonhole stitch around the wire, and then fill the inner petal.

I then had a flashback to the stumpwork day class I attended a while ago, and remembered there was a step I was missing! Here, Rachel taught us to overstitch the wire to the fabric, and the very last step (after she had cut it out), was the buttonhole stitch. I also attended a class on stumpwork with Lizzy Lansberry. She did almost the same thing, but added the buttonhole stitch before it was cut out.

After remembering these points, I thought it would be a good idea to look up the RSN’s guide on stumpwork, and see what it had to say. This book is available from a number of retailers, including Amazon, The Book Depository, Abe Books (for second hand copies) and the RSN itself. After a quick read, there was one additional point I was forgetting – a split stitch around the inside of the petal, next to the overstitch. The long and short stitch is then worked. So a lot more like traditional long and short stitch, just with a bit of wire! Through a few different attempts, it appears the best way to fill the petal, is to stitch the long and short stitch into the overstitch a little. This could of course be completely wrong, but it does seem to be an effective way in reducing the number of ‘holes’ on the finished petal.

Examples of poorly worked stump work petals
Improvement can be seen in the working of this stumpwork petal
An example of overstitching the wire and applying split stitch before long and short stitch is applied

What’s next with all these petals?

I have decided to take a slightly different approach to the last few petals, in what I hope to be an exercise in efficiency. The first step is to complete the overstitching and split stitch on all the remaining petals. Then, complete the long and short stitch. I’m not sure if I will do the buttonhole on a petal by petal basis, or leave it all to the end. I’m thinking at this stage to do it on a petal by petal basis, as it does hurt the fingers a little!

I also want to find out what happens if I couch down some of the metallic threads between the wire and long and short stitch. Part of the approach I’m taking with these delectable morsels packs is to experiment and try a few new things. So whilst the couching idea might hide some of those holes, I also want to try it just to see if it works.

The next step will be ‘constructing’ this bouquet. My plan for this is to use felt as the centre, cross my fingers, and hope that it makes a flower!

33 Comments

  1. Isabella

    The colors are fantastic!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Bella. It’s a lovely variegated thread. So I don’t have any say in where the colours land, but it is giving a nice, varied look amongst the petals.

      Reply
  2. Marlous

    Your frame does look like mine! Very brave to do 20 petals as I am finding 10 already quite a lot. The way Helen teaches stumpwork is to couch the entire thread and than cover the thread in buttonhole stitch. Next you do the splitstitch as close to the buttonhole as possible and then do the long and short stitch. I find it doesn’t leave any holes at all. Helen gave as advice to angle the long and short stitch over the split stitch and then tuck it under the previous long and short stitch. Hope that helps! Looking forward to seeing the finished piece!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Marlous, I might try that with one of the remaining petals. I think I did it with one but without much luck. It seems to be a technique with lots of different ways of getting to the end result. I guess it’s a case of working out which one works for you!

      Reply
      • Marlous

        I know, the RSN will probably be telling me off for doing things my way, especially since I am leftie! ๐Ÿ˜‰
        I have found the even though it takes a lot of perserverance to do many petals, they get better and become quicker to stitch!

      • Catherine

        Despite the large number, I do like seeing the improvement. It’s been a good little sampler to test these things out.

  3. wybrow1966

    A labour of love – can’t wait to see the finished product, particularly how the petals are joined. How are you planning on to do the anthers etc?

    Reply
    • Catherine

      To be honest, I’m not sure. The stems will be wrapped, and then I will make a judgement on what else needs to be done. A couple of woven picots maybe…

      Reply
  4. Rachel

    My goodness, I sympathise. Do you remember the bunch of violets I did? Petal after petal, after leaf, after leaf….! But I’m sure it will look good when you’ve done – and you will have the satisfaction of knowing that you’ve learnt a whole range of tricks to deal with those particular challenges!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Oh I remember! It’s reassuring to know I’m not the only one who has done this sort of monotonous project! But, it is a challenge, and if it works or not, we will see. But it is the process I’m more worried about!

      Reply
  5. CathieJ

    Your stitching looks good to me and I really like the floss that you are using.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Cathie. It’s a lovely variegated thread, which normally drives me bananas, but is working well for petals!

      Reply
  6. Deborah

    Looking forward to seeing this work progress.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Deborah ๐Ÿ˜Š

      Reply
  7. Dima

    This is looking great! I’ve never tried stumpwork before.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Dima. It’s quite a fun technique, although it can be monotonous doing all the same thing for each individual element.

      Reply
      • Dima

        Yeah I’ll pass on the monotony lol

  8. Alex Hall

    It’s always interesting seeing your technique improve as you stitch a number of identical elements. The questions is, will you end up restitching the early ones as I have done in the past!!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Alex. Normally I would restitch the original ones, but I don’t think I will for this project. It can be my show of improvement!

      Reply
  9. Bella

    Fascinating. This is totally new to me – I’m trying to get my head around it! I learn so much from you Catherine, I really appreciate the time you take to make your posts this detailed and informative ๐Ÿ™‚

    Reply
    • Catherine

      You are very kind Bella. I hope I can pass on as much as I can, that people like the long and detailed posts, and that we can all learn something!

      Reply
  10. Lisa Russo

    The petals look beautiful! I’m sure your flowers will be amazing.

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Lisa. I’m hoping so!

      Reply
  11. Maura

    Gorgeous colours on the petals

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Maura. It’s a lovely variegated thread

      Reply
  12. Jessica Grimm

    Hi Catherine,
    What kind of thread are you using? It is a beautiful variegated colour! I think your holes might have something to do with how taut your fabric is and how much you pull on your thread. Relax just a little and you shouldn’t see holes. Had an eye-opening experience a couple of days ago with a student. She did get the whole long-and-short principle for the silk shading (and the shading looked really really good!), but she had a completely perforated edge on the outside of her split stitch. I might add that you tend to get holes more easily on silk fabric and on very fine linen.
    Happy stitching, Jessica

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks for the tips Jessica! I do have my fabric pulled quite tightly, so I might relax it just a smidge. The fabric is also really fine, and it seems to attract holes just by putting a number 12 needle through!
      The thread is a beautiful thread by Cottage Garden Threads – stranded cotton thread. I’m not usually a fan of variegated threads, but it is working well with the shading on these guys!

      Reply
  13. Julie

    What an interesting project, I’m looking forward to seeing how you fit it all together (one day ….. no rush!)

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Julie. Sadly I haven’t worked on this one much at since this post!

      Reply
  14. Teresa

    Love the colors, I’m sure it will just turn out beautiful. Thank you for sharing your work at The Really Crafty link Party. Pinned!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Teresa. I’m really taken with the colours and the various patterns that are appearing!

      Reply
  15. Margaret Creek

    This is going to be beautiful, I wish I’d read it before I did the stumpwork on my panel!

    Reply
    • Catherine

      Thanks Margaret- I hope so! I’m loving just playing around with it.

      Reply

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