Hello lovelies! If you follow me on instagram, you will know that I am all about the dried botanicals during Winter. Yes, there is something wonderful about having fresh flowers in the flat all year round, however when funds are low and seed heads can be foraged AND when you honour and celebrate the seasons outdoors and in like I do, then seed heads and dried flowers are the answer. Displaying seed heads or other ‘#lovelydeadcrap’ and making a feature of them on a table or shelf is a wonderful way of preserving and reminding us of the warmer seasons gone by and those to come!
My latest embroidery design, ‘A Winter Doodle’, the pattern for which you can find in my Etsy Shop features seed heads made using a new (to me) stitch, lazy daisy stitch. Satin stitch is probably my favourite stitch but this comes a close second. The little stitches remind me of hearts…
When I was finished stitching my Winter hoop, I didn’t want to stop making lazy daisy stitches, so I designed this ‘Seed Head Special’ pattern, a celebration of seed heads, the lazy daisy stitch and the last weeks of Winter! I loved stitching this up, not only because it was done in an evening or two, but also because I used my Winter colour palette again, which I adore!
If you fancy joining me in some late Winter stitchery, here is the free pattern and tutorial for my Seed Head Special…
This pattern and tutorial is suitable for beginners but can be enjoyed by embroiderers of all levels!
Download Seed Head Special Free Template by Lucylu dreams and print onto A4 paper.
1 x 5”/13cm wooden embroidery hoop.
Fabric (prewashed) – I have used a woven medium weight linen/cotton mix in a light beige natural colour. Natural woven fabrics are ideal.
Soft medium weight interfacing – optional. I love using interfacing to back my embroidery work as I like the feel of the thickness as I stitch and it gives stability to the finished piece. I use Vlieseline/Vilene M12.
Light box such as this – optional. This is to transfer the design to the fabric. The light from a window will also work – for this you will need masking or washi tape. These methods will work if your fabric is light in colour. For dark coloured fabrics or for other methods of transfer, please see ‘tips’ below.
Water erasable fine tip fabric pen (I use this blue ink version).
Stranded cotton embroidery thread for the design and for finishing the hoop. I use DMC 25, which is made up of 6 strands of thread: (apart from ‘ecru’, these are my descriptions of the colours). I skein each of:
- Mustard gold no. 3828
- Stormy sky grey no. 645
- Silver sky grey no. 648
- Perfect pink no. 152
- Ecru (cream)
For finishing off the hoop
- a thread colour that matches the fabric. I used ‘ecru’.
Embroidery needle – I generally use a size 5 or 7.
Felt for backing the hoop if desired and matching thread.
Ribbon for hanging if desired.
Abbreviations used in this pattern:
RS – Right side/front of fabric
WS – Wrong side/back of fabric
Print out the free Seed Head Special template provided above and cut out.
Place the template on the main fabric and draw around it (you can use a pen, pencil, air erasable or water soluble fabric pen – the markings will not be seen on the finished piece) and cut out. You could also pin the template to the fabric and cut around it.
Optional: Cut out a circle of interfacing in the same way. Set aside.
If using a light box, place the template followed by the fabric on top of the light box and trace the design onto the fabric with the water erasable fabric pen, ensuring the fabric is positioned centrally and taking care to keep the fabric and template steady during transfer.
If using the light from a window, tape the template to the window using the washi or masking tape, followed by the fabric placed centrally over the template. Trace the design onto the fabric with the water erasable fabric pen.
Please note that the circle around the design is not going to be stitched. It is a useful marker of where to place the fabric for transferring the design and within the hoop for stitching.
Take a moment here to make sure all markings have been made clearly according to the pattern and touch up if necessary.
Once the design is transferred, place interfacing (if using) and then fabric on top of the inner hoop, placing the outer hoop on top. Make sure all elements of the design are within the hoop boundary so they can be stitched. Tighten the screw, pulling the fabric taut.
Use 3 strands of 6 stranded cotton embroidery floss throughout. Cut about an arm’s length of thread and split the 6 strands in half each time, so that the stitches are made using 3 strands of thread.
To begin and end a length of thread:
Thread the needle without knotting the end and place the needle from the WS (see abbreviations above) to RS leaving a tail of about 6cm on WS, ensuring it is out of the way as you stitch so it doesn’t become tangled. We’ll tidy it away shortly. When coming to the end of a length of thread, make the last stitch pulling the thread through from RS to WS. Then weave the end through the stitches on WS so it is hidden, snipping off any remaining thread as close to the stitches as possible. Now thread the needle with the beginning tail of thread and weave it into the stitches on WS in the same way. If the beginnings and ends are very close to the hoop, it may be difficult to do this. Instead, tuck these threads into the hoop out of the way and when all stitches are complete, take the fabric out of the hoop and weave them in
Now let’s get stitching! The only stitch used in this design is the lazy daisy stitch. Besides being a pretty stitch, lazy daisy stitch really adds interest and a 3D element to a design.
Starting with mustard gold no. 3828, place the needle from WS to RS at the starting point, taking it back through from RS to WS at the same point. Leave a loop of thread and place the needle from WS to RS at the next point, catching the loop as you pull the thread through.
Place the needle back through the fabric from RS to WS on the other side of this loop.
Make the next stitch in the same way, bringing the needle back up from WS to RS at the next point and then RS to WS at the same point, leaving a loop. Catch this loop with the needle as you place it WS to RS again. Finish the stitch by taking the needle back from RS to WS on the other side of the loop. Continue until the long stitches of the main seed head are complete.
Now start making the smaller lazy daisy stitches in the same way, starting with 3 gold ‘v’s, each of which is made up of 2 lazy daisy stitches, followed by stormy sky grey no. 645, silver sky grey no. 648, perfect pink no. 152 and ecru (cream). Use the picture below as guidance for the order and placement of the colours…
Once all stitches have been made, take the fabric out of the hoop and run under water in order to remove the marks made using the water soluble fabric pen.
Leave flat to dry and once dry, pop back into the hoop.
To finish off the hoop, thread a needle with 3 strands of cotton (I used DMC 25 ‘Ecru’ to match my fabric). Do not knot the end.
Place the needle from RS to WS of the fabric circle at any point, approximately 0.5cm from the edge, leaving a tail of 4-6 cm. Make a running stitch all the way round the edge, reaching the first stitch and finishing on the RS. Carefully pull the ends, gathering the fabric as you go. Once sufficiently gathered, knot the ends, pulling the threads taut. Sew in the ends and trim.
Optional: Cut a circle of felt to cover the back of the hoop and using matching thread, knot the end, then attach to the main fabric by making a running stitch all the way round. Knot, then hide the end and trim. Pin first if necessary.
Keep an eye on the back of your work as you stitch. I used to get caught out so many times and found a tangled mess either where loose threads not sewn in were caught, or where a knot formed in the thread I was working with. The sooner you notice the easier it is to rectify. Don’t panic and snip the threads straight away. Instead go gently and see if any tangles and knots can be removed first.
Transferring embroidery designs: As I have used a light coloured fabric, I have chosen to transfer the design using light (a light box or light from the window) which shines through the template and the fabric to enable me to draw directly onto the fabric using a water erasable pen. However, if you have chosen a dark fabric, you will need a different method. You can find plenty of guidelines and tutorials on the internet, including using a ‘water soluble stabiliser’, which can be printed onto and then stuck to the fabric, stitched over and then dissolved in water.
I hope you love this design and the lazy daisy stitch as much as I do. If you stitch your own, I’d love to see it! You can tag me on instagram.
And onwards now to the beginnings of Spring which will be here soon. I am so looking forward to it as it really is my fave. My next pattern is all about celebrating the Signs of Spring and I can’t wait to share it with you!
Until then lovelies, take good care of yourselves,
Love and warmth always,
It’s beautiful Lucy, lazy daisy is one of my favourite stitches so I love this! I also love how neatly you’ve finished off the back, very inspiring 🙂