Sunday, October 14, 2018

Lolli & Grace Free Autumn Leaf SAL

Lolli & Grace Autumn Leaf SAL, Free Pattern

Although the four day SAL, ran on Instagram with instructions on the Lolli & Grace website, is now over, the pattern and videos are still available for free:

Last month, I tried a new type of Needlepainting for the first time, in the amazing FREE Lolli & Grace Autumn Leaf Stitch Along (SAL) on Instagram! Anne, @lolliandgrace, the designer of colourful, cheerful and absolutely charming hand embroidery designs (see her Etsy shop for more), very kindly and generously put together this beautiful design and showed us how to stitch it with incredibly helpful video tutorials.

To me, the technique of Needlepainting usually brings to mind the exquisite details of silk Long and Short Stitch embroidery, usually worked with a single strand of thread with natural and subtle shading. This is a casual, relaxed, much chunkier version of Needlepainting, using four strands of thread at a time and a variety of high contrast colours (my absolutely favourite part of this design are the touches of bright blue!).

And it is FUN 😊

Honestly, I was really nervous about trying the colour blending in the center Maple Leaf. But thanks to Anne's encouragement, it was easier than I thought it would be and now I'm eager to try more Needlepainting! It's stitchy magic - you start adding the darker colours, in this case my red and brown, then layer the medium tones and finally add the lighter tones as highlights. I learned to stagger my stitches between long and short, but you don't pack them together in the rigidly long-short-long-short pattern you see in stitch dictionaries. It's very much instinctual, and I only started to enjoy it when I let go of the idea of perfection and just added colours where I felt they would work.

This was a little difficult at first, since the colours are not the traditional close tone shading, but once I had sorted them in my mind (a little arbitrarily) into my dark, medium and light colours it was a lot easier. I thought of it as: a bit of dark, lots of medium and a little light. The bright blue (806), for example, I thought of as a highlight, even thought it's a medium colour shade.

I wanted it to look like that beautiful golden late Autumn honeyed sunlight was shining on my Maple Leaf, so I deliberately kept the left side darker and added the brighter yellows and oranges on the right. As Anne said, you can go back and add a few stitches if there's any blank areas or you need more colour. I tried to add a few small groupings of two or three stitches with the same colour here and there to break up the stripe-y look.

I also really enjoyed learning the Pearly Leaf Stitch for the bottom branch!

Here's a slideshow, from floss toss to finish:

I did make some small changes here and there. I was so excited to start that I began pulling my DMC floss right away, so I made some colour substitutions for the shades I didn't have, which you can see in the first photo in the slideshow. They are:

Light Green: 581 substituted with 907
Medium Green: 3346 substituted with 905
Maroon: 815 substituted with 498 (red)
Tan: 167 substituted with 436
Gold: 3852 substituted with 728
Dark Blue: 3750 substituted with 824

The two most unique colours, other than the striking 806 Blue, are the Plum (3834) and Berry (915) which I was going to substitute with 333 and 718, respectively. But when I started stitching I realized that the original colours were more Autumnal and unlike anything else in the DMC collection. Here they are in progress on the left wreath branch:

French Knots are my Stitchy Nemesis, so I'm very proud of these nice plump berries!

For the Maple Leaf, I used Satin Stitch for the stem, rather than Outline Stitch, and I left the small veins out because when I tried to add them in they broke up the colour blending too much, especially at the tips. I also used Outline Stitch for the long veins because, as klutzy as I am, I was sure I would catch the long stitches on something 😂

I also added some Straight Stiches to the middle of the Lazy Daisy leaves for extra colour, and a few extra French Knots (gasp!) to the branch on the right. I do have a few little puckers in the fabric, since the Maple Leaf is stitched so heavily, but I'm optimistic that they will come out during finishing. I'm not sure what I'm going to make with it, probably not a hoop. A friend suggested a tote bag, which might be nice. For now, it will happily join the others in my project drawer.

The Lolli & Grace SAL was a fabulous, fun experience and I'm so glad I decided to jump in! To see other finishes, search the #lolligraceautumnSAL on Instagram. Not only was it awesome to learn new stitchy techniques but this SAL was an excellent way to find other stitchers to follow! What I really loved about this SAL is that although every stitcher used the same pattern, every Maple Leaf turned out completely different and it was so interesting and inspiring seeing how other people chose to Needlepaint 🎨

Have you ever tried Needlepainting? Would you like to?


Catherine - Hillview Embroidery said...

What a beautiful design! Your colours are so lovely, very autumnal and you have done such a lovely job of stitching it all up. This looks like a great SAL! I’ll be looking her up on Instagram for sure!

Kaisievic said...

Aurelia, wow! What an incredible project - you are very talented.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

@ Catherine: Thank you so much Catherine! Anne's Instagram is so inspiring, she has an amazing colour sense 😊 I would never have thought of including blue in an Autumn palette in a million years but I love the way it looks!

@Kaye: Thanks so much for your kind words 💕

Katie said...

Wow that's beautiful! Congrats on the adorable finish.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

Thanks so much for your kind words Katie!

rosey175 said...

Only, like, 80 billion years behind on commenting... This looks amazing! Blue needs to belong in everything, yep. I have only heard of needlepainting but haven't really looked into it. I like the idea of letting go of perfection and adding colors where they work -- a lot! And French Knots aren't so bad, especially in projects where they can be messy haha. I bet this whole thing is a delight to touch. A tote bag sounds like a nice way to utilize it, or a round pillow, or in a clear pie pan.