Saturday, November 16, 2019

Free Style SAL: Lattice Heart Finish!

Happy news! I've been co-hosting the Free Style Sew Along (SAL) on Instagram (I'm @aureliaeglantine) with my friend Marianne Matthews (@mariannemathewsxx), and it has been an amazing stitchy adventure! In my last post, I shared some of my progress.

This was my first planned spontaneous stitching project πŸ˜‚ By which I mean that when I stitched my Joyful Jester, I started with a basic outline for felt applique and then I sat down with a bunch of embellishments - acrylic gems, sequins, beads, trims, metallic thread - and just made it up as I went along. It was so much fun, and just sort of flowed!

Ever since then, I've wanted to try to recapture that feeling, and with this project I deliberately set out to be flexible and spontaneous. I started with a basic double heart outline and a very simple idea (please see my SAL intro post for details):

As cross-stitchers, we're used to planning out our whole project before we start. We usually choose the chart, fabric, threads and any extras before we begin. Spontaneous stitching is a different way of creating, and it is both frustrating and freeing! My cohost Marianne works in this style for all her projects, both embroidery and cross-stitch, making them up as she stitches. It's a technique that lets you experiment!

Some of my stitch ideas, such as this Turkey Stitch Flower, didn't work out:

I tried a lot of stitches on this project that were new to me, and it became a sampler of sorts. Although I loved this idea, it didn't fit with the image I had in my head for my heart, and so I cut it out. But the stitches themselves were not wasted - now I know how to make a funky loopy or cut flower for another project some other time! So while it was frustrating in the moment that it didn't work, it was also a great learning experience.

One of the other fun things about hand embroidery is that it's usually a lot easier to "unstitch" than cross-stitch - this flower took me over an hour to put in, after fussing with the cutting and taking process photos, but less than a minute to cut out 🀣

I found myself constantly thinking about different ways to stitch flowers and leaves, and how to put into practice stitches I've always admired but never tried. The Fishbone Stitch leaves and Buttonhole Stitch flower are some of my favourites, and I love the Double Cast On Stitch I learned for the fuschia roses! The Granitos stitch I learned for the Daisies is super useful, incredibly easy, and one I will definitely be using again 🌼

For inspiration, I even made a a special Pinterest board for the SAL, which has lots of tutorials and ideas you can use in any embroidery! I will also link to some of the tutorials in the list of stitches at the end of this post. It was very interesting to see my heart grow, blossoming from a simple lattice to a cheerful, colourful riot of flowers:

And after some surprisingly serious internal debate, LOL, I decided not fill in the empty spaces between flowers with French Knots. I thought that they would take away from the little French Knot flowers I had already added. I did try a few stitches but ended up taking them out, and instead added some turquoise seed beads for sparkle:

You know I love sparkle! Overall, this was such a fun project and now I just want to stitch flowers on EVERYTHING πŸ˜† For anyone who is interested, here are some details:

I don't think I've ever shown one of these before, but I make little cardboard thread keepers like this for nearly every project and find them very helpful for keeping my working threads from becoming tangled! I just use nice white cardboard, usually rescued from some kind of packaging (this was gift card holder), punch as many holes and I need (as you can see, I added a few extra to this one as I went along!) and write the project information and floss colour names with a fine Sharpie. They usually look a little neater than this one, but I forgot to take a better photo, so please forgive the mess!

DMC Floss Colours: (from top left, clockwise):

554 (Violet, Light)
892 (Carnation, Medium)
444 (Lemon, Dark)
907 (Parrot Green, Light)
3607 (Plum, Light)
3708 (Melon, Light)
3837 (Lavender, Ultra Dark)
3846 (Bright Turquoise, Light)
B5200 (Snow White)
972 (Deep Canary)
905 (Parrot Green, Dark)

🧡 Stitches Used, with tutorial links🧡

πŸ’› Small Heart πŸ’›

Lattice:Jacobean Couching (Lattice 3846, Cross Stitches 444)
Center Heart Scalloped Border: Scalloped Buttonholed Chain Stitch (3708)
I later whipped the bottom of the green Chain Stitch base with 3837, as you would for Whipped Backstitch

πŸ’™ Large Heart πŸ’™

🌸 Flowers: 🌸

Loose Cast On Stitch, also known as Double Cast On or Two Needle Cast On
Buttonhole Stitch Flower, double layered
Spiderweb Roses also known as Woven Wagon Wheel Roses
Granito Stitch (see also Mary Corbet's video tutorial on flowers)
Lasy Daisy (also known as Detached Chain), some filled with Straight Stitches
French Knots (also see this very helpful article by Mary Corbet, which includes this great tip: use a Milliners Needle - a needle whose eye is the same width as the shaft - for French and Bullion Knots! It totally changed my stitching and made French Knots - my longtime Stitchy Foe - possible for me πŸ˜ƒ)

Flower centers: Satin Stitch Dots, Needleweaving, French Knots (444 & 972)

🌿 Leaves: 🌿

Raised Fishbone Stitch
Fly Stitch Leaves
Satin Stitch with Stem Stitch edging
Lazy Daisy, with Straight Stitch filling
Buttonhole, with Straight Stitch filling

πŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ’™ Border: πŸ’™πŸ’›πŸ’™

Worked like Whipped Backstitch, but the base is a Double Granito stitch, for extra width and a more even ratio of turquoise to yellow (Base 3846, Whipped Stitches 444)

If you have any questions about this project at all, please don't hesitate to ask! I really want to thank everyone who took the time to follow along with my progress, and those who left helpful and encouraging comments 😊

Your enthusiasm for my Lattice Heart kept me going, even when I was frustrated. Spontaneous Stitching is such a simple concept, but like most things, it's easier said than done and requires practice like any new technique, at least to those to whom it doesn't come naturally - like myself πŸ˜‚ Whenever you're trying something new, there's always a bit of uncertainty and self-confidence - am I doing it right? Is it good enough? Am I wasting my time?- and all your feedback really helped πŸ’™

I haven't final finished my Lattice Heart off; for the photos, I just tucked the excess fabric under the hoop. But I really like the way this Anchor Glitter Hoop matches the project, and I may buy another and finish it off as Hoop Art.

The Free Style SAL is still ongoing - anyone can jump in, at any time! It's a completely free, relaxed, and flexible stitch along. I'll be sharing some fabulous SAL finishes in my next post. Please use the hashtag #freestylesewalong when posting on Instagram so we can find you! You can also post elsewhere, but please send me a link so we can feature you. Just chose an outline motif and fill it with spontaneously stitched flowers πŸ’ Any needlework style is welcome - cross-stitch, embroidery, quilting, mixed media, needlepoint etc. - as long as it fits the spirt of the SAL!

Does the idea of Spontaneous Stitching appeal to you?


Julie said...

So bright and colourful, its very beautiful. Great choice of stitches.

Katie said...

Gorgeous! Thanks for sharing.

Aurelia Eglantine said...

@ Julie: Thank you so much! It was so fun trying out stitches that were new to me 😊🧡

Katie: Thank you so much for the kind comment πŸ’