This year I really wanted to explore and learn more about embroidery. This traditional craft has seen such a resurgence in recent years, and I like many am constantly inspired by new embroidery designs and the makers behind them. So, when I saw that Celeste from @lemon-made-shop was hosting a stitch-along in January I hopped on board.
Celeste was inspired to create the design for the Cozy Quilt Stitch-along from the long and rich history and community of quilting and embroidery. We share kindred thought in how we feel connected to the centuries of women and stitchers that came before us who developed these crafts and to our fellow modern-day stitchers that carry on the tradition.
Every time I pass needle and thread through fabric, whether I’m working on my English Paper Piecing or embroidery I feel connected to the past, present and future. I am carrying on the tradition, I am connecting to myself and fellow stitchers, and I am ensuring the legacy of these crafts and what I make carries forward and can be enjoyed by others.
What I love about the design of the Cozy Quilt pattern (besides the fact that it’s a quilt and it’s pretty) is that each patchwork square in the quilt is a different stitch pattern or technique. It would have to be one of the most unique Sampler Stitchery designs that I have seen.
After taking us through how to set up our project, each day Celeste would release a reel on Instagram and take us through the steps of creating each patchwork block. Then she talked us through finishing the quilt details and the flowers. It was a great way to learn new stitch techniques without feeling overwhelmed.
For my version I chose my own thread colours that were inspired by the Liberty needle minder I pulled out to use. I selected a thin neutral linen type fabric from my stash. One lesson I have learnt is that when using a thin fabric like I have, it’s a good idea to double up the fabric and stitch through two layers, that way the thread ends and knots on the back won’t show through the front. It also would give a more stable foundation to stitch on.
I also tested out some Gold-plated DMC embroidery needles for this project. I found these needles nice to stitch with, and of course they are so pretty. I have noticed that by the end of stitching this piece the gold has rubbed off the needle.
To transfer my design, I used a water-soluble blue pen. I have since now discovered the wonderful Friction heat erasable pen which I will now be using for all future embroidery projects as it creates a finer drawn line and is easily removed with a blow dryer.
Some of the stitches in the pattern I knew how to do such as Satin Stitch, Lazy Daisy Stitch, Back Stitch, Straight Stitch and French Knots. New stitches that I loved working on were the Split Backstitch, Pistil Stitch, Weaving Stitch, Brick Stitch and Whipped Back Stitch. I found the chain stitch and Square Bos Stitch difficult to do. I unpicked my first attempt at the Square Boss Stitch and did it again, although I’m still not super happy with it. I also had to un-pick and re-do my Algerian Eyelet as I wasn’t happy with my thread choice first time around.
The other thing I learnt and found enjoyable was working with a different number of floss strands. Some of the stitch patterns called for two, three, four and six strands and it was interesting to see how the stitches all looked depending on how many strands were used.
When I had finished my piece, to remove the blue pen I turned the piece over and lightly mist sprayed water over the back and then placed it in the sun to dry on a tea towel. I then gave it a very light dry press with the iron. I find doing it this way, the embroidery stitches on the front don’t end up looking fuzzy from the water and iron and hold their definition better.
I have kept my piece in its timber hoop, and it now hangs up in my studio.
I really enjoyed taking part in this Stitch-along and it was so fun to see everyone else’s versions and how different they all looked. You can check them out on Instagram by searching for #cozyquiltstitchalong
Thank you so much Celeste for creating such a beautiful pattern, for giving up your time to show us how to do the stitches, and for creating such a wonderful Stitch-Along. You can find the Cozy Quilt pattern in her Etsy Shop along with many other beautiful patterns.
While I was participating in the Stitch-Along I happened to find Celeste’s book Freshly Stitched in my local bookshop and naturally it came home with me! There are some beautiful patterns I’m itching to get started on. Celeste has written a wonderful section full of tips and methods for embroidery. I also love the ‘Stitch Diary’ pages she has included at the end of each project where she asks a question and gives you space to write an answer.
If you’re looking for a beginner embroidery project, you want to learn some new stitch techniques, or you’re after a mindful project, then I highly recommend this pattern.
Miss Leela x