Friday, March 15, 2019

In my hoop...

... is a small batch of Ribbed Fly Stitch leaves.

That doesn't sound like anything out of the ordinary, but I am little bit excited about how this lot has turned out, so I thought I would share how they are embroidered.

I am working on a new Raised Embroidery project for a class later in the year and was trying to work out a way to embroider leaves with a bit more texture than what I have done in the past. 
The illustration is a hint to what I am working on and I wanted to create these leaves with strong veins or ridges across each side, so satin stitch or long & short stitch was not really an option.  

Aerd Bessen (Erdbeeren)
First stop was a 'trip' to Pinterest - I like to look at antique botanical prints when I am looking for inspiration for plant forms. For some reason, I find it much easier to translate illustrations into stitch than I do photos. I printed off a couple of pictures and started to 'scribble' stitch, trying out a few different stitch combinations and this is what I ended up with.

I am calling it my 'Ribbed Fly Stitch Leaf'. Mine are tiny, embroidered with one strand of silk, but I can already see these appearing on much larger scale in a future crewel project...

HOW TO a Ribbed Fly Stitch Leaf

1. Start at the base of the leaf and work small, round chain stitches along the centre vein and finish with a long anchoring stitch at the top. 
2. Bring the needle to the front just above and close to the last chain at the top.
3. Whip into each chain stitch. This will make the centre vein thicker, rounder and slightly raised. (HINT: I use the eye-end of my needle when I do this, but it looked too messy for the photo.)

4. Embroider the veins on each side in small stem stitches. At the top, the centre vein has to stick up a bit into the top of the leaf.                                                                            I would normally stitch all this after the filling, but in this case, I needed the veins to form a kind of framework for the filling stitches.                                                           The tip of the leaf and most of the segments along each side are filled with fly stitch to add texture within each shape.
5. Start at the tip of the leaf and place a fly stitch closely around the bit of the centre vein sticking up at the top. 
6. Continue to work fly stitches very close together until you reach the tip of the leaf. The anchoring down stitches, should form a line to the tip.
HINT: If you have a bit of fabric still showing at the sides when you reach the top (as on the right hand side in the picture), just fill the space with a couple of satin stitches.

7. The segments along each side are also filled with fly stitch, but rather than stitching straight along the shape, I worked diagonally across as indicated by the dashed line. You can easily draw the line if you find it easier.
First place a straight stitch from the sharp point between the stem stitch and centre vein along the diagonal.
8. Work a fly stitch around the straight stitch, then fill the segment with fly stitch placed very close together as you did for the tip.
HINT - it is really important that you push the stitches very close together along the outer edges to fill the shape properly.

9. Fill the rest of the larger leaf segments along each side in the same way. I have used a few different shades of green for each leaf.
10. The two smaller leaf segments at the base of the leaf are filled with satin stitch. Place the first stitch parallel to the side vein and maintain the same stitch direction to the base.

I stitched my four leaves using the same colour for the veins on all of them and four different shades of green for the filling stitches to keep them similar, but changed the placement of the colours in each leaf to they are all varied at the same time. I am hoping it won't look too busy when I put it all together.

These are going to be used as raised leaves, so they still need a wire outline, but my back is telling me that is tomorrow's job.... 

I hope you have a lovely weekend, 
Anna X


  1. Hi Anna! This new stitch is a great find, the leaves look gorgeous in these differnet shades of green. I'm curious what they will be used for at the end.
    Thank you for the tutorial of how you've made this particular stitch, it's done very clear, even for me ;).
    I also like to look for and work with antique botanical prints, they often are the start of my flower making in miniatures. Unfortunately I lost my mojofor making mini flowers, but I'm on my way back in having fun again in mkaing miniatures ;O!
    Have a lovely weekend too. Hugs, Ilona

  2. Hi Ilona, I hope your mini flower mojo returns. While we wait for that you happen, I just enjoy your farm - I love it.
    Anna x

  3. Replies
    1. Thanks Shirlee, hope you have fun with them.

  4. Hi Anna, I had to look up the “fly” stitch. I know, I am sure it is so basic. I have hand quilted in the past so my skills are rather basic. However I learn something every time I swing by your blog!
    I cannot comment as Minworks so I am Anon today.
    Have a good weekend.
    Very saddened by events in Christchurch.
    Regards Janine

    1. Sorry, I guess I tend to speak 'embroidery geek' around here... I am glad you found the fly stitch and hope it all makes kind of sense.
      Yes, what happened in Christchurch is just so sad and terrible. No family should ever have to loose loved ones to that kind of event.

  5. What a great tutorial. The stitch combination makes for a lovely texture. Thank you

    1. Thanks, I am glad it made sense. I sometimes wonder if I am getting too exited about these things.

  6. I certainly do enjoy seeing how you work the threads and designs. Thanks for sharing them with us. New Mexico, USA

  7. Just amazing! Thank you for sharing this!

    1. Glad you like these little leaves. I have not done leaves like this before and was just pleased with how they turned out.

  8. Looking awesome!
    The stitches are all very neat, I'm working on this now,
    nice to do, greetings ....

  9. Thanks for sharing these wonderful leaves! The extra texture makes them so interesting. I'm looking forward to trying them soon.


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