Essential Hand Embroidery Stitches & Design Composition - Stitching Lavender | Heidi Sternberg | Skillshare

Essential Hand Embroidery Stitches & Design Composition - Stitching Lavender

Heidi Sternberg, Contemporary Hand Embroidery

Essential Hand Embroidery Stitches & Design Composition - Stitching Lavender

Heidi Sternberg, Contemporary Hand Embroidery

Play Speed
  • 0.5x
  • 1x (Normal)
  • 1.25x
  • 1.5x
  • 2x
23 Lessons (3h 1m)
    • 1. Intro

      2:36
    • 2. Class Project

      2:58
    • 3. Tools & Supplies

      5:04
    • 4. Practice: Couching Intro

      4:47
    • 5. Practice: Couching Straight Lines

      10:21
    • 6. Practice: Couching Curved Lines

      7:55
    • 7. Practice: Couching Shapes

      8:02
    • 8. Practice: Straight Stitch

      4:05
    • 9. Practice: Simple Lazy Daisy Stitch

      10:12
    • 10. Practice: Filled Lazy Daisy Stitch

      11:01
    • 11. Practice: Laid Stitch

      5:30
    • 12. Design Composition

      3:43
    • 13. Stitch Plan

      4:15
    • 14. Project: Design Transfer

      8:14
    • 15. Project: Lavender Stems

      13:25
    • 16. Project: Grass Stems

      12:22
    • 17. Project: Couching Variation

      5:05
    • 18. Project: Small Grass Branches

      9:50
    • 19. Project: Grass Spikelets

      13:04
    • 20. Project: Lavender Buds

      12:00
    • 21. Project: Lavender Buds Follow Along Only (no voice)

      20:46
    • 22. Project: Tie

      5:04
    • 23. Final Thoughts

      1:04
  • --
  • Beginner level
  • Intermediate level
  • Advanced level
  • All levels
  • Beg/Int level
  • Int/Adv level

Community Generated

The level is determined by a majority opinion of students who have reviewed this class. The teacher's recommendation is shown until at least 5 student responses are collected.

52

Students

2

Projects

About This Class

e35a3bc4.jpg

This class is all about improving your hand embroidery skills and increasing your collection of hand embroidery stitches that you will be able to use not only for the class project but also in future projects.

This class is for you if you consider yourself a hand embroidery beginner but have done some hand embroidery before and are comfortable to thread up your needle, secure your thread, and know how to stitch a simple backstitch.

If you are a complete hand embroidery beginner or need to brush up on your embroidery skills and techniques, I highly suggest you check out my previous class: "Hand Embroidery 101: Foundational Stitches and Techniques". In the foundation class, I cover everything you need to know to get started in hand embroidery from threading up to transferring your designs. And in true skillshare fashion, you can practice your newly learned skills in the accompanying class project: spring blossoms on a branch. 

In this follow on class, you’ll learn and practice 4 new simple but versatile hand embroidery stitches:

  • Couching
  • The basic lazy daisy stitch
  • The filled lazy daisy stitch
  • The straight stitch

During the practice part of the class, you will not only learn individual stitch techniques, but I will also share when best to use the stitches and how you can adapt each stitch to make it fit for different scenarios. This knowledge will help you to decide what stitches to use in future projects.

Throughout the class, I have added helpful tips, tricks, and techniques that will help you to improve and perfect your stitching skills. You can pause and rewind the lessons whenever you need to and take the class as many times as you like.

For the practice exercises and the project you will need:

  • Fabric
  • Pen to transfer your designs
  • Embroidery thread
  • Embroidery needle
  • (Embroidery) scissors
  • Embroidery frame or hoop (optional)

While I will provide you with suggestions on which tools and materials to use, you are very welcome to use whatever you have at home already. You also might want to use fabrics or thread colours that you prefer. 

The class comes complete with a downloadable materials list, pattern, stitch plan, and suggestions for transfer methods depending on the fabric chosen.

By the end of this class, you will have stitched a beautiful spray of lavender and will have gained new skills and confidence that you can use and apply in any future embroidery projects.

Meet Your Teacher

Teacher Profile Image

Heidi Sternberg

Contemporary Hand Embroidery

Teacher

I'm Heidi — a designer maker and hand embroiderer. 

Introduced by my mum and grandmother, both accomplished embroiderers, I was lucky to experience, train and practice many different craft forms over the years. 

 

 
The craft form I always return to is hand embroidery.

Being creative and creating with your hands does wonders to your soul. I use my embroidery and crafting time to think and reflect. Stitching allows me to step into another world for a little while — leaving the stresses of daily life behind. I love to feel the fabric under my fingers and watch my design grow, stitch by stitch. And my wish for you is to experience this too!

 

See full profile

Class Ratings

Expectations Met?
  • Exceeded!
    0%
  • Yes
    0%
  • Somewhat
    0%
  • Not really
    0%
Reviews Archive

In October 2018, we updated our review system to improve the way we collect feedback. Below are the reviews written before that update.

Your creative journey starts here.

  • Unlimited access to every class
  • Supportive online creative community
  • Learn offline with Skillshare’s app

Why Join Skillshare?

Take award-winning Skillshare Original Classes

Each class has short lessons, hands-on projects

Your membership supports Skillshare teachers

Learn From Anywhere

Take classes on the go with the Skillshare app. Stream or download to watch on the plane, the subway, or wherever you learn best.

phone

Transcripts

1. Intro: If you're looking to improve your hand embroidery skills and master new hand embroidery stitches, this class is for you. Hello. My name is Heidi Sternberg. I live and work in London, but grew up in the northern part of Germany. I have been a designer maker for the past 10 years, selling homewares and accessories all over the world. My passion is for hand embroidery, which I would absolutely love to share with you. This class is for you if you consider yourself a hand embroidery beginner, but have done some stitching before and are happy to thread up your needle, secure your thread, and know how to stitch the basic back stitch. If you're a complete hand embroidery beginner or need to brush up on your embroidery skills, I highly suggest you check out my previous class, Hand Embroidery 101; Foundational Stitches and Techniques. In this follow on class, we will learn and practice four simple but versatile hand embroidery stitches, couching, the simple lazy daisy stitch, the third lazy daisy stitch, and the straight stitch. I will also look at the late stitch again, but this time in a different context. We will also explore how you can adopt each stitch to change it's look and when best to apply each stitch. I suggest you follow the class in sequence to make the most of it. While I will show you which tools and materials I'm using in class, you are very welcome to use whatever you have at home already, which is a great opportunity to use up that existing stash or choose your own fabric and thread to make the project your own. By the end of this class, you will have stitched a beautiful spray off lavender and will have gained new skills and confidence that you can apply in future projects. The class comes complete with downloadable materials list, pattern, and stitch plan. You can pause and rewind the lessons whenever you need to, and you can watch the class as many times as you like. I'm at hand for any questions you might have, just post them in the discussion thread just below this video. Let's dive straight in. 2. Class Project: The project for this class will be to hand embroider a spray of lavender with the optional adding of some grass stems. For me, be friendly lavender is the epitome of summer. I just love how lavender keeps on giving throughout the year with its soothing scent. Before we jump into the project we will be doing some practice exercises, and we will also be looking at the composition of a design and how adding different design elements have an impact on the overall look and feel and allows you to adapt a design to your preference. You can choose from two different patterns, either a simpler version with lavender stems only or a more complex version where we will be adding some grasses to the lavender spray. You can choose either one or even stitch both patterns. We will then look at the stitch plan where I will outline my thread, color, needle size, and stitches I've used for each design element. Once we've looked at the stitch plan we will then start stitching the spray of lavender. By the end of the class, you will not only be able to stitch a spray of lavender but you will also have built up your stitch collection and improved your embroidery technique that you can apply in future projects. You can use your final piece of embroidery as a wall hanging, a lavender sachet or pincushion, or even use elements of the design to embroider clothing such as this shirt. You will find a downloadable stitch plan pattern and a list of tools and materials in the project and resource center below this video. Click on each file to download each individual file. I would absolutely love for you to share your stitched lavender spray with me and your fellow students. To do so, scroll down the page and click on the Projects and Resources tab below this video and click on ''Create Project''. Then name your project and add one or more images down here where it says add more content. You can also ask any questions or make any notes in the text box. Make sure to also upload your image up here so it appears in the gallery view. If you have any questions at all, you can post them in the Discussions tab. Once you've posted your questions, I will get back to you with an answer as soon as possible. In the next lesson, I'll take you through the tools and materials you will need for this class. Let's take a look. 3. Tools & Supplies: In this brief lesson, I will outline a list of suggested items you'll need in this class and that I have used to stitch the project. Please feel free to adapt the list to suit your preferences, or use what you already have at home. In the Resources section, you will find a downloadable PDF that summarizes all tools and materials, and also includes some suggestions for suppliers other than Amazon. While I have used natural linen for this project, you can use any fabric you like: cotton, canvas, silk. The choice is really yours. The design itself measures 11 by 8 centimeters, or 4.3 by 3.15 inches. You can increase or decrease the design by amending your print size. If you want to display your finished piece in a six inch embroidery hoop, I would suggest a piece of fabric that measures 22 by 22 centimeters, or 8.5 by 8.5 inches. Embroidery hoop is optional but makes it easier to stitch as it keeps the fabric taut. I have used a six inch embroidery hoop for the project. I'm using a size 7 embroidery or crewel needle when I stitch with two strands of embroidery cotton, and I'm using a size 9 embroidery or crewel needle when I stitch with just one strand of embroidery cotton. If you're struggling to thread up your thread, or if you're using thicker thread, you might want to consider using a size 22 or 23 chenille needle, but this is really optional. I have used both anchor and DMC embroidery threads in the design. If you prefer to use one or the other brand, I have included alternatives in brackets. The alternative colors are not a complete match, but will be very similar. Feel free to use your own threads and colors to make the design your own. The thread colors are fused as follows. The light purple is a DMC 3807, the dark purple is an anchor 178, the green thread color is an anchor 216, the bronze color is an anchor 308, and the beige color for the tie is a DMC 4145, which is a lovely variegated thread. Alternatively, you could also use a fine linen thread or even white sewing thread that has been stained with black tea. I will look at the colors in more detail when we look at the stitch plan. You will need a pen or fabric marker to transfer the design onto fabric. The transfer marker you use very much depends on the fabric you're using. If you need help with what markers or transfer methods to use, please check out my previous class; Hand Embroidery 101: Foundational Stitches and Techniques. In this class, I'm using the transfer paper method, and we'll be using a non-work space transfer paper, a heat erasable pen, and a permanent marker. But more on this in the transfer lesson. You will also need a pair of scissors. I prefer to use embroidery scissors as they are sharp and cut thread without fraying. However, you can use a sharp pair of household scissors as well if you don't have any embroidery scissors at hand. You might consider using a thread conditioner if your thread is difficult to manage, such as settings thread, or your thread is not very straight. However, this is entirely optional. I use a thread conditioner occasionally mainly when I use setting thread. You can use a synthetic thread conditioner or beeswax. I tend to use beeswax. In the next few lessons, we will start practicing our stitches we will use in the final project. We will start looking at couching in the next lesson. 4. Practice: Couching Intro: In this lesson, I will introduce you to couching and how to get the best results out of this technique. So what is couching? Couching is a great technique to create lines and shapes alike. To couch, two different threads are used. First, we have this thread to be couched down, and second, the couching thread. Once you've couched down the main thread, you plunge the ends of that thread to the back and secure it. You can achieve very fine lines or even thicker lines depending on the number of strands you use. For contrast, you can use a different color for couching and couched thread. So let's take a look. In our example, this is going to be the thread we are going to couch down, and this is our couching thread. Let me show you. We're going to put the blue thread along our stitch line and then we are going to take the second thread, this yellow thread, and stitch the first thread down using couching stitches with equal distances. Just a couple of things before I start. In principle, you can use any thread you like. This can be embroidery thread, crewel wool, or even yarn. If you're using embroidery thread, I would suggest to separate the strands before stitching and then put them back together, and here's why. Each embroidery thread can be divided into a number of strands. As you can see here, the individual strands twist around each other. So you would not get a very smooth finish when this thread is couched down, and you would have some texture in your couched down thread. By separating the strands and putting the strands back together, you won't have the individual twists and achieve a really nice and smooth stitched line. In our practice example, we are going to use three strands of embroidery thread. There is one last point I like to make. Here we have a little kink in the thread. So if we put the thread on the stitch line and start couching it down, it is slightly more difficult to maneuver. To get around this, you either have to pull this thread a little more when stitching, or you can use a thread conditioner. The conditioner is certainly not essential but sometimes makes life a little bit easier. Let me quickly show you how to use a conditioner. I'm using a B specs rather than chemical thread conditioner, but you can use either. So pull the threads along the bee's wax like this, and then smooth out the thread. You can see now that the thread is much straighter. Before I start couching, I need to make sure that I have enough thread on either side of the stitch line, that I can plunge through to the other side and secure, once I finish couching. I would recommend that you have about 4-5 centimeters on each side, which is about two inches. This will give you enough thread to comfortably plunge your thread to the back of the fabric. I always start the couching at the midpoint of my stitch line and then work first one-half and then the other half. This makes it easier to manage the couching and to keep your thread in place as it is already secured in the middle. For the first two exercises, I'm using two strands for the couching thread and three strands of embroidery cotton for the thread to be couched down. I'm using a size 7 embroidery or crewel needle for this exercise. You might want to use two needles, one for the couching thread and one for the thread to be couched down if you don't want to swap needles when you plunge down your thread to the back of the fabric to secure the thread. I will use a size 27 chenille needle to plunge my thread to the back of the fabric as it has a larger eye of the needle. In the next lesson, we will start practicing couching in a straight line. 5. Practice: Couching Straight Lines: In this lesson, we will practice the basic couching on a straight line before we go on to stitching curves and shapes. To start, we need to secure our couching thread. I am using the holding stitch to do so. If you need a reminder of how to secure your thread, just refer back to my first class, Contemporary hand embroidery, 101: Foundational stitches and techniques where I discuss all the holding stitches in much detail. We are now going to put the thread to be couched down on top of our stitch line just like this, and then next we come up with our needle on one side of our thread to be couched down. The side doesn't matter, and then we take the needle down directly opposite at a 90 degree angle. What we don't want to do is pull the thread really tight, if you want to have an even look because pulling too hard creates a dent, as you can see here. If you want the couch thread to look smooth, just tighten but not too tight. In our exercise today, we are going to work downwards first, but you can start stitching the other side as well, it's up to you. So we are placing the next stitch about three to four millimeters, or about one eighth of an inch below our first stitch. To keep our couching even, we always take our needle up on the same side and then take the needle down directly opposite at a 90 degree angle. Then we continue stitching along the stitch line. Always make sure that your thread to be couched down follows the stitch line accurately. You might need to slightly adjust your thread as you move down. As you will see when we stitch the curved line, you do need to move your thread quite regularly, especially around corners. But we'll come to that in the next lesson. So let's just do the next stitch here. Try and keep the distance between each of your couching stitches as equal as possible. So we now only have a couple more stitches to do. Make sure to look ahead ever so often because you want to stop your couching one stitch before the end of your stitch line and I'll tell you in a minute why. Okay, our stitch line finishes here, so I will do one more stitch. We have now almost reached the end of our stitch line. My stitch line finishes just about here, that's about one stitch before the end. What we want to do now is to bring our thread we have just couch down to the other side. To do so, we need to take a needle and thread up our couch thread. This can be a second needle or the needle from the couching thread. In this case, we only have three strands of cotton, but you might use more strands of embroidery cotton or even thicker thread, in which case you might need the size five or three embroidery, or crewel needle. Chenille needles are also very good to plunge thread as it has a large eye of the needle. In the exercise today, I'm using a chenille needle to plunge through my thread. As you can see here, our last couching stitch is lifting slightly up. This is one of the reasons why you want to leave your thread long at the end, so you have enough thread to plunge through. Don't worry if your thread pulls up a little, that can be tightened again later. So to plunge, take your needle down just where your stitch line ends, just like this. Then you can remove your needle and put to the side until you plunge down the other side. The next step is to do one more stitch with your couching thread to hold down and cover the end of your couched thread, and to create a nice finish. There we go. I'm now going to turn over my work so that we can secure our thread at the back. This is the back of our embroidery, and you can see here the back of the stitch line I just stitched. This blue thread is our thread we've just couched on the other side, and this is our couching thread. To secure the thread, we bend the thread backwards so it lies directly over the couched line. Then we secure it with the couching thread. It is basically a very similar process to the couching we have just done. We weave our thread over and under existing stitches to secure the thread. Let me demonstrate. So weaving the thread under and over, and then we continue these stitches and secure our thread. We want to continue our stitching for about one centimeter or half an inch. What you can do to secure your thread further is to try and catch a tiny bit of the fabric thread. You don't want to pierce your fabric all the way through as this would be visible from the other side. But if you just catch top thread, as I'm demonstrating here, it makes your thread more secure. Once you have secured the thread for about one centimeter, you just cut off the thread and leave a tiny tail so it doesn't slip back. What you do with the couching thread depends very much on where you are with your stitching. If you still need to couch down a second side and your stitch line is short, you can just run your couching thread to the middle of the line and then bring the needle to the other side of the fabric to continue couching. However, if you have finished couching, or the stitch line is too long to weave your thread to the relevant position to the resume stitching, just finish off your couching thread by weaving it under existing stitches a few times, then cut it off, and then start over. This is really all there is to know about securing our thread at the back and we can continue with our couching. We now couch the thread along the other direction until we come to the end. Then we plunge down the thread, do one more couching stitch at the end, and finally secure both threads at the back of the fabric in the same way we have just practiced. To recap, you can vary the number of strands to create finer or thicker lines. To get a nice, smooth finish, place your couching stitches at a 90 degree angle. Remember to leave about four or five centimeters or two inches of thread on either side of your stitch line for plunging. It is easier to couch if you start in the middle of your line. For a nice line, separate your strands of embroidery cotton. This is our straight couched line completed and we are now moving onto practice our couching on a curved line in the next lesson. 6. Practice: Couching Curved Lines: For our next exercise, we are going to couch around a curve. I'm going to start couching in the middle and then make my way down, secure the thread at the back, and then stitch the second half. The first half is fairly straight, and then the stitch line curve is around in the second half. I'm aiming to place one or two couching stitches directly in the curve, which will have to create a nice and smooth curve. A tip: to make stitching a curve easier, is to stitch from the outside in. By stitching outside in, you can pull the thread towards the couch line, which helps to place your thread more accurately. Let's put the thread in place. I've already secured my couching thread, so I'll bring my needle up here in the middle. Then bring my needle across the thread and take it down to the right. Because I want to place my couching stitches in or near the curve, I have to plan ahead a little and identify where to place my stitches. This might mean some adjustment to the distance between couching stitches. Do try to keep the distance as even as possible. I'm now couching down my stitch line, keeping an eye on the curve. In our example, we only have one small curve. But if you should stitch align with several curves, check your stitch line more regularly. Not only to be as closely aligned to the stitch line but also to place your stitches evenly on the curve to get the best results. Now we are coming slowly up to the curve, as you can see here, so I'm placing one more stitch on the line. Now, I'm going to stitch my first stitch on the curve, which is also the queue to start moving the thread around to hug the curve. Just like this. I have come to the end here, now I need to plunge my thread through to the back of the fabric as we have already practiced in the previous exercise. If you can't plunge it through straight away, you just give your thread a little bit of a pull. Sometimes you need to use your finger a little bit to straighten and underline your stitches slightly. Then we can stitch the last couching stitch here at the end. There we go. We are now ready to secure our thread at the back and then move onto stitching the second half. Just refer back to the previous lesson on couching the straight line if you need a reminder on how to secure the thread at the back. For this half hour was stitch line curves to the other side, so we want to stitch from the outside in again, which means we are coming up to the right of the thread and then take the needle down to the left side of the thread. Let's continue stitching along our line. For the second half, the curve is slightly more shallow. I'm starting off couching was a fairly straight line, so we only need to adjust our stitch direction slightly. Can you see here? The curve bends around ever so slightly. For the first half, we had quite a sharp curve, and this curve is slightly longer, and not as sharp. We just need to keep adjusting the position of our thread: we couch slightly. This is held by couching from the outside in as we can pull the thread towards already placed stitches. There we go, there's just another stitch before we plunge our thread to the other side. Slightly pull in your thread. There we go. The curve is shaping up really nicely. After plunging the thread, remember to do one more couching stitch. We have now finished our curved line. If you need a reminder how to secure your thread at the back, just refer back to the previous lesson. You are now able to couch a curved line. In the next lesson and last exercise on couching, we are going to look at how to couch in shapes. 7. Practice: Couching Shapes: For our final couching exercise, we're going to couch this over. This is a little bonus exercise as we are not going to stitch a couch shape in the project, but I will be using a few more strands, so this is a good exercise if you are planning to use thicker thread for your embroidery, especially the plunging can be more tricky when using thicker thread. I will show you a couple of tricks how to make plunging easier with thicker thread, plus there are couple of other points I want to show you in this exercise. This includes how we finish a couch shape and the way I couch, which I find helpful to speed things up a little. Let's get started. I have already secured my couching thread with a couple of holding stitches, so I'm just going to start couching here. We usually couch in a shape, if we want to outline a shape that we have stitched. For example, if we stitch the shape with the fillings stitch and the edges are little rugged, then we can use couching to outline the shape and cover the edges. The couch shape can also form a border for a shape that has been filled with small open stitch rag such as trellis rug, seeding, or knots, for example, to give definition and structure. What really helps me to speed up couching is to grab the thread to be couched down between my thumb and index finger, and when I stitch, especially around a curve, I move my thread forth and back. I'm going to the left with my thread, and then I take my thread to the right. This helps me to get a really nice finish as I'm better able to see where my stitch line is, and it also speeds up my couching, which is especially useful when there's lots of couching to do. It makes it also easier to couch this way rather than trying to move your thread lying flat on the fabric. I'm now coming to the bottom of my oval with a quite tight curve. This means it is important to watch the distance between your couching stitches. If the distance between the stitches is too large, the curve will lose its smoothness. I'm coming now to the end of couching the shape, so I will need to work out where to place the last stitch before plunging the threads to the other side. I'm now ready to plunge through my thread. In this exercise, I chose to use a thicker thread, which makes it more difficult to plunge, especially if you have denser fabric or it could even damage the fabric if you use more delicate fabric. To alleviate these issues, there are two different ways to make the plunging easier. First, you can use a shinier needle, which has a larger eye of the needle. This not only makes it easier to thread up the thicker thread, but it also allows to create a little hole through which the thread can be pulled through more easily. To start, I'm threading up all my strands of embroidery [inaudible] ones using a shinier needle. Then when I take down my needles for the fabric, I move the needle around slightly to create a little hole which makes it easier to pull through the thread. If it is there difficult to pull through your needle, just move the eye of your needle a little more to create space, and you might just need to give it some good tucks to pull it through as well. This method is best used for some study of fabric, such as linen or cotton. If you don't have a shinier needle or stitch on more delicate fabric such as satin or silk, you can divide your stranded cotton into smaller sections and then plunged through the smaller sections as I'm demonstrating now. Once I plunged through the first section, I take the needle out from the other side, thread up the next section and plunge through again. If you plunge through individual sections, make sure you plunge each section through the same hole as you don't want to create additional stitches. Just like this. You can divide your strands into as many portions as you need to, three or four, it does not matter. This method only works if your thread is divisible into individual strands. As you can see, we now have this little gap and I will cover this was one last couching stitch, just like this, and there you go. This makes a really nice finish here, and you can't see where I plunged through my thread to the other side. I'm now going to show you how to secure your thread at the back. How you secure your thread at the back really depends on how many strands of cotton you have. Potentially you could secure it all along one way and then secure it that way, but if you have used quite a few strands of cotton or use thick thread, you might be better off to secure your strands separately to avoid bulk at the back of your fabric. In this case, you would secure one set of strands along one way and then the other sets along the other way. If your couching thread is long enough, you can just use the same thread to secure both sides. Otherwise, you might have to secure a new piece of thread and the existing stitches. Before you start securing your thread, just give your couching thread a little tack to ensure it is [inaudible]. Then secure your couch thread as we have done in previous exercises. If your shape has quite sharp corners, you might have to bend your thread slightly as you want to follow your stitch line. There we go. That is our overall couched. This brings our couching exercises to an end. In the next lesson, we will practice this straight stitch. 8. Practice: Straight Stitch: The straight stitch is a very straight forward stitch and consists of a single stitch that can be placed individually, or in groups, that can form lines and shapes. After securing your thread, you simply take your needle up at a defying point, and then take it down, a little further along. That is one straight stitch completed. You can vary the direction, and there is not really any height restrictions, so you can have taller stitches, smaller stitches, or a combination of the two. They make nice little filling stitches or can be used as accents. As you can see here, this looks like a bushel of grass. The only consideration that you should take into account, whether to use a straight stitch, and then what form is the use of your final piece? For example, if you plan to hang your stitch design on the wall, the straight stitch can be longer. As you can see here, the longer straight stitch is fairly loose. If you were to use it maybe for a cushion cover, or to decorate an item of clothing, the thread could get caught easily and might break. Just something to bear in mind. In our project, we will use a straight stitch to create the small branches at the top of our grass stems. There are no major guidelines, what you can do, and what you can't do, so the stitching is pretty flexible. I'd just like to show you a couple of things you might want to consider. For example, if we're coming off here, from the stem, you can see that I'm creating a smaller gap when I pull the thread. This is not a major issue, but affects the look. In order to achieve a more smooth transition from one branch to another, slightly angle your needle, when you take your needle down another existing stitches. This creates a more joint up appearance, and nicer transition. There is one other point to consider. As given by the design, there are lots of different branches, so you stitch one branch here, and the other one here. What you can't do, is stitch from here, and then go down that way, because this would what remove your previous stitch. If you want to create a branch with two or more sections, you have to go up, take your needle through the fabric, and then take your needle down the same hallway you went down for your previous stitch. You basically create a back stitch, just as I'm showing you here. You can easily change the direction of your stitch and length, so it's really flexible. The only drawback is, because it's a straight stitch, you don't get nice curves. There is a little work around for this to create a more curved appearance, and I'm covering this in the project lesson on stitching the small grass branches. In the next lesson, you will learn and practice how to stitch the simple Lazy Daisy stitch. 9. Practice: Simple Lazy Daisy Stitch: Lazy daisy stitches are part of the chain stitch family and are also called detached chain stitch. They are lovely shape to depict teardrops, flowers, leaves, or combination to make up larger flowers. In the next two lessons, we are going to practice a lazy daisy stitch. We're going to stitch two different versions. First, the standard lazy daisy stitch, which we will use for the grass spikelets in our project, and the third lazy daisy stitch for our lavender buds. So let's get started practicing the standard lazy daisy stitch. I've already secured the thread. I start by coming up through the fabric just like that, and then the next stitch goes back down to the same hole where we came up. We then create a small loop just like this. For this exercise, the size doesn't matter. Then we are coming up through the fabric just at the top within the loop and pull the thread through until it's tight. Just like this. Then we take the needle and thread down through the fabric just at the other side of the loop, opposite where we came up. Let's do that again. We are coming up through the fabric, go down through the same hole, create a small loop. Then we take the needle up where we want our lazy daisy stitch to end. Then pull the stitch tight and secure the stitch by going down opposite where we came up and then pull the stitch tight. Just a couple of things. As you can see, the first stitch is a little bit wider than the second lazy daisy stitch. I don't know whether you observed, when I was stitching the first stitch, I slightly supported the loop with my finger so that the stitch could not tighten too much. But with the second one, I just let go the loop and pulled it really tight. We will repeat this in a minute. Just remember that you can vary the width of your lazy daisy stitch by supporting the thread more or less. Unless you want to make it a feature, stitch this little holding stitch as small as possible so that it's not very visible. I made it a little bit larger here for you to see. But for the next lazy daisy stitch, I'm going to make this stitch a little bit tighter. Let's do that again. This time we're going to do a wider stitch again. So I'm going back through the hole and I want my lazy daisy stitch to come up about here, so I'm pulling my thread a tiny bit smaller, like this. I come up with my needle and then I can make any adjustments to my lazy daisy stitch now if required. Then how will this thread down, you don't have to use a lot of pressure, just a little bit to secure the thread and hold it in place. You want to continue holding it down just as I show here and when you bring your needle down to the fabric, you might want to angle your needle slightly under the existing stitches. As you can see in this example, because I angle the needle under the thread, you hardly can see the stitch and I think that's quite nice. Now let's do a narrow lazy daisy stitch. Can you see? Because I pulled my thread firmly, it pulled the previous stitch as well. So if you're doing a row of stitches, you need to be careful when tightening your first stitch because it might have an impact on previous stitches. So for tighter lazy daisy stitch, put the loop over the thread and then just pull it tight. Because we have already done a couple of stitches to create the loop, it won't affect the previous lazy daisy stitch, but it will have an impact on the stitch itself. Just pull it tight. Again, if you want the holding stitch blend in better, angle your needle slightly. I would also like to mention another couple of points. While you can vary the length of your lazy daisy stitch from, let's say, one centimeter or half an inch to really small such as a few millimeters, the longer the stitch you have, the more fragile the loop of the lazy daisy stitch is and could easily snick if caught. So before you decide on the stitch length, consider the purpose of your embroidery. Longer lazy daisy stitches are probably better suited for embroidery that are framed up, whether this is an embroidery or picture frame or even like reading card. If you want to use the embroidery for a utilitarian item like a notebook or a piece of clothing, then I would suggest you use a smaller sized lazy daisy stitch because it's harder to get caught in the stitches. As I already mentioned, we are going to use a lazy daisy stitch for both the lavender buds and the grass spikelets. Let's start with the standard lazy daisy stitch as we will be using it for the grass spikelets. To start, we are bringing our needle through the fabric as we just practiced. This time, we want to be more deliberate where we place a needle. We are going to place a needle where we want our lazy daisy stitch to finish because that's our guide and then put the loop over the needle and then pull the loop tight. We use this method because we don't want the lazy daisy to be any size. We want to have the size that works for our design. As you can see, the spikelets are going to be fairly dainty. So it almost looks like as if it's a third lazy daisy stitch because the sides of the lazy daisy stitch are so close together. I think they look really cute. So most of the spikelets are next to each other and form a pair. Therefore, we are mainly using the same hole for both the spikelets. There are a few single lazy daisy stitches [inaudible]. If you want to have the spikelets at about the same height, take your needle and then just go along the back as a guide and then come up where you want your spikelet to go. Then just put the loop over and pull your loop tight. Do angle your needle slightly again here to help blend in your holding stitch. Feel free to vary the size and tension of your spikelets. You can also stitch them further apart from each other. You can have a smaller or larger spikelet so you can vary those patterns as well. This is a great way to make the design your own. Let's just stitch a few more. This is a tiny one. I quite like to stitch different sized lazy daisy stitches because it lends a piece a little more interest and it's more organic, which I really like. Remember, the tighter you pull your thread, the narrower and tighter the stitches would be. You can decide for yourself, do you want a tighter spikelet or do you want a little looser one? I think they are both nice, but they just have a different look and feel to them. This one is really pulled together. I don't like it too much because it is a bit out of shape now. So what you can do is just take a needle or your scissors and pull the thread a little bit apart. Just be careful. I pulled a little bit too hard and roughed up the thread a little. Right stitch one more here. There you go. This is our simple lazy daisy stitch that we will be using for our grass spikelets. We are now going to move on to practice the third lazy daisy stitch that we will be using to stitch the lavender buds. 10. Practice: Filled Lazy Daisy Stitch: We are now going to stitch the third Lazy Daisy stitch, which we are going to use for our lavender buds. There's two different ways we can stitch the third Lazy Daisy stitch. I'm going to show you both and then you can decide which one you want to use for the project. Let's start with our simple Lazy Daisy stitch as an outline. To support the third lavender buds, we want the shape to be a little more quirky. So we hold the shape with the finger to support it. This avoids the Lazy Daisy to become too narrow. We also want this little holding stitch as tiny as possible. So make sure you angle your needle just like this. We can stitch the filling in two different ways. We can stitch from outside the Lazy Daisy to the inside. This creates a little dent which lends the lavender buds a little more interest. Or we can have the filling quite smooth by taking our stitches all the way to the outside and covering the entire Lazy Daisy stitch. In the project, I will use the first version where I take down the needle inside the Lazy Daisy stitch, because I do quite like the interests this filling creates. Let's start. I always start in the middle of my Lazy Daisy stitch, which makes it easier to keep a balance. We are coming out at the top, just above the end of the Lazy Daisy stitch. Then I take the needle down just above the base of the Lazy Daisy stitch. Then I'm taking my needle and thread around at the back and come up again just next to my first stitch. Then I'm coming down again almost in the same hole as the previous stitch and I pull the thread tight for my stitches, I'm guided by the natural curve of my Lazy Daisy stitch which will give the shape a really nice curve. The first two stitches where we pretty much at the same level, and then the follow-up stitches will be lowered down and therefore shorter. How many stitches you're going to stitch really depends on how long and how wide your basic Lazy Daisy stitch is. So it's probably going to be between two and six stitches per butt. One more stitch here. You always can straighten out your thread a little bit at the end. Then once we have stitched one half, we can move on to stitching the second half. Just one more little stitch here. Yes, I think that works nicely. Let's do that again. This time, I'm going to use a little longer stitch. I still want to make sure I keep this shape a little bit more quirky. This Lazy Daisy stitch is a little longer, but it still has a nice shape. Then I'm just going to fill it again. Our original shape works very much as a frame. I always work halfway first because it's easier to get a more equal distribution of stitches. If you are starting on the left side or the right side, it's more difficult to achieve a nicely balanced shape. That is the reason why I'm stitching first one half, and then the other. This looks good, and then I can stitch the other side. Now, the edge here is fine, but if you find that you have too many gaps or the edges of the shape is a little ragged, try to angle your needle slightly under the previous stitch. Let me show you here, when you come out and angle your needle slightly, this gives you a nicer curve. Then just straighten out your thread a little bit if it's hanging over a little. So that's fine. That's a first version stitched. As you can see by taking our stitches downwards in the shape, we create some more texture and sense of movement. I think this is quite nice. Let's stitch the next version. For our second, third version, we again start with our basic Lazy Daisy stitch. In the first version, we took our needle down inside our basic Lazy shape. For this version, we are taking our needle down just outside the base of our shape. We're still filling the entire shape, but we are taking our needle a little further to the outside of the base. Just be careful that you don't pull your thread too hard because we are still creating this point at the base to maintain the teardrop shape. We angle the needle slightly under here. Yeah, I think that this is good. Again, you don't want to overdo the stitching, but just cover the basic shape of the Lazy Daisy stitch. The only thing with stitching so close together is that it gets a little bit harder to push through the needle at some stage at the base. You could use a thimble if you're really struggling to push through the thread. Let's just finish the other side here now. We just do one more stitch here and then that should look good. As you can see here, this shape is a little bit smoother. On the previous version, we have this little dent at the base of the Lazy Daisy stitch and this one is more even in appearance. It is only a subtle difference and it really depends what look you're after. I quite like the first one, but you might prefer the second third Lazy Daisy stitch. Or you can even do a mix of the both. Let's do another one. This is a nice little one. Again, you can always use your finger to mold and shape your stitches slightly. Just one more stitch, I think on this side. The sun is peeping out saying hello. I'm just going to do one more stitch here. Yeah, that looks good. Just straighten it out a little bit. We have now stitched our two different versions of the Lazy Daisy stitch, and we are now ready to practice our next stitch, the Laid stitch. 11. Practice: Laid Stitch: The laid stitch is another very versatile stitch and it's great to use as a filling stitch. It is similar to a satin stitch, but uses less thread and hence is less bulky. You might be familiar with this stitch if you have taken my previous class, but in this class, we are going to use the laid stitch in a slightly different way, so I thought it worthwhile looking at the stitch again. We will be using the laid stitch as a little tie around our spray of lavender in our project. At the end of stitching, I will tie a bow to finish the tie, but you can also use a knot, depending on your preference. I will talk you through the laid stitch here and you can have a little practice run. First, we are going to take the needle down through the fabric and leave a small length of thread on top of the fabric. We will use a small length of thread and a similar length at the opposite side to tie the bow or knot at the end. We are not going to put the knot in, but just leave it to the side for now, and then come back to it at the end. For the second stitch, we come up through the fabric just above or below our first stitch. I will first complete the upper part of my tie, so we place my next stitch above the first stitch. Then the next stitch will be placed directly opposite, just like you can see here. To help you place the stitch directly opposite, you can gently pull on your thread to get a straight line. Not too much though, because then you'll pull out the loose end we have on the other side. Then you can take the needle down, just like here, directly opposite the previous stitch. Alternatively, you could place your thread randomly and crossover other threads to create a more organic look, which would look quite nice as well. Next, take your needle up above the previous stitch. Make sure to place your stitch quite accurately, as you want to have a fairly straight edge here. Then you go again to the other side and repeat the pooling of the thread to get a straight line. In our project, the little lavender and grass breaks will be behind the laid stitch tie and you will be able to see them peeking through your laid stitch tie. If you can leave some bigger gaps, you can see the stems better. But if you wanted the tie quite solid, just add another stitch like here and here, where the gap is. We can now start stitching the bottom half. The beauty of using the laid stitch is that it's very economical, as we don't lead the thread at the back to the other side, even though it appears like it. Now that we are coming to the end, we want to come up directly opposite where we started to be able to tie our bow or knot. Here you go. I just need to pull out the needle now. Let's pull this up a little bit so you can see better. Then we just tie a knot or bow, whatever your preference is. You can tie the thread in the middle or to the side. It's really up to you. Or just tie a little bow here and pull it tight. You can also just tie a knot if you prefer, IF you don't like a bow. There we go. That's our little tie done. I hope you enjoyed this exercise, where we looked at how to stitch the laid stitch. In the next lesson, we will look at what makes a good design composition so that you can apply these principles if you want to try creating your own designs or adopt any existing designs. 12. Design Composition: Before we go into the detail of the individuals stitch elements, I briefly would like to talk about the design overall and its composition. What does composition mean? According to dictionary.com, composition is organization or grouping of the different parts of a work of art so as to achieve a unified whole. For me, the most important word in this definition is unified. Everyone can put together a design, but to make a design special, we need to bring together and arrange design elements in a harmonious and meaningful way. Composition is a big subject and could easily be a class on its own. That we can get on with our stitching, I will keep this lesson short and sweet, and focus on the design principles relevant for our class project. First up is pattern or balance. With pattern, we organize or arrange design elements in a way that is pleasing to the eye. In our lavender spray, I have distributed the stems in a way that the overall design appears balanced and provide stability. While the stems are all slightly different, they balance each other out, so I'm using bows tool and smaller stems and also include some repetition. Emphasis. With emphasis, we pay particular attention to one design element. Emphasis can be achieved through different means. For example, color, location or shading. In our design, the focal point is the purple lavender buds. While the stems, the grass and the tie are important to the overall design, they take on a supporting role. Proportion. With proportion we pay attention how elements relate to each other, whether this is the size or the number of elements. The placement of each stem works in unit team, so all the stems relate well to each other. If for example, one stem won't be really a tool, the design would be out of proportion. While we do have the smallest stem here at the bottom, if you look at it in the context of the whole design, it still works. Variety and Contrast. With variety or contrast, we are adding a difference to a design to create both interest, but also focus on to individual design elements. By adding the grasses to the design, I've added some additional interest to the lavender spray. I have kept the buds small and finer so that it does not overpower the lavender. This brings us to the end of this lesson. To recap. Using elements of design consciously, we can affect the composition of a design. In our project, we are using pattern, emphasis, proportion, and contrast to create a unified design. In the next lesson, I will talk you through this stitch plan of our design before we start on the actual project. 13. Stitch Plan: Before we dive into stitching our designs, I briefly want to give you an overview of what, when, and how we are going to stitch our design. For this purpose, I have created a stitch plan. A stitch plan basically looks at your overall embroidery design and gives you direction when to stitch what. This will help you to get the best result out of your design. I have provided the stitch plan as a download under the Resources tab. First, we will look at the simpler version of the lavender spray. The stitches we have already practiced in the practice exercises are the filled lazy daisy stitch for the lavender buds, couching for the stems, and the laid stitch for the tie. When we work out what to stitch first, we want to imagine the design in real-life and look at the individual elements of the design, and then decide how they relate to each other in terms of position and order. Looking at the lavender spray, the first element, we want to stitch are the stems because they are the elements for the spec and our design. Both the lavender buds and the tie sit on top of the stems, and will therefore be stitched later on. I have therefore indicated a 1 for the stems. The next element to stitch are the dark purple lavender buds as they sit on top of the stems. I want the lighter buds to go on top of the darker buds to form a highlight. The dark lavender buds are indicated with a 2, and the light lavender buds with a 3. You will embroid this laid stitch tie last, and therefore it is indicated with a 4. The stitch plan also shows you what thread colors and number of strands are fused. The second stitch plan shows a more complex design, including the grasses. Because we have a number of crossovers of various design elements, the stitch sequence is also a little more complex. I have indicated here that the lavender stems will be stitched first, as they are the furthest design element at the back. Potentially you could also stitch the grass stems first, apart from these two grass stems that cross over the lavender stems here and here. Just to make it simpler, I indicated the lavender stems with a 1, then the majority of the grass stems with a 2, and then those two crossovers stems will be stitched third. The fourth element to stitch up the smaller branches of the grasses. As I would like them to sit behind the grass spikelets. They also cross over a few places like here and here. In this position are the grass spikelets, which are also crossing over the lavender stem over here on the left. After the spikelets, I'm stitching the dark purple buds, which are in position 6, and then the light lavender buds which are in position 7. Then finally the laid stitch tie in position 8. You will also find the additional thread color for the grass stems here on the right. I hope you have found this lesson useful. We covered how a stitch plan can help us to fine-tune our stitch design. We are now finally able to start stitching our lavender spray. If you have any questions, as always, please post them under the Discussion tab below this video. 14. Project: Design Transfer: I'm now going to transfer my design. This is a very quick recap lesson with some tips that you might find useful to transfer this particular design. If you are new to transferring designs, I would suggest to check out my first-class, contemporary hand embroidery 101, foundational stitches and techniques. Where I demonstrate transfer methods for different fabrics in detail. Because of the fine detail in this design, I'm using the transfer paper method for this project. I tend to use wax free transfer paper as the marks are not permanent. While it does require to redraw with the designs in the second stage with a marker, it gives you more control over the transfer, and markings can be made temporary. I'm using a transfer paper called Saral. I've printed this pattern using different colors for the lavender and the grasses. It's easier to differentiate between the two when transferring the designs. For the grasses, I'm only going to trace the stems, because a little spikelets are very easy to stitch and you don't really need a pattern for them. When stitching, I'm using this stitch plan as reference if I need help with the placement of this spikelets. But for the lavender, I will trace the parts. To make the transfer easier, I'm going to trace a lavender stand first, and when I'm done I will trace the parts. Because the lines are really fine and they are quite a few elements. It is very important that you put a lot of pressure on your tracer, whether this is a pen or stylus to get a clear transfer. If your hand gets tired from tracing, just take a break. Always look a little ahead when you are tracing, so that you can anticipate the direction of your design line. Aim to draw as accurately as you can to get clear lines, and again, insert quite a bit of pressure to get a nice clear transfer. Where you have any places of overlap, whether it's the stems, butts or both, still continue tracing all your lines and shapes. This will help you later when stitching to allow the continuity of line. Also take care of tracing the smaller branches for the grasses. If they're small and fine, they will be more difficult to see when traced. If you're not quite sure whether you have traced or put enough pressure on the line, well, then go over the line again to avoid missing some of the lines. I think this looks good. Let's do the big reveal. This is always quite exciting to see how the transfer turned out. So I'm removing both my pattern and the transfer paper carefully. That has come out really nice. The lines are clear, and we can now go redraw the lines. As you can see, I've hooked up my fabric with a transfer design but upside down. What you can see here is basically the underside of my hook. I usually don't like this set up to retrace my design because I prefer my hands to be flat on the surface. However, because this design is so fine, I wanted my fabric to be as taut as possible to make it easier to retrace a design. Because this is a non wax transfer paper, I will need to retrace my lines because the marks as they are will eventually rub out when you handle the fabric. To retrace, I would highly suggest you're using one of these removable markers. Again, I discussed this in very much detail in my first course. Just refer back to that course if you need a refresher on marking pens. I suggest to use a removable marker because the lines are very fine, and if you make a mistake with the tracing, it is more difficult to cover the marks up with your stitches. Alternatively, you could use a very fine permanent marker, such as this Pigma Micron. This one here has a very fine tip of 003. I will use two markers for the retracing. I will use a fine permanent marker for the lavender stems. Part of the stems will be covered by the lavender butts and the colored stem should easily hide the marks made by the permanent pen. Then I will use a heat erasable marker for the grasses. You can easily see the difference. I will work from right to left to avoid touching the marks with my hand. If you're left-handed, you might want to work from left to right. I'm going to start with my grass here, and will use my stitch plan as a reference. Looking at my stitch plan, my first stalk is actually starting here. I'm going to start tracing and refer back to my stitch plan as I go along. The marking is very clear. It does pay off to take your time with tracing by working precisely and adding pressure to your pennants stylus. As you can see here, I can create a very fine line with my pigma micron, which makes it easier to cover the markings later on. One more suggestion when using permanent markers is to slightly draw the line inside the shape. As I do here for the lavender bots. Because then you can stitch your shape outside, but you're still keeping within the design dimensions. While it might seem over the top to spend a lot of time on things like the tracing. All steps are part of the journey. No part is less important than the next, and all parts contribute to the quality of our final piece. This is our design drawn. We can now move on to stitch our design. In the next lesson we will start stitching the lavender stems. 15. Project: Lavender Stems: We are now ready to stitch our designs. As I've outlined in this stitch plan, we are going to start stitching all of the stems first, as we will stitch other design elements on top. I'm going to start with lavender stem and then continue stitching the grass stems. If you prefer, you can alter stitching the lavender and grass stems, that's absolutely fine. Really only these two grass stems that crossover the lavender stems have to be stitched last. Otherwise stitch the stems in order you like. For this exercise I will start stitching from the right and then slowly make my way to the left. But you're very welcome to work from the left to the right or any other order you prefer. If you remember from our practice exercise, ideally, we want to start our couching approximately in the middle of the stitch line. I've already threaded up my embroidery thread and I'm using two strands of cotton, and a size 7 embroidery or crewel needle. Let's start couching. At about the halfway point, and I begin with securing my thread. First was a couple of holding stitches. I now take my thread to be couched down and place it along the stitch line. As you can see here there's quite a curve that goes around to the right. I'm just going to get you started with stitching the stems. It is more or less what we discussed during our practice exercise. There are just a couple of points I will discuss during this lesson that should help you stitch in your stems. Remember for your curved lines, you want to stitch from the outside in. Sometimes you just need to move your thread a little to the side to place your first couching stitch. The first couple of stitches are always a little fiddly and it will get much easier stitching once a thread is a little bit more secure. I'm just going to pull very gently on my thread here to straighten it out. Just watch you don't pull out the thread as we have only done a few couching stitches, and this thread can easily be pulled out. As you can see it's moving quite easily. I'm pulling gently and couch down my thread along the stitch line. Just remember to try stitching at a 90-degree angle. Pull your couching thread tight but not so tight that you can see a dent in your fabric. Again, as you can see here, I'm holding my thread in one hand and move it around the curve as I'm couching. This works so well and makes the couching process easier. As you can see here the couching looks good around this corner despite the curve being quite sharp. We can achieve this by keeping the distance between the couching stitches small. I'm using 3-4 millimeters or about one-eighth of an inch. Make the couching stitches even smaller if you feel that works better for you. Let's do the stitch again. The gap is a little wide here. If I leave it as it is, the thread we couch down might take on a wavy look. Don't be afraid to open things up if you're not quite happy. It just happens. I do it regularly. It doesn't have to be perfect. It's handmade after all. But if it would bother you in the final piece and then I would just restitch and make sure you're happy with your work. Let's take a look. I think we're just going to do one more stitch here and then we can plunge the thread down to the other side. Yes, I think this looks good. I'm now going to use a second needle to thread up and plunge down the end of the thread we have just couched down. Then we are going to take up our couching thread and do one more couching stitch at the end here. Obviously we are not going to see much of this couched line because we are going to stitch the lavender on top. But the couching helps us to create the curved stem with lined lavender buds. The stem will peek through here and here, but the rest will be covered by the lavender buds. I'm briefly going to turn over my work to secure both my threads at the back. This is the back of our embroidery. Here we have the thread we've just couched down, and this is our couching thread. As we already practiced in our practice exercise I'm placing the couched thread along the stitch line and then take the couching thread to secure it with a few stitches. I'm taking my couching thread over the couched thread and then under both the stitch line and the couched thread. Then again, you go over your line and then you go under both the couching thread and the stitches underneath. Again, if you can catch your fabric over so slightly, this will secure the stitches a little bit more. Again, just make sure you don't pierce the fabric all the way through to the front, because you don't want to see any of the stitches at the front. As you can see here, I'm going under the couch thread, the thread from my stitch line and then a little bit of the fabric. Just double check at the front that you haven't pierced all the way through the fabric. You want to continue stitching until you have secured about one centimeter or half an inch of your couch thread, then you can just cut off the thread and leave a tiny tail here so the thread does not unravel. Because my stitch line is not very long, I'm just going to weave my couching thread to the middle. Again, if you can just catch a tiny bit of your fabric here to make the thread more secure, that would be great. Then just secure it until you get to the middle, and then you can turn your work over again and bring your needle up where you resume couching. We can now couch down the second half of the lavender stem, and we are going to couch exactly as we did in the first half. When you get to the end, you again plunge your couch down thread through to the other side to be secured, and then just place one final couching stitch at the very end to create a nice finish. We are now going to stitch our second lavender stem. As you can see, the stems are fairly close together. Make sure you leave a big enough gap for the grass stems. Let's stitch this down. I'm going to start my couching a little bit higher because this stem is taller than our previous stem. I'm now going to continue stitching the lavender stems. You can watch or jump straight to the next lesson on stitching the grass stems. If you need to watch the video more slowly, you can slow it down just underneath this video. 16. Project: Grass Stems: We're now going to stitch our grass stems using the couching stitch. There's just a couple of things I want to point out. In principle, you can stitch the stems in any order you want, but I'm going to leave these two stems to last because I want them to go across a couple of stems in our design which adds an organic fill to the design. There is one other point I want to raise. If you take a look at the grass stems, there are various points where you can stop couching. So you have to make a decision where you want the couch line to end. For example, for this stem, you could end the couching here at that high point or you could even decide to pull the couch line back to here, and then use straight stitches to fill in the smaller branches. For this exercise, I'm going to use two strands for the thread to be couched down, and only one strand for the couching thread to keep the couching stitches lighter. Let's get started with the couching. As you can see, the gaps are fairly small here, but they are big enough to fit the thread. Just make sure when you stitch that you come up tight against the lavender stem, and then take your needle down tight as well. This will avoid stitching into the lavender stem which might look messy or make the crossover look too thick. One last point to watch out for, is that this stem will start here and then come down here. So it's going to cross over the lavender stem. But I want the stems to cross over where it will be covered by the tie later on. So I'm going to show you what to do. As I already mentioned, I'm coming out very close to that stem here on the left. Then I'm going to place my couching thread just here on this stitched line between the two lavender stems. Then I'm taking my needle down quite tight and next to the stem on the right. I don't want to couch on top of the lavender stem, but just to the left and right of the stem. Now I'm on the right path. As you can see here, we are going to stitch over the marking for the lavender peddle. There's nothing we need to worry about here. Later on, we will simply stitch the lavender parts on top of the stem. But for now, we just keep on stitching our couched line. This will have the design to look more dimensional. As we are now turning a curve, I'm grabbing my thread to be couched down with my left hand, or you can do it with your right-hand if that works better for you. Then move the thread forth and back depending on where I come up or go down with my needle. This little technique helps to ensure you follow the stitch line more accurately. It also makes couching a lot easier and a little quicker too. This is actually my preferred method of moving the couching thread around rather than let it lie on the fabric and moving it around on the fabric. I'm now going to follow my stitch line until I have finished couching the stem. I'd just like to take a moment to show you the slight difference between the couched lavender stem and the grass stem. Because I only used one strand of embroidery thread for the grass, the couching thread is a little less visible compared with the couching stitches for the lavender stems. So if you prefer the slightly more delicate appearance of the grass stems, just use one strand of embroidery cotton for the couching. I quite like it as it gives a really nice fine line. We are now going to stitch these two stems. Each of these stems cross over existing stems further down the design. For this first stem, we are going to cross over three times. One crossover is going to be here, and then another one here, and then the third one is down here. The first two crossovers are going to be visible, and the third crossover will be hidden by the tie once that is stitched. Once I've stitched this stem, we will go on stitching the second stem on the left side including the crossover down here. So let's get going. Similar to our crossovers before, we don't want to couch down the stem where it's crossing over the stem underneath. So I'm couching just before I'm crossing over and then straight after as well. Then I'm going to couch down the thread once more along this line before I'm crossing over again down here. This allows for a smoother transition. Now I'm going to cross over again as you can see here. As you can see, I'm using my fingers and hands to maneuver my thread around, which makes it so much easier. We're just going to do one more stitch down here, and then I'm crossing over again. Don't rush these steps, just take your time. It is more important that you complete each stitch properly. I'm now going to continue stitching-couching down my thread until the end. I've stitched the first half for the stem here, and now we're going to look at the second half. This stem is going to cross over the lavender stem once down here, and then we will continue couching down normally. The only difference is that this stem curves around to this side, so we're going to couch down from the outside end again or from the longer side to the shorter side. Let's stitch this stem now. I'm now coming to the point where we cross over. So just make sure that you're on the stitched line and stitch at a 90 degree angle again. I think we're just going to take two more couching stitches here. This stem almost runs parallel to this lavender stem on the right. It's not a very steep angle. Again, we don't want to stitch or couch on those other stem underneath. I'm going to do one more stitch at the very edge here and then I'm crossing over. Now we're crossing over. Then I will just continue stitching until I get to the end of this stem. We have now completed stitching all our stems, and we can now move onto stitching the smaller branches for the grasses. Just as a reminder, the lavender paths will partially overlap our grass so will be stitched last. Next I'm going to stitch the individual branches, and after that the little spikelets and then finally the lavender buds. Before we move on to stitching our next design elements, I want to briefly show you a variation to our couched stems. This variation still uses same couching, but a little bit less and is therefore less time-consuming. I will see you in the next lesson. 17. Project: Couching Variation: As I mentioned in a previous lesson, there is a variation to couching our stems that is a little quicker, but has some limitations, which I will briefly outline here, and then I'll demonstrate this stitching. On the left-hand side, we've couched down the stems all the way to the bottom, which can be quite time consuming. If this stops you completing your piece or you're after a different look, there's another option you can choose, which is also quicker to stitch. In this example here on the lavender bag, I've only couched the top of the stems in order to create the nice curve of the design. The bottom half of the stems are all loose and not couched down. Working the stems this way will only work if you're using your final designs to hang on the wall or something like this lavender bag, which is not handled or used a lot, such as maybe a cushion cover or a notebook. As you can imagine, the looser threads could snag or get damaged easily if something gets caught in them. Let me demonstrate what you need to do to create the stems, partially loose threads. I will work on a couple of stems for you to observe and practice. First of all, you need to create the tie, stitched in laid stitch, towards the bottom of the design. The laid stitch tie provides a little pocket for our loose stems, to hold them in place. As we are still doing some couching, I have got my strands of cotton here, with a small length of thread, beyond the end of the stitch line. We can plunge through to the back of the fabric to secure the thread, once we are ready later on. The top half of the stem is curving around to the right here, and couching helps us to achieve that curve. We then thread up the other half of the thread and weave it through the laid stitch tie. Just like this. Then we take our needle down through the fabric here at the bottom, where we want our stem to end. Just watch that you don't pull too hard to avoid pulling out your thread. Then I take my thread along the back and come up again where my next stem starts. Again, thread my needle through the laid stitch tie. After that, you can start couching where you want the curve to begin. As we are not couching all the way, I would make sure you hide the couching underneath the lavender bags, that will be stitched on top. Otherwise, it would look odd, just to show a couple of couching stitches. Also remember that you will need enough thread to plunge the couch down thread to the other side. So there will be about five centimeters or two inches extra thread above your stitch line. Once you're ready, you can couch down your thread as we have already practiced in our exercises. Do grab your thread and move it forth and back, as it will make it easier for you to see the stitch line, and couch down your thread. Once the thread is couched down, plunge the end of the other side, and then secure it as we've already practiced. Once you've secured this thread, you can go on and couch down the second stem. Couching your stems down like this will save you some time. Just a few things to consider, because we're not couching down the whole stem, the bottom half of the stem will show more straight than curved lines. So the stems won't look quite as organic and take on a more stylized look. Again, the thread is going to be loose, so it's only going to be suitable for more decorative items rather than practical purposes. This method will not work if your fabric is see-through though, as you would be able to see the thread leading to the second thread at the back. Also, if you have an odd number of stems, one of your sequences would consist of three stems, leading your thread at the back, both at the top and the bottom. That is just a very quick overview of creating some alternative stems. I will see you in the next lesson, where we will look at and practice stitching the small branches of the grass. 18. Project: Small Grass Branches: All right. Let's stitch our small branches for the grass. I'm going to start in this area first and then make my way around. I'm using just one strand of embroidery cotton for the smaller branches because I want my branches to be finer than the main stems. I will stitch all of the branches first and then I'm going to stitch this spikelets afterwards. The reason for this is that I want to use two strands of embroidery cotton for this spikelets and just one for the branches. I did try using just one strand of embroidery cotton, but I thought the spikelets were just that little bit too thin. Please give it a go and use just one strand of cotton if you want to try and see for yourself. You might prefer the use of just one strand of cotton, but you might just prefer the two. As I mentioned before, to get a really nice finish, just angle your stitch ever so slightly under that existing branch so that the thread almost disappears under that existing stitch. I'm going to use a single stitch here, but let's also have a look at the stitch plan. As you can see, this branch is a little bit more curved than the one I've just stitched. This has a little curve, but this here is quite straight. If you want the branch more curved then you would need to either use two stitches and then angle one of the stitches. Or again, you could also use a couching stitch to help shape your branches. I will use more straight stitches for now but at the end of this exercise, I will also show you how you can use some single couching stitches to add curves to your branches. As you can see, all these branches are fairly close together. In this case we can just leave the thread at the back of our work without causing much trouble. I like to keep the thread at the back as short as possible and probably no longer than about one centimeter or half an inch. If you thread is too long at the back, it can easily get caught up with your other stitches creating a mess. Obviously, if you're using a fairly see-through fabric, you would need to tie off your thread to each stitch or each branch so you can't see it from the front. Right, so that is our first branch completed, and I'm now going to continue just along my pattern and then I will come back to you when I'm adding some couching for the curves at the end of this lesson. I tend to tie off my thread for each branch as a distance to the next branch is quite large. But I'll leave this up to you. Before we move on to stitching the grass spikelets I want to show you one more little technique. If you prefer your branches to be more curved than those straight lines, you can add a little stitch, not too similar to the couching we have used for the stems. Once you've finished your stitching of the branches, you stitch above the line where you want the curve to go. Then you weave your thread under your thread, and pull that thread up slightly, and then couch it down as you can see here. Then just pull it tight gently. This way you can create a gentle curve with a simple couching stitch. If you have a longer branch like this one, you might want to use two couching stitches. But that really depends on your preference. Let's do one more stitch here on the smaller branch. On the smaller ones, you don't really need two stitches, you can just use one just like this, and then pull it up a bit where you want your stitch to go. Then angle your needle to place your couching stitch. Right. Let's do a couple more branches. This branch is quite long again. Just let's have a quick look at the stitch plan. As you can see, there is like a little kink on the stitch plan so I want to recreate that. I will only do one little couching stitch here. I've wove my thread under and I'm just placing my couching stitch here to secure the thread. Yeah, that's lovely. Can you see this? You can hardly see the couching stitch. I will do just one more, just weave my thread under, and then pull the thread up, and then I'm just going to use my finger here to secure the thread, which makes it a little bit easier to secure the thread, and then just do my couching stitch, and there we go. As you can see, these couple of branches are now a little bit more curved and more similar to our stitch plan. It is up to you whether you want to make these additional stitches or leave it as it is. In the next lesson, we will start stitching the grass spikelets. 19. Project: Grass Spikelets: Let's now start stitching the spikelets. I'm going to start from the right and then make my way to the left. But there's no reason why you can't start on the other side or in the middle. Whatever you feel comfortable with is good. I will refer to the stitch plan just as a reference to see how I did draw out the various spikelets. I shall use a plan as a simple guide and see where it takes me. You can choose to stitch exactly as it's on the plan or you can vary it depending on your preference. Let's get started. I will quickly secure my thread with a couple of holding stitches. Because I've already stitched quite a few elements here, I can easily hide the holding stitches. I'm going to start stitching my spikelets at the bottom right here. I'm using two strands of embroidery cotton, and I'm using a size 7 embroidery or crewel needle. Let's start stitching our first spikelet using the simple Lazy Daisy stitch. Just as a reminder, the more you pull on your thread, the smaller or tighter your little spikelets will be. Then I'm going to couch down my spikelet. Again, if you angle your needle slightly, you will get a nice and tight finish. If you do need a reminder how to stitch the Lazy Daisy stitch, just go back to our practice exercises, but this one is fairly straightforward. As you can see, I'm going back into the same hole where I started my first spikelet. I'm going to stitch this spikelet on this Lazy Daisy stitch a little bit bigger and also place it out a little bit more. This is the second spikelet stitched. I can now work my way along the stems and stitch the next spikelets. As the distance here is fairly small and less than a centimeter or half an inch, I can bring my thread along the back to stitch the next spikelets. Obviously, if you have these two fabric, you would need to finish off your thread and then start over. The length of thread on the back should not get in our way when we place further stitching. I will finish stitching the spikelets for this stem, then tie my thread off, and then use a new strand of cotton for the next stem. This one is not quite as nicely shaped. My linen is a little uneven here and I created a little hole which makes a shape less pointed than I intended. I will go in between these two threads here to avoid making the hole any larger. If you have fabric that is a little looser or if you're pulling quite hard and create small holes, then you might have to adjust where you place your next stitch or your next Lazy Daisy stitch. This is something you learn as you go along. Looking at the embroidery, I think the two strands of cotton work really nicely for these spikelets. If I only had used one strand of cotton, it would have been too fine, I think. Using two strands make these spikelets more prominent. This creates a little bit of interest between the various elements of the grass. Something I'm might try out next time is a mixture of stitching. Some spikelets with just one strand of embroidery and others with two to create more variety and interest. This is a good example of how you can change the look and feel of a design. It really doesn't have to be all the same and can help to give some more personality to design and make it your own. You might have been given a certain design or pattern, but you can still make it your own by just changing or varying the color or the thickness of the thread. There are lots of different things you can do to affect the look and feel of a piece. I think that's really nice, even though it's the same stitch, all of my little spikelets look a little bit different, which gives it quite a bit of interest. I really like that. I'd just like to point out one more thing. If you remember, I used the permanent marker to draw out my love on the stem. I drew the shapes inside my stitch line. The actual stitched shape will be larger than what I've drawn out. If we look here, this will be very tight to fit this stitch and might even overlap the spikelet later. That is not a problem at all, but something to bear in mind while you're stitching, you always want to look ahead when stitching to avoid having too open work if you don't end up where you want to be. I will now fast forward while stitching the rest of the spikelets. You're very welcome to keep watching and you can also slow down the video if you want to see me stitching certain areas in slow motion. Alternatively, you can jump straight into the next lesson, where we will stitch the lavender pots. 20. Project: Lavender Buds: We are now ready to stitch our lavender buds. Let's take a quick look at our stitch plan again. In my examples, I've used two different types of purple, the darker purple and the lighter one as a highlight. I'm going to stitch the darker purple buds first and then I will stitch the lighter purple on top. You can go with just one color if you prefer, that's perfectly fine as well. If you do decide to use the two colors, I would suggest to use a darker color underneath and the lighter on top, as you otherwise would drawn out the lighter color. In terms of sequence, you can decide how you want to stitch your buds, either branch by branch or color by color. I will leave the decision up to you. For this exercise, I will stitch the first branch together with you and then I will fast forward the stitching of subsequent branches. However, if you wish to watch how I stitch certain buds, you can just slow down the video where necessary. Before I start stitching, I just like to point out one other thing. As you know, we are going to stitch over some of our elements, for example, these grasses. But you basically keep on stitching as you normally would and just pretend those stitches are not there. The only difference is that you might have some more bud to stitch through. But I'll show you how to do that in this lesson. As always, if you do have any questions, just post them in the discussion thread below this video. Let's get started with our first bud. If I would stitch my buds on either side of the stem, the stem would obviously be visible. But because we want to cover the stems with the buds, I'm starting my first stitch just across the stem, which will allow me to cover them completely. We then continue stitching our simple lazy daisy as we did in the practice exercise. Just as a reminder, if you do want to keep your bud wider, make sure you use your finger to shape and secure your thread just like this. Otherwise, the lazy daisy might end up quite narrow. Once I stitch the basic lazy stitch, I'm going to fill it straight away. As a reminder, angle your holding stitch, so you get a nice finish. For this project, I'm going to use a filling stitch that finishes inside. But if you prefer a smoother appearance, you can just stitch outside as we practiced in the practice exercise. The number of stitches you need to fill the lazy daisy really depends on your shape. You might need 2, 3, or 4 stitches. That is our first bud stitched and we can now move on to the next one. To add the adjacent bud, I slightly cross over my stitch so I'm not going into the same hole as a first lazy daisy stitch. This adds a little variety and doesn't make the stitching too predictable, but still keeps the stitching aligned with the overall design. Also, when you start to fill your lazy daisy, you don't want to come up with the needle exactly where you just went down as you would undo your previous stitch. Instead, stitch lightly to the left or to the right. That is our next bud stitched. I will now skip the light purple lavender bud and move on to stitching the next two darker blue buds a little further up. For this next bud, I will again cross the stem with a lazy daisy stitch so that the stem is nicely covered by the lazy daisy. I could put another stitch in here to take the edge off and make it a little bit rounder. Let me just do that. Obviously, you don't want to go overboard with your stitching, but sometimes I go back and put in another little stitch if I think it would benefit the look. Sometimes I also use my needle or the end of my scissors gently to guide this stitch and make it slightly rounder. I think this is much better. Let's do the next bud. Because we have this holding stitch here in the middle at the top, we continue stitching to the left or right of the holding stitch. This may mean that we only have space to place one or two stitches to the side, but that's fine. Just something to be aware of. Yes. I just stitch one more on this side here, then I go up here to continue stitching the dark purple buds just at the very top. I think I'll do one more stitch here in the middle. It's always a good idea once you finish stitching to take a step back and then take a look and see whether you're still happy with what you've stitched, and then make any adjustments you might need to make. I don't know whether you noticed, but I forgot to draw in this little bud, over here, which I will stitch next. If you can see here, this lazy daisy stitch as hanging over just slightly the stem, a little more than I like, so there's a little gap. But that's fine. What I will do now, is to start my lazy daisy here and then I can cover the area with my stitching. I have already secured my thread and now we'll just keep stretching. I'm going to do one more stitch here to take the edge off a little bit and make it a little bit rounder. I think that looks good. I could potentially do another stitch here but I'm just going to leave it now. At some stage, you just have to leave it and it's absolutely fine. Now, I'm going to start stitching the lighter purple buds. Because there are quite a few elements coming together now, it can be a little bit harder to push your needles through the fabric. To help push your needle through, just give your needle a little weaker if needed, to find your needle away through the thread and fabric. I'm pulling the lazy daisy stitch a little bit apart here so that I can cover my markings properly. As you can see here, I'm slightly overlapping the darker purple lavender buds, which gives the design a nice dimensional look and feel. Then I can move onto the next bud. I tend to leave my threads fairly loose, so I'm not pulling too much on the thread which gives it a little bit more of a raised feel. If you would pull the threads quite hard, the shape would be much flatter. For the second bud, I'm going a little bit deeper into the darker purple lavender buds and then again follow the stitch line. I'm now going to stitch this last bud. This one is going right into the gap. I have now completed stitching the first stem of lavender and I'm now going to continue stitching the other ones. As a reminder, if you're crossing another leaf or stem, just stitch normally. This will especially apply to this area here. In the next lesson, you can follow along when I stitch the remainder after lavender buds. You can slow down or speed up the video just to the left, underneath the video. There will be no commentary on that video. It is purely to watch me stitching. If you're happy to stitch the buds, you can jump straight to the next lesson after the next, where we will stitch the tie for the spray of lavender. 22. Project: Tie: We have now finished stitching all our elements. We've stitched the stems, spy glitz and bots. The last element that remains to be stitched is this little tie down here. For the tie, I'm going to use one strand of natural colored thread and as a reminder, I'm using a DMC 4145, which is a variegated thread but I also offer some alternatives in the stitch plan, which you can find on the resources tab just below this video. I'm using also note size nine embroidery or Crewel needle. Before we start stitching, you need to decide where you want the bow to go at the end. Do you want to tie at the bottom, in the middle or at the top? Because the position of the bow will determine where you start your stitching. In this example, I'm going to have it at the bottom here. I'm going to place my first stitch just here and then I will remember to leave a long enough piece of thread so that I can tie the bow later. For the next stitch, I will come up straight above our first stitch and then I'm taking the needle and thread override opposite my previous stitch. As in our practice exercise, we are not going to loop our thread around the back and come out this side. We will come up just above where we just went down and then take our needle and thread directly opposite again. To recap, we stitch in this way to avoid taking our thread around the back and thus saving embroidery thread as well as reduce bulk at the back of the fabric. Then we come up above our previous stitch and then go straight opposite, like this. As you can see here, my line is not quite straight, but I don't really mind as it's length is stitched design and more organic look and feel. If you prefer your lines very straight, then take the thread across where you want it to go, hold your thread in place and then take your needle down just below where you want your thread to go. In this way, you can create quite a nice straight line. If you like, you can create some gaps, like you can see here. But I think this gap is actually quite a little bit too big for me, so I will just place one or two stitches across to fill it in. That's fine. I could potentially put another stitch but I'm just going to leave it like this. Make sure that this line is as straight as possible to be more realistic. As you know, I'm using one strand of embroidery cotton, but you could also use two strands to make the time off a statement. Try it out and see what you prefer. I'm going to leave it like this. You can have the tie wider if you prefer, but this looks good to me. We are now going to finish the tie. So I take my needle and thread down here and loop around to the bottom. Because this is a small distance, a loop should not cause any problems. Then you can either tie a little bow or just a knot, whatever you prefer. The bow can go in the middle or you can have it to the right or left. It's a little bit fiddly to keep the tension right so you might have to practice this a little bit. Here we go. It's just going to pull the bow a little bit tighter. Do a double knot if you like or just leave it like this. I will just shorten the ends a little bit and there we go. This is our lavender spray completed. I hope you like it. I will see you very shortly for some final thoughts. 23. Final Thoughts: Thank you so much for taking the class with me. I hope you really enjoyed the lessons and have learned new techniques that will help to improve your embroidery. I would absolutely love to see what you have stitched. So please share your work on onto the project tab just below this video. I would also love to hear and find out how you found the class and whether there's anything else you want me to cover. Because in the end, I'm creating the classes for you. I want the classes to be enjoyable and helpful to you. I will take onboard all feedback and I'm looking forward to hear from you. I would also greatly appreciate if you could leave me a review here on Skillshare. Happy stitching. I hope to see you soon again.