Sunday, 14 July 2013

Saw-It-Made-It: Embroidery Sampler

Color Wheel Sampler by Dropcloth on Etsy
I saw this Colour Wheel Sampler a while ago on Pinterest (& Etsy - where you can buy one) and I decided that I wanted to try and make one.

I was also off work recovering from a miscarriage and wanted to do something that required focus and concentration- something I could pick up and put down and take my mind off what had just happened.  I began on Monday 1st July 2013.

I felt that I could and should be able to do something like this, I've been on the Embroidery done cool workshop at the Made Cafe, Whitley Bay - so I know a handful of stitches, and the ones I couldn't work out, I'd just learn a new one. 

I had a selection of embroidery threads, some plain fabric and needles.I bought myself an embroidery hoop for about £3 and a washable fabric pen.


I wanted it to be as close to the one on here as possible (I kept telling myself that), so I drew it all out on paper, a big circle, divided into 12 equal segments, wrote the stitches and colours against each segment and looked at my threads, planned which colour and which stitch would be where and made a start.


I didn't have any red thread, I don't know how come but I didn't.  I decided to use something else, instead.  Then I didn't have that melon-yellow either, so in the end I'd work out the colours I did have and work from there.

I then went through and tried to work out each stitch, zooming into the original picture until I could read what it was.  There were at least 4 stitches I'd never done before - and hoped that I could find something to YouTube to demonstrate how to do the stitch, and another one that I couldn't read or work out from the stitch what it was, so decided to choose a different stitch - that would be a revelation, a bit daring and a bit too scary (I'd leave that one to the end).

Then looked at the state of my running stitch and chain stitch and decided that I should probably draw some guidelines to stitch over.  I might have done embroidery before, but my straight lines were a bit skew-wiff.


My practice area
I still had my original  practice material, stitches and notes from the workshop I went on last year, and so before I began each segment I practised.  And if I needed a refresher I'd return to the notes I had, and also found Needle 'n Thread website, which seemed to have videos of nearly all the stitches I used and found it really really helpful.  I'd watch the video, practice on my practice material and then go for it.


Once I'd started I just got stuck in, I don't know how many hours I put in, all I know is that it kept my attention, gave me a challenge to work on but something I could achieve in a fairly short space of time. 
I felt I was getting better as I went along, and each segment was a mini-goal in itself.  It sounds a bit daft, talking like that, but I think I needed that - otherwise I would have just got bored or lost interest. 
As each segment was done I could see it building up and see that it was turning into something that I quite liked.
My scruffy chain stitch (orange), short of green thread & don't even ask about the lazy daisies!


I ran out of green half way through my silk-stitches and decided that I wanted to have red in the design (I'd originally picked orange, but decided that I must have red!) - and my lovely (& very generous friend Nelly, who writes Nelly's Cupcakes) provided me with a massive selection of reds and greens for me to have!  I found a perfect match to my green and was pleased that I did go with a red, because once done - it looked fab.
Jeannie from Made Cafe, Whitley Bay shared some tips and advice about the lettering for the centre, and once I'd finised this (along with a cuppa and a bit of cake) we talked about how I could mount/frame it and I think this would finish it off nicely.  I just need to convince Mr Lisa that a trip to Ikea is absolutely necessary to complete this project.
The finished (but unframed) article -yes I know it needs an iron.

Pause for thought:

Now that I've finished it (well apart from the framing bit) I'm pleased - okay, really pleased.

I know it doesn't look exactly like the original I based it on, but I'm actually pleased that it doesn't look like a clone. 

I'm also glad that I didn't put any extra writing on, I could have embroidered her name on, but didn't need to, the date is enough.

Having this to do has helped me, especially in the first few days.


  1. Looks beautiful Lisa! I am, glad you got some use out of the threads. They were my Mums and I felt weird about selling them. So they sat in my cupboard gathering dust for two years.

    Its lovely to see something lovely being made with them. x

    1. Aww thanks Nelly - yes, thanks again for the threads - I'm in the process of looking for my next embroidery project - something a bit more challenging than the sampler, and a chance to use more of those colours you gave me. Lisa x

  2. It really is a beautiful piece of work Lisa, you should be really proud of it (and of yourself!). I'm glad that I was able to help, and to share cake with you was a bonus! x