Congratulations on purchasing our best selling kit! Here I will walk you through creating this kit with step by step picture progress as well as any tips and tricks I think you might find helpful. Queen Bee Stitching kits are each designed to teach you a new embroidery stitch or technique, and are sized so that they can be completed in a weekend. I find if I don’t finish a kit quickly, I never do – so this way you can get your project finished while watching a few movies curled up with a blanket and warm drink; so let’s get you started!
Your kit comes with everything you need to complete this design, in it you will find:
- 10″ x 9″ piece of white cotton broadcloth with water soluble pattern pre-printed on it.
- Size 8 embroidery needle
- 4″ wooden embroidery hoop
- DMC Thread wound onto disposable bobbins
- Cranberry Dark (601) – this is the dark pink
- Geranium (956) – this is the light pink
- Lemon Dark (444)
- Pewter Grey (317)
- Stitch guide
- carrying pouch
To get started you will unfold the fabric and center the pattern in the hoop. Loosen the screw on the hoop, without fully removing the screw. Then separate the inner and outer hoops. Lay your fabric over the inner, smaller hoop (the circle outline on the pattern will help you get it centered as much as possible). Lay the outer hoop over the top and sandwich the fabric between the two wooden frame pieces. Re-tighten the screw and pull the fabric in every which direction until it is taught.
*Click on any of the photo’s in this post to make them larger and see more detail*
Next you will unwind one length of the lighter pink floss which has been pre cut for you into an 18” piece. Embroidery traditionally uses only 3 threads of the 6 included in each length of floss so separate the strand into two, each section containing 3 strands each. Thread your needle and tie a knot at the end.
To start the flamingo’s back I like to begin with the thinnest portion first. I did a back stitch right down the middle of the area I would be satin stitching to pad the stitch. The back stitch creates a solid line and is great for text and/or outlining a design. Start by pulling the needle and floss up through from the back of the fabric and do one stitch forward. Your needle and floss will now be at the back of your design. From underneath, move forward on your pattern to the length of your desired stitch, pull up through the fabric at that point, and bring the needle and floss back to where your previous stitch ended pushing down through the fabric. Continue working in this way.
Now you will satin stitch over the back stitch you just completed. Satin stitch is a good filler stitch that adds color while creating a smooth appearance. Bring the needle up from the back of your design and down through the front of the design, then bring the needle up from the back again and down from the front again just next to the first stitch. Repeat as many times as needed to fill the area with thread, keeping the stitches very close to one another and stay as much on top of the pattern design as you can. Keep your stitching fairly loose when you satin stitch and don’t try to conserve thread, it will alter the look too much. If need, feel free to go over the area twice to get the kind of coverage you want.
After this thinnest area is complete I moved onto the area of the back directly underneath it. This time rather than back stitching right through the middle of the area you will outline the area with back stitch. I find it best to do this back stitch just inside the blue pattern so that when you do your satin stitch you can still see a tiny part of the blue pattern to follow.
Again you will satin stitch over this second area as well. Before I start satin stitching I find it extremely helpful to take a pen or pencil and draw the direction of the satin stitch in before I actually stitch it. This is extremely helpful as you go around the curves of the flamingo’s back as you will need to stitch tighter on the inside curves and a little more spaced on the outside curves. Starting with the back will help you practice before you get to the tighter curves of the neck and head. (Click on the images to see more detail).
At this point you will likely be close to the end of your thread and need to end it and start a new one. To end a thread, turn your design over and run your needle and remaining thread under a few stitches on the back. At this point you can tie a knot around some of the existing threads if you are concerned it is not being held tight enough but this is not necessary. Clip off any excess thread.
With the last three strands of the light pink thread, prepare the thread and then back stitch around the next lower portion of the flamingo’s back.
Again you will draw in the stitch direction with a pencil or pen, then satin stitch over the area. Once you finish the satin stitch over this area you will end the thread again and switch to the dark pink thread.
With the dark pink thread outline the top portion of the flamingo’s back and then draw in the stitch direction. Towards the left of this section is a tighter curve than the ones you have done before. Here you will want to draw in your lines almost like the spokes of a wheel.
I find it easiest to start on the left side and work towards the right for this section.
With all the practice you have had on the smaller curves of the back we will next tackle the curves of the flamingo’s neck and head. Begin by outlining the area in back stitch and drawing in your stitch direction as follows.
Starting at the bottom of the neck and working your way up to the flamingo’s head you will use much of the same techniques you have developed from this kit thus far. This technique (you’ve been using and developing) is called “fanning” and it works the same for tight curves as it did for the gradual curves. You want to ease your way around the curves, as you’ve done before, however on a tight curve the stitches on the inside of the curve will be a lot tighter than they are on the outside of the curve. Try your best not to overlap stitches. But when necessary it’s ok to do so if you need to. Below are pictures of where I did a stitch inside the area and then went over it again as normal to buy myself some space. It doesn’t look bad when it’s done, but any bump this might cause is minimal and I find that after you finish the stitching, smoothing them out with your finger or finger nail works nicely too.
WAY TO GO! You’ve passed the most intricate part of the design and the rest is smooth sailing from here. End your pink thread, and prepare three strands of the gray thread. You will use this to make a single french knot for the flamingo’s eye.
The french knot is a common and a favorite decorative stitch that can be used to accent designs or create fun fillers. This is a little bit tricky the first time, but don’t get discouraged. It might be a good idea to practice a few times on fabric that isn’t your design, one of the corners maybe. You will need both hands to create the French knot. Start by bringing the threaded needle up from the bottom of the fabric where you want the knot to be. Hold the thread with your left hand just a few inches from the top of the fabric, hold the needle in your right hand. With your left hand wrap the thread around the needle twice (while holding the needle still). Hold the end of the thread taut and push the wrapped needle down just next to the space where it came up through the fabric. As you continue to holding the floss taut (but not too tight or you won’t be able to pull your needle) you will pull the needle through the fabric. Don’t let go of the floss until you absolutely have to. (Helpful hint: You can vary the size of your French knot by wrapping the floss around the needle more or less times.)
The last step will be to satin stitch the flamingo’s leg. For this step you will use the yellow thread. Because this area is narrow you will use the first technique where you back stitch down the center of the leg and then satin stitch right over that rather than outline the whole area with back stitch first. The only tricky part about the legs is deciding which leg you’d like to be the front leg, you will do that leg last. I choose to have the bent leg be the back leg so I stitched it first.
Congratulations on finishing your flamingo kit! You will likely have a little bit of the blue pattern showing here and there around your stitching. To get rid of the water soluble pattern design you will remove the fabric from the hoop and submerge it in, or run under cold water while gently wiping any of the blue pattern you can see with a white cloth or your fingers. Lay flat to dry (preferable on a dry white towel). If after drying fully there is any blue still showing simply repeat until it has completely disappeared. After all the pattern (and any bleeding of the pattern that occurred during the first wash) are removed and the design is dry; iron the reverse side of your finished project with a warm iron. If you haven’t yet decided how you would like to display your finished project you can check out this post about ways to display your finished design to get your creative juices flowing.
PS: I like to show people how much thread should be left after you have completed your kit, so here is the left over floss I still had when I was done: