Our very first kit, the Owl has long been one of our most popular kits. I am excited to show you step by step instructions for completing your owl kit. I will also show you any tips and tricks I think you might find helpful along the way. Let’s get stitching! When you first get your kit and remove your supplies from the package you will find:
- Clear carrying case
- 6″ Wooden Embroidery Hoop
- Size 8 embroidery needle
- 10″ x 9″ piece of cotton broadcloth with patter pre-printed on it
- 6 strand DMC Embroidery floss in these colors
- Dark Purple
- Light Purple
- Stitch Guide
- Stitching Instructions
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 dark purple 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.
You will next back stitch around the exterior outline of the owl. Back stitching 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 back stitch around the owl’s outline. As you get to the wings and ears you will maneuver around the corners. When you reach the end of the owl’s outline you will end your thread. 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.
Next, continuing to use the dark purple thread, outline the large part of the owl’s circular eyes. First back stitch around one eye, then to start the second eye, bring your needle up through the fabric and start stitching again where the two eyes intersect.
Once the eyes have been outlined you will prepare the light purple thread and using back stitch outline the inside of the owl. Start making your first one or two stitches right next, even butting up to the dark purple outline you’ve already done. Once you’ve stitched those you can start forking off to the follow the pattern again. This will help give the stitches a seamless start and stop even though you’ve switched thread colors.
Next we will change thread colors to the pink thread. Again, divide the thread into two sections (with 3 strands each) and prepare your thread. We will start by Satin stitching the smallest triangle on the left side of the pattern. You may need to adjust the hoop so that you have more room to do this stitching. If so, do that now. Satin Stitch is a good filler stitch that adds color while creating a smooth appearance. Before you start the Satin stitch, outline the area you will be satin stitching with back stitch. This will help create a smooth outline to your satin stitching and raise it up or “pad” it as well. Hint: when doing this “padding” back stitch try to stay just inside the blue pattern so that when you satin stitch over this you can still see the pattern.
Once you are done outlining, 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. Next we will fill in the rest of the pink triangles with satin stitching. For these larger triangles, and anytime you will be satin stitching a larger area it is helpful that after your back stitching outline you to draw the stitch direction in with a pencil. It really assists with keeping on track with where you intend to go.
Next satin stitch the green and blue triangles of the bunting.
Next you will switch to the gray thread to satin stitch the owls eyes. It is best to outline one eye in back stitching (due to the size of the eyes it will be better to take smaller than normal stitches), line the area with guide lines, and then satin stitch the eye. End your thread before starting the second eye. If you carry the thread from one eye to the next without re-starting your thread the gray thread might show through the front of the fabric on your finished project.
Next you will go back to back stitching and complete the line that connects the triangle bunting together. When you get to the feet pass over them on the backside of the fabric. You will also back stitch the bow at the end of the bunting. Again, take small stitches and work the two loops first and then the tails of the bow.
The last thread color to work will be the yellow thread. Once you prepare your yellow thread you will outline the owl’s beak and draw in your stitch guides with a pencil. I started my satin stitching at the widest point and worked up towards the top point of the beak. Then I came back to the middle and stitched down towards the beak’s bottom point.
The last stitching left to do is the owls feet. It is best to stitch the feet in two separate group to help them look distinct. However, this time you don’t need to end your thread from moving from one foot to the second. Also, in all the satin stitching you’ve done so far it has been horizontal stitches. When you stitch the owl’s feet you will satin stitch in a vertical stitch.
Congratulations on finishing your owl 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: