Congratulations on purchasing our newest kit! With this post I will walk you through creating this kit with step by step picture progress and include any tips or tricks I think you might find helpful. Queen Bee Stitching kits are each designed to teach you a new embroidery stitch or technique. With our hot air balloon kit you will be learning a more contemporary style where you use only 1 strand of thread at a time rather than 3 strands. Our kits are also 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 movies or two. Curl up with a blanket, grab a drink and let’s get started!
Your kit comes with everything you need to complete this design. In it you will find:
- 10″ x 9″ piece of 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
- Coffee Brown Very Dark (801)
- 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. Traditional embroidery uses 3 threads of the 6 included in each length of floss; however, because in this kit we are learning a more contemporary style you will use only 1 of the six threads. Separate one strand from the length of floss and thread your needle. Then tie a knot at the end.
To start the hot air balloon you will first back stitch around the two outside sections and the middle sections of the balloon. I did the back stitch just inside the blue line of the pattern. The back stitch creates a solid line and is great for text and/or outlining a design. It is also a quick way to add padding to an area that will be satin stitched. 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.
At some point during this outlining you will need to end your thread 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.
Once you have outlined all three sections of the balloon you will be ready to satin stitch over the padding you have just created. Satin stitch is a good filler stitch that adds color while creating a smooth appearance. One of the reasons I sized the design of the balloon the way I did was because I wanted to satin stitch the area, but you really don’t want to satin stitch an area much wider than 1″. If you do decided to satin stitch a larger area it can result in your stitches looking too loose, gaps within your satin stitches, or the fabric showing through the floss. An excellent tip to help your satin stitch look more professional is to take a pen or pencil and draw the direction of the satin stitch in before I actually stitch it. This is extremely helpful if you are satin stitching a curved area but will also help you as you try to keep your stitching straight on the balloon. (as you can see below they don’t have to be perfect, just the general idea is good enough).
To stitch a satin stitch, 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.
Continue working satin stitch over the three areas of the balloon you have padded. This is by far the largest, most time consuming part of this kit. You will likely use well over half of the light pink thread provided. Don’t worry, you kit includes an entire extra length of floss (so 6 strands).
Once the light pink sections have been fully stitched, begin again with the two smaller sections that are left. You will use the dark pink floss for these areas. Backstitch around the areas staying just inside the light blue pattern line, pencil in your lines to help you stay level with your stitching and then satin stitch over them.
There are a few areas on my satin stitching I could have gone over twice but I found that when I stepped back they didn’t bother me so I left it as is. However, if on yours you want to go over any areas that are bothering you – now is the time.
Next we will move on to the basket of the hot air balloon. To do this area you will use one thread of the brown thread.