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In Winter, My Garden Dreams - part one

A few weeks ago, I shared on Mixed Media Artist that I had been messing around with some traditional embroidery. Since I was seduced by beads and bead embroidery so many years ago, I have somewhat neglected my thread embroidery skills, if I ever really had any. Part of my new year's resolutions was to try something new, so I dug out an old book I'd purchased but never used, and put my needle to work: The Art of Dimensional Embroidery by Maria A. Freitas.

If you are proficient at thread embroidery, you'll see all kinds of imperfections and irregularities in my stitches. I just want you to know that I got better as I went along!

Maria's book teaches what is called the Brazilian style of embroidery, which is a raised form that usually features rayon threads. I used some rayon, but mostly stuck with the cottons, silks, and blends that I already own. I highly recommend her book (all the stitches are shown as black and white drawings...very easy to follow), but if you'd like to see a few of the easier stitches online first before you decide, here are a few resources:

Loretta's Custom Stitchery
Brazilian Dimensional Embroidery

The name for this piece was suggested by my friend Paul Bishop.  Besides being a wiring wrapping guru, Paul is very clever at coming up with good names for pieces!

The tutorial is loooong, so I'll share the first half today and finish it up on Wednesday.

Materials and Tools

Square foot piece of fabric
Same sized lightweight fusible interfacing
Same sized backing fabric
Nymo O thread, white
Embroidery floss in multiple colors
Seed beads to match and accent
Size 8/0 seed beads for edging
6mm Swarovski Margaritas
2 oval rings
SoftFlex beading wire
4 crimp tubes
Assorted beads for straps, 4mm to 8mm
3 - 4 inches of chain, divided
Head pin

Scissors, large and small
Paper pattern, optional
Marking pen or pencil
Beading needles
Chain nose and round nose pliers
Wire cutters

1. Follow my general directions for creating a pattern and transferring it to your fabric in preparation for beading. You can download a free copy of my introductory chapter on Bead Embroidery which will take you through the steps.

2. Stitch on the major stems and the flowers using embroidery floss.

3. Add leaves, smaller stems, and beaded centers.

4. Cut out the final form of the necklace.

5. Add tiny accent stems and accent beads.

Part two will be posted on this Wednesday!

Copyright 2011 Cyndi Lavin. Not to be reprinted, resold, or redistributed for profit. May be printed out for personal use or distributed electronically provided that entire file, including this notice, remains intact.

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Roberta Warshaw said…
This is quite spectacular, you know. I used to do quite a bit of embroidery. I love the added beads and I am glad you posted the close-ups because in the first photo it was hard to see the detail.

Nice work.
Cyndi L said…
Thank you, Roberta! Most of the embroidery I used to do was flat rather than this dimensional style. I like the way the beads nestle into it rather than sticking out like "accent pieces" :-)
BluMoon said…
Cyndi, this is just gorgeous and how generous of you to share the details. I haven't embroidered for years and I was never as good as my mother but your neckpiece is certainly an inspiration.
Cyndi L said…
Thank you both! It can be really inspiring to mix a few art forms kind of helped to bump me out of a rut :-)
Pretty Things said…
Woah, that is insanely beautiful!
Wow!!! beautiful!!!!!!!!!!
The Beading Gem said…
OMG. This is just blew me away! I admire your patience. It's not just the beautiful colors and embroidery but I also loved the shape of the bib. I will link in a future blog post - this is not to be missed by any of my readers! Pearl
What a beautiful piece for spring! Thank you for all the close-ups so we can see the marvelous detail work.
Karen Williams said…
I love the dimensionality of your embroidered flowers and ornaments. Thanks for sharing!

And I am incredibly impressed with your blog in general.


moseying along the bead soup trail...