Tulips & Tweets – Embroidered Folk Designs

Earlier this week, I shared a few projects that occupied my embroidery hoop over recent weekends, especially a cheery variety of folk-inspired designs that I had prepared for some (now-cancelled) local classes this summer.

I begged you for input on names, and golly! Did you all come through! So Many Good Name Choices! Thank you!

Debbie offered “Tulips and Tweets” – and I have to admit, the name immediately twitterpated me because it is light, crisp, short, sweet, and fun, all rolled into one easy to remember, and easy to say, title. I like it. Thanks, Debbie! And everyone, for all your good suggestions!

Tulips & Tweets Folk-Inspired Embroidery Designs

On this particular design set, I used a bunch of stitches – whatever stitches occurred to me as I was embroidering.

For thread, I used DMC stranded cotton, mostly three strands at a time. On some elements, I used two – I’ll mention those below.

These are the DMC colors I used:

Reds to Orange: 321, 3801, 3340
Greens: 699, 700, 703
Blues: 3843, 3846
Yellow: 444
Black: 310

Tulips & Tweets Folk-Inspired Embroidery Designs

Stitches include chain stitch, whipped chain stitch, stem stitch, satin stitch, Palestrina stitch (couched with a contrasting color), fishbone stitch, fly stitch, herringbone stitch, buttonhole wheels (half wheels, as scallops), backstitch and whipped backstitch, and French knots.

Tulips & Tweets Folk-Inspired Embroidery Designs

There’s even a ring of oyster stitch on the inside of the lower flower in the photo above (in orange).

For the little filled swashes inside the tulips, I used herringbone stitch, which I outlined with stem stitch. I used two strands of floss for that, and I also two strands of floss for the scallops, which are worked in half buttonhole wheels.

On the satin stitch dots, I used two strands of floss, too. But on the satin stitched black dots for the birds’ eyes, I used just one strand. You can use two or three – it’ll fill faster – or you can use a different stitch altogether. Buttonhole wheels work great!

Other than that, all the rest of the stitching is three strands.

You can find tutorials for all the stitches I used on my towel set in the How-To section here on Needle ‘n Thread.

But Don’t Limit Yourself

But really, the best thing about designs like this is that you don’t have to go by someone else’s formula.

Whether you’re new to embroidery and you want something to practice different stitches on, or whether you’re an old hand at stitchery, you can embroider designs like this with any stitches that you want!

Therein lies the whole “relaxation” approach to embroidery like this. You just go with whatever occurs to you, or you go with whatever you are most comfortable with. You could stitch the whole towel in backstitch if you wanted. Stem stitch. Chain stitch. You don’t even have to fill anywhere – everything could be outlined with line stitches. Or maybe you want to fill dots and so forth, but you don’t like satin stitch. No problem! Use a buttonhole wheel.

You can even go true-folkish and work these types of folk designs in monochrome. Redwork, anyone? Or blue? You can work one solid color – all the same shade of blue, for example – or you can use three or four shades of blue.

Tulips & Tweets Folk-Inspired Embroidery Designs

When embroidering on ready-to-stitch goods like the towel sets I stock in my shop, you don’t need much in the way of supplies.

You need thread. I recommend a good quality cotton floss (stranded cotton) like DMC, Anchor, Cosmo, or the like.

You’ll need a good hoop that can keep your fabric drum-taut while you stitch. This makes all the difference in the finished outcome – especially when it comes to puckering. Your fabric should be drum taut in the hoop, meaning that, when you tap the surface lightly with your finger, it sounds like a drum. As you stitch, make sure that tautness is maintained. The better the hoop you have, the easier it is to maintain a good, taut surface during a stitching session.

You’ll need some needles – I use #7 crewel (also called “embroidery”) needles exclusively with this type of project.

And you’ll need a pair of small, sharp scissors for snipping your threads.

That’s it!

Tulips & Tweets Folk-Inspired Embroidery Designs

Ready to Stitch Towel Sets

For now, I’ve put Tulips & Tweets together as a ready-to-stitch towel set, available here in my shop. I plan on making them available another way in the future, especially for those who are overseas, but I wanted to get these out and in the shop since many of you have asked for them.

I can only do a limited supply at a time, but I’m trying to establish a reasonable workflow that allows me to keep things in stock and ready for you when you want it. I don’t like you to be disappointed when an item is sold out! I know there must be some sort of secret that I haven’t discovered yet, besides taking pre-orders for things that aren’t ready to ship. I don’t like doing that.

In any case, anything purchased today before 2:00 pm will go out in this afternoon’s post, which will get it to you within 3 days if there are no hold ups on the post office end of things.