Friday, January 31, 2014

The Olden Days - BDE Flower Designs - Part 2

The other day I started writing about our Brazilian dimensional embroidery flowers from The Olden Days ... flowers that have been around forever and are pretty much considered public domain since everybody used to 'borrow' them, 'copy' them, 'share' them with friends, and consider that since they were written down they were probably free for the taking. Not so. Nowadays we are aware of the importance of giving credit when we can and respecting the copyrights of other designers. I listed several Brazilian embroidery reference books here the other day which are loaded with flowers, stitches and other helpful information.

The 16 flowers I'm posting here are almost all in general use and, in most cases, the original designer is unknown. If I know where the flower originated, I'll list it if you would like more information.  With each flower I have added various forms of greenery, trying to change stitches so that these little designs can be used as a teaching tool, or for your own personal use. Be experimental yourself, be adventurous, and most of all, have fun.

As I stitched some of these designs when I made that little quilt, I posted information here on my blog.  I wrote about the Bossa Nova Rose (#3 of 16) here, if you'd like more details. (I forgot to include them in my previous post)

#5 of 16:  The Lazy/Geron Daisy 
The Lazy/Geron Daisy

Greenery. Iris, medium green, shaded.           
  • Satin stitch across each leaf. Begin at the leaf tip and stitch each leaf in a different direction. As you reach a stem, change to stem stitch. When leaves are satin stitched at different angles, you'll get a feeling of movement - leaves dancing in the breeze.
The Geron (or Gerone) Daisy appears in all of the earliest BDE books and it has stamens that are created with the traditional pistil stitch (sometimes called French-knot-on-a-stalk). I always thought there should be "a better way", since the original stitch tended to have a floppy stem and was just annoying (to me) in general. As I played with my needle one day, I had an "I Wonder What Would Happen If..." moment and discovered the Cast-on Pistil Stitch. This link has detailed instructions for working this stitch and I hope you use it often. One of the nice things about Brazilian embroidery is that its creativity allows one to make all sorts of choices and substitutions. I hope you will try.

The other stitch used for this flower is one of our most popular BDE stitches - the lazy daisy. There are several variations. Sometimes the technique shown here is called a wrapped, knotted or fancy lazy daisy stitch, sometimes a Brazilian lazy daisy (or two-step lazy daisy) stitch and first described by Mary Clark, Vee Wedow and Mary Kurbis in some of the early B.E. books. 
There are two different methods of completing either of these lazy daisies. For the wrapped lazy daisy, instead of just a regular tacking stitch, bullion-wrap your needle 3-4 (or more) times and sink the needle into the fabric at the end of these wraps, tucking the longer right-side thread beneath the bullion.

The stitch tends to look a little lopsided, and if you would like something more uniform, try the two-step (or Brazilian) lazy daisy. For this version, begin with a lazy daisy and bring your needle up inside the loop. To finish, go some distance away and bring the needle up inside your loop again, wrapping as many times as you like, and then go down and out at the far end of the bullion. I've described this stitch more thoroughly in the book Take A Stitch by Rosalie Wakefield (page 74). You can email me if you'd like more detail, too.
  • Stitch the lazies and the pistils with Iris, or try a metallic thread such as Candlelight, or any other fiber.
  • Finish by adding a 15-loop cast-on stitch at the base of the 'stamens' and complete the embroidery by adding a bead or French knot at the center.
#6 of 16: Bullion Daisy

Bullion Daisy.  The bullion and the cast-on stitch are the first two stitches we learn when we discover Brazilian dimensional embroidery. The bullion has been around, of course, since The REALLY Olden Days. If anyone has Googled the bullion, you'll find references to some ancient work discovered in the Middle East, a little dusty for sure, but still recognizable.
Greenery. Iris, green.  Straight stitches. Start at the tip of the leaf and offset each stitch slightly to give the impression of a center leaf vein without actually stitching it.
Flower. Lola. A variegated color is nice, but any color makes a beautiful flower. Divide your circle into 8's. Bring the needle up on the outer edge of the circle and make a 12-wrap bullion, finishing the bullion about 1/8" away from the flower center.  Work the "North-South-East-West" bullions first. Next, make another 12-wrap bullion between each of the first round of bullions. When you work with shaded or variegated floss, alternate bullions around the circle. This will 'arrange' your colors in a pleasing manner.
When you have finished all of your bullions, you can either satin stitch the flower center or add a big fat bead for sparkle. Convince the bullions that standing up nicely is a good idea by slipping your needle beneath the bullions, working around 2-3 times and then giving the floss a tug. This will make all of the bullions stand up and is especially nice if you are stitching these flowers on clothing.  I call it the "Wrap 'n Gather", and if you have any of my books or Millefiori designs, you'll find that it's a favorite of mine.  By the way, this works for cast-on stitches, too - really makes them look nice!
#7 of 16: Peach Blossom
Peach Blossom.
Greenery. Iris, green.  Begin at the tip of each leaf with a straight stitch and work towards the stem with fly stitches. The tacking stitch on the fly will create a center leaf vein. When you reach the stem, just add a longer tacking stitch. Easy as pie! Stems may be worked with stem or outline stitch (I prefer outline stitch - I just like the more natural look).
Flower.  Lola.
I wrote about this versatile stitch here and if you play with it, you'll find that it makes wonderful leaves and petals with exciting shaping results. The detached buttonhole stitch is a form of needle lace and was introduced to Brazilian embroidery stitchers with the same technique as used for needle lace - a straight stitch or bar with detached buttonhole stitches added. I always had trouble with the loops sliding up or down or beneath a neighbor and decided there must be an easier way. There was!  Start with a cast-on stitch.  Nobody gets that close to your work to see how you started. Only. You. Will. Know.
Begin each of the four peach blossom petals with a 6-loop cast-on stitch. Work back and forth, increasing at either the beginning or end of the row. If you like your petal to have more support, just take the thread back (on top of the petal) to the start and stitch through a loop and the 'cord' together. This is called the corded buttonhole stitch and makes a heavier petal.
If you like your flower petals to 'cup', just connect one to the next.  Add a bead at the flower center.

#8 of 16: Rolled Rose
The Rolled Rose.
This is one of the first dimensional flowers most of us have learned. You'll recognize the flower by the oval and 2 straight lines. The original flower is worked entirely with bullions, but I like to change things up a little and have done several variations. I like the cast-on stitches at the base of the flower because they make it look a little more "floral".
Greenery. Iris, any green.  Outline stitch stems and stitch leaves with either the alternating satin stitch or a fly stitch leaf with stitches alternating long and short to demonstrate the ragged leaf of the rose.
Flower. Lola.  Begin at flower center with 2, side-by-side 8-wrap bullions. Continue alternating sides with 10-wrap and 12-wrap bullions, tapering to a point at the top of the flower. Then add a 15-wrap bullion along one side. Finish each flower with 2, 8-10 loop cast-on stitches, overlapping slightly at the base.
Stitch the buds with 8 and 10-wrap bullions and add a calyx across the bottom with a 6-wrap bullion in your flower color.
OK.  Time to take a break. Have fun with these flowers and I'll try to get the rest posted tomorrow.

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