Creating the begonia hoop for the June 2022 Hopebroidery Box

Each month, I send subscribers to the Hopebroidery Box a pattern and full-length, step-by-step video tutorial for that month's project; subscribers to the big box also get all the supplies you'll need for your project, including full skeins of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss, a large cut of that month's fabric, embroidery scissors from Kelmscott Designs, and more. You can take a look at past boxes by visiting the kits section of my shop - I keep up the sold out kits so you can see what sorts of supplies and designs have come in past boxes, even if they're no longer available.


I've been writing about how I design each month's project because I think it might be interesting and helpful to see the different ways I go about designing the sample hoops; specifically, I hope it's helpful to you (if you're a newer designer looking for examples of how the process might work), and also find that it's been helpful for me (taking the time to process how each project comes to life is informative to my future work!).


In this post, I share the process of creating the begonia sample hoop for the June 2022 box, a project featuring a begonia-inspired plant in a pink pot, stitched onto a bright blue cotton fabric.


Photo of an embroidery hoop with a potted begonia plant stitched onto bright blue fabric. Sits on a yellow surface surrounded by embroidery supplies.
The final sample for the June 2022 Hopebroidery Box!

I absolutely love stitching a houseplant project like this - what a great way to add a bit of green to our homes, whether or not our thumbs are particularly green! The last houseplant themed box project was the snake plant hoop, which I wrote about in December and released in January. I like to spread out the box projects' themes so we aren't stitching the same thing month after month, and was so happy to realize it was time for another houseplant!


I decided to base this month's project on one of my favorite plants: a begonia that started as a small cutting mailed to me by a sweet friend!


Photo of a begonia plant in a blue pot against a green wall.
My inspiration was this sweet begonia plant!

I started by sketching several potential compositions for the hoop using a method where I make myself sketch a lot of possibilities in a very short amount of time. This method helps me to work through how I might draw the design, avoid looking at reference images other than the physical plant itself, and provides me with loads of possible designs that I can work from now or in the future.


Photo of fifteen small circles within which Hope has sketched begonias using a pencil.
A page from one of my begonia-sketching sessions.

Next, I imported a sketch into my iPad and used the Procreate app to create a cleaner sketch that I could use as a potential pattern, the process of which you can see in the timelapse video below.



Next, I grabbed a handful of colors from my collection of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss that I thought might look nice with this design.


Overhead shot of embroidery floss on plastic bobbins, inside of a wooden tray.
A handful of colors I thought might look nice with this design.

I wanted to use cotton for this project, but couldn't find a color I liked in any of the physical stores nearby. Luckily, I recently purchased the Kona Cotton Colors Card (note: this is not an affiliate link), which allowed me to more confidently choose a color that I could purchase online. I was so happy to have this resource available to me for this project; I've had pretty terrible experiences ordering fabric online in the past!


Close up of fabric color swatches, with the floss from the last photo piled on top.
A few of the colors from which I chose this month's fabric!

Once the fabric arrived, I was ready to start stitching the sample. As always, I kept detailed notes as I stitched, which helps me to create the most accurate pattern possible once I'm ready to work on the final product sent to subscribers.


In the photo below, you can see the blank pages for this month's pattern notes, with captions indicating what each section helps me to remember. On the left side of my notebook, I take notes on the colors and stitches I use; I also give myself a bit of space to write out note about things I don't want to forget when it comes time to write the pattern itself. On the right side of my notebook, I draw a circle by tracing a small embroidery hoop. As I stitch, I draw a rough approximation of the pattern with lines to the margins, where I indicate what I did for each step (for example, "1 - 3 strands, white, satin stitch"). If you're new to embroidery design, I absolutely recommend setting up a similar system for yourself -- this has saved me so much time and helped me to write more accurate patterns!


Photo of a sketchbook with captions indicating which section is which.
A look inside my pattern notes book.

The most frequent transfer tools I include in box kits include pencils, washable transfer pens (like the white water-erasable transfer pen), and washable transfer paper. I thought a simple pencil would work as the perfect transfer tool for this project's particular pattern and fabric.


Overhead shot of a blue hoop with a pencil drawing of a begonia at the center. The hoop is surrounded by various embroidery supplies on a white surface.
A look at my desk after transferring the begonia pattern to my fabric.

Once I started stitching, this project came together fairly quickly! In the photo below, you'll see my first leaf. I stitched this first and allowed myself a bit of time away from the hoop so I could be sure to know that it was working out the way I liked; I've written about doing this (i.e., giving yourself some time away from your projects) in a previous post.


Photo of an embroidery hoop with one green and white leaf stitched onto a light blue fabric.
After stitching this first leaf, I gave myself some time away from the project.

By the next day, I was ready to commit to the method I had used for that first leaf, and began to stitch the rest.


Photo of aan embroidery hoop with four white and green leaves stitched onto bright blue fabric.
Big, beautiful, spotted begonia leaves in hand embroidered form!

I ended up adding a bit of a pop element to this project by outlining the leaves in a deep gray color. You may remember other examples of this type of style from previous box projects, including the mushroom project from last October, and the cherries project from last May (which I designed before I started writing these monthly process posts).


Photo of begonia leaves hand stitched onto a bright blue fabric.
The leaves here are outlined - I think it adds a bit of pop!

To help me determine the color placements for the final portions of this project, I took a few photos with my remaining colors where they might be used. In the photo below, you can see I ended up choosing a golden color of floss for the embellishments to the left of my plant, yellow floss for embellishments on the right, and a pinkish color for my pot.


Photo of a begonia hand embroidered onto bright blue fabric, with floss in gold, yellow, and pink laid on top.
Taking photos like this helps me to determine final color placements!

I finished stitching the sample fairly late at night while listening to an audiobook. I have a harder time making decisions about my work when the sun isn't up, so I wrote a few notes to myself about what I might change in the morning -- just in case it came to that.


Green and white spotted begonia plant in a pink pot, hand embroidered onto bright blue fabric.
My final sample -- before I realized it was my final sample.

The next morning, and with fresh eyes, I realized it was just right, which meant I was finished! I backed the hoop, took a few photos to share with friends (sharing with friends is another tip I've written about in the past), and sat down to write the post you're reading right now!


Photo of an embroidery hoop with a potted begonia plant stitched onto bright blue fabric. Sits on a yellow surface surrounded by embroidery supplies.
The final sample for the begonia embroidery project!

As I'm working on the sample hoop, I'm also doing other things for the box, including choosing and ordering that month's scissors (you can find extra scissors from past boxes in the shop!), cutting fabric, purchasing and bundling floss, and so many other steps! The process for putting together your box projects each month is like a super fun puzzle, but the best part is creating something that you might want to recreate with me! I absolutely love seeing what subscribers' make each month, either on social media or sent directly to me via email - it's such a treat!


Subscriptions for the June 2022 Hopebroidery Box will be open throughout the month of May, and boxes will be in the mail the first week of June! If you're here late, you can always check to see if I have extra boxes available on the kits section of my shop! I know subscriptions can be super confusing, so I am always more than happy to answer any questions you might have before subscribing - feel free to send me an email directly!


Happy stitching, and see you next month!