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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.