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 embroidery floss, fabric, embroidery scissors I curate specifically for that project, and more. You can take a look at past boxes that have been sent out by visiting the "kits" section of my shop (I keep up the sold out kits so that 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 (even if you're not interested in a kit!), and also because I think it's helpful to see the different ways I go about designing the sample hoops themselves.
In this post, I share the process of creating the floral sampler project for the February 2022 box, which features florals in yellow, blue, white, and rust brown, variegated butterflies, and French knot embellishments, all stitched onto a deep blue linen fabric.
Floral samplers are among my favorite box projects to design, stitch, and teach. When learning how to stitch from a floral sampler like this, you get to learn all sorts of ways to stitch flowers and embellishments; what's more, the nature of the project's subject makes it a bit easier to internalize that it's okay if your work isn't perfect - because it isn't supposed to be!
I do a floral sampler project for the box every few months, and they're definitely among the most popular projects! The last floral sampler project for the box was released in September 2021 (you can read about that project in a previous post, and purchase any remaining kits in the shop); that project featured florals at the center of the design, with other foliage and small animals radiating out from the center. For this new project, I wanted to create a sampler more similar to designs like the one I released for the March 2019 box, featuring a variety of stemmed flowers using several different techniques.
Before stitching a sample for the box, I always give myself time to sketch out a few potential ideas; lately, I've been using a more standardized practice for this process (which I mentioned in last month's design blog, and hope to write about in more detail in the future!).
In the photo below, you can see I've printed fifteen small circles, which I used to very quickly sketch out several different potential ideas for floral samplers. The larger circle at the bottom is where I give myself a few extra minutes to sketch out a fuller design idea, based on those quick sketches.
Next, I imported a sketch from this page into the Procreate app for the iPad, where I worked to create a cleaner, more workable design from which to stitch.
I chose a deep blue linen fabric for February's project, and wanted to use a white water-erasable pens for the transferring process. I've learned it's super important to test out your transfer method to be sure it's visible and erasable, which you can see me doing in the photos below.
Next, I grabbed a handful of Sublime Stitching embroidery floss I thought I might use for the project. Unlike patterns for more personal projects, I have to be sure to choose enough colors of floss so that subscribers are getting their money's worth, and careful to choose colors that are in stock and available for me to purchase in bulk. It's a fun puzzle!
In the photo below, you can see a few colors I thought I might use, my pattern transferred onto my hoop, and the pattern book I use to take meticulous notes as I stitch. Those notes will help me later on, when I'm writing the pattern itself.
I enjoyed stitching this project, and took a lot of photos as I made my way through the different portions of the design. In the photo below, you can see I'm nearly halfway finished!
Unfortunately, the final hoop just didn't look quite "right" to me. Although starting over on a project like this can be frustrating, I'm learning to accept that it's often just another part of the process toward creating something I really love! I've written about this in a previous post (Why does your hand embroidery look bad?), which I wrote as a pep talk to you but often see as a pep talk to myself. In creating this project, I had to remind myself that although I had already spent hours designing and stitching up this now-failed sample, I could use that experience to create something better!
In the photo below (and I apologize for the particularly bad lighting), you can see the final failed sample next to the re-worked pattern. I wanted to make the flowers bigger, cut down on the busy French knot embellishments, and include a few additional small butterflies.
The next day, I transferred the new pattern to a new hoop. I kept the not-so-great first sample as a stitching reference, as I did like the color combinations and stitches I had used to create the flowers in the original sample.
I made a few adjustments as I worked on my new sample, modifying certain portions of the stitching to accommodate the larger size of the flowers themselves. And because I had already made so many design choices that I did love, I was able to get through this sample much more quickly than the original!
One portion of this new sample I absolutely loved to stitch were these small, variegated butterflies, used as embellishments around the larger flowers.
At last, I had my final sample!
As I'm working on the sample hoop, I'm also doing other things for the box, including ordering the scissors (you can see the gold floral scissors I chose for February in a few of the photos above, and find extra box scissors in my shop!), cutting fabric, purchasing and bundling floss, and so many other steps!
The process for putting together your box projects each month involves so many steps,