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Creating the snake plant hoop for the January 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 they'll need for their 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.

Today, I'll share the process of creating sample hoop for the January 2022 box, a green snake plant in a woven basket, surrounded by vines in brown, green, and blue, stitched on a deep orange linen fabric.

Photo of an embroidery hoop with a green snake plant in a woven basket stitched onto dark orange fabric and surrounded by vines.
The final sample for the January 2022 box!

My inspiration for this project was a giant snake plant I received as a gift from my partner, which sits in a woven basket in the room where I do most of my work.

Photo of a white woman in glasses staring admiringly at her snake plant.
Casual selfie with a (plant) friend.

I'd decided to stitch this plant for a box project months before touching the sample; but first, I'd have to sketch a few options for the hoop itself.

I've been sketching daily for a few years, and think I might have figured out a way to "standardize" my sketching method for embroidery projects. I'll have to write about that in a future blog post, as I'm still working out how to "teach" the method itself - in the meantime, you can see a photo of my sketches, using the method I'm working on, in the picture below. This method, at its core, involves giving myself a very limited time (say, 15 minutes) to sketch out a large number of potential designs. I'll then give myself a bit of time to sketch out one of my favorite ideas into a bigger space, although I've found that I often go back to one of the "smaller" sketches for the actual projects themselves.

Photo of 15 small circles, and one large circle, with rudimentary sketches of snake plants.
A few of my snake plant sketches.

Next, I took a photo of these sketches and worked on a more polished pattern using the Procreate app for the iPad. You can see a timelapse of that process in the brief video below.

I printed this out and transferred it to my fabric using a blue, water-erasable transfer pen. In the photo below, you can see the box I used to keep my supplies together, the notebook I use to take detailed pattern notes as I stitch (this makes it much easier for me to make a more accurate pattern for subscribers, later on in the box making process), and the hoop itself.

Photo of a box with embroidery supplies, orange hoop with a drawing of a snake plant, and a blue notebook.
Ready to stitch!

I started by stitching the leaves. You can see the final result below, but I'll let you know that it took me about five attempts before getting these just right! As I unpicked and re-stitched the leaves, again and again, I had to remind myself that this is just a normal part of the process!

Photo of a partially stitched snake plant on an orange fabric.
Choosing a color of Sublime Stitching floss for the basket.

My first attempt at the basket did not go well; again, this is all a normal part of the process!

Photo of a partially stitched snake plant on an orange fabric, with the stitches forming its basket cut out.
Oops! This first attempt did not work out for me!

Was I considering scrapping this project at this point? Absolutely. That said, I eventually figured out what I was doing. One thing that helps the process of designing difficult-to-me hoops is taking a lot of photos throughout the process; I find that it helps me to "see" the project in a different way, which helps me to determine if it's working for me or not. You can read more about this thought process in my blog post, "Why does your hand embroidery look bad?"

Photo of a snake plant with a partially stitched basket stitched on dark orange fabric.
At this point, I had much more hope for this hoop!

I was so pleased with the final basket (pictured below)! I think I did a good job of creating a basket that will feel approachable to new stitchers, while maintaining the "feel" of my actual plant's actual basket.

Photo of an embroidery hoop with a snake plant and woven basket stitched onto dark orange fabric.
The basket might very well be the star of this project!

After finishing the plant and basket, I once again turned to Procreate for a bit of help by importing a photo of what I had so far, and planning out which colors I might use for the surrounding vines and embellishments.

Photo of an iPad with a drawing of the embroidery hoop, next to the actual hoop itself. Hope's drawn a few vines onto the photo.
Figuring out which colors would work best for this project.

Once I stitched the vines, I added a few final embellishments - blue French knots. You can watch a short timelapse of that stitching in the video below:

Finally, a finished sample!

Photo of a snake plant and woven basket stitched onto dark orange fabric and surrounded by vines.
The final sample for the January 2022 Hopebroidery Box!

As I'm working on the sample hoop, I'm also doing other things for the box, including ordering the scissors (you can 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, but the best part is creating something that you might want to recreate with me! It's such a great feeling knowing that this snake plant hoop won't just live on my wall - but on your wall, too!

Subscriptions for the January 2022 Hopebroidery Box are open throughout the month of December, and boxes will be in the mail the first week of January! If you're here late, you can always check to see if I have extra boxes available on the "kits" section of my shop! Happy stitching!

Your new favorite hobby awaits with these beginner-friendly embroidery kits!

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