I have now created three sets in the Winter Jewels collection which celebrates the hellebore which is fondly known as the Christmas or Lenten rose. This collection contains some embroidery designs which mimic botanical art which I adore. With each set I also introduced different types of hellebores and there are so many varieties and cultivars to choose from. In this third set I have introduced some of the species which are not quite so flamboyant as the hybrids, but equally as beautiful.
Over the Christmas holiday the hellebores in my garden have started to open up and display their elegance and beauty. It has been fun to create a collection based on one of my all time favourite flowers that I have been growing and studying for many years. I encourage you to look at all the different colours that are available before you chose the colours that you are going to use for your embroidery.
Samples of cultivars and species of Hellebores
Now as there are quite a number of dimensional hellebores in this collection you can create your own Christmas roses, for decoration and embellishment. I would like to share how I have used them for a very special embroidered project.
Each Christmas I prepare an embroidered card for my sister. This year I decided to go one step further and I made a box framed embroidery with my hellebores so they could be dimensional and not get squashed. I prepared some of the rosettes that go in the centres of each flower in advance. They were stitched out on tulle so they were very light. After washing the stabiliser away, I cut carefully between each node to that they were not too uniform. Stopping my embroidery before the rosette is stitched out I used a glue stick to hold them in place.
I have discovered that sticky tape is needed to hold them in place while the centre section is embroidered as the needle may catch and move them in the stitching before you can prevent it. Here is the finished design, which is 8″ x 8″, and it will be available in January as part of Winter Jewels 5. I have used an ivory silk dupion for this, two layers of stitch and tear and a top stitch needle.
I was unhappy with the finished embroidery as the hellebore on the left with the seed head was sitting poorly and had a hollow appearance. I decided to experiment with the dimensional seed head and found it best to cut away one of the four pairs of seeds. Then it was possible to place it flat on the flower. A dab of glue and a few stitches held each section in place.
I then attached the seed head in place with a few hand stitches and started to prepare the embroidery for pressing.
This is the back of the embroidery and it is always important to remove as much stabiliser possible and to trim all the jump stitches. When you press your embroidery it is good to apply pressure as well as the heat.
It is very important to have the right backing for any embroidery and in my experience a little batting always softens its final look. I had purchased a box frame for this project but I needed a little substance so as well as the batting I used Floriani stitch N shape. The silk dupion was wrapped around this layer of batting and stiffening, and attached with double sided sticky tape.
However when I placed the embroidery in the box frame there were a few gaps in some of the corners and even with some adjustment I could not get the mounted embroidery to sit perfectly. A little rummage in my lace collection found the perfect narrow lace to go all around the edges. I attached it with small hand stitches, and everything look so much better. As the frame was very plain the lace really complimented the embroidery, and I do love to use lace for my embroidery projects when I can. Here you can see a close up of one of the offending corners that previously had gaps.
You will be pleased to know that my carefully wrapped parcel arrived safely in Somerset and my sister was delighted with this Christmas present as she loves hellebores as much as I do. I have another larger box frame that I will make another design soon and I will share the process and the results with you as soon as it is finished. Winter Jewels 3 will be released in a few days time followed by last two sets.
Happy embroidering in 2019 from Hazel