The little birds...

If you watch little birds you will see they are busy and happy! Using whatever they can find they create the most gorgeous little nest.
I would be the little bird with some glittery thread in her nest!
We can be like this. Happily working away with the things that are available to us to create a beautiful and happy home.
All the while with a little song in our heart.

Banner by Free Pretty Things for You.

Tuesday, 11 October 2016

The Christmas Challenge. How to embroider Grub Roses.

I find Grub Roses really useful. We have already covered so many ways to use them to embellish either a pre made item or something you have made yourself. They are pretty quick to do too once you get the hang of them.

I love to combine embroidery with crochet edgings. They are a match made in heaven I think!

Several ladies have asked for a tutorial which I am attempting! I hope this encourages anyone who wishes they could embroider to give it a try. For everyone else this is going to be dead boring! You do not need to have any experience to learn these so if you have ever wanted to learn this is your time!

Firstly you need to know a couple of things that will help immensely.
No. 1 thing is you need the right needles. People fail at bullion stitch not realising that anyone will fail with the wrong needle.

You need Straw Needles. The feature here is that they are dead straight with the same thickness all along. Some needles are tapered and thicker in the middle section which doesn't work.

And you need cotton like this DMC which has six strands together. You need to cut your length and divide off two strands. That is what we are going to work with and this is easiest to learn.
Later you can do other cottons, silks, wool etc. But start here.

To make Grub Roses you need two stitches. French knots and Bullion stitch.

For French knots you are simply coming up through your fabric and wrapping your cotton around your needle.

Hold the wrapped "knot" with your thumb so it stays at the base and pull your needle through the fabric. Then back into the fabric right next to that knot so all you see is this little knot.
This You Tube clip is a good demo of how to do a French Knot. This shows things better than I can hope to explain.
These basic stitches end up being very useful for many things not just roses!
With learning anything on You Tube be prepared to stop it, go back and over and over as much as you need until you get it. You do not have to hurry. I like to hold my needle and copy as I watch.

This week just work rows of French Knots. Pretend you are working a sampler of stitches and just work rows of knots. For your roses your aim is plump little French knots.

Next we want to learn Bullion Stitch.  Again this stitch will be useful in many more ways than just roses but they are going to form all your petals. Just go slow and learn how to wrap around your cotton and pull the needle through and secure those stitches!
Here is your You Tube clip that shows it well.
Bullion Stitch.

Do the same as before, just work rows of these. At first they look like drunken and wayward grubs and nothing like a rose! But get good at these.

You will think rows of these will never end up being roses. But once you know these roses will be easy to make! Trust me on this!

These are the foundation steps to success!
Next week we will start to add our Bullion stitch right next to our French knots...

And then how to build them into roses.

So homework is to get your needles. If you cannot find Straw needles look for long needles that are the same thickness all along except for the point of course.  Plus some stranded cottons and a bit of fabric to practice on.
Work rows of French Knots and Bullion Stitches!  You will see the Bullion stitch has two ends. Learning where it will start and where it will end and laying the "grub" in between is a key skill that will soon have you making roses.

That is enough for one week!

Next week we will finish this rose tutorial and really it will be time to go onto Christmas crafts!  I will have made my Christmas cakes by then. I can see these are going to give me quite a few gifts as I have more dried fruit than I thought!

What are you working on at the moment? How is your present cupboard looking?

I hope the week is going well! Yesterday I got the first coat on my front door! One more to go! Another big think to tick off the list!


  1. Thanks for sharing that information Annabel. I have always found french knots really challenging. From reading your post I now know I had the basics wrong because I was using the wrong type of needle.

    1. Dear Sherri,
      I hope this helps and the straw needle is so important for the billions... but at the end of the day any way you can come up with a nice plump little knot for the centre is ok. I am all for doing what we can. But you might be great at them after this! Good luck! With love

  2. I can't believe I've embroidered for years and never learned to make these beautiful little roses. I'll have to practice French knots. I gave them up years ago in favor of Colonial knots, which were easier for me.

    Thanks for the lesson!

    1. Dear Debby, You are going to find these very easy as being good with a needle and thread is a big head start. I will look up Colonial knots... I am pretty sure these would be fine for a centre as you just need a plump little knot to start the roses off. But they are quite useful i.e. you can make flowers like wisteria etc just with knots. I hope you will enjoy the roses and find lots of uses for them! With love

  3. Dear Annabel, Thankyou for the instructions, now I can start practising once I have purchased the right needles. I will do this on the weekend as the nearest large town to me is 30kms away. I think the colour of your door will be pale pink or French Blue. I am glad to hear Bluey is out of ICU and Rachel's eye is getting better. I have finished crocheting borders on tea towels I will send photos for this months reveal. Blessings Jo R

    1. Dear Jo,
      I am hoping on Friday to be able to post a picture of my finished front door. So you will see if you are on the right track! I have had three guesses of pink and yours of blue as well. I am thinking this is funny and everyone basically agrees!
      I will really love seeing your tea towels! I find them so much fun to do. The different an edging makes is just huge! They become lovely gifts. Thanks so much Jo, with love

  4. Thankyou Annabel ,Im looking forward to trying these stitches once I buy my needles and thread hehe.Love Maria xx

    1. Dear Maria,
      I can see a little grub rose on the side of one of your gorgeous little crochet hats. They look really good on knitwear plus all kinds of things like that.
      I hope you are having a good week! With lots of love

  5. Hi Annabel!

    What good close-up photography this is! You must have had some fun doing this post - storm and all! That's what I like - making something special regardless of what's around you!!

    You are very generous to share your tips of your homemaking trade! This is lovely stitching!

    It is also lovely to hear that Lucy is faring better. What excitement is in store for you - just around the corner!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt
    PS I have been thinking that your door could be a soft, dusty pink, too! I'm with Jane and Bluey on that one!

    1. Dear Rachel, This was a challenge as explaining steps to something so small is not so easy! I like this craft as you don't need much, there is little expense to turn ordinary things into something special. And a simple skill to learn.
      Yes Lucy looks well, overall much better than before. And Miss Harper is growing so much into big girl!
      I hope you are doing well and your eye is still improving. With lots of love,

  6. Dear Annabel,
    This is so generous of you, what a great tutorial! I just might give them a go :). Ok, I am thinking blue on the matter the color I can't wait to see it! It is still hot here. When it cools more we are planning on painting our front door as well but are still undecided on the color. Have a wonderful day!
    Love, Colette xxx

    1. Dear Colette, Door photo coming tomorrow! :)
      I covered my front door in paint chip/sample colours for several months. Go for a colour that you just adore and makes you happy! I have to say the front door makes a major difference.
      The week is going fast! But a good week so far. I hope the same for you! Love

  7. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you for this information. You always do such beautiful work on everything you do. I will definitely try this as I am getting back into embroidery, as well as, knitting. Looks like this winter will be sewing, serging, embroidery, and knitting; crockpot cooking, as well :):).
    Have a wonderful day.
    Love and Hugs,

    1. Dear Glenda, All of these things are lovely projects over winter. New skills are always fun to learn as well. I am just working on using the bullion stitch in other little animals. I have done bunnies before now and trying little bluebirds! If they work I will put up a picture!
      I hope your week is going well! With love

  8. I'm going to guess on a jungle green door. That's just a hair darker than kelly green.

    1. Dear Debby, I hope I will post a pic tomorrow... I have one coat to go! And its a nice sunny day so I think I can get it done this afternoon!
      Much love

  9. Dear Annabel, thank you for this wonderful tutorial! I too, never knew about the straw needles but do use proper embroidery needles. I bought some Straw needles yesterday though and can see immediately that they will result in neater bullions. French Knots are my absolute favourite. So easy and they lend such beautiful texture to your work. This would not have been an easy one to photograph either, so thank you 😘 Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, I was thinking I would have your sympathy on trying to do a close up of tiny things tutorial! eek!
      Well ,the straw needles fix a lot of the common problems people seem to have with bullion stitch especially the pulling the needle through all the loops bit. I hope you have had a good week and less hectic than last week! With lots of love

  10. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you so much for sharing the tutorial. It is so very well explained. It is all so beautiful and inspiring, and has so many applications. I love that it will be a portable craft and can be done anywhere. Had to order the needles on line and they're due to arrive Friday. Again, thank you so much for taking the time to provide us with clear instruction. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie, Thank you so much! You will be ready to go when the needles arrive. I think you will love this. From painting you understand flowers.... that is a huge advantage in embroidery! With love

  11. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you so much for the tutorial! I purchased my needles and thread yesterday evening and can't wait to get started. I am dreaming of all the things I will be able to add roses to.
    I can't wait to see your door reveal! I didn't comment on Monday but your house looks absolutely gorgeous. The neighbors must all be saying how beautiful it looks.
    I hope everyone's week is going well and that Rachel and Bluey are improving.
    With love, Kelsey

    1. Dear Kelsey,
      I will be thrilled if you do the roses! Yes this would give you touches for many things and so inexpensively. I hope you have had a lovely week! With love and thanks,

  12. What a lovely spot with lovely ladies! Blessings this Fall


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