This summer, Adam and I were fortunate enough to finally take our honeymoon (about 15 months late!) While we had planned to spend the majority of the time sightseeing and exploring stunning scenery and cities, I knew that I would get the crafting itch if I didn't take a project with me. I needed something small and light. The obvious solution was something I could hand stitch. I pondered taking the half finished cross stitch projects that are tucked away in the study but they didn't appeal. For a start they were quite heavy but I really wanted something that would remind me of our holiday. It was time for me to finally try embroidery.
As a complete embroidery beginner, I wanted a pretty but not too challenging design. After browsing Instagram for inspiration I chose the Cherry Blossom by Oh Sew Bootiful. I was drawn to the clean design and the modern photographic background printed onto cotton - it really helps the colours to pop. The kit contains everything you need to get going: a hoop, the design preprinted onto cotton, padding to sit behind the cotton, two needles, embroidery threads, floss to finish the hoop and a couple of instruction sheets to teach you the four stitches in this design: satin stitch, split stitch, straight stitch, and french knots.
I followed the order of stitching included in the guide. I completed the flowers first starting with the darker pink as the lighter flowers should look like they are top of the darker ones. I then moved onto the buds before completing the branch. The branch is sewn using the split stitch which I found to be a lot of fun. A wonderful texture is created through the uneven stitch lengths which gives a good imitation of bark.
By the end of our break I had completed the main stitching parts leaving the details on the flowers. I had tried french knots before through previous cross stitch projects but I was a little out practice. I soon remembered that I like to wind the thread around the needle a few extra times to get more definition while keeping the knots small. I also find that holding the needle just above where it will be pushed into the fabric and winding the thread there helps to avoid the knot occurring higher up the thread than you want. I tend to use my spare thumb to smooth the path of the thread until a dainty knot is formed. There is a noticeable difference between the earlier knots and the later ones as I got into the swing of them. The process of making many of them in quick succession was rather satisfying.
Stitching this hoop was so much fun. While it took patience to get the stitches into the right place and become familiar with what direction they should go in, the pattern is simple enough that you can quickly see progress. It was very meditative too - distracting me from aching feet from too much walking or the face my suitcase took three days to arrive in Iceland after I did. I've yet to find a spot to hang it but I have started another pattern. It seems that I might have found another hobby to indulge.