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, 18 October 2016

The Christmas Challenge. Grub Roses. Part 2.

This is part two in our Grub Roses tutorial. I know some of you are following along and doing very well! And others like Patsy who so much wants to embroider roses will have to follow later as she and her husband are helping others recover from Hurricane Matthew. Sorry about the timing Patsy!

Ok so last Wednesday we covered the basics of the needle to use, dividing your thread, practicing French Knots and Bullion Stitch. I personally do not use embroidery hoops but you can do that or try both ways and see what you prefer.  An embroidery hoop is not needed on thicker things like towels but maybe helpful on very fine fabrics so your work ends up sitting flat.

The week before I spoke a bit about some of the things I used Grub Roses for... it is never ending really. I added just one little rose to the outer side of some little socks for Harper. These look so sweet. And just doing something like the you have a little gift!

This week I am talking about formation, placement and colour.

Knowing your stitches the next thing is forming them into a rose. This takes some practice in the same way learning the stitches does. Really there are no rules. I am just telling you what I usually do.

Mainly I start with a nice plump French Knot. This is the centre of your rose. Now you can work your roses in different colours. Often I will do a deeper shade of pink for the knot, then change to a middle shade of pink for the first round of bullion stitch petals... and then to a really light pink for the next row of petals (if I do a third row).  If you do this you want to choose three shades that are just lighter and darker versions of the same colour.

After the french knot I work three bullion stitches around this knot. You want to get them in close. At first attempts sometimes you have a gap where you can see fabric in between your petals. Just keep going until you get them to sit snug and you don't have these gaps.  When you were practicing Bullion stitch they were like little straight lines! But they will curve... and you can nestle them into a gentle curve and work them to sit nice and snug right where you want them to go. Coax them into position!

As you can understand the inner petals are smaller than outer petals.... to achieve this I work my billions with FIVE wraps each.  And on the first round I work THREE bullion stitch.

On the next round I will work SEVEN wraps on each bullion stitch and work FIVE bullion stitch around my rose.

If I do a third round it will be NINE wraps and there will be SEVEN bullion stitch.

As you work each round be careful to overlap you bullion stitches so they do not line up. It is the over lapping that makes it look like a rose. Think how a brick layer lays bricks... overlaps not rows!

These  are my general rules which are handy if you need a guideline. But I don't always adhere to it and sometimes there will be a gap and I will just go ahead and fill it in. It is quite forgiving and I always look at how is my rose looking? If it looks thin on one side I will add a stitch ... you want it to look right to your eye. So feel free to do what you think looks nice!

With groups of roses I always stick to odd numbers. So I will have one, three, five...

You can use French Knots and larger and smaller roses as you like.  I often use just a fine thread to fill in little stems and leaves or you can work Bullion Stitch in green to form leaves as well.  You do not have to be botanically correct... like painting you are creating the suggestion of things and these do not have to be perfect.  
You can form a rose bud with one or three bullion stitches and a couple of green leaves or a stem.
Adding a few French Knots is lovely and a delicate effect.

The next issue is placement.  If you look at the top pictures these show what I mostly do... I will work one corner on a wash cloth or handkerchief and place the rose right over the seam line in the corner.  Then it covers the "structure" and stitching. Overall I think in terms of making it looked nestled in rather than "on top" or to look like a little kiss rather than a large feature. 

Sometimes when you are working up close on something it is not until you put it down and walk away from it... come back and look at it like everyone else does... from a normal distance away that you think !!! hey it looks nice!  

Just practice. You will soon be very happy with your Grub Roses. I use them such a lot.  

Over time we might get on to some simple ribbon embroidery. All these things work in well together!  Each new stick and different kind of cotton, wool, ribbon, glitter thread etc adds a dimension to what you can do. It is really kind of addictive. 

Work rows of roses this week and if you are happy with them try to use a fine strand of green to suggest some little stems and leaves. 
These really are half the ability to do the basic stitches then half formation and colour etc. 
I hope to see lots of your roses in show and tell in a couple of weeks!

Next week we need to get right onto Christmas! I made two big Christmas cakes yesterday and later this afternoon the next lot of into the oven. Before then I am doing my tax return which I will be glad to have over and done with! (another job to tick off the list!)

I hope your week is going well! See you on Friday! xxx


  1. Goodness me, Annabel...that tutorial brought back memories as I used to do the same embroidery years ago. You might start up a new trend :-) I remember when ribbon and wool embroidery was very popular.

    1. Dear Nanna Chel, Do you still embroider? Mum loves nice linens and there is a lovely store here that sells all fine linens... and the embroidered hand towels and things have little bees. grub roses etc and it all costs a fortune! And also crochet edge napkins etc... $80 for a set of four! Then when Harper was born I was in baby boutiques with Lucy and there is hand knitting, embroidered by hand bay rugs and little outfits and singlets with grub roses.... all incredibly expensive! So this got me going again! Not terribly hard to do and it is lovely I have a new baby as well to embroider for!
      I hope you had a wonderful trip! With love

  2. Dear Annabel, these look simply adorable! I love the little wreath on Harpers singlet, and I agree that on little girls socks, they are so pretty. Great tutorial, and I've found that as you get more confident, you can increase the number of wraps. This makes the roses look quite substantial, and is especially useful on adult clothing like nightgowns. I've been making adult pillowcase nighties (the ones that are basically two rectangles with an armhole curve cutout), and embellishing them on the hemlines or necklines with the grub roses since your post last week, and I'm amazed at how the roses make them look very upmarket indeed. Thank you sooooo much for last weeks hint on the Straw Needles. You've changed my bullion roses for the better forever! Your fanciwork is to be envied greatly! Much Love, Mimi xxx

    1. Dear Mimi, Thank you! The nighties sound lovely! I think cottons and voiles etc are just heavenly with embroidered touches and beautiful to wear in the warmer weather. I am currently working on gauze wraps which I am just loving! Many thanks Mimi, love

  3. Annabel you have me wanting to try the old grub rose once again. I used to embroider these onto socks and singlets when Katie was a baby, 25 years ago. It was quite popular way back then. I might have to think about this again. Mum gave me some fabric off cuts and some of it was a very fine lawn. I'm thinking hankies with lace edges and grub roses in one corner. Might even embroider the recipients first initial.
    A game of wait and see. I have such big ideas right now and not a lot of time or mental space to bring those ideas to fruition.
    Thank you for such great and detailed instructions. Has anyone told you that you are a very clever chook lately? COnsider yourself told.

    1. Dear Jane, Now you have a Grand daughter this is the perfect time! Plus a good craft for taking with you places to work on which is very handy.
      Write down your ideas for when the time is right. I personally forget if I don't do this!
      Thank you! Any comparison to a chicken I take as a complement! :) haha! With love

  4. Dear Annabel,
    Thank you again for a lovely tutorial. Everything you do is just beautiful. I did especially hone in on the embellished white sweater with the crocheted trim on the neckline. It's so lovely. I'm finding that practicing my stitches is a very relaxing project to engage in during this wait. Blessings. Cookie

    1. Dear Cookie,
      I am glad you are finding practice relaxing. I do too. I think if something takes concentration that is good as it kind of quietens down the brain.... which is good for us and beats worry. Its sort of a meditation and I think very good.
      I hope things are going well there Cookie, everyone is thinking of you and praying.With love

  5. Hi Annabel!

    Your embroidery is sweet, beautiful, lovely, thoughtful, soft and heartfelt! I imagine that your work has blessed many people!

    Now I am looking forward to seeing new embroidery in Show and Tell!

    (Jane, you're wonderful; I'm glad you had a laugh! I practised a little pie making yesterday, and thought of Bluey! Cookie, the economy you concentrate on leads straight to our Creator. May He continue to provide for you, day by day!)

    (I hope you all find your own niches in making life beautiful for those around you!)

    Annabel, thanks for your patience and determination invested in this post!

    With warm regards,
    Rachel Holt

    1. Dear Rachel,
      Thanks for noticing that a tutorial like this is kind of challenging and I don't even own a camera lol I just use my phone and i pad though they are pretty good.
      The picture you sent me of the pie... another one that looks like out of a magazine and also so comforting and beautiful!
      I hope you week has gone well, it is speeding past! With love

  6. Annabel, I am totally gobsmacked at the cost of four crochet edged napkins for $80! I've had to go do a search of how the Australian currency compares to American and that is still $61.60 for the napkins. Yikes! I've crocheted at least 3 large tablecloths and 5 sets of four napkins each for my oldest daughter. I sure wish I could make and sell these at this price and then I would most definitely work from home and not outside the home!

    Your grub roses are so beautiful and I've watched the tutorial you linked to in your first lesson. I'm going to find some napkins to try my hand!

    Fond Regards, Jeanette

    1. Dear Jeanette,
      This happens to me all the time where I can't believe prices. I will take some photos in that store next time I am close to the suburb this is in. It is exquisite but I saw a $300 bath mat there if that gives you the idea!
      Maybe you could have an ETSY shop? Seriously the work you do would really sell. I will have a look on Easy and around for something similar and more pricing...
      And yes... a little grub rose in the corner would be nice. I do notice on ETSY that handkerchiefs with lovely edging are for sale and Brides buy them I think (amongst others of course) but this is another crochet edging plus grub rose project.
      I hope you're having a good week! Much love

  7. Annabel,
    I am going to give these a go one of these days! they just look so pretty on everything. Thank you for taking the time to teach us!

    1. Dear Vicky, In the middle of winter you might get time for these! Plus I know your Mum embroiders and I would love to see some of her work and hear what she makes!
      Thanks so much! With love

  8. Thankyou Annabel for this second tutorial. Im running behind ,as I bought my needles and 2 colours of thread this week , ready to start when I have a clear head , hopefully this weekend. Your emboridery and ribbon work is plain gorgeous and id agree with Jane you are a very clever and busy chook hehe.Have a lovely weekend! Its a long one here , with love, Maria xxx


I really appreciate your comments thank you! The aim of my blog is the be a place of encouragement and happiness. Very rarely is anyone rude. Actually only twice so far! If you post a rude or aggressive comment I will read it but not publish it, thanks for

Spam is never published... if you are advertising a product or selling website your comment wont be published. I am inundated with stuff about drugs, horses and weird things! I am not going to publish this stuff! Thank you.