Back in the day when adKnits was just a baby, I went through a really major embroidering phase. There were flowers. Lots of flowers.
While that's not so much my style anymore, I thought it would be fun to put together a tutorial on how to add one of those fabulous flowers to your knits.
A few things to keep in mind before you start embroidering:
- Stockinette is best for background. Avoid embroidering on top of really textured stitch patterns. It makes the embroidered stitches lay unevenly, and the textured background can distract from your embroidered design.
- Match yarn weights. Choose a yarn to embroider with that matches the weight of your knitted fabric. Heavier yarns can distort the knitted fabric, while too light a yarn will just get lost.
Let's get started!
Here's what you're going to need to embroider your knitted fabric:
- The piece you want to embroider on
- Yarn for your flower, about 18 inches, in the same weight as your knitted piece
- An embroidery needle with a large eye
1. With your yarn threaded through your embroidery needle, insert your needle through one of the spaces between stitches.
2. Pull the yarn through, leaving several inches on the back side.
3. Insert the needle back through the same hole and then...
4. With your needle, come back up through to the front side of the fabric, about 2-3 knitted stitches above where your needle is inserted.
5. Pull your yarn through until only a small loop is left.
6. Insert your needle through the loop.
7. Pull your yarn until the loop lays flat on the knitted fabric. Don't pull too hard, or the stitches will stretch and your fabric will distort.
8. Insert your needle through the hole that your yarn is coming out of and pull the yarn through, wrapping the top of the loop.
9. Repeat steps 1-8, but with your stitch going in the opposite direction. Your starting point for step 1 should be the bottom of your previous loop (this will become the center of the flower). You will have two petals when you are done.
10. For the third petal, turn your work so that your completed petals are horizontal, and repeat steps 1-8 again, but this time angle your stitch diagonally to the left.
11. Repeat step 10, but angled diagonally to the right.
12. Repeat steps 10-11 on the other side of the flower. You should have 6 petals when you're done.
13. (Optional) If you're feeling ambitious, you can add a little knot in the middle for your flower's center. You can also use this same petal stitch to create leaves.
14. Weave in your ends on the back and trim any excess yarn.
Here are a few more tips for embroidering your knitted piece:
- Pay attention to the tension in your embroidered stitches. Too loose, and they’ll catch on things. Too tight, and they’ll distort the knitted fabric.
- To prevent your knitted fabric from becoming distorted, use the thumb of your non-embroidering hand to hold the last couple of stitches in place as you embroider a new one. This prevents the pulling motion of the new embroidered stitch from screwing up you knit work.
- Keep your design simple. Unless you have very tightly knit fabric knit on itty bitty needles, you will not be able to achieve the same level of detail you can when embroidering on fabric.
- Don’t be afraid to splice a stitch! If you find your embroidery just won’t stay in place when you pull through the more obvious spaces between stitches, try going through a stitch so that the strands of yarn in that stitch are divided. The twisting of those strands will keep your embroidering yarn in place.