Tuesday, October 7, 2014

Day 2 - the "Holiday Hostess Table Topper" tutorial!

Today I have ventured into new territory for you and made two very short YouTube videos so you can see how I stitched some of the tree block. 
These videos are me 'being me'  and not at all fancy, but hopefully they are of some help to those of you who are just beginning the wonderful adventure of hand embroidery. 
Oh, and for those who do not know, I'm an Aussie - just in case you're wondering about the accent on the videos.

First things first -  if you haven't done this lately it's probably a good time to do so as it will make for an easier and more accurate sewing experience...

Just in case you missed it yesterday the free pattern for the Holiday Hostess Tree can be downloaded HERE from my shop.

We'll start by back stitching the tree and trunk outline, and the holly leaf.
If you're following with my red/white version suggestions you'll be using 2 strands of the darker green thread for the tree and the holly...
 (my detailed backstitch tutorial shared in a previous blog post is here if you need help)

Use 2 strands of the Medium Brown thread to backstitch the tree trunk...

Now we're going to use 2 strands of the Light Brown thread to stem stitch the lines of ribbon that criss-cross the tree. Notice that I start the ribbon outside the tree line...

I've also got my very first video to share with you so you can see how I sew a stem stitch...

The next step is to stitch the little poinsettia leaves that poke out from behind the flower petals.
This time I've used 2 strands of the brighter green thread. These leaves are embroidered very simply with more backstitch...

 When your poinsettia leaves are finished you can change to red thread for the poinsettia petals, again using 2 strands.
The petals are made with lazy daisy stitches and if you've not stitched them before, don't worry. They are simple and oh so sweet!

Here is my second YouTube video to hopefully help you with this stitch. Mine are a little different from the usual lazy daisy for this project, but I explain that in the video too...

 Once your poinsettia petals are completed we can fill the centre of the flower with four Colonial Knots (or French Knots if you prefer)...

Thread your needle with 2 strands of Light Brown and let's get started!

This time I'll be sharing a video by Mary Corbett of Needlenthread.com - she's the queen of embroidery stitches and I think her example of tricky stitches is excellent. You will find her video far more professional than mine! ;-)

Video 3

All that's left to do on this block now is to satin stitch the two holly berries with a single strand of Red thread. You may prefer to use 3 strands of Red thread and make more Colonial or French Knots instead! Do what tickles your fancy...

Well done if you've completed your block!
Now we'll trim it back to 6 1/2" x 8 1/2" ready for tomorrow's piecing.

Press your completed "Holiday Hostess Tree" block with a dry iron on the cotton setting. Don't iron back and forth, just press it down firmly on the block to flatten it nicely and avoid disturbing the Colonial Knots.
Using a large quilting ruler, line up the very middle of the tree trunk with the 3¼” marker of your ruler.
The poinsettia at the top of the tree will be slightly to the right...

Using this method you should have no problems cutting the block 6½” wide, and your tree will be accurately centred in the middle.
You now want to cut the block 8½” high, so measure it in such a way that there is just over
1¼” above the poinsettia at the top and also at the base of the tree trunk.
The key is that you have an equal 'empty space' on either end of the stitchery before you use the rotary cutter to trim the block to 8½” high.

Measure twice, cut once. That will avoid so many mistakes.

So this is where we leave day 2 in our tutorial week, and for those who are interested here's a peek at my second version of this table topper in progress...

Tomorrow we will be learning about accurate fussy cutting, piecing snowball blocks, and taking an alternate path!
See you then...


  1. Beautiful Jenny, cannot wait to get home from work in 9 hours to get stitching. Although I like not love Tilda fabrics, I'm a traditional Christmas colours girl! Your tutorial is very well set out for those just starting out on a stitching journey.......well done! Have a good day <3

  2. Loved your video stitch tutorials. You have a lovely voice.

  3. Accent! what accent? hee..hee...

  4. Great tutorial, Jenny. I love your Tilda tree. I'm still trying to decide which fabric to use. It's between shabby or Bonnie and Camille fabric! Decisions, decisions! LOL!

  5. Another great tutorial dear one, and I LOVE hearing your voice - I could listen to you all day!!! Well done!

  6. Thank you so much for this beautiful pattern and your generosity in providing it free. I was feeling a bit down and in a slump with my stitching, this project has given me the energy to create and I have enjoyed choosing fabric and threads over a cup of tea :)

  7. I can't wait for the weekend to get stuck into your tutorial Jenny! They are brilliantly written - clear concise and uncomplicated - perfect for an absolute beginner to quilting - as I am! Thank you for so generously giving of your time to write these up and to provide it at no cost. You're a very special lady indeed :)

  8. Thank you Jenny - beautifully written xx

  9. I love your work, I wish I could do the stitching as fast as you can, it's takes me awhile just to do a few letters or flowers or leaves.

  10. Great tutorial and all the videos were quite enlightening!! I really needed the tutorial on the French Knots as I am making a quilt for a little girl who is blind and I wanted to do her name on the label in braille. Now I can, thanks to you!!!

  11. Great little tutorials....really a help to see it up close. Love your sweet accent!

  12. I loved hearing your voice - you sound close to the way I imagined your accent. I also loved that you do stem stitch like I do! So many people have told me it's wrong, but I like the way it looks, and I guess you do, too! Thanks for another great tutorial.


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