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Creating a Rosemaling machine embroidery collection

Ever since I visited Norway as a teenager I have loved the art of Rosemaling. My first attempts at digitizing this folk art were done back in 2013. Before I began to create more designs that capture this beautiful art form, I took time to find out much more about it and to discover more about the process. This stylized art form is usually done in oils on wood, and has been used to decorate furniture and much more. The styles vary in different regions of Norway. The basic brush strokes are C and S shaped. My challenge was digitizing stitches that mimicked the brush strokes which are often layered on top of each other as the brush moves over the project. You can see them in this first layer of colour.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

In my designs I have opted for the layering to begin with a dark colour. Obviously it took me a great deal of time and patience to get these stitches looking just right.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

The second and third layers are more open so the base colour shows through.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

After the main C and S strokes are laid down the Rosemaling is brought to life with delicate detailing. I think a contrast colour works well for this as well as some white embroidery. Sulky Rayon 1243 Spring Moss is perfect for the highlights.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

Although this collection is called Rosemaling Christmas, because I have introduced seasonal elements, I have created plenty of designs without them making it a very versatile collection.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

As well as holly leaves and berries, there are lilies, pine cones and pine leaves with a little snow and some Christmas roses or hellebores. I like to make my designs just a little different, taking them beyond the ordinary by introducing a special feature and in this collection, the petals of the hellebores can be created separately by embroidering them on tulle to make dimensional flowers.

To make these petals soft and to avoid colour changes which can happen with wash away stabilizer, I prefer to use a soft mesh stabilizer, like Sulky soft n sheer. Carefully trim around the petals leaving the centres in place. A dab of fray check will prevent the stitching unraveling if you cut too close.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

Included in all the designs with these flowers you will find a guidelines to place the petals correctly. You may have to stop your machine in the middle of a colour to prevent the petals being stitched out. I did try layering the dimensional petals on top of the petals within the design but I was not happy with the result. Remove your hoop from the embroidery unit so you can carefully centre your petals. Study the shape of the petals with the image on your screen so that you use the right petal. There are 4 different petals. Check your alignment in several places by inserting a pin through the fabric, and turning the hoop over to see that it is protruding in the right place.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

A little fabric glue will hold in them place while their centres are embroidered. I place my glue on the fabric and also on top of the tulle. It is probably best to slowly stitch the outline again so make sure everything is perfect before the centres are embroidered.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs from Graceful Embroidery

In this photo below the centres were embroidered twice because my alignment was not that accurate, as I forgot to use the “pin test”. I moved the design fractionally using the design positioning on my Epic 2 and that solved the problem. In fact the results were better than I expected and the design coped with the extra density with ease.

Rosemaling Machine embroidery designs by Graceful embroidery
Dimensional machine embroidery from Graceful Embroidery

It is important to steam press the designs from the back and then lift the petals for maximum results! Check out the Rosemaling Christmas collection as all 4 sets and the complete collection are still on INTRO until January 17th.

View all the designs here

Happy New year to you all. I hope that this year will be a very creative one for you. From Hazel

7 thoughts on “Creating a Rosemaling machine embroidery collection

  1. I liked the detail you gave in describing this set, especially the part of studying the designs before creation, which is why your designs are so beautiful. You put some much thought in the creation process.

  2. The designs look beautiful and I am looking forward to embroidering
    them I have bought some silk and plan on using it for Rosemaling and Jacobean
    as usual you have outdone yourself
    Carina

  3. This is fantastic work and as a Rosemaler myself, I can see the hard work you have put in. The embroidery is more perfect than a brush stroke! Well done! Are you planning on doing a lot more Rosemaling designs. I am in Australia, yet have Scandi ancestry and was also captivated by the art form.

      1. I knew of Rosemaling but it was on a trip to Norway in 2004, that I happened on an exhibition in Fredrikstad that was to be life-changing in many ways.

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