Shadow work for the Grace Font

Last year I created the Grace font which has proved very popular, with the option of dainty flowers, so I thought I should complete it by creating lower case letters and numbers so you have more choice when creating an embroidery with letters. Did you know that these pretty fonts stitch out as shadow work? Let me show you how easy it is!

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Embroidery inspired by a royal wedding

I love a wedding, but don’t we all? Yet the royal wedding of Queen Elizabeth’s grand daughter, is something very special, full of pageantry, the splendour of Windsor castle, along with the royals all dressed up. It is always fascinating to see the first glimpse of the dress, the flowers and the outfits of all the wedding guests.  I was pleased to see that there were myrtle flowers in Princess Eugenie’s bouquet, which is a royal tradition.

“Queen Victoria who was given a nosegay of myrtles by Prince Albert’s grandmother.  A sprig was planted by the terrace walls at Osbourne House on the Isle of Wight in 1845 where it still flourishes today.  It has become a Royal tradition  for sprigs from this same plant to be used in royal bouquets!”

It all reminds me of the wedding of the Duke and Duchess of Cambridge back in 2011, when after studying the bridal bouquet I digitised the Bridal Grace collection. Kate Middleton’s bouquet featured  lily of the valley, hyacinths, sweet williams,  myrtles and ivy leaves, all symbolic.

Earlier this year I noticed that myrtle plants were for sale in a little nursery that I visited, so I had to have one, and this is my plant which flowered for the second time back in July. You can see all the new growth which happened when the drought came to an end here in England. I will treasure this plant as its flowers are so precious.  The buds which are featured in the embroidery designs really are tiny globes of cream! Ok, I made them pale green, but I don’t think I had so many colours in my palette of embroidery threads back then, and it also proves that digitising can be more accurate when you are familiar with the flowers you are transforming into embroidery, growing them in your own garden which I love to do.

I am still immensely proud of the collection of designs and you can see it here, in all its glory in the original colours.

Today Princess Eugenie had very similar flowers in her delicate bouquet, all symbolic, white roses, stephanotis, myrtles, lily of valley and thistles. The flowers of stephanotis, with their delicious fragrance,  are very similar to the hyacinths symbolizing a crown. The Greville tiara with emeralds, borrowed from the Queen, matched the glorious leaves of the flowers. In fact  some of the floral displays represented trees and there were trees outside the chapel. The delicate blue thistles were a wonderful addition to the bouquet symbolizing strength, bravery and determination, perfect for a bride prepared to show the large scars on her back from surgery at the age of 12. I loved her dress and when I was able to find close ups of the fabric, it was evident that it was produced especially for the dress, made of a silk, viscose and cotton mix with motifs which included thistles representing Scotland, shamrocks for Ireland and roses for England, along with ivy.

As there are four days left in the Birthday event you can still purchase the 5 sets of Bridal Grace designs for $7.50 each, but this sale finishes on Monday 15th October, 2018.

Best wishes to the happy couple and happy embroidering from Hazel


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A flamboyant crazy quilt block -a re-blog

In completing my 12th Romantic Crazy quilt block I decided to be more flamboyant than usual. After I had added the four pastel shades of silk dupion along with some lace to the base fabric and completed the embroidery, I searched for lots of silk ribbon, pearls, crystals and other items to embellish my block. I find it is a good idea to lay them all out around the block to see what goes well and what doesn’t….

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Seasonal embroidered gifts

This morning I drove through the New Forest, a national park not far from where I live. It seems that autumn has arrived with a flourish here, the leaves are turning and dancing to the ground and the ferns have changed into golden bracken. The colours all around reminded me of the Gloriana Gold collection, which features little aspen type leaves in greens and golds. This collection along with Pumpkin Scrolls is perfect for Thanksgiving embroidery.

You will be fascinated with the blending of rich colours that are used for the embroidered pumpkins in Pumpkin scrolls. and they can be used for all sorts of projects for around the home. However they would also make a wonderful thank you gift to give, if you are celebrating with friends this year.

How quickly the Christmas flurry of excitement and busyness comes upon us. Ideally we should start our Christmas embroidery in January! My Christmas collection for this year is still in development so I will show it to you another time, but there are lots of seasonal design collections at Graceful Embroidery. I would like to share some spectacular projects which will inspire you this year to get embroidering. Giving an embroidered gift or card brings so much more joy than a bought one, I feel.

Create a 12 days of Christmas wall hanging.

Embroider some crazy quilted stockings.

Make a table runner with the designs from the Holly Bells collection. This simple place mat is easily constructed with a design in Elegant Messages 3 

I have created two collections with poinsettias, Poinsettias promises and Stars of Bethlehem. 

You will find dimensional flowers in the later collection as shown on this cushion. These stockings below were embroidered with Poinsettias promises which has the ornate scroll work very similar to Celtic knot work.

Last year I created the Gilded Treasures collection which featured an unusual colour scheme, based on some wrapping paper that I had seen. I had a tree skirt in mind when I digitised these designs.

Hopefully you will have got a few ideas on designing and creating your own special Christmas project. Now is the time to stock up on the Christmas and thanksgiving designs at Graceful Embroidery as my sale has been extended to October 15th. Have fun and enjoy being creative.

Happy embroidering from Hazel













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Getting back to embroidery – part of a re-blog

It seems that many machine embroidery enthusiasts are prone to taking a break from embroidery for a time, especially during the summer months, and require some inspiration to plug in their machines, hoop up some fabric and get embroidering again. Maybe this is the result of a series of failures and disappointments. There are several ways to get back into the excitement of seeing a design stitch out on your machine.

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A Fabric block to make a beautiful case – a re-blog

The Katie Grace collection was developed from a lovely clip art panel and named after my first grand daughter. 

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How to resize embroidery designs?

I know we are all limited by the size of our hoops and there is nothing worse than discovering that a design you have fallen in love with is just a little too big for your hoop. My collections are created in such a way that hopefully there are plenty of options but the need to resize happens and I wanted to address it.

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making designs unique and beautiful – a re-blog

Digitising flowers is a tremendous challenge. As I grow lots of flowers in my garden with the purpose of transforming them into embroidery, I realise how difficult it is to capture their beauty in stitches, which are just very small lines. It is easy to create a satin petal and then create a flower by grouping four, five or six of them together. I try to aim at more than that, although those type of flowers make excellent fill-ins. There are at least two ways to digitise flowers, flat as though you are looking at them from above, and in a more natural way, getting as close as is possible to the real thing.

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My 2018 Crazy Quilt block challenge

Well I think the title maybe a little inaccurate and that is may take more than one year, but I set out to create a quilt using my Crazy quilt blocks in 2018. When you view them you will see that there are various sizes, themes and colour schemes. Is it possible to take them all and combine them?

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Changing an embroidery design – a re-blog from 2015

Have you attempted to take a detailed design and give it whole new look by some simple editing and colour changes? The Victorian Promises collection is full of such suitable designs, with lots of vibrant colours. However you may not require such vibrant embroidery so I thought I would edit one of the designs to see what is possible.


This design (GFE-VPR-4-4) has 30 colour changes and 66320 stitches featuring most of the flowers in this collection. Colour sorting in my software only reduces the number of colours to 29. In some of my designs it is possible to reduce them by several colours as I tend to include more thread changes so you can make adjustments to the colours. The centre of one flower may be the same as another flowers petals but if I combined them to stitch out together this would make changing the colour of the centre of a flower more difficult. The gerberas in this collection come in 3 shades so the first thing you could do is make them all the same colour. Likewise the roses come in several sizes and are red and pink. The little lavender type sprays could also be removed relatively easily to simplify the design although the stems are included in the leaf colour way, as shown below.


2I use Husqvarna’s Stitch Editor Plus software to do my editing. You see here that  I have  selected just the stems by adjusting the sliders at the bottom. Then I select these stitches and delete them. I missed a few but it was easy to remove them by selecting them as well.


Here is the edited design ready for some thread changes. To emphasis the possibilities I am going to create a simple version of this design in yellows and greys. Now this may sound daft but I often edit a design by working backwards from its finish. To save repeating myself all the threads used are Sulky Rayon 40wt. The gerberas stitch out last so I changed the last one to 1236  Silver, 1022 Cream, 1067 Lemon yellow and 1229 Light putty for its centre. Do remember that the colours you select in your software can look amazingly different in real life. Happy with those choices I proceeded to change the other gerberas.


Now for the roses! I think that they need to be slightly different in the colours used otherwise the design will loose some of its variety. My first attempts were not pleasing because I had forgotten the fundamental rule about flowers especially roses! Although it is mid June the roses in my garden are only in bud so I had to consult my favourite rose book by David Austen called The English Rose. The shading must be gradual and as you get towards the centre of the flower the colours must darken. These are just a hotch potch of colour so I started again. I think I am happier with the second attempt. I used 1002 Soft white, 1022 Cream, 1066 Primrose, 1135 Pastel yellow and 1187 Mimosa yellow and 1260 Summer gold. For the outline of the roses I used 1063 Pale yellow green.


Lastly I altered the leaves, making them a softer green, 1211 Light khaki and introducing lighter markings – 1321 Gray khaki. I changed the scroll work to 1063 Pale yellow green which I had chosen to outline the roses.


This is how the design looks now, with only 19 colour blocks. I could have reduced the size of the design by editing out the top flowers. I did try to cut out the centres of the roses, leaving just the outlines but this does not work well as the stems show though.


Am I happy with these results? Not entirely but I am a perfectionist so I will stitch out the design and see how it looks. The yellows do not look right in the software. Perhaps the centres of the gerberas need to be 1070  gold. It is my opinion that the change of colour is a vast improvement!


I have taken a photo close up of my stitch out so you can see the results. The actual embroidery looks so much better than it did in my software. The roses have some depth too!


Do not be afraid to edit designs and see what happens. Be sure to keep the original design file so it is not lost, and make sure that the Digitiser allows you to do this in their licence. I am happy for you to play with my designs providing the results are not sold for profit. In all honesty this is how I learnt to use my software and began my journey into digitising.

The last set of Victorian Promises is being released today and contains 12 designs for 12″ by 8″ hoops. Now how will you stitch yours out? If you do some editing please share the results. I love getting emails with photographs of what you achieve with my designs.

Happy embroidering from Hazel

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