Wednesday, June 18, 2008

You asked for it-Bullion loop flowers

Well you asked for it, you got it! Of course you got 15 pics to go with it. So be patient for the page to load.

As I have said, I am a visual learner. I will skim written instructions as they accompany a picture, but for me the picture is the most important part. I use the directions to verify what I see. That is the most challenging part for me when I attend a hand embroidery class, being able to SEE. That teacher may do the most exquisite work but I can't get my head close enough while she is stitching without getting in the way of every one else who would like to see. So this is my gift to those who want to see the actual thread and threads of the fabric and how they interact.

The steps I have used are what works for me. You may have to experiment a bit to see what works for you. I like to say, "I don't care how you get to Chicago as long as you get there." Not everyone does each stitch the same way, there may be some who consider that there is only one proper way to execute a stitch. I am not that person. You want results that are pleasing to you. How you get that is your decision. and your style. We can all learn from each other. And we will all continue to improve the more we stitch.

The flowers are comprised of bullion loop petals encircling an eyelet center. There are a few things you need to execute this stitch. I have used a #10 sharp needle and one strand of DMC embroidery floss. I also can not work without LIGHT and lots of magnification.

*A note about magnification, many will say they don't need it. I find for myself that the magnification helps me see more easily so that I stitch more quickly as well as more accurately. An added bonus is when you are finished and take it out from under the magnification, WOW, it just improved 10,000%! I have been working on this daygown almost everyday for 2 weeks. I can't imagine how much longer it would take without the magnification. (I am in the home stretch now.)
  • I have already completed the eyelet. For this application, I have not tied on since I am going to continue to use the same strand of floss I used for the eyelet. I have come up from the underside approximately 1 thread away from the outer edge of the eyelet. (Point A) Reinsert the needle approximately 2 threads to the right (Point B)

  • re-emerging back out of Point A.

  • I wrap my floss clockwise. This first wrap I don't count. I use it to get the floss behind the needle. I am holding the needle in my left hand, wrapping with my right. My left thumb is holding the eye of the needle and my left index finger (forefinger) is behind the tip of the needle. I have moved my finger in this photo so you can see.

  • For these flowers I have wrapped the floss clockwise around the needle 15 times. Go ahead and count, I would, remembering that at the base of the needle I have not used that as one of my counted wraps.

  • Slide the wraps to the base of the needle, SMOOTHLY. You want the wraps to line up next to each other, not overlap. Again note that my thumb and forefinger are securing the needle and the thread.

  • Pinch the thread wraps between your forefinger and thumb. Pinch softly. There is no need to grip the needle for all you are worth. Your only purpose is to hold the wraps in place while you slide the needle through the wraps.

  • Continue to pull the needle through the wraps, pulling the excess thread until almost all of the thread is pulled through.

  • Let go. I promise it will be okay. There are your wraps, sitting serenely around your thread waiting for your next move. (hint-if you have a wonky mess, it is still salvageable. You can carefully unwrap by passing the needle back through the loops. Ask me how I know.)

  • Continue to gently pull your thread down through the wraps, gently curving your wraps into a loop shape.

  • Sink you needle back through Point B.

  • You will be working clockwise, keeping each petal at the top of the eyelet as you stitch to form the flower. Each time emerging at a new Point A about 1- 2 fabric thread to the right. You have to have a teeny space between each petal or they will flop over or crowd each other. There has to be enough room between the entrance and exit points for the thread to lay unencumbered.

  • I have made 5 petal flowers. Odd numbers are more pleasing to the eye. It also makes a full flower around this teeny tiny eyelet. When you get to this last petal you will feel a bit cramped. Another time when magnification comes in handy. (Yes my children tell me all the time that I am a broken record.) See below the 5th petal emerging at Point A...

  • Completed wraps...

  • Thread sinking again at Point B.

A trio of precious bullion loop flowers.

I hope this has helped and not confused you more. Please feel free to ask me any questions if I can clarify more. I do leave on Saturday for an 8 day silent retreat. So if you don't hear from me before the 30th that is why. Keep me in your prayers and I will keep you in mine.

Keep stitching.


  1. Martha,
    I had a light bulb moment just now. I did not know whether I should count my first wrap or not, and sometimes I do and sometimes I don't. That doesn't make for uniform bullions. I have really enjoyed your tutorials. I'll have to think on what I *need* help with and get you to do another one.

    Thanks a bunch,
    Debbie (BizeeB)

  2. Thanks Debbie, don't you love those aha moments? It is amazing as I am trying to break down the steps to take pictures how you have to think through each part.

  3. Martha,

    What an AWESOME tutorial!!! I'm a visual learner as well. This helps alot!

  4. So finish the dress will you? I want to see all of the eyelets! :)

  5. Great tute! I really appreciate your efforts and expertise here. My bullion loops leave a lot to be desired and this is a huge help.

  6. Thanks Martha! Your tutorial is wonderful! And I'm so happy to see nails and fingers that match mine!! ;)))

    Also prayers for your retreat - what a blessing 8 days of silence will be!

  7. Thanks Bunny. I love bullions. I have to say that doing the tutorial makes you take your time and think about what you are doing. I have a tendency sometimes to just slap them on there and hope for the best.

  8. Thanks Cheryl. LOL, yes I have to admit to not having the patience to keep up with my nails. They are so dang soft they peel and shred even when I do try to be more mindful.
    Thanks for the good wishes. I am looking forward to it. I have only been on one silent retreat before, it was 5 days. I was going to do 30 but it didn't come together. SO I am doing the 8 days. It is a very liberating feeling. ANd I do love to talk. But I love the silence as well.

  9. Really a silent retreat? You are not allowed to talk? I wanna know how that goes. You love to talk, I'm having a problem visually with it. Now, this tutorial is awesome, maybe you should do more of them for other techniques. Have a wonderful time.

  10. that's very helpful, thanks a lot!!!

    Lakewood flowers

  11. Melissa, thanks. yes a silent retreat. if you have never been it is awesome. I have done a 5 day retreat. I am doing an 8 day this time. As I told Cheryl, it is very free-ing. Awesome actually. I am excited and can't wait. I will let you know. It is a "directed" retreat. I will meet with a spiritual director every day. IT is based on the Spiritual Exercises of St. Ignatius.

  12. thanks Arlene. I hope it helps you.

  13. I'm so glad you found my blog. Thanks for the kind comment about Summertime Pink! I have added your blog to my favorites.

    Shannon F

  14. Great tutorial, Martha. You do a great job of explaining and the pictures really do help. Thanks.

  15. Martha,
    Great job! I love the bullion flower with the eyelet center. I have not seen that before (guess I do not get out much. LOL!) Thanks so much for sharing!


  16. Well done tutorial, Martha. It is very helpful. Thanks,

  17. thanks Sara, I am glad you liked it.

  18. I realize this tutorial is not new, but time does not affect the technique, and your instructions are so clear and easy to understand! THANKS! I only recently bought a light with magnification, and you are right about using really really helps!

  19. Thanks, Martha. You have so much good advice, and do such beautiful stitching. I also really enjoy your way with words and the little anecdotes you add.

  20. Martha, Your tutorials are so helpful and your work so lovely that I just wanted to tell you how much I appriciate the time you've taken to share with us! You have been an inspiration and blessing to others more often than you know.

    Keep on stitchin'...and sharing!

  21. I'm going to play with some of these sweet little flowers today
    I was up at 5am today and it's now 7am... the last two hours have been spent prowling through your delightful blog! I love the way you write, the photos, the tutorials... thank you for sharing all the fun and love in your life. And thank you for linking to willowberry designs
    Cheryl xx

  22. I was looking for a cute flower petal to go on eyelets and I wasn't having much luck online until I found your tute! Thank you so much for posting this! I love bullion stitch roses already, and having another fun bullion stitch flower to make just makes me so happy. :D

  23. Wonderful! Thank you.

  24. Brilliant! many thanks for a superb visual explanation!

  25. When I work my bullion stitch that are straight or a little curved they come out to be OK but working in the shape of a petal it gets scrunched and it like of stands on the fabric .can you give some hints as your flowers are very pretty

  26. What about Bullion loop flowers with many (50) wraps as in Brazillian embroidery? There is a big mess when i stitch them... Either the knot comes off the fabric or it is impossible to pull off the wraps off the needle. Please reply


  27. Very pretty bullion flower.

  28. Thankyou Martha,I did try them for the first time before going through your blog, however it wasn't a neat work,you made it so easy for me...

  29. Thank you Martha, I did do this stitch before I read your blog, however it wasn't very neat. You just made it look so simple and clear for me.......

  30. embroidery flowers With software there are only two possibilities: either the users control the programme or the programme controls the users. If the programme controls the users, and the developer controls the programme, then the programme is an instrument of unjust power.


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