Often when we stitch needlepoint, we aren’t looking to make our flowers realistic. It might be that the flower as painted is stylized, simplified, or abstract. It might be that we want to emphasize something else in our design. But often our projects can benefit from adding realism to our flowers.
Here are some ways to create lovely flowers in your needlepoint.
- Use shading to define petals where they overlap. Shading gives shape to objects. They can create multi-colored petals but they can also help you define each petal. That’s because you shade within a single petal, but you do not shade between two petals. The lack of shading combined with the change in value or color indicates the break between two petals.
- Petal Gobelin creates smooth petals. Using this stitch with a stranded thread creates a smooth look that seems to radiate from the center of the flower.
- Use textured techniques and stitches for the center. When you look at flowers in real life, what do you notice about the centers? They are bumpy. Stitches that have layers, knots, and beading can make for wonderful centers. Even a simple Tent variation like Dotted Swiss works for centers.
- Make your flowers stand out from the canvas a bit with aline of Backstitches. As you can see in the picture above, the thin line at the outside edge of the petal acts partly like a shadow and makes the flower stand out. To achieve this pick a color that is darker than the petals, use fewer strands (2 on 18 mesh) and outline at least the outside edge, if not the entire petal.
- Colors towards the center only can be added with overstitching. Although the center color on the flower pictured here is not different in color, you can use the same technique of overstitching with thin threads to add new colors to the inside edges of petals. Think about red-violet against a white petal, or a deep red on a pale pink petal. When changing color, you will want to use more stitches in this step. Let your eye guide you to the look you want.