Easter Egg SAL and Free Embroidery Pattern

Welcome to our first annual Easter Egg SAL for the month of March, 2014, featuring a free embroidery pattern!

In this SAL, we’re going to make a puffed Easter egg using traditional hand embroidery stitches in bright, sunny colors of 6-strand embroidery floss. You can download the free embroidery pattern for the egg here on this page.

I’m making two samples for this project – one that is already completed and was used to show how to finish the egg as a puffed ornament, and a second version that I’ll feature below using a different color combination that I will stitch along with you. As the egg is stitched, I’ll snap photos so show the stitch detail, as well as any stitch variations used in the project.

Let’s get started!

Materials Needed:
  • 16×16″ piece of linen or cotton plain weave fabric
  • 4 or more colors of embroidery floss in complimentary shades
  • embroidery needles
  • scissors
  • 8-inch embroidery hoop
  • water-soluble fabric marking pen (I use the one produced by DMC and love it – it washed out completely and I’ve never had the marks return, or any damage to the fabric.)
Directions – Part 1:

Marking the fabric

Gather your supplies (see image at the top) using the list given above and print the free pattern.

Download the Easter Egg SAL Pattern here.

Center the pattern in a light box or other light source and center the fabric over the pattern – be sure to keep the fabric straight and on-grain. Mark the pattern onto the fabric using the water soluble pen.

Ready… set… stitch!

Center the fabric in the embroidery hoop, tighten the screw, keeping the fabric taut, and prepare to stitch.

Note that all of the embroidery, unless otherwise indicated in the instructions, uses 2 strands of the 6-strand floss.

In the next installment of the SAL, we’ll start stitching the bands.

Directions – Part 2:

The designs are stitched using 3 strands of DMC 6-strand embroidery floss and DMC Variations floss.

Working the first band.

To work the cennter band, I’m using DMC 6-strand floss in color 954 and DMC Variations floss in color 4075. I’ve worked the center line in back stitch, and the small leaves using detached chain stitch.

I’ve started my thread using a waste know, so that I won’t have any knots on the reverse side of my work.

Clipping the waste knot.

Knots can cause bumps and an uneven surface on the back side of the piece, and don’t secure the thread very well – knots usually find a way of coming undone when the piece is handled or laundered!

Weaving the tail.

To make a waste knot, knot the end of the thread opposite the needle and insert the needle into the fabric several inches away from the area where the stitching will be started. Work the stitch as you normally would. When you reach the end of the thread, weave the needle through the stitching on the back side of the work.

Then, trim the knot and thread the tail through the needle. Weave this tail through the stitching on the back side of the work as well. Voila!В  The thread is secure, and you have no knots!

Use an away knot anytime you need to start a length of thread where there is no existing stitching to weave the ends into.

After working the center band, I worked the loopy designs on each side of the band in chain stitch.В  You’ll notice that I have not yet stitched the French knots in this area – I’ll stitch those at the very end so they stay secure and don’t get handled a lot. I used DMC Variations floss in color 4120 and love the look – it’s so much prettier than a solid color and really makes the design pop!

Working the chain stitch.

In my original egg, which I used to illustrate making a puffed ornament, I worked this area in back stitch using solid thread. I thought it was a bit bland and boring, so I added some additional straight stitch and French knot accents. By choosing a thicker stitch and a variegated thread, the area doesn’t need the additional oomph on this egg.

Working the back stitch.

After working the loopy lines, I worked the lines along each side of the center band in color 209 in back stitch. The design is starting to take shape!

Directions – Part 3

The next band on the egg that I worked featured the double herringbone stitch, working it in 3 strands of 954 and 209.

Second Pass – OVER the previous stitching…

I worked the first pass in 209, and the second pass in 954. Notice that the first “leg” of stitch in 954 passes over the previous stitching, while the second “leg” of the stitch passes under the previous stitching.

Second Pass – UNDER the previous stitching…

The bands directly above and below the double herringbone bands are made simply, using a double row of running stitches. This was worked using a solid orange thread that coordinates with color 4120. Then, I laced the stitch with 4075. Again, 3 strands of each color were used throughout.

Lacing the double row of running stitch.

Next, I worked the zigzag chain stitch in the band at the bottom of the egg.В  I used three strands of 954. Easy peasy lemon squeezy…

Working the zigzag chain stitch.

The top cap of the egg is stitched using a variety of simple embroidery stitches. I’ve used back stitchВ  in 3 strands of color 351 for the top band and for the zig-zag lines I’ve used 3 strands of 954 and 4075.

Each cluster is made from 3 detached chain stitches.

The groupings of 3 detached chain stitches for the blossoms were stitching using 3 strands of 209.

The last thing I worked were the French knots. working them last allows them to stay fresh and neat without a lot of handling. Knots can be funny that way…

Working the French knots at the top of each cluster.

I worked the French knots using 3 strands of floss, using color 351 at the top of each blossom cluster in the top cap, and using 4075 along the center band (the very first band we stitched).

French knots worked on the first band.

The embroidered Easter egg is now completely stitched. Now I’m going to soak it in a basin of soapy water, rinse, and lay flat to dry to completely remove the water-soluble marking pen.В  While the piece is still slightly damp, I’ll lay it face-down on a fluffy terrycloth towel and iron it from the back, being careful not to flatten my stitches.