42 is familiar to readers of “The Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy” by Douglas Adams and that was half the story when drawing this pattern. I turned 42 earlier this year and thought it a good idea to celebrate through some kind of embroidery with deeper meaning. Keep reading for tips how to make your own piece!
Before we go further, here’s the promised pattern, free to download for your personal use. Please refer your friends to this blog post if they want their own copies.
I created the PDF on A4 paper, but if your printer is used with US Letter usually, choose A4 for output and feed it US Letter paper anyway.
Be sure to choose 100% for image size. The pattern is intended for 6″ embroidery hoops, so increase or decrease printing according to your hoop needs.
Fabric And Thread
As soon as Essex Yarn Dyed Homespun in Delft arrived in the shop, I craved to embroider on it. Delft is a lovely lighter blue and Homespun has a wonderful hand.
Compared to both Essex and Essex Yarn Dyed, it’s slightly looser feeling with a more rustic touch as well. All Essex fabrics are equally nice for embroidery though.
If you’re conscious about price, this linen-cotton blend (55% and 45%) is perfect. Linen can be incredibly expensive and in cases where a blend works just as fine, I warmly recommend Essex.
Finally, what makes the Essex collection a superb choice for our shop is its wide range of uses in both sewing, quilting and embroidery. Paired with optimal interfacings and linings it can be chosen even further.
The thread is DMC mouliné (25) in white (Blanc) and I used three of six strands. We’ll carry this thread later in the year.
When placing your fabric in the hoop, be sure not to pull it too much so it distorts. Check warp and weft such that they are as perpendicular as possible.
If you want to stitch the reversed pattern (background floral, numbers empty) I recommend a 7″ hoop for stitching to allow stitches to create a circle all the way to the hoop edge/middle once framed in a 6″ hoop.
It’s a good idea to keep your framing hoops separate from the more “work-horsey” everyday hoops. The latter aren’t necessarily the prettiest, but can focus on fulfilling working needs such as maintaining good fabric tension throughout stitching.
Cut out the numbers and circle from the pattern page. Secure the paper (including the middle triangle of 4 if you want!) with a few strategic pins to the fabric.
Use long basting stitches to draw the number shapes with sewing thread of a colour that stands out. The neater you do this, the easier it will be to embroider straight edges.
Remove pins and paper bits, and take note of places where you may want to adjust embroidery a bit. There were two spots in which I broadened the design a thread’s width or two.
Now we’re ready to embroider!
The Lazy Daisy Stitch
This is literally the second time ever for me to stitch lazy daisies and you can achieve flowers with nice tension, too. The trick to pretty stitches is to pull each petal enough, but not too much.
Here’s a video tutorial if you’re new to the stitch: Gathered website.
Start anywhere. I chose smack in the middle of the uppermost part of 4 to practice the flower and have space to cover a wobbly look all around it. The third flower I stitched became only half a flower with three petals.
I quickly realised I wanted the number edges to become a mix of full and part-flowers to have the design be less boxed up. After on-off stitching the afternoon, here’s what it looked liked when stopping for the night:
And afternoon next day:
Lazy daisy is definitely a stitch with fast progress. Use more strands and a bigger needle to create larger flowers, and you’re done in no time.
If you managed to get the fabric dirty, do a gentle soak in mild detergent and hand-warm water. Rinse well and let dry flat (possibly blocked to secure straight fabric fibres), then press gently from backside through towel or cloth. Avoid pushing heavily on the stitches.
Place fabric in hoop of desired size and cut a couple of inches (5 cm) around the hoop.
Grab some sewing thread. Knot and start “basting” the loose fabric on the wrong side. Tighten thread to pull fabric together and make a few knots, then clip.
Tuck in a few loose ends and you’re done. If you want to make a fancier finish still, add a round piece of felt slightly smaller than the outer hoop to cover the hole.
Hang on wall, step back and admire. Life is good, no?