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Introduction to needle painting

For some years now, I visit my friend Michele in Colombier near Neuchâtel in Switzerland to give embroidery classes.

Her shop ” Au fil des Saisons ” is a gold mine for knitters. She offers many varieties of wool, each more beautiful than the other. You will  also find the latest magazines, nice and original needles and all the best choice to satisfy the most demanding customers. And perhaps most important of all, always a friendly presence and advice.

In addition to all this, Michele also offers embroidery materials (fabrics, threads, kits, books and all the necessary small accessories). This is why we decided to provide her customers thematic courses on various techniques. 

The topic of the day was “Introduction to needle painting” and this is what we did during this class.




 We had to find an idea meeting the following criteria

  • A simple but attractive model
  • A work not too long to complete ( the course lasts 6 hours)
  • A nice use for the finished embroidery

So I decided to embroider a flower with degraded colored petals with a heart in French knot, a stem in stem stitch, a bud and two leaves in satin stitch. The embroidery is then mounted in a nice bag mirror.

Here we go !

I would like to specify that there were 5 students who had no experience at all in needle painting technique.

To follow the development of the work, I chose to show the pictures of all the students embroideries mixing them to give you a good impression of each interpretation.

If you decide to embroider this flower, you will find the pattern here and the colors that we have used are

For the petals DMC cotton floss 353, 3328 and 777. For the center DMC cotton floss 676. For the stem DMC cotton floss 783 and for the leaves DMC cotton floss 4045.

First of all, as usual, to get a nice long and short stitch, you have to  embroider the outline of the petal with a split back stitch 1 thread.Then and exceptionally because it is not in use, we have placed long straight stitches spaced on the surface to fill in to indicate the direction of the stitches. For an embroiderer that starts with this technique, the threads serve as benchmarks and are crucial to decide the direction of the stitches.

We must now embroider  straight stitches well aligned against each other without leaving space between them but without overlapping either

Personally I get out with the needle on top,outside the line formed by the split back stitch and end my stitch at the bottom. I also prefer to start embroidering in the middle of the pattern, not in a corner because I find it easier to keep balance this way.

These straight stitches must be of various lengths because the bottom line that they form shall in no case be regular but hatched.

To embroider the second color, proceed in the same way as before. Do not hesitate to place again straight stitches if you think it can help you decide the direction of the stitches. Do not hesitate to overlap heavily on the first color with your stitches.


The application of the second color is completed

Vous noterez que les lignes formées par les points de cette couleurs sont hachurées en haut et en bas. Il ne faur pas hésiter à broder des points droits de tailles vraiment différentes. C’est ce qui permet d’obtenir un beau fondu des couleurs.

Now we have to embroider the third color

2 petals are now complete and the third will soon also be finished


The bud is embroidered with satin stitch 1 thread

The stem is embroidered with stem stitch 2 threads

The leaves are embroidered with  satin stitch  1 thread

As for the petals, placing straight stitches  before starting with the satin stitch will help with the general stitch direction.

Please note that we also outlined the leaves with a split back stitch 1 thread



A rib in back stitch 2 threads brings a lively touch to the leaves



This is the work done in 6 hours of classes by students who have never practiced the technique of needle painting.

To complete the flower, you just have to embroider the heart with French knots  2 threads and 2 wraps

Personally, I’m glad with the result.Everybody had a good day and assured me that they want to practice more with this technique to achieve more sophisticated designs.