Thursday, October 15, 2020

French Needle Collab - Alphabets Botanique

If you follow me on Instagram, you will have seen that I've been collaborating with a shop called the French Needle. I met the owner Lisa on the French Needle Paris tour I went on back in 2016. I kept in contact and last fall they reached out to ask if I would be willing to collaborate with them. We started with one of my favorite designers Hélène Le Berre. I was lucky enough to meet Hélène in person during our tour and have been following her on Instagram ever since.

Quick Disclaimer: Other than exposure on Instagram and the pleasure of getting to stitch on many pretty pieces, I don't benefit financially from this collaboration. The embedded links are for your convenience, I don't get any commission when you click on the links.

We selected two different designs by Hélène: one is a delicate butterfly design and the other a colorful bouquet stitched in wool.

Hairstreak Butterfly

So far, I've kept my blog and the collaboration with the French Needle separate, but I'm so proud of this latest one that I just had to share it with you here. For our third collaboration, Lisa sent me a botanical monogram by French designer Benedicte Reveilhac. As it's a French monogram, you won't see the flowers that are typically used by North American designers.

The designer uses very simple stitches making it an easy stitch for any beginner. There are no fancy threads needed, only DMC stranded cotton that are very easy to source. My favorite part though, is the fabric. The designs are printed on high quality linen that is a pleasure to stitch on. I need more of that linen in my stash.

I started off following the instructions for the stems, but then I thought "those berries would look really nice padded". That quickly went to "I wonder how those leaves will look needle painted?". Before I knew it, the piece although still looking like the original design, the techniques used had moved it up a level in terms of difficulty and challenge. 

(click on the post to see the animation below)

To push it even further, I decided to stitch the little beetle on the bottom leaf using goldwork techniques. Having stitched many pieces over the last few years, I had a lot of leftovers. The brown purl was initially purchased for Samara but didn't end up being used. I was very happy that the purchase was finally put to good use.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

For the flowers, I knew I wanted to needle paint for sure. Lisa had send me two packs of Chameleon threads that I really wanted to try. I was happy to see there where two colors that were a perfect match. Chameleon is a company out of South Africa that produces hand dyed threads. They dye a variety of threads like stranded and perle cotton, but what I got the chance to try was their range of dyed silks. These are actually Soie de Paris silks from Au ver à soie that were hand dyed, and they are so pretty and soft. 

What I've realized stitching with these threads is that I would do more needle painting if I got to do it in silks. The threads are a little thicker than a single strand of DMC stranded cotton, so they covered a bit more. The color variation was a plus, it made the shading easier as I didn't have to switch threads. I just moved to a different area if I found one area got enough purple and moved back when the color changed.

To balance the piece out, I padded the centers of the flowers and covered them in goldwork purls. It gave it just the right amount of glitter.

(click on the post to see the animation below)

I really love how my monogram came out. I'm so happy I decided to stray a little from the original design. It also allowed me to practice needle painting and I hope to do more of that in future. Over the summer I received Trish Burr's latest book. I'll have to take another look at it and select a piece to stitch. I can make that a challenge for next year.

I've already received a package from the French Needle for the next collaboration. Let me know if this is something that you'd like to see here :)


  1. The goldwork beetle was a stroke of inspiration! And doesn't it just show how you can alter a design just a little and produce a really striking effect!

  2. What a beautiful design and I love the way you adapted it to suit your skill level and materials.
    I would love to hear more about this collaboration on your blog. I don't have Instagram myself so I've missed out!

  3. I love it! I enjoyed seeing your progress on Instagram, but I liked getting the whole story about it here. It turned out great. 😊

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  5. Uh, I agree with Jo - these collaboration pieces look way too pretty to not see them on here! The monogram looks great, knowing all these different techniques really pays off when you can combine them into a design like this.