Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

19 October 2020

Fun with Floche

As a thank you for helping with the Alpine Rose project, my student sent me a set of three flour sack towels with pre-transferred designs by Mary Corbet of Needle 'n Thread. The towels seemed like a good excuse, um, opportunity to play with some fairly new-to-me threads. So, I went shopping.

Three flour sack towels designed by Mary Corbet ready to stitch

Mary Corbet is definitely a big fan of DMC's floche and floche would certainly work well on the towels. I tried floche once many years ago and have always wanted to play with it some more. I also thought that mixing floche and Chameleon variegated perlé threads could be interesting.

I bought a few colours of each type of thread:

A selection of DMC Floche and Chameleon perlé  embroidery threads

I was pleased to discover that Needle in a Haystack sells 1/4 skeins of floche so I could buy lots of colours, but keep the cost down. The Chameleons came from Lorna Bateman.

I bought size 12 Chameleon perlés as they are about the same size as the floche. They're both about the thickness of two strands of DMC cotton floss. The perlés have a much tighter twist than the floche which is softly twisted.

Comparing the sizes of floche and perlé

I decided on a palette of blues and purples (and greens, of course, since these are flowers). The finished towel will be used in a room where there are blues, and touches of purple, and yellow. It will be used to cover a desktop calculator/adding machine which needs protection because it sits next to an open (and breezy) window for most of the year and gets very dirty!

I want to play with colour and some texture. I'm going to try to resist the urge to shade too much. That shouldn't be too difficult because you can't shade with the perlé threads--they're too tightly twisted--and the floche doesn't have enough colours available to do anything other than simple shading.

I started with a purple flower and shaded the petals:

Purple flower embroidered with floche and variegated Chameleon perlé threads

I couldn't decided which colour to use for the tie downs on the lattice so put that off until later. I also wasn't thrilled with the colours of the French knots. I really wanted them to be more gold rather than orange. The goldish floche was fine, but I wanted to also use a variegated perlé to provide some visual interest. I didn't have a lot of choices and ended up with an semi-gold orange variegation that starts to become orangey-red as it darkens. This wasn't what I had in mind, but I decided to live with it for the moment. Removing French knots isn't fun and I didn't have any better alternatives except for a solid colour floche (and that would be boring).

The design has three different flower motifs. Because I wanted to play with texture, I decided to do something different with each set of leaves and stems.

For the purple flower the stem is chain stitched in floche and whipped with perlé:

Stem of purple flower in whipped chain stitch

On the next flower design I got to use my favourite thread in the entire project: a blue variegated perlé. It's a unique colour and is not available for purchase. I bought it when Lorna was in town last year. The centre is shaded with floche yellows. The ring around the centre was stem stitched with purple floche and then overlaid with a button hole in a green Chameleon.

Blue embroidered flower with yellow centre

The stem for the blue flower was done in Palestrina stitch. It's a little too bumpy for me, but it does provide texture. The filled side of the leaves were embroidered like a whipped spider wheel. I laid straight stitches for the veins and then whipped them. When complete, this towel will not be under tension so I couldn't have threads that are too long. I think these are short enough.

Palestrina stitched stem and whipped veins on leaves of the blue flower

The leaf on the purple flower was filled with laid work and couched down veins. I don't know if this will keep the laid work in place over time. If I can keep the cats away from the towel it might have a chance!

Embroider leaf in laid work with couched down veins (on purple flower)

I stitched a second purple flower and made a couple of changes. I used the darkest yellow floche along with the orange Chameleon on the French knots. It's better, but still not what I envisioned. I also tightened up the lattice spacing and decided to use blue for the tie downs.

Three embroidered flowers complete on flour sack towels

The orange was still bugging me, so I did some pondering. I settled on 'if you can't beat them, join them'. I had one more flower design to stitch, so used more orange!

Third flower motif being embroidered in oranges

I had assistance whilst pondering:

Siamese kitten helping with embroidery

The orange flower seemed to help and I can live with it. The variegation in the perlé is very pretty on the satin stitched orange petals.

All three flower motifs embroidered. Time to finish the duplicates.

The stem and leaf for the orange flower got a little crazy. I doubled whipped the stem so that the whipping crisscrosses and then used bullions for the veins on the leaf. Although I didn't want to I had to couch the bullions down because there is no way they will survive in their natural state. Unfortunately, my couching stitches on a couple of the bullions went a little wonky, but that's the way it goes sometimes. I did a better couching job on the second set of bullions (below):

Orange flower stem double whipped and bullions used as veins on the leaves

The three flower designs were figured out at this point. All I had to do was finish them off.

Embroidery complete on flour sack towel with flowers

This was fun and it's very cheerful! I don't usually work on cotton fabric, but these flour sack towels are very nice. They have a tight weave and are a good weight. The fabric feels nice as well. The floche and perlé were great. They're wonderful to stitch with and they worked well together on this project. I think I'll use them again on the other towels. Hopefully, I have enough threads!



  1. This has turned out beautifully. The long straight stems do look better with some texture, I think.

    1. Thank you. I like the texture on the stems, too! Varying the textures also kept me from getting bored. :-)

  2. It is beautiful. Your choice of color, threads and stitches are great.

    1. Thank you, that's very kind. I'm still not sold on the orange, but it's growing on me.

  3. Really lovely. Super colours and amazing stitching always!