For those of you who love to hand stitch, I highly recommend hand embroidery on wool. Thread glides smoothly through the cloth, no hoop is needed, your hands are caressed by the fabric, and knots (if you use them) hide in the bulky fabric. It’s a rich, gentle fabric ideal for hand embroidery.
Cut out wool shapes with sharp scissors and attach them to the background fabric with a pin or tacking stitches.Usually I stitch a Blanket Stitch around the edges to hold the shape in place.
Here you see that the Blanket Stitch in red has a second thread (green) whipped through the top edge of the stitch to give more definition to the outline of the shape. I’m also experimenting with stacking Fly Stitches to make leaf shapes using a variegated size 8 thread called Lettuce. Although the Fly Stitches are stitched closely together, it is easy to stitch through the wool.
My favorite source for colorful wool is hand dyed by Tracy Trevethan. The Wooly Ladies also carry wool suitable for hand work as do many of your local quilt shops. In the Rare Songbird project from my book, Joyful Stitching, I use a hand-dyed wool for the background. And many of these free tutorials on my Rare Songbird project from my book, Tutorial Page use their hand dyed wools as well. Give it a try. Your hands will thank you!