Wooly Wonder Lessons 

Introduction to Soaker Embroidery

by Pamela Grossman



This basic lesson walks you through embroidering a simple butterfly or dragonfly using chain stitch and stemmed French knot. We’ll add a cute little flying trail behind it.  With this skill, you’ll be able to make simple words like the ones you see below.





You will need:


something to embroider

a few ounces of leftover yarn in contrasting colors

tapestry needle



Our Textbooks:  Annie's Attic (formerly Stitchguide.com) or  Embroiderer’s Guild or any basic embroidery reference book you can get your hands on.  **These are links I found online and I can take no credit or responsibility for them!


Recommended Reading

Read the stitch descriptions for Chain Stitch and French Knot over at Annie’s Attic (formerly stitchguide.com).  Alternatively, you can look in any embroidery reference book or website for these well-known stitches. 

Chain Stitch: http://www.anniesattic.com/cross-stitch/content.html?content_id=96

French Knot:  http://www.anniesattic.com/cross-stitch/content.html?content_id=102   

Make a Sketch

You can print yourself out a slice of this knitter’s graph paper from one of these sites: http://www.tata-tatao.to/knit/matrix/e-index.html, or
http://www.sweaterscapes.com/grafpap.htm. (**These are links I found online and I can take no credit or responsibility for them!)

Or you can just use some scrap paper.


This is a really simple item we're going for. Try drawing it on your paper.

Can you get the idea? A straight line and a couple of bumps?

We'll add little antennae on too, at the end of the butterfly.  Dragonflies apparently have tiny little whisker bumps on top of their heads.  Not actually antennae.  Feel free to use your artistic license to get the look you want.

If you draw it on the graph paper, you'll get an idea how many stitches you're working over. Otherwise you'll just wing it.  (Har har.)


Stick Body

Here's the dragonfly we're working with.

It came out lopsided but it *still* looks cute. ;)

And you've seen the butterfly. Both start with a row of chain for the body. Did you read the chain stitch lesson? Make sense?

Try a row of chain!

First stitch:

Row of Stitches:

Last stitch in the row:

Give it a try.



For butterfly wings you just do more chain stitch around for the wing.

I started about two stitches down from the top of the head, proceeded around to the middle, then did the bottom loop from a spot about 3/4 of the way around the top wing.

For the dragonfly you make four large single chains -- two wings on either side of the body.

Tip: Try to start your needle tip right under the stick body so the wings are connected. mr. green

The next step is the antennae, which is a French knot with a stem.

Do you know the French knot?




**These are links I found online and I can take no credit or responsibility for them!


Try out a couple of those for practice.

In the regular French knot, you bring the needle up and down in the same location on your soaker. (Tip: re-enter a half stitch over, so the knot doesn’t travel to the back of your work. Hand knit material is something of an open canvas... if you pull too hard on the stitches they can get pulled through to the back)

For the stemmed French knot, instead of wrapping the needle around the yarn at the spot where it comes up from your work, you must leave a little length of yarn and re-enter the soaker a few centimeters from where you emerged. This creates the stem.

Dragonflies don't have antennae quite the same as butterflies do, but you can do a little small one there since it looks cute ;) Theirs are more like little nubs. Artistic license granted. ;)

In my dragonfly and butterfly designs, I 'fattened' the heads to make them look more head-like. I did this by duplicating the path of the first chain stitch in the head location. I threaded the second yarn right through the little anchor stitch at the top of the existing chain. See photo above.

Flying Trail

The flying trail is simply more chain stitch in a loopy path.

And I think that should explain these simple designs~

Show me your work for feedback! Let me know if you need more explanation!



Lessons and class information are for the personal use of the individual who has purchased it.  Please do not reproduce or distribute without the permission of the author. Please do not sell it.  It is the intellectual property of Pamela Grossman and she appreciates your compliance.  Before you make a copy for your friend/mom/daughter, please contact Pamela at www.woolywonder.com.


You may use this design on items that you embellish for sale.


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© 2004-2006 Pamela Grossman and www.woolywonder.com