Nellie"s Needles

Tuesday, August 25, 2009

Flower Centers

A week ago I ordered a new machine, Juki TL-98Q, since my other workhorse of a machine, Brother 1500, refused to stitch properly ... even after being serviced. It arrived this morning and was immediately put to service sewing the centers into flowers.
I'd like to share the method I've devised to make the centers for the Cone Flowers. The materials I use are on the right side of the photo below. There's wool roving, trimming from woven wool fabrics, and yarn. Bits of all those are pulled and cut apart for one flower center on the left side of the photo.
I spritz a few drops of water on that bit of "stuff" in my hand.
Then it's rolled around between my palms to mat it into a ball shape. If I don't care for what I see it gets pulled apart and rerolled.
The ball of fibers is laid in place. There's a bit of shaping and stuffing and maybe rearranging done til it looks "right".
A piece of tulle netting is pinned over the ball of fibers to contain them in the desired shape. The excess is trimmed away after the stitching on the center is finished.
Here you can see some already sewn and some waiting their turn.
This is a finished panel of the Prairie Flower installation piece with the just sewn centers in the Cone Flowers as well as the yellow Rosinweed flowers.
Now, to see how the Juki quilts the many lines of stitching with numerous different weight threads on the three panels that are pinned and have been waiting their turn.


arlee said...

looking ready to pick :}

Kay said...

Good luck. I'll be waiting to hear about it.

I have a bag full of pretty thread ends I'm going to use as flower centers some day. Glad to see how you do it.

Vicki W said...

I have had my Juki TL-98E for at least 8 years and it is a true workhorse. I think it's basically the same machine except you have an extra feature or two. Mine has never had to go in for service and it makes the most beautiful straight stitch. You are going to love it!

Elaine Adair said...

Gosh - it's easy, once you know how - that's why YOU are the artist. Clever girl, you! Have fun with your new toy!

Julia Wood said...

Wonderful technique - I'd like to try it. The quilt is GORGEOUS!

Irishgirlsews said...

WOW, that is a beautiful quilt, and a great technique, can't wait to try it out. Let us know how you like your new machine.

Doreen G said...

Thanks for showing us the technique Nellie--your work is truly amazing.

Joyce said...

Those coneflowers are totally realistic. Thanks for showing us how you do it.
Enjoy your new machine.

Denise Felton said...

Brilliant! Just put a link to this post on my blog. I hope it brings you a few extra clicks.


Lyn Armstrong said...

Those flowers are so realistic, wonderful workmanship, I have put you on my bloglist, you will have so much to teach me. Thank you.

Mieke said...

Wow, this is so georgeous!!!!!

Shasta said...

This is a great technique. Thanks for sharing. What do you do with the tulle, do you trim off the ends when you are done?

FredaB said...

That is a very clever way to make a center muslticolored so it looks more natural. I am new to your blog but remember your name from my smocking and heirloom sewing days.

My one question is do you sew the centers down by hand or by machine and then trim around the netting?

Come visit me sometime at



G'G'ma said...

Those flowers look so real...just ready for picking. Gorgeous!!

Annie Pazoo said...

Holy cow, those Rudbekia are amazing! Love your work,