Basket of Fuchsias

Sara Zander © 2011

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A sweet, hanging basket full of fuchsia blossoms (these were modeled on a variety of Heidi Anns) for your next CQ project. This also looks lovely on its own, with the ‘chain’ removed, decorating a scissor case, needle minder or sachet.

Finished Dimensions:

With chain 2.5” x 4.5”

Basket and flowers only 2.5” x 2.5”



  • .5 yard deep violet 4 mm

  • .5 yard bright red 4 mm

  • 1 yard medium green 4 mm

  • 1 yard pale ice blue 7mm

  • 1 yard pale mauve 7 mm


  • 1 yard white

  • 1 yard light pink

  • 1 yard light green

  • 1 yard DMC or similar strandable metallic floss silver


  • 8” x 8” each background fabric and muslin interfacing

  • A Doodle Cloth ‘sandwich’ like the actual layers you are using

  • Sample is shown on quilters’ cotton with muslin interfacing

  • Silk Dupioni is a beautiful alternate. Velvet is difficult for the details.

  • Bird or bumble bee charm (optional)

Note: Feel free to stitch this design onto an already appliquéd quilt top or project.


  • Laying tool or plastic (size 6 or smaller) knitting needle

  • Chenille needle, 22 or 24

  • Embroidery sharp, any size to accommodate 3 strands of floss

  • Embroidery scissors

  • Metallic thread or craft scissors (please do not cut metallics with your good scissors)

  • 6” hoop or frame

  • A few straight pins

  • Pencil

  • Light box or bright window

  • 8.5 x 11” sheet thin tracing or tissue paper cut in half (You can get fancy and use a dissolvable paper, but it isn’t necessary. Please do not use tear-away foundation. It’s too strong and can damage your stitches)

Stitches Used:

  • Japanese Ribbon/Leaf

  • Straight, single/triple

  • Back Stitch

  • French Knot, single/double (Note: only one ‘wrap’ may be called a true ‘French’ knot).

  • Continuous Chain

  • Woven


Please read through entire instructions prior to starting project.

Trace the pattern onto thin tracing or tissue paper TWICE, each on a separate piece of paper. Please use pencil, not ink to avoid staining your fabric. Do not trace any words or arrows. There is no need to ‘reverse’ the pattern unless you wish to stitch it in the opposite direction from the sample.

Trim both tracings to fit in hoop dimensions. 5 x 5” is a good size.

Have all of your materials at hand and ready.

Hoop the main and interface fabrics together in the hoop or hoop your quilt top/project.

Pin one tracing to the right side of the top fabric, keeping pins away from the lines. You are going to stitch the stems, basket outline and dots for flower placement right through the paper, then gently tear it away. Later, you will use the second tracing to add the flowers and stems that cross in front of the woven basket.

Using three strands of green floss (please strip and re-combine your floss strands) and the embroidery needle, backstitch all of the stems in the pattern which hang OUTSIDE the basket shape right through the paper and both layers of fabric. Keep your stitches no more than 1/8”(3 mm) long if possible..

Note: Because you will be lining this project eventually, you may use regular sewing knots with the floss and end your threads by passing under prior stitches on the back.

Using one strand of pink floss, make French knots at each dot representing the stem end of each flower which hangs OUTSIDE the basket shape. Note: It’s O.K. to carry the thread behind the fabric from dot to dot. It will not show once the lining is in place.

Using the pink floss, back stitch the outline of the basket all around the shape.

If you want to keep the chain, you may ‘wing’ the placement later, or take time now to use any single strand of floss and baste stitches along the chain lines. You will remove the basting after stitching the chain with metallic thread later on.

Gently remove the pins, and then the paper to discard. If you have trouble getting paper out of smaller places, make ‘lines’ to follow where you want to rip with the point of a needle.

Build your basket:

Horizontal (weft) rows:

Starting with the ice blue ribbon, load 24” of ribbon in a chenille needle, using standard silk ribbon method for loading and knotting. You will use this method for all silk ribbon work in the pattern so this instruction will not be repeated.

Beginning at the top edge left corner of the basket (see arrow on pattern) come up from the back through both fabrics, staying just outside your basting backstitch line. Carry the ribbon to the opposite top corner, being sure the ribbon lies flat with no twists (here’s where you use your laying tool) and go back down through both fabrics to the back, again, just outside your basting line.

Come up just below the first ‘row’ of ribbon and return to the opposite side. Keep the ribbon flat and leave enough space that your ribbon rows do not overlap at all but leaving no space between them and always travel over the basting lines. Important: do not ‘wrap’ the ribbon on the back from side to side, but be sure to come up on the same side where you just went down. ‘Wrapping’ the ribbon around like in satin stitching makes it difficult to later stitch the blossoms.

Continue to go back and forth, filling the basket shape. If you need to go a bit beyond the pattern base to accommodate the last ribbon row, that’s fine. Note: Your last row on the bottom will start and end shorter than the other rows, which creates the illusion of a rounded basket ‘base’. If you need to squeeze in the ribbon for this last, shorter row, that’s fine and it will add to the illusion of a ‘base’.

End the ice blue rows with a Ribbon Tacking Stitch on the back.

Vertical (filling) rows:

Load the pale mauve ribbon as you did the blue.

Starting one ribbon width from the center of the basket (see arrow on pattern), come up at the top of the basket and start down the basket by weaving the ribbon over and under alternate blue ‘weft’ (horizontal) ribbons. Do not pass back through the fabric, but just under and over the blue ribbon rows.

Once you get to the bottom, double check that there are no twists in the mauve ribbon and that your weaving was correctly done. Go down through the fabric at the bottom, being careful to stay right up against the bottom-most blue horizontal row.

Come back up at the bottom of the basket, at the left and next to the first vertical row, leaving space for the new row to lie flat with no overlap but no space between rows, as you did in the blue horizontal rows.

Weave your mauve ribbon up through the blue rows, making sure to be going the opposite way over each row…under one, over one, under one, over one, etc. Double check for flat and correct weaving before bringing the ribbon to the back at the top.

Continue until you have reached the left outer edge of the basket shape. Your last row will be shorter than the central rows. End your ribbon. Re-knot the ribbon and starting just to the right of the center vertical row, fill the right side as you did the left.

If you wish, once done with the weaving, you may add a slightly twisted, horizontal blue ribbon row in the base, weaving through to add to the illusion.

Your basket is complete. Congratulations!


If you are using the chain, now is when you will stitch the links.

Load 24” of one strand of the metallic floss into the chenille needle. Note: You use the chenille needle at this point to make large enough holes that the metallic floss will not shred as it passes through the fabric.

Using a continuous chain (connected chain) stitch, create the links as high above the basket as you want them. Follow your basting if you have it. They will look best if the chain on both sides ‘links’ in the same direction, so if you start at the basket for one side, knot off when you reach the top and start again at the basket for the second side.

When you come to a stitched vine, carry the metallic floss UNDER the vine and continue the chain. This may take a bit of fudging, and if you are unhappy with the result, a handy-dandy silk leaf can cleverly cover the spot later.

You may want to continue one line of the chain up past the apex to look like it is ready to hang on a hook, bow or other spot on your embroidery. Remove your chain basting.

Adding the vines and flower dots over your basket:

Pin the second tracing paper pattern over your basket, carefully lining up the vines, basket outline and dots already stitched.

Repeating the steps above used for stitching through the paper, add the vines and dots that come in front of the woven basket. Gently remove pins, tear away the paper, discard.


The leaves are all created with a single Japanese Leaf or Ribbon Stitch. The placement is random, but if you are a bit timid about this, use the photo for suggested placement.

Load the medium green ribbon. Because we are now entering into delicate and frequently twisted stitches instead of weaving, I recommend no more than 15” of ribbon with each ‘loading’.

Staring at the lowest vines, stitch single Ribbon Stitch leaves along the vines, alternating directions, having some face upwards, some down, while some may be shorter, some longer. A few should come right over the vine to look more natural. Note: The magic clue to a nicely shaped Ribbon Stitch is to never make the leaf longer than twice the width of the ribbon you are using.

Nature’s look: when coming back through your stitch to create the little ‘dimple’ in each leaf, try going through the center of the leaf on some, and slightly to the right or left of center for others. They will look like they are twisting in the breeze-nice!

When you approach a dot where a flower will be placed, create at least one more leaf nearby that can eventually be partially covered by a recurved (red) sepal. This adds to the dimensionality of the flowers and the realism of the design.

How many leaves are too many? If you want guidance with this, count the leaves on each vine in the photo and do not exceed that number per vine. Too many leaves will look like a mess of boiled spinach! Too few will look like hungry beetles have been visiting.


Oooh, here come the flowers! They look complex, but when done in simple steps, are easily conquered. Take a deep breath, and let’s make some flowers!

Note: It is recommended that you make one complete flower on doodle cloth to help you judge the length, placement and direction of stitches before stitching on your project.

Step One: Drop Petals (corolla):

The drop section of each flower is made with a Triple Straight Stitch in silk ribbon. First, a center Straight Stitch is made, then two more, one slightly to each side of the center stitch, partially covering it. Voila! A fat little corolla ready for its ‘crown’ of recurved sepals and dangling stigma/stamens.

Load deep violet ribbon.

Starting with the bottom-most flower, come up from the back just at the tail end of a vine.
Create a single straight stitch no more than ¼” long, check to be sure the ribbon did not twist (use your laying tool!) and go to the back of the fabric.

Come back up at the end of the vine again, just to the left or right of where you came out for the first stitch. Come down and slightly over the first (center) straight stitch. Check for twisting, go down through to the back choosing your exit hole so that this second stitch barely covers a side of the first stitch.

Repeat for the other side. Optional: On some of your corollas,(drop petals) you may choose to make the third (left or right side) stitch a leaf stitch in the violet which adds texture and variety. If you look carefully at the photo, you will see some of these fatter, more varied blooms. Complete all of your corollas. Again, it’s O.K. to travel on the back from corolla to corolla.

Sepals (crown):

The sepals of the fuchsia recurve, creating a crown of color above the corolla. These aren’t true ‘petals’ but a thicker, tougher covering that opens and curves back on itself once the flower is fully open.

The sepals are done in our old friend, Ribbon or Leaf Stitch, each one starting above the corolla and reaching up and over the vine or any near-by leaf.

Note: In a living flower, there would be a seed case or ovary inside the recurved crown, above the corolla at the vine. Our sepals are so airy and pretty dancing alone that the seed cases were not made. If you are making this a gift for a rabid gardener, you may want to add a French knot of red ribbon above the corolla at the vine before you stitch the sepals. Versimilitudinous!

Sepals: Load red silk ribbon. Starting at the lowest blossom, come up from the back above the corolla, but right next to it. Create a Ribbon (Leaf) Stitch climbing up and flaring slightly out from the corolla. Go right over any vine, leaf or chain link that was there first. Make three or four sepal ‘petals’ for each blossom, varying their direction and how you pierce the stitch as explained in the instructions for the green leaves. Remember to keep each sepal no longer than the corolla they accompany.

To look completely natural, some of the sepals may run into or over prior blossoms. Great!


In nature, each blossom would have one slightly fatter stigma dangling from the corolla, surrounded by slightly shorter, thinner stamens.

Our blossoms each sport four dangling ‘leg’ stigma/stamens created with a straight stitch in a single strand of floss and a double wrap knot (French) on each end. To be more exact for that gardener friend, make single knots on the end of 4 single strand stamens and add a slightly longer, double strand stigma with a double wrapped knot. Your choice!

Stigma/stamen as shown in photo:

Load a single strand of pink floss in the embroidery needle. Starting at the lowest blossom, make four straight stitches, each about as long as a leaf, dangling from the bottom center of the corolla. They will look more natural if they ‘dance’ in different directions fanning out from the center of the corolla, like a spider with wild steps. Finish all of the stamens on all of the blossoms.

Load a single strand of white floss. Starting with the bottom blossom, add a double wrap (French) knot at the end of every stigma/stamen.

Optional: a silk ribbon bow and/or bird or bee charm may be added on the chain. To make the bow, load about 6” of ribbon, make no knot. Go down from the right side on either side of the chain and come up on the other side, leaving a ‘tail’ on each side. Remove needle. Tie your bow over the chain!

Congratulations-a lovely basket of blooms, and no watering needed! I hope you enjoyed creating your project. Best Stitches to You! Sara

Sara Zander, Ladystitch Designs


To learn more about ‘real’ fuchsias, try www.gardenaction.com_fuchsia1.asp#fuchsia_history

Diagrams for many of the SRE stitches can be found in an article by Victoria Adams Brown from a previous issue of CQMagOnline.

Sara comes from a teaching background, with an M.A. and B.S. in Art Education, majoring in silversmithing and photography. Her work has shown in galleries and exhibits since the 1970's. She came 'back' to stitching only in 1999, and credits her plethora of ribbons to her friends and teachers in EGA who generously shared their love of embroidery since she joined the Marin Golden Threads Chapter that year. Sara is Past President and Program Chair of MGT. Her articles on CQ conservation and her pattern for a CQ etui were featured in the June, 2010 Issue of Needlearts Magazine.

A member of NETA, Sara is currently EGA's Greater Pacific Region Asst. Director, Past Region Education Chair, and was Publicity and Public Relations Chair for EGA National Seminar 2010 and Region Seminar 2008. She also taught at both seminars, at Rocky Mountain Region and Sun Region.

In 2009, Sara initiated and mentored the Threads for Healing Project that sent a container ship with nearly 2 tons of stitching supplies, all donated by stitchers across America and Canada, to the fire storm victims in Australia.

Sara has worked full time at her 'real' job in the mortgage industry for 17 years and is a Volunteer Conservator at the San Jose Museum of Quilts and Textiles where she works to preserve their historic Crazy Quilt collection. She was thrilled to have been awarded the EGA Research Grant for 2011 to catalog conservation techniques employed by museums in the San Francisco Bay Area, and will be creating a study box on textile conservation for EGA.

You can learn from Sara in person at her two day class, Silk Gone Wild, a new twist on crazy quilting this coming April 16 and 17 at EGA's New England Region Seminar, Pining to Stitch in Portland, Maine. The class is nearly full. To request information, contact the Region Registrar at You can email Sara at or see her portfolio at

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