Directions for Nasturtiums

Jenny Clark © 2004

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The nasturtium, which represents patriotism on the list of flowers and their meanings, is a flower that many of us remember seeing from our childhoods. They could be seen on every country road and in the garden of most farm houses. Interestingly, this flower also makes a great addition to a salad (after a good washing of course).

Materials and supplies:

Silk or cotton floss:

  • Caron’s Soie Cristale or even DMC
  • Medium gray green for the stems
  • Yellow-green for the accent on the leaves
  • Brown red, maroon, or orange for the accent on the flowers

I used a silk twist from Pink Peppercorns called Tutti Frutti.

Silk ribbons:

  • 7 mm orange, deep yellow or variegated shades of these colors for the flowers
  • 4 mm medium leaf green for the small leaves
  • 13 mm medium leaf green for the large leaves

I used Cam Creations variegated yellow to deep orange (#1V),  Bucilla deep orange and medium yellow for the flowers a medium leaf green organza for the leaves.


  • No. 20 chenille needle for the silk ribbon
  • No. 8 crewel needle for the embroidery

Fabric of your choice

I used a very pale peach silk dupioni which I backed with muslin.

Washable or air erasable marking pen (for design layout – optional)

Embroidery hoop (optional)

Steps in Work:

Use an air erasable pen to mark the stem placement on the fabric.

Embroider the stems using 2 strands of gray green floss in stem stitch.

Make a French knot with the 4 mm green silk ribbon at the end of the longest stem you have drawn to represent a budding leaf.

Using a straight stitch, make the smaller leaves on the stem. Be sure not to pull your stitches too tight. Use another large needle or even a ball point pen to fluff the stitch and keep it from pulling too far through your material.

Using the 13 mm green ribbon, make the larger leaves in straight stitch or a loop stitch. Shape the leaf with a needle to obtain the fullness of the nasturtium leaf.

Using the yellow-green floss, make 3 straight stitches on the large leaves to hold the leaves in place and achieve a round shape. Make a variety of flowers with your orange, yellow, or variegated silk ribbon using either a straight stitch or a loop stitch. (Follow the directions for shaping the stitch described in #4.) There should be two stitches on the top of the flower and 3 to 4 on the bottom for fullness.

Using brown-red or maroon floss or a variegated orange silk twist, make one to three straight stitches on the top two stitches of the flowers.

Add a French knot in the center of each flower.

The number of flowers and leaves you use is your choice and smaller straight stitches can be added to represent flower buds.

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