StarFlower 5 Complete!

StarFlower-5-Complete cover image
StarFlower-5-Complete cover image

Completions are a big deal here at Cedar Canyon, especially when a project stretches out for months. Needless to say, I’m happy to say (shout?) StarFlower 5 Compete!!!

Ahem… did I say that loudly enough?

StarFlower-5 detail
Adding beads to large shapes

When I wrote my last update a few weeks ago, I was chuckling about the value of Ugly Brown Beads and how they were just the ticket for the dark side of this stitched painting.

Once the large question-mark shapes were finished up, I had to figure out what to do with the cast-on stitch flowers and the center shape. Let’s have a look.

What to do with floppy stitches?

StarFlower-5 cast-on stitch flowers
Not so happy Cast-on Stitch flowers

Those cast-on stitch flowers looked pretty perky as I stitched them, but they were looking pretty sad by the end of the stitching.

I use a frame to hold my embroideries as I work, and the fabric gets rolled on stretcher bars as I move from section to section. I add batting to pad the stitching, but things can still look a bit flattened by the end of the process.

Add some beads!

StarFlower-5-Complete add beads
Adding beads to the largest flower

While I generally add beads to my embroidery stitches, that wasn’t going to work for these flowers. Instead, I used a combination of size 11 and size 8 beads, adding the beads between the cast-on stitch “petals.”

Small beads for the medium flower

For the medium size flowers, I switched to 3 small beads. And for that tiny flower? Just one size 11 bead (barely) fit between each stitch.

Value more important that color/hue

Choosing beads for the lightest and darkest sections of the embroidery was pretty straightforward, but I was stumped when I needed a medium-value bead for the transitional sections. I have a pretty good collection of the larger, size 8 beads, but only a handful of colors in size 11. Hmmm…

I finally decided that value was more important than color/hue, and chose a bright red small seed bead to go with the pumpkin-colored large beads. Up close, it’s a bit jarring. But from a distance, it works!

Finish the middle

StarFlower-5 center shape
Whipped Stem Stitch for center shape.

Oddly enough, the last bit to get finished was the center shape. I thought beads would be too much, but a simple stem stitch was not enough. After several false starts, I whipped the stem stitch with a darker color to tone it down and add a little texture.

StarFlower 5 Complete!

StarFlower-5 full image
StarFlower 5 by Shelly Stokes

Overall, I’m delighted with StarFlower 5. The graduated color scheme was a lot more complicated than I anticipated, but it works beautifully with the background fabric. And I learned a lot along the way.

StarFlower-5 beautiful backside
A peek at the back side

At the end of the process, I press my stitched paintings to smooth out any wrinkles and rumples. I try to remember to take a photo of the back, as I find them every bit as interesting as the front.

Thanks for reading

Your attention is the greatest gift you can give to a writer. I appreciate the invitation to be a small part of your creative world.

To join the conversation, leave a comment below. I would love to hear your thoughts about the latest addition to my StarFlower family.


  1. Anita McTighe on July 30, 2020 at 2:47 pm

    I think it is beautiful. Great job.

    • ShellyStokes on July 30, 2020 at 5:32 pm

      Thank you, Anita!

  2. Louise Schubert on July 30, 2020 at 3:47 pm

    This project is amazing! And my backs NEVER look that good! Kudos!

    • ShellyStokes on July 30, 2020 at 5:34 pm

      Some folks don’t like to see knots. I understand if the backside of a piece will be seen. But the back of my stitched paintings will never be seen once they are mounted, so I don’t have to be so fussy. Lucky me!

  3. Zahava Sherez on July 30, 2020 at 4:24 pm

    I LOVE Star Flower 5! Iā€™m one of the lucky ones who was able to see it in person and I must say that the real piece of art is even more magnificent than the beautiful photos you took of it. Great job!
    And, be well,

    • ShellyStokes on July 30, 2020 at 5:35 pm

      Gracias, amiga. I am blessed to have you as a part of our art community here in Chapala. Now… to get these lovely ladies mounted on frames!

  4. Barb Thorkelson on July 30, 2020 at 4:36 pm

    Hi, Shelly –

    I’m so glad to have you back! It’s such a pleasure to see such high quality work and know that even someone with as much experience as you can hit a few snags. Sometimes working out the snags is more important than “getting it right the first time.”

    I’m glad to hear you and Jack are doing well. I was missing your newsletters during your much deserved hiatus, so I will be glad to see what you’ve come up with for a new class. I’m afraid that we’re in for a long social distancing at the rate we’re going, so something new will be welcome.

    I’m still making masks – the one that Allina requested with a few modifications. There was no elastic when I started, so I was actually happy to hear that the medical community doesn’t like the elastic anyway. I used twill tape and figured out that a tie on top of the head rather than the ears kept the sides flat against the face and was easier to deal with – pretty well-fitted for a home-made mask. Trying to keep up with the changes as we go. The Msp-St. Paul ASG chapter has donated more than 12,000 masks so far, some caps, some gowns and anything else that’s been requested. So I’m trying to do my part, but I’m ready for something new to round things out!

    • ShellyStokes on July 30, 2020 at 5:38 pm

      It’s great to hear from you, Barb. I’m happy to hear that you are well ā€“ā€“ and keeping busy during our stay-at-home time. I’m looking forward to the new PSB program and flexing our creative muscles on a regular basis!

  5. Beulah Caswell on July 30, 2020 at 5:51 pm

    This is absolutely gorgeous, Shelly!
    I wish you a speedy recovery, so you can continue your adventures in the art world.

    • ShellyStokes on July 30, 2020 at 5:53 pm

      Gracias, Beulah. Sometimes the cure is a bit challenging for a few days, but this too shall pass! šŸ˜‰

  6. Lucille Owen on July 30, 2020 at 8:40 pm

    Awesome. Now I know what to get for my daughter for Christmas, one of your books.

  7. Rebecca Muir MacKellar on August 1, 2020 at 6:18 am

    This is absolutely spectacular. Wow. Such beautiful work and design. You should be totally proud of yourself.
    I hope that you feel better soon. Best wishes.

    • ShellyStokes on August 1, 2020 at 9:54 am

      Thanks, Rebecca. I’m anxious to get these mounted and see how they look “completely” finished. šŸ™‚

  8. Joan on August 1, 2020 at 10:16 am

    Your work as always is beautifully executed and inspirational. As someone who began hand embroidery in the second grade, I was really happy to see you show a photo of the back of your work. As expected, it was beautifully done too. I must confess, I haven’t kept up with my hand embroidery, switching to machine digitizing and embroidery instead, however, seeing your work has led me to rethink some of my work and consider adding handwork to my projects too. It does add to your creative options. Again let me thank you for your creative inspiration and a glimpse into your creative process. Blessings to you and your family, and hope any health issues are quickly resolved.

    • ShellyStokes on August 1, 2020 at 1:27 pm

      Thank you for your warm words, Joan. I’m delighted whenever my work inspires someone to continue with their own — and perhaps with a new idea or two.

      I am still amazed that handwork has become such a big part of my work. I had no patience for it for most of my life. Now, I can’t imagine being without it.

  9. Wendy Bain on August 1, 2020 at 8:33 pm

    Shelly, I love everything about this! The colors, the shapes, the attention to detail, the stitches, the beads, etc. Congratulations on a great finish!

    • ShellyStokes on August 2, 2020 at 6:52 pm

      Thanks, Wendy. It’s great fun to get to the end of a project — and equally fun to share. šŸ™‚

  10. Helen on August 2, 2020 at 8:22 am

    Good Morning!!
    I’m sorry to hear you are a bit underwater but thank goodness for our Doctors and the medicines they have prescribed to get you healthy again. Maybe some extra sleep is exactly what you need right now? This whole situation is very stressful.
    I have currently embarked on a very large project. Matter of fact? It is 3 projects as it is a triptych which will be mounted on a room divider. I have reached the embroidery stage and stalled out. I generally use a hoop on a stand but it is too small for this project. Would you mind elaborating on your setup, please?
    Thanks and happy to hear you are on the mend.

    • ShellyStokes on August 2, 2020 at 6:51 pm

      Hi Helen, Years ago, I ordered a Millenium embroidery frame from NeedleNeeds in the UK. I did a review on the frame in 2016. I just checked the website, and see that the company is still online and appears to be in business. My second order from them did not go well, nor did the orders of some of my students. I enjoy using this frame, but I can only hope the company has improved on the delivery problems they had a couple of years back.