I have a couple of these Dala horses and thought they would make a good pattern for an embroidery project. Dalahast are from Sweden, and more specifically the province of Dalarna. My mom always had a few in our kitchen when we were growing up and I really love them.
So to do this project, you will need:
-one large piece for the background that is the same size as your pillow front
-one piece for your horse(s)
Fusible web backing/interfacing, such as Wonder Under
Water-soluble fabric pen or chalk
Embroidery floss in your chosen colors
Start off with taking your interfacing, and using the paper side, trace the image of the horse. I just Googled "dala horse" and traced a coloring page once I figured out what size of horse I wanted.
Cut out the horse and apply the interfacing, sticky-side down, to the backside of the fabric you are using for the horse. I don't have any pictures of this step, but you can check out this tutorial on applique. Iron in place, let cool, and then peel off the paper backing.
Now you have a horse-shaped piece of fabric with a sticky side, ready to be applied to your background fabric.
Place your horse on the background where you want it, and iron in place. You really should stitch around the edge of the horse with your sewing machine with similarly colored thread, so the edges won't start to peel back. I didn't do this because I forgot....but I definitely would recommend doing this.
Now you're ready to draw the design for the embellishments. The best tool would be a water-soluble fabric pen. They're awesome because once you don't need the outline anymore, you can just rub a bit of water on the pen lines and they disappear.
I, of course, couldn't find mine, so I just used chalk. It worked just as well.
I used my Dalahast as models for my pattern, but you can also look at the million of Dalahast on Google images.
Once I had my pattern traced out, I got to work. I mostly used a chain stitch for the pattern. Of course you can use whatever embroidery stitch tickles your fancy. For the blue filling below, I used a seed stitch/running stitch. And for the dots, I used a French knot.
So far I just have one horse finished, so I still have a ways to go. I'll post finished pictures when I can...hopefully soon.