My most recent kneeler was for Sir Tomahomie, and I actually managed to remember to take pictures of my process...
My fabric choices were not standard this time around. I usually incorporate the heraldry of the knight-to-be, and Tomahomie's heraldry is really just a bit of Japanese Kanji. So, I managed to find the same sari-brocade used to make Tomahomie's knighting raiment and chose a suedecloth to match it.
Funny story here; as I mentioned, Tomahomie's heraldry is just a bit of kanji, which isn't terribly interesting to embroider. I'm not overly fond of/familiar with Asian inspired designs, so I was well and truly lost for inspiration on this kneeler. I put out a Facebook call for help, and was immediately answered by a crafty-friend of mine who suggested that I look into Japanese "Mon".
Hours later, I had sifted through thousands of Mon, and I couldn't find a single one that represented "flame" in any way. (Tomahomie's path to knighthood is that of flame.) I suppose I understand, if your home is made primarily of wood and paper, you don't want to invite flame inside. Frustrated, I turned away from the computer, just to see my son's copy of "Avatar: The Last Airbender" and it struck me that the Fire Nation symbol would be perfect. Voila!
After piecing the computer-printed images together, I traced them onto tissue paper with a sharpie.
Then, I just hooped the tissue paper and cloth together with the intention of embroidering through the tissue paper and tearing it away afterwards.
Night one of embroidery... a chain stitch was used to outline the kanji and the flame.
Night two of embroidery... more chain stitching.
Night three of embroidery... I finished the chain stitching outline and tore away the tissue paper.
Night four of embroidery... I re-hooped the cloth so I could add in my fill stitches. The kanji is filled with a split-backstitch in a brick-lain fashion and the flame is filled with what is called a "rice" stitch.
Night five of embroidery... the flame needed something in order to "pop" and my mother suggested that I highlight the curves of the flame in red. I'm so glad she's so amazing.
The completed kneeler. The kneeler is traditional "zabuton" size of 28" x 30", which turned out to be the perfect size for Tomahomie as he knelt in proper "seiza" position. The heraldic emblem is sewn down in the center, but I gave it its own padding to give the flame some dimension.