box of birds robin

More than half the robin is sewn and I’ve already sorted out threads to stitch a blue tit simply because I’m enjoying embroidering birds at the moment.

I don’t want to use the traditional stumpwork needlelace method to make three dimensional branches for the birds to perch on so I’ve sorted out a few bits and pieces to try something different.

lucky with the light

I’ve spent most of this week indoors for various reasons and while watching lots of catchup tv and Netflix series, I’ve been playing again with the remains of this fabric and turned it into a jug of sorts, embellished with silk strips and a little hand stitching. One of my better images I think, snapped when the light was just right.

scrappy jug

handy with a broom

I gave myself a week’s respite from the latest stumpwork portrait as I wasn’t happy with the body shaping or the costume but over the weekend I made a hand to wrap around the broom that the lady will hold. The broom was the first thing I made for this latest stumpwork piece and I might finesse it a bit yet.



Pretty parrot 1

This wip is Parrot on Boysenberry Bush, another project from Jane Nicholas’s book Stumpwork and Embroidery, Designs and Projects. The faint lozenge-shape on the right hand branch of the tree is where the parrot will sit later this week. I sometimes can’t get my head around the scale of things in stumpwork but this time it’s the instructions that have caused a fair amount of head scratching and ripping out of stitches. The trunk of the bush is supposed to be stitched in padded stem stitch but I didn’t like how my first two attempts turned out so I stitched some samples using other stitches and settled on feather, chain and straight stitches as being the most realistic. As if realism mattered! This is stumpwork, where bees are as big as dogs and birds are the size of dinosaurs!

The grassy mound is French knots stitched with tapestry wool on a slip of calico. The tree is several strands of soft tapestry cotton, twisted and couched down then over-stitched in several shades of brown embroidery thread. The leaves should be stitched using padded buttonhole stitch but it’s impossible to continue the ridge effect all the way round when stitching a leaf shape and it therefore looked as if I hadn’t finished stitching so that got ripped out too. I thought it was an odd choice of stitch and I couldn’t find anything online which suggested using it for something with a curve like a leaf. In the end I opted for that trusty stalwart, padded satin stitch, sewn either side of a fine line of chain stitch.

I have to remind myself now and then that it’s okay to not follow instructions. I stitch for my own pleasure and if my end result is different to that of the book, what does it matter?


fat little owl

This little owl is a birthday gift for a friend and the owl shouldn’t have been so fat but I quite like him that way even though he looks as if he might not be able to fly off the branch! He’s based on the owl brooch in the Stumpwork Embroidery book by Jane Nicholas, a book I’ve had for many years but have never stitched any of the projects in it until now.

The hanging frame is one of those plastic ones where the outer frame rolls onto a groove on the outside edge of the inner hoop and I used almost a whole skein of green embroidery thread to cover up the original red colour. The blue fabric is silk backed with calico. The inner frame measures approximately 3″ in diameter.


Meet Beryl

I’ve had a hankering to do some stumpwork portrait-type pieces for a while now.  After spending a couple of hours on the internet this morning in the hope of finding additional tutorials but only finding images of finished pieces, I bit the bullet and just had a go based on Barbara and Roy Hirst’s book Raised Embroidery which I bought at an exhibition at the NEC Birmingham 18 years ago but which I have always backed out of using for a specific project.

Beryl was the first name that came to my mind for this first ever stumpwork portrait but it seems to suit. Her nose isn’t quite right but I believe stumpwork noses are often difficult to do. Barbara Hirst only gives noses a faint suggestion in her book and Beryl is the very first stumpwork portrait I’ve ever done so I think it’s ok. With practice, hopefully I’ll improve my technique. I intend to put Beryl in a little picture frame but as there are other head shapes on my hoop at the moment, she’ll have to wait until they’ve been given some character too. Beryl is 3.5cm across the shoulders and 3cm from the top of her hat (excluding feather) to the base of her wrap.





a little diversion

This morning I was planning to paint some kind of background on silk that I could add stitches to for the September stitchy challenge of Autumn but by lunchtime big sis and I had extended the deadline until the end of October so the pressure was off. After lunch I continued with the watercolour painting and this is the result: