Cauliflower by Julie Kniedl

14th June 2019

With all the appeal of a perfectly formed miniature, Julie Kniedl’s Cauliflower from the book Botanica, has been one of the most popular three-dimensional projects we’ve ever published.

There’s something about cauliflowers and other members of the Brassicaceae family for items around the home, have you noticed? Kaffe Fassett needlepoint cushions come immediately to mind, as do Majolica tureens and teapots modelled on these rotund, cruciferous vegetables.

Left: Kaffe Fassett cushion Right: Majolica cauliflower tureen from Ruby Lane

Julie’s fabulous little cauliflower replicates the overlapping leaves and dense florets of a freshly harvested cauliflower, and it has a little secret hidden in plain sight.

This cauliflower is not only for enjoying as a delightful art object in your home. Just like those Majolica pieces, it was designed to have a practical purpose, only not for serving soup or tea. It’s a pincushion!

In keeping with Julie’s approach to stitching, this project doesn’t use any unusual techniques or complicated stitching. There are only four embroidery stitches and four wool threads used, two whites and two shaded greens. The florets are worked with French knots on circular slips that are cut out and stitched to a firmly padded shape, creating the distinctive flowerhead. This is the pincushion part of the cauliflower.

The smooth, wired leaves are worked with long and short stitch and stem stitch, with the wire covered with close blanket stitch. The leaves are wrapped around the flowerhead, curving over the florets and concealing the unstitched portion of the padded shape, and its construction, on the underside. An ingenious design, from start to finish!

For those of you who have been with Inspirations for a number of years, you may remember seeing the cauliflower published in Inspirations issue #75. This marked the beginning of our journey with Julie, when we fell in love with her three-dimensional embroidery.

Cauliflower as it appears in Inspirations #75 titled ‘Nature’s Bounty’

The cauliflower was Julie’s winning entry in a fun, little competition we announced in issue #72 called ‘Home for my Needle’. It was inspired by an article in issue #71 about a Japanese festival held each year called Hari-Kuyo, the Festival of Broken Needles. On this day, needleworkers pay tribute to their worn and broken needles by taking them to a shrine, where the needles are given a soft resting place after their stitching labours in a block of tofu. The needles are blessed, and the needleworkers offer their thanks and request improved skill in the coming year.

Our needles, the smallest of items in our sewing box, really are important.  Actually, they’re essential. How wonderful that there is a ceremony to honour them! Outside of Japan, we may not have a ceremony like this, but we do like to make special pincushions. The Cauliflower is one of the most special we’ve encountered and a worthy choice for your hard-working pins and needles.

Make Your Own Cauliflower

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

A cute little cauliflower, stitched with wool threads to create a perfect pincushion, by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.

Printed Books

Botanica | The three-dimensional embroidery of Julie Kniedl

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Cauliflower includes everything you need to recreate this delightful pincushion: Fabrics (unprinted), wadding, wires, embroidery threads and needles.


Cauliflower – Botanica Kit

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