Christmas Wreath by Di van Niekerk

10th November 2023

Christmas, as with most other festivals and celebrations, is a time to make memories. Rituals and ceremonies create traditions, which in turn create memories – stories and family customs that are passed on to our children.

This is what inspired Di van Niekerk when she designed her project Christmas Wreath from our new book The Design Collective | Christmas.

‘I wanted to make a décor piece to become an heirloom to be passed on to the next generation. This wreath is for my sister, the custodian of our family’s heirloom Christmas decorations passed down from our Mum and Gran.’

Di created the wreath with the idea that it would look lovely hanging from a mantlepiece or on a door or window. Its transparent window allows light, interesting backgrounds, or vistas to show through and the traditional red and green colour scheme will complement any room’s Christmas decor.

Di van Niekerk is well known for her ribbon embroidery, but in this design, ribbon is only used to frame this delicate wreath, stitched in a hoop. A silk organza window in the centre of the wreath allows light and the view beyond to become part of the ornament. A clever way to encapsulate the present by surrounding it with tradition and heritage.

The hoop in which the embroidery is created also acts as the frame of the finished piece and is wrapped in hand-dyed silk ribbon before stitching commences. Two layers of silk, one organza and one habotai are stretched in the hoop. 

The centre of the habotai is cut away after the wreath stitching has been secured to reveal the window of light.

Habutai means ‘feather-two-layer’ referring to the lightweight quality of this shimmering, plain-weave silk fabric that was once used to make Japanese kimonos.

Di’s clever use of bouclé and mohair yarn to create the wreath adds both texture and a three-dimensional quality to the design without adding additional weight to this delicate fabric.

The leaves and stems are stitched directly onto the fabric using back, fly, straight, and detached chain stitches and are finished with French knots and beads. Red beads in different sizes are used to create the berries and the green bugle beads are used to add the final touches to the wreath.

Christmas or Advent wreaths are believed to have originated in Germany in the 16th century, but it was only in 1833, when a Lutheran clergyman lit a candle inside a wreath while sharing the nativity story, that the tradition of the modern Advent wreath began. While the project Christmas Wreath doesn’t hold a candle as such, its clever design does a wonderful job of letting the Christmas light shine through.

Thank you, Di, for such an inventive, festive and fabulous piece of embroidery.

Make Your Own Christmas Wreath

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Christmas Wreath by Di van Niekerk is a wreath with Christmas reds and greens, framed in a hoop bound with hand-dyed silk ribbon.

Printed Books

The Design Collective – Christmas

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Christmas Wreath includes everything* you need to re-create this delicate hoop: Fabrics (unprinted), hoop, card, metal ring, white sewing thread, embroidery threads, ribbons, beads and needles.


Christmas Wreath – TDCC Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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