Designing for Whitework

27th July 2018

If you enjoy the technique whitework, you’re probably familiar with Trish Burr’s stunning creations which you may have seen on her website, in her books, via social media (she gets lots of likes and shares!) and in several issues of Inspirations Magazine over the years.

‘Prancer’ by Trish Burr – Inspirations #88

While we’ve all been busy marvelling over her exquisite stitching, most of us probably haven’t spent much time thinking about who created the initial drawings.

Jill Buckley is a self-taught and highly talented Canadian artist who has perfected the art of “doodling”. Most of us have found ourselves doodling on a notepad whilst waiting interminably on hold, being assured that ‘your call is important to us’ but it’s unlikely our doodles have ended up as fabulous as Jill Buckley’s!

'As you might imagine, when designing for someone else, you don’t always hit the mark first time out.'

When it comes to creating a design, it begins with Trish providing Jill with an idea, then Jill gets to work and is equally as adept with a pen as she is working digitally.

Jill’s drawing and Trish’s finished project – A Partridge in a Pear Tree (source)

Her digital skills are vital as the two are separated by thousands of kilometres with Trish in South Africa and Jill in Canada so, in order to translate Trish’s vision into a workable drawing, these doodles fly back and forth across continents until they are just perfect.

Jill’s drawings provide the perfect balance of open space and fine, patterned detail. Trish then threads up her needle and starts to fill them with subtle shading and delicate satin stitch, stem stitch highlights and miniature eyelets.

Although we appreciate the pattern, the aspect of the drawings we find most striking are the personalities emanating from each one. How coy is her partridge, and how proud is Prancer? As for the cats – well, as any cat owner will tell you, that intense concentration any cat will display when watching a butterfly or bird is captured just perfectly.

Line drawing and finished piece – Chloe the Cat (image sourcepattern source)

If you’re planning on trying one of Trish’s whitework pieces as your next project, take a little time as you’re stitching to really look at the underlying drawing. The finished project, with its colour and shading is undoubtedly a masterpiece. But even before the first stitch is made in the fabric, you’re looking at a work of art.

Digital Patterns

A Partridge in a Pear Tree


A Partridge in a Pear Tree – i96 Kit

Digital Patterns


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