Fiori by Maria Elide Melani

21st July 2023

Maria Elide Melani is one of the world’s experts on Deruta Sfilato, or Deruta Drawn Thread Work, having written several books about it and worked hard to ensure this wonderful Italian technique survives.

Her project Fiori, featured in Inspirations issue #119, is in fact the final instalment of what has become a three-part series unfolding in the magazine over the past five years.

It all began back in issue #97 when we introduced the technique Deruta Sfilato for the very first time with the project Stitches from the Heart.

This was Maria’s charming little sachet in shades of blue and white that was the perfect introduction to this technique.

Next came the hugely popular piece Tuscan Lace in issue #103 that began to really demonstrate just what this technique is capable of. Finished as a delightful cushion, the open, linen grid design added an almost magical quality to the embroidery.

Now, Maria has elevated the appeal of Deruta Sfilato even more with her latest design.

Fiori, Italian for flower, is an apt name that captures so many aspects of this stunning project.

Part of the secret to this mesmerising embroidery is the fabric. Traditionally Deruta Sfilato is worked on Bissone linen with a thread count of 9 threads per centimetre. While most of us will be unfamiliar with that unit of measure, it translates to roughly 22.5 threads per inch, or put another way, this is a very open weave fabric.

Working on very low-count linen, threads are clipped and withdrawn, leaving an open grid that is embellished with stitches using three weights of crochet cotton.

With the fabric threads being so spacious, Deruta Sfilato is a wonderful technique to introduce anyone to withdrawn thread as you can be very confident that you are correctly counting which threads to cut and are then only cutting one thread at a time.

There is so much about Fiori to fall in love with, some of our wonder points including the stylised floral motifs, the dainty crocheted picot edging, the enchanting lace-like effect and the fact Maria has finished this piece as a mat, giving us the choice of also finishing it as a cover for a cushion.

A quick note about the fabric… this has been a hot topic of discussion at Inspirations HQ this week as we heard news that supply of Bissone 9 threads per cm linen is very limited. The first question that comes to mind is, how important is this linen to the technique and the second, how will a different linen affect Maria’s designs?

The short answer is you can quite easily use another open weave fabric, however, just be aware that the end result will change depending on the variables you introduce.

It may be the grid in the design is not quite as open, the fabric threads may not be as fine, and the motifs may be smaller or change shape slightly.

Here’s the good news – we do have genuine Bissone 9 threads per cm linen available in our Ready-to-Stitch kits, so if you plan on re-creating this magnificent design exactly as it appears in the magazine, secure your kit today while they are still in stock. Otherwise, we’d love to hear how you go customising the piece based on using an alternative fabric.

Thank you, Maria, for yet another stunning design and for your commitment to keeping regional techniques like Deruta Sfilato part of our modern day embroidery repertoire.

Make Your Own Fiori

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Fiori by Maria Elide Melani is a flower meadow captured on a table mat worked in Deruta Sfilato.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 119

Digital Patterns

Fiori – i119 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Fiori includes everything* you need to re-create this delicate mat: Fabrics (unprinted), crochet hook, embroidery threads and needles.


Fiori – i119 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 magazine/digital pattern.

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