Grapes & Cherries by Julie Kniedl
16th August 2019
One of the pleasures of eating from a bunch of grapes or cluster of cherries is that, after plucking one, there’s more to go back for.
They give you that delightful sense of bounty.
For centuries needle artisans have been beautifully rendering grapes and cherries in all forms of needlework, from textured crewel embroidery to lustrous threadpainting where dimension is cleverly created with light and dark shades.
They are also a perfect subject for three-dimensional embroidery, and you will find a fabulous bunch of white grapes and cluster of red cherries by Julie Kniedl in the book Botanica.
If you’ve been following our journey through this book, you will be familiar with the handful of techniques used by Julie to meet the challenges of realistically depicting a flower, fruit and leaves.
One of our favourite aspects of Julie’s work is the fact she not only creates the fruits and flowers themselves, but also includes the stems and leaves they’ve been growing on into her design, thereby heightening the realism and giving the impression the piece has just been freshly cut.
When you hold the piece in your hand and view from any angle, it’s incredible just how real it looks.
The attention given to working each detail means that, even if held upside down, the piece remains delightfully naturalistic, from stem to tip.
The bunch of grapes is made up of seven fruits, two tendrils, a leaf and stem. What’s beneath the thread? Wires, stuffed felt shapes and cotton fabric. The leaf is a large, wired slip, filled with long and short stitch using lightly variegated, fine wool thread.
The veins are added over the surface with stem stitch and the stem wires are wrapped with thread. The stitching for the grapes is worked over stuffed felt shapes made in three sizes for natural variation in the bunch.
We’ve included a step-by-step guide showing the process of making the filled felt foundation. Wrapped wire, secured in one end of each grape, forms the fine stems of the fruits, which are bound in place when the main stem wire is wrapped, along with the tendrils and leaf.
The tendrils are also wrapped wires, with the finishing touch being shaping these around a fine stick, such as a knitting needle or satay stick. Each element can be gently adjusted to a pleasing arrangement, thanks to the wire stems, and the fruits will hold their shape thanks to the stuffed felt foundations.
The cherry leaf and fruits are made in a similar manner using different thread colours and leaf shape. When it comes to the branch for the cherry cluster, however, we see an exciting development in Julie’s method of connecting embroidery with nature: the use of a real branch.
Any small branch you find should work, and a piece from garden pruning is ideal, particularly if given time to dry out. Cut a section to size – Julie’s cherry branch is 3.5cm (1 3/8”) long – and wash to remove any dirt or loose bark.
When dry, seal with a gloss sealer, following the manufacturer’s instructions. A 3mm (1/8”) hole needs to be drilled straight through the branch for inserting the cherry stems. Each wire stem passes through the hole, with a cherry secured at each end, and brown thread wrapping imitates the natural join between cherry stems and branch.
Through incorporating real branches into her pieces, Julie took her three-dimensional botanical embroidery to another, breathtaking level. We hope you are as excited to try this as we were when we first saw Julie’s stunning original. It really is a fantastic way of melding stitched art with nature.
Make Your Own Grapes & Cherries
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kits
A bunch of fresh, green grapes, complete with a grape leaf by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Grapes includes everything you need to re-create these luscious grapes: Fabric (unprinted), wool felt, wires, embroidery threads and needles.
Four luscious red cherries with a bright green leaf by Julie Kniedl from Botanica.
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Cherries includes everything you need to re-create these plump cherries: Fabric (unprinted), wool felt, wires, embroidery threads and needles.
Please Note: Instructions are not included in our kits. Refer to the book ‘Botanica’ for detailed information on how to create the projects.