Grapevine & Ladybird by Jane Nicholas
3rd November 2023
Imagine a world where a grape was the size of a Mill Hill seed bead, a vine leaf the size of your thumb nail and a ladybird… well, the size of an actual ladybird!
This is the miniature world Jane Nicholas has fashioned into being using her needle and thread and her trademark meticulous precision.
Grapevine & Ladybird, inspired by a traditional Japanese mon or family emblem, is Jane’s delightful contribution to Inspirations issue #120.
Everything about this piece has been perfectly formed in miniature scale, centred around four delicious, bountiful bunches of grapes growing amongst luscious green vines.
This design has an alluring quality that draws you in… beckoning you to look closer and study all the wonderous details that await.
From a distance the shimmering gold lattice frames the design perfectly and provides a regal structure for the grapevine to cling to, as its tendrils explore outwards.
In the bottom right corner you can see the little ladybird approaching with almost palpable enthusiasm as it eyes off the luscious leaves in the hope of finding a feast of aphids.
Now let’s examine the details to try and deconstruct some of Jane’s needlework mastery!
Firstly, we can see there is genius in the order. Jane has created multiple planes of dimension here by being very considered when it comes to the order in which things are stitched.
The circular border is the first element to be worked, couching a double row of gold metal thread. Next, two of the grapevine leaves are added using surface embroidery. Now back to the gold metal thread to lay the lattice with the horizontal lines stitched first then the verticals alternating over and under at each intersection.
The stems for the vines and their tendrils are worked and once in place, the clusters of seed beads are added to the ends to form bunches of grapes.
Even the names of the seed bead colours Jane has selected for the grapes somehow play a role in the playful nature of this piece… garnet, frosted garnet and frosted boysenberry.
The final steps are to add the lush green leaves, worked as separate detached elements, onto the vines then once the ladybird’s padded body has been formed and her legs and antennae stitched, her wings can be placed on top to complete the scene.
A perfect blend of surface, stumpwork and goldwork embroidery, Grapevine & Ladybird is one of those projects where every element is a joy to stitch and the end result a joy to behold.
Make Your Own Grapevine & Ladybird
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Grapevine & Ladybird by Jane Nicholas is a golden trellis that supporting a stumpwork vine with beaded fruit and a visiting ladybird.
Inspirations Issue 120
Grapevine & Ladybird – i120 Digital
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Grapevine & Ladybird includes everything* you need to re-create this delightful study: Fabrics (unprinted), wires, tissue paper, embroidery threads, beads and needles.
*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.