Littleleaf Sensitive Briar by Katherine Diuguid

25th August 2023

Over the years flowers have been assigned a range of different character traits. For example, a rose is a symbol of love and romance, a sunflower denotes confidence and joy, and an orchid can convey mystery and intrigue.

We might even refer to ourselves as a certain type of flower, from feeling fresh as a daisy, smelling like a rose or looking pretty as a petal. 

This week we’re hoping to add a new flower to your association repertoire – the Littleleaf Sensitive Briar.

Native to North America, Littleleaf Sensitive Briar is a perennial herb that is part of the legume family and typically grows in dry woodlands and forests.

Its name is derived from the plant’s ability to quickly fold its leaves inward whenever touched or disturbed, thought to provide protection from herbivores or environmental stressors.

The flowers of the Littleleaf Sensitive Briar are pink to lavender in colour, are arranged in small, round spherical clusters and typically appear from late spring to early summer.

Now in case you’ve tuned into All Stitched Up! for the first time, no this is not a gardening newsletter… although if you are into gardening, stick around because botany is a HUGE subject featured in needlework!

Littleleaf Sensitive Briar is in fact USA designer Katherine Diuguid’s debut project for Inspirations magazine, with her beautiful piece featuring in issue #119.

Katherine shared with us how she came to stitch this plant that many of us have never heard of before:

‘While taking a morning walk down my street this spring, I came upon a new roadside plant that just begged to be stitched. The bright, happy, colourful pom-pom-like flowers were dotted with golden bits of pollen. Their foliage of groupings of lots of tiny leaves had my mind off and running with how I could interpret this ground cover plant using stitch.’ 

What a serendipitous discovery Katherine, and we just adore the way you have approached re-creating this delicate plant.

The predominant technique here is surface embroidery with goldwork embellishments, but what amazed us is the finish Katherine has achieved with the use of only three different stitch techniques and eight threads.

All the green leaves are created using detached chain stitch, the stems feature pearl purl couched in place and then there are the spectacular flowers…

Straight stitch is used to create the base of each flower with spokes radiating from the centre, upon which upright spokes are formed using a metal thread that is tubular in construction that you slide your needle through and add a chip to the end to make a stamen.

The raised elements in the design are an extremely effective way to re-create the dynamic pom-pom flowers produced by this plant.

If you’ve never used goldwork before, this is the perfect project to start with as the majority of the piece is formed using basic embroidery stitches with some contemporary goldwork added for effect.

Next time you’re feeling a little fragile you can let people know you’re having a Littleleaf Sensitive Briar day and need to be treated with care lest your leaves start to recoil and close up. And the best remedy for a fragile day? Stitching your own Littleleaf Sensitive Briar of course!

Make Your Own Littleleaf Sensitive Briar

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Littleleaf Sensitive Briar by Katherine Diuguid is a botanical stem with a selection of goldwork techniques to enhance the foliage and flowers.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 119

Digital Patterns

Littleleaf Sensitive Briar – i119 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Littleleaf Sensitive Briar includes everything* you need to re-create this delicate beauty: Fabric (unprinted), embroidery threads and needles.


Littleleaf Sensitive Briar – 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.

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top