Natural Wonder by Maria Rita Faleri
6th August 2021
When we first introduced the beautifully named Catherine de’ Medici stitch in Inspirations issue #107, we were taken aback by how popular it was. Maria Rita Faleri of Italy designed a project entitled Caterina; a lovely table mat that introduced stitchers to this traditional counted technique.
With the release of Inspirations issue #111 we are thrilled to bring you the next step in the journey to master this particular style of embroidery with Maria’s new project Natural Wonder.
Maria Rita Faleri is originally from Fermo, a small city in the Marche region of central Italy. She had always loved embroidery and lace making, spending all of her free time, in between working and bringing up a family, studying and perfecting some of the traditional techniques from her local area.
Around 20 years ago, Maria decided to make a career of her passion. She was particularly fond of the different kinds of counted embroidery that featured in many Italian textiles.
Over the past decades, she has devoted her life to mastering them and then setting up a school to teach others. Maria has also written prodigiously, producing a number of books and manuals specifically focusing on lace making, tassel making, and such needlework styles as punto antico, Assisi embroidery, Deruta embroidery and Catherine de’ Medici stitch.
Catherine de’ Medici Stitch
It is this latter stitch that features in Natural Wonder, a beautifully rustic cushion worked entirely in this fascinating stitch. Catherine de’ Medici stitch is a form of double running stitch that requires a very particular path in order to achieve the effect. Stitchers were first instructed how to do the technique in Inspirations issue #107.
Natural Wonder allows you to take your skills one step further with the pattern following a more complex path to achieve the lacy effect.
Natural Wonder is worked on the same coarse natural linen as the project Caterina, but this time it features a series of stylised birds in a gorgeous geometric shape. The cushion is edged in a delicate blanket stitch with a picot detail. Each corner of the cushion is adorned with one of Maria’s characteristic handmade tassels that set the entire piece off beautifully.
Although Catherine de’ Medici stitch is deceptively simple, in order to achieve an even finish without the open weave linen distorting, the path direction needs to be followed carefully and tension is very important.
However, once you get used to it, working this particular technique is both meditative and satisfying and you get the pleasure of watching your design appear as if by magic during your return journey.
Included in issue #111 are our usual detailed, step by step instructions so even if you haven’t worked the earlier project, you won’t have any difficulty in picking up the skills. When complete, Natural Wonder will form the focal point of any chair, sofa or even a bed.
One of the beautiful things about needlework is the seemingly endless number of techniques to try out and master. What could be better than discovering something new and giving it a go? The satisfaction that comes from succeeding with something like Catherine de’ Medici stitch is immense.
We are so grateful to designers like Maria who have devoted their lives to preserving and passing on traditional embroidery techniques. If it’s time to add something new to your repertoire, Natural Wonder most definitely fits the bill.
Make Your Own Natural Wonder
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Natural Wonder by Maria Rita Faleri is a Catherine de’ Medici cushion cover featuring enchanting bird motifs and finished with hand-knotted tassels.
Inspirations Issue 111
Natural Wonder – i111 Digital
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Natural Wonder includes everything* you need to re-create this stunning cushion cover: Fabric (unprinted), sewing thread and needle.
*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. Kit does not include cushion insert.