Rare Bloom by Hazel Blomkamp

10th March 2023

You know that feeling when you purchase something new and you can’t wait to try it out? It might be a kitchen appliance, a sewing machine, a new piece of technology or maybe even a sports car – you’re just itching to take it through its paces and find out what it’s capable of.

This may seem like a strange analogy to describe this week’s feature project ‘Rare Bloom’ but stay with us and we’ll explain what we mean…

First, some facts:

Publication: Inspirations magazine issue #117

Designer: Hazel Blomkamp from South Africa

Project Name: Rare Bloom

Project Type: Framed Embroidery

Technique: Needle Lace & Surface Embroidery

Fabric: Cotton/Linen Blend

Design Transfer Required: Yes

Threads: Stranded Cotton, Perlé Cotton & Seed Beads

Dimensions: Finished design 11cm x 13cm wide (4½” x 5”)  

The floral design for Rare Bloom borrows its DNA from Jacobean style needlework, meaning it’s a fantasy flower. So, for the avid gardeners among us, no you’re not about to discover an exotic new species of flower, but while you can’t plant one of these beauties, you sure can stitch one.

Hazel Blomkamp’s designs are renowned as a stitcher’s delight. She gifts us with striking designs that are first and foremost works of art in their own right, and then Hazel sets about jamming in every kind of needlework pleasure and stitching surprise you can think of.

It’s the stitching equivalent of eating popping candy!

Think of Rare Bloom as an exercise in creating a stitching sampler that focuses on filling stitches utilising two types of needlelace, two styles of surface embroidery and a weaving technique for a total of 22 different stitches in all.

Learning just the nuances associated with the needlelace filling is fascinating. Rare Bloom uses two different patterns that are both worked using detached blanket stitch, yet the outcome is completely different based on the pattern you work up. 

L – Needlelace Filling 1 R – Needlelace Filling 2

Within the surface embroidery category we have trellis with cross stitch couching, which creates dense geometric patterns, and then there are padded elements that are worked with satin stitch.

Trellis with Cross Stitch Couching

Then, to top it all off, we have what may be the most exciting element of the project, the outer centre of the main flower.

Look closely and you’ll see a huge array of different stitches worked in a playful variegated stranded cotton and here Hazel unleashes all her needlework creativity.

Random freestyle stitching abounds with three-petal detached chain buds, nine-petal detached chain flowers, trellis couching, partial blanket stitch pinwheels, eyelet variation, sheaf stitch, single raised chain stitch and single weaving. 

All this punctuated with French knots to soften the effect and fill the small spaces. And just a reminder… this is all in just one section of the piece! 

Now… we want you to imagine that your needle and thread is just like that new purchase we mentioned at the beginning of this article. It’s a brand-new piece of equipment that you can’t wait to put through its paces to see what it’s capable of.

Rare Bloom is the perfect project for such an application. If you ever wanted to know just what your needle and thread was technically capable of… ladies and gentlemen, we present Rare Bloom.

Make Your Own Rare Bloom

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Rare Bloom by Hazel Blomkamp is a spectacular flower, filled with an array of stitches and techniques.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 117

Digital Patterns

Rare Bloom – i117 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Rare Bloom includes everything* you need to re-create this ornate flower: Fabrics (inc. with pre-printed design), wool felt, wadding, cardboard, sewing thread, embroidery threads, beads and needle.


Rare Bloom – i117 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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