Red Currants by Julie Kniedl
25th January 2019
There’s something about red berries. Luscious globes of sweet, tart fruit that herald celebration, especially in Australia where summer coincides with the festive season and we are able to tumble handfuls of berries over clouds of whipped cream atop a Christmas pavlova! Berries are prized for their flavor, their nutrition and their eye-catching, jewel-like beauty.
With ‘Red Currants’, the stunning three-dimensional berries by Julie Kniedl from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII, we can enjoy this beauty in any season of year.
As an irresistible side note, do you remember Jennifer Paterson? She burst onto our TV screens in 1995 on a motorbike with Clarissa Dickson-Wright in the sidecar as the cooking duo Two Fat Ladies. They drove to various locations in the UK and set about cooking something with lots of butter or cream in the host kitchen using whatever dishes and tools were at hand.
Jennifer Paterson & Clarissa Dickson Wright | Two Fat Ladies TV Series (Picture: PA)
They’d have great fun cooking in their own, unhurried way. They’d down tools to wander about the locality while collecting local produce. Oh, and in one episode, Jennifer made some berry-topped tartlets. When adding red currants, she said, “I think they are the most ravishing of fruits!”
Julie’s red currants certainly look ravishing and making your own spectacular stem of berries is going to be one of those pleasurable embroidery experiences where simplicity is sublime.
This can be something you do over time – unhurried. Easy to follow techniques and the small size of the elements makes it a perfect project to work on while having fun in the company of fellow embroiderers or take it along to wrap a bead here or there while waiting for those things we all wait for during the year. Alternatively, take this project outside to work on in the garden, or stay in and settle down for some ‘Stitchflix’ with a cup of tea. ‘Stitchflix’? Yep – stitching while you stream shows on…any digital TV service.
Making the leaves and berries will be familiar to those who love stumpwork. Each leaf is edged with beading wire, leaving wire tails for the stem. Blanket stitch is worked over the wire outline, the leaf filled with long and short stitch and the veins defined with a combination of fly stitch, stem stitch and straight stitch. To finish, the wires of the stem are wrapped. The beads are wrapped and the little brown tufts cleverly added at one end. A wire stem is secured within the bead. When the berries are ready, the racemes are assembled with a wrapping process that forms a gradually thickening stem, creating a very natural look.
Think of the assembly process a little like a florist putting together a bouquet.
You begin with one berry and start to wrap the stem, then bring in another berry and wrap around both stems, add in another berry, and so on. Our diagram artist Susan O’Connor has developed some ingenious schematic-style diagrams for a visual guide to the assembly of each raceme of berries.
It must be time to talk about the wooden stem! We’re sure you’ve noticed the stem. Julie’s combination of a natural wooden stem with fine wool threads for the berries, leaves and wrapped green stems is as stunning as it is harmonious. And this is where downing tools and wandering about comes in.
Keep an eye out on walks or in your garden for wooden stems to use. A stem from pruning would be ideal, but make sure it has dried before use. Julie’s stem is 18.5cm (7 ¼”) long and has four junctions, but as in nature, every stem will be unique. Follow the instructions and refer to the close-up photos for drilling the holes needed to insert the wrapped stems of the berry racemes and leaves. A clear, fast-drying glue will ensure the ends of the wrapped stems are held securely inside the drilled holes.
Enjoy arranging your leaves and berries and find a special place to display your new three-dimensional masterpiece. And, please, do send us a photo of your finished piece!
Make Your Own Red Currants
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Red Currants by Julie Kniedl is a spectacular stem of luscious three-dimensional berries and leaves worked with fine, wool threads.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Red Currants includes everything you need to re-create this spectacular piece: Fabric (unprinted), wire, beads, embroidery threads and needles.
Looking for More Julie Kniedl?
Copies of our brand-new book celebrating the incredible talent and legacy of Julie Kniedl are now available.
Botanica | The Three-Dimensional Embroidery of Julie Kniedl teaches you step by step how to re-create nature using your needle and thread with such realism, the art and the original are almost identical.