Reflection by Hazel Blomkamp

20th January 2023

If someone asks what you enjoy about needlework, perhaps the best response is to quote Elizabeth Barrett Browning’s poem ‘Sonnets from the Portuguese’ and simply tell them:

How do I love thee?
Let me count the ways.
I love thee to the depth and breadth and height
My soul can reach

Needlework is a lot of different things to a lot of people such is its depth, breadth and height of techniques, materials, designs and social intricacies.

Put another way, you can’t pigeonhole or summarise the totality of what stitching means to someone easily, there are layers and layers of reasons as to why it resonates with each of us. And make no mistake, these resonances are indeed profound.

To help wrap some specifics around this ethereal thought, Hazel Blomkamp’s project ‘Reflection’ from A Passion for Needlework 4 | The Whitehouse Daylesford is a good place to start.

Before we begin, let’s first set the scene. Elizabeth’s poem came to mind when we asked ourselves the question, what makes Reflection a Passion for Needlework project?

Projects selected for our Passion for Needlework books are typically more sophisticated, more involved and more complex than those in some of our other publications. 

The Passion for Needlework series seeks to elevate the status of embroidery to the highest standard possible in every way, including design, technique and presentation.

This being the case, what makes Reflection a cut above any other cushion with a Jacobean motif? By answering this question, we begin to reveal some of the layers that add to the depth, breath and height of a love for needlework. 

Upon first glance, Reflection features a gorgeous symmetrical design borrowed from the style of Jacobean imagining – a fantasy world of flora. Beautifully balanced and elegantly formed, the design sits atop a dark green and ecru striped cotton base, constructed into a formal cushion finished off with coordinated green piping.

If found for sale in a high street design house or a boutique homewares store, all would agree this cushion makes a striking and purposeful addition to any lifestyle environment.

To the novice there is a certain ‘je ne sais quoi’ that one can’t quite put their finger on. To a discerning stitcher, the secret magic of this piece is all in the details.

Hazel Blomkamp is famous for many reasons. For the purpose of this article, we’re going to focus on just one of her many claims to fame – the level of detail she brings to her needlework.

Having the vast repertoire of technique and experience that Hazel does, there is an innate ability to see an individual shape or form within a design, and craft it into an exquisite standalone element. 

When you then proceed to assemble one exquisite element after another exquisite element, the totality of the design far exceeds the sum of its parts. Yet each part still remains its own work of art.

For example, look closely at how Hazel has chosen to fill the petals of the Dusky Rose Flowers. She starts with a base of long and short stitch and then layers up to feature trellis couching and whipped back stitch edging, punctuated with evenly spaced French knots.

Now consider the green leaves that Hazel has filled with trellis and cross stitch couching. How about the blue flower sprays? Here Hazel has used weaving to achieve the chequerboard affect that is quite an uncommon stitch yet achieves such a wonderful result.

All in all, this design benefits from over 20 different stitches capped off with carefully placed Miyuki glass beads throughout to add yet another layer of class and elegance.

Then there is the fact Hazel has stitched a Jacobean design in stranded cotton instead of the traditional approach of 2-ply wool.

Yet another small detail that speaks to the overall sophistication in Hazel’s decision making, the results of which yield a more precise finish with greater definition.

Just like one of those hop-on, hop-off tourist buses, Reflection by Hazel Blomkamp can be enjoyed by getting off at each stop and relishing all of her different techniques. Or you can stay on the bus and only get off at the stops that interest you and vary the design yourself to make it as straight forward or complex as you are comfortable with.

Both a gorgeous cushion to admire and the needlework adventure of a lifetime, Reflection is a great example of how once you start peeling back the layers to needlework, there is no end to its many wonders.

How do I love needlework?
Let me count the ways.

Make Your Own Reflection

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Reflection by Hazel Blomkamp is a sophisticated cushion with stitch combinations enhanced with beading.

Printed Books

A Passion for Needlework 4 | The Whitehouse Daylesford

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Reflection includes everything* you need to re-create this beautiful cushion: Fabrics (inc. with pre-printed design), piping, zip, sewing threads, embroidery threads, beads and needles.


Reflection – APFN4 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 book.

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