Sturt’s Desert Pea by Denise Mackey

12th May 2023

As a creative pursuit and as stitchers, we are continually refining skills and techniques so we can capture and re-create some of nature’s most unique and glorious creations in the most realistic way possible.

While some aspects of nature are more complex in their design than others, there is a selection of flora and fauna where their creation is nothing short of extravagant brilliance.

For anyone who has ever seen a Sturt’s Desert Pea in real life, we’re sure you will concur that this is a truly remarkable flower.

Piercing the harsh, arid, monotone landscape of the Australian outback, these iridescent, bright red, glossy beacons of life rise up and transform their barren surroundings into a riot of texture and colour.

Who then is brave enough to capture such a wonderous manifest of nature in stitched form?

Denise Mackey has created one of the most stunning reproductions of this native Australian flower in stitch, that we have ever seen.

Her piece ‘Sturt’s Desert Pea’ is presented in all its splendour and beauty for you to enjoy in Inspirations issue #118. It is such a visual masterpiece, to truly understand its technical brilliance you need to study the photographs and read the instructions to take in all that Denise has achieved.

For example, when observing the four main desert pea flowers, you’ll notice that each one has been stitched exquisitely and shaded perfectly in such a way they all look three dimensional.

Now look closer and you’ll notice the edging on the third pea from the left is different to the other three. See the blanket stitch running down each side? This little clue helps you to realise that this pea has been created using stumpwork and is in fact a detached, raised element. It blends in so seamlessly with the surface embroidered peas, the visual illusion is stunning.

Denise then proceeds to repeat this same design brilliance in the centre flower buds and with one of the green pea pods. Again, it’s only really the blanket stitch edging that reveals the stumpwork.

With so many other design nuances and perfectly chosen needlework techniques embedded throughout this piece, it’s an absolute pleasure to stitch every element and when complete, you will have captured your own piece of nature’s extravagant brilliance.

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Sturt’s Desert Pea by Denise Mackey is a striking Australian desert flower featuring stumpwork elements and surface embroidery.

Printed Magazines

Inspirations Issue 118

Digital Patterns

Sturt’s Desert Pea – i118 Digital

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Sturt’s Desert Pea includes everything* you need to re-create this spectacular study: Fabrics (unprinted), wire, sewing thread, embroidery thread, beads and needle.


Sturt’s Desert Pea – i118 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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