The Hedgerow by Kay Dennis
3rd September 2021
The last time we featured a project by Kay Dennis, you will recall her stunningly unique Robin Hood – an incredible stumpwork figure that appeared in Inspirations issue #106. Kay’s skills at stumpwork are well known and she’s been designing challenging and fascinating pieces for many years. Her latest project, The Hedgerow from Inspirations issue #111, fits neatly in with her oeuvre and provides a gorgeous addition to her stumpwork collection.
As we were admiring this piece, with its clever combination of raised and surface elements, we started getting curious about all the slips that make this piece so striking.
Slips are a fundamental part of stumpwork embroidery, but it is such a curious name we just had to do some research.
It seems that the term ‘slip’ is actually derived from horticulture. As passionate gardeners will probably already know, the term describes the cutting of a plant used for grafting. Its adoption into the world of needlework makes perfect sense, as a slip is a small piece of embroidery, worked separately from the main project, then cut out and attached. It is kind of like grafting for needlework!
Traditionally, the embroidered slip represented a part of a plant, usually flowers, fruit or leaves on a stem. Now, the term has become synonymous with any element cut out and then attached to give the three-dimensional effect. This includes wings of insects, clothing or accessories for figures and, of course, leaves, petals and flowers.
The Hedgerow marks Kay’s embrace of the traditional form of embroidered slip. The project is a cornucopia of foliage and flowers, bunched together to create a realistic and elegant spray that bursts out of the fabric. There are a range of stitches, textures and techniques used including a subtle inclusion of beads to add a bit of sparkle to the whole project.
The entire piece is then set off by the brilliant blue butterfly that appears to flutter down from the top of the aperture, mesmerised by the bright flowers and plump berries below.
Almost every element in The Hedgerow requires you to create separate slips and attach them afterwards. This means you’ll be working with wire to provide structure, allowing you to shape the petals and leaves afterwards so that they look completely realistic.
When it’s time to cut the slips out, each piece has a firm blanket stitch edge that allows you to tuck the blades of your sharp scissors beneath, so that each one comes out neatly. It is important to try not to leave ‘fluffy’ edges as they can be difficult to cut away afterwards, so close, careful snipping is key.
Whether you’re working the needlelace berry flowers or the long and short stitch on the briar rose petals, this project is guaranteed to bring you pleasure. It really is a magnificent design that captures the beauty of nature and preserves it in all its colourful glory. If ever there was a project that lends itself to stumpwork and liberal use of traditional slips, The Hedgerow is it.
Make Your Own | The Hedgerow
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
The Hedgerow by Kay Dennis is a delightful stumpwork panel of hedgerow fruits and flowers, visited by a delicate butterfly and ladybird.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for The Hedgerow includes everything* you need to re-create this delightful study: Fabrics (unprinted), wool felt, wires, adhesive film, embroidery threads, beads and needles.
*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.