What Are You Stitching?

31st March 2023

Inspired by the flowers in Margaret Light’s new book, A Fine Tradition 2, this week’s What Are You Stitching? showcases projects that feature the most beautiful blooms.

Carolyn Standing Webb

‘Several of us have been meeting and learning about embroidery in general but specifically about sweet bags. I was inspired to create this 5-sided bag by the wonderful historical examples that we studied.’

‘I used flowers that were grown and embroidered in that time period. The sides feature a daisy and pea pods, rose and pear, cornflower and strawberries, poppy and acorns, and daffodil and pomegranate.’

‘Although the shape is different, it was a fun project and I was able to use many of the techniques that I have seen in Inspirations magazine.’

What a fantastic way to continue the learning curve, Carolyn. You’ve done a spectacular job with not only with the design and construction but your stitching is truly exquisite. Your project looks like it just stepped off the page of Inspirations magazine, so well done!

Anne Mann

‘A year and a half ago, I discovered Jane Nicholas’s beautiful book, ‘Stumpwork Butterflies and Moths’. I was just stunned. Here was a way to combine my interests of embroidery, gardening, and nature study. As my children were growing up, they introduced me to the small world of insects and now that they are adults, I am still fascinated by insects and their life cycles.’

‘Inspired by Jane’s butterflies and host plants captured in stumpwork, I made a list of the butterflies that I see in my own garden here in Maryland, USA. I collected dogwood leaves, flowers and berries and sketched out my first butterfly embroidery plan.’ 

‘After a year and a half and many discoveries and mistakes later, (I believe the butterfly’s hind wings are backwards in my embroidery!), I have completed my first study. I plan to make one per year until I have ten. Hopefully, I will be able to accomplish that goal. I took many long breaks as I worked on this, as I had to keep putting it off, as life, particularly work, got in the way.’

‘I have sketched out my next butterfly and host plant study – it will be Monarch and Milkweed. I have taken many photos this year of the Monarchs and Milkweeds in all of their stages. I drew the sketch on my fabric (I am using a double-thickness of a cotton bedsheet for all 10 studies), chose my threads and am ready to begin stitching.

Thank you, Jane Nicholas, and Inspirations Studios, and all the wonderful stitchers out there in the world sharing your beautiful work.’ 

Anne, what a creative journey! We are thrilled that you have found a way to combine your love for embroidery and nature together and create this gorgeous project. You’ve set a wonderful challenge for yourself and we hope to see all 10 studies one day. As a regular reader of this newsletter herself, Jane will be so thrilled to see all you have accomplished.  

Robyn Tate

‘I want to share my frangipani and Ulysses butterfly. This is the third 50th birthday present I’ve made for my children, this one being for my daughter in law, Lara.’

‘I designed the frangipani myself and borrowed Ulysses in ‘Papillon’ from Inspirations issue #26. I had to Google frangipani flowers because I haven’t seen a real one. When I go to Queensland it’s always winter and the trees are bare. 

I used Hazel Blomkamp’s method for the detached petals (apart from a couple) as it seemed to give a softer finish. I hope Lara likes it, it was terrifying designing it myself.’

You have plied your time and talent and created a marvellous piece, Robyn. We love that you challenged yourself with a flower you had never seen up close! We’re sure your thoughtful gift will be treasured for many years to come and isn’t it amazing how a process that seemed so terrifying, once conquered yields such a wonderful result.

Have you stitched a sweet bag? Do you like stitching natural studies? Or do you stitch any objects you’ve never actually seen in real life before? 

Whatever you are stitching, we’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com 

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