Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp
28th June 2019
If a picture says a thousand words, Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp from the book A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII speaks volumes about the sheer pleasure of stitching.
This fabulous design harmoniously combines beautiful, soft colours with bountiful stems of Jacobean flowers and fruit worked in an abundance of patterns and textures.
Approaching the working of this piece is like setting out on a journey with an amiable companion who has done all the planning, leaving you to enjoy the sights and experiences.
It was while travelling that Hazel was inspired to create the gorgeous colour palette for this project – along with the name.
‘We were travelling home from Durban, South Africa in the late afternoon, heading into the sunset. It was winter, a dusty time in our part of the world and sunsets are always more colourful when there is a lot of dust, these were the colours I saw in the sunset.’
Hazel is often inspired by the colourful African landscape. ‘I can’t tell you how often I have got back from a long driving trip and started something the next day using the colours that I looked at for hours and hours during my drive.’
Hazel works her gorgeous selection of colours with interesting combinations of stitches to create a layer of intriguing patterns and shading within the design. A broad outline might be rendered in smooth satin stitch, methodical rows of chain stitch, shaded layers of blanket stitch or ladder stitch filled in with another thread woven across the rungs.
Subtle textures are added with low ridges of chain stitches whipped together, raised chain stitch with threads woven across the rows, curlicues in coral stitch and irresistible tufts of plush Ghiordes knots.
An integral aspect of many of Hazel’s designs that is beautifully showcased in Winter Sunset is her love of needleweaving. She uses it to create patterns to fill motifs, creating snippets of bespoke ‘fabric’.
‘Needleweaving is such fun. It starts off as just a whole lot of straight warp (vertical) stitches but once you get onto the weft (horizontal) stitches, you watch a pattern develop and that is very satisfying. Having modified a lot of these stitches from loom weaving and Fair Isle knitting patterns, I find that, depending on the colours you use and whether you use dark in the warp and light in the weft or the other way around, the same pattern can be done over and over again, but look different each time.’
Four needleweaving patterns are worked in Winter Sunset, each set out in a diagram with notes on how to lay out the colours for the warp and weft threads. As with any stitch that is new to you, it’s a good idea to practise the pattern on a sample piece of fabric to get the feel for even tension and spacing, and to become familiar with the weaving sequence.
The warp threads are laid first and then weaving with weft threads begins at the widest point of the shape. Rows of weaving are added in sequence, with partial rows worked around the edges, and the effect is of a larger piece of woven fabric that has been cut to shape. If this is the first time you are exploring needleweaving, prepare to be hooked – you’ll be looking for more opportunities to use it in your embroidery!
Whether you choose to work methodically around the design or move from one element to another on a whim, dive on in and enjoy every stitching moment. Whether you make a footstool, cushion or wall art from the finished piece, let it speak to your love of needle and thread.
Make Your Own Winter Sunset
Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions
Winter Sunset by Hazel Blomkamp from A Passion for Needlework | Factoria VII features a magical palette of gentle pastels and intricate stitch techniques to create the fascinating surface on this square footstool.
Special Note: Instructions are not included with this kit. Please refer to the book for detailed information on how to create the project.
Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit
The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for Winter Sunset includes everything you need to re-create this fabulous footstool: Fabrics (unprinted), braid, embroidery threads and needles.