Tuesday, October 8, 2013

Stumpwork Update

I played truant today from non-essential things and carried on with my mirror - I was struck by creating mania. Obviously my little pause this summer worked wonders!  And I wanted to thank you all for such lovely comments, they really make the needle fly!

I worked on the relief, or 3D aspect, which is a bit naughty, as I should finish the flat stitches first, but stumpwork is just such fun!  You can really tell that they hd a great time creating fantastic pictures.  I have chosen to use non faded colours, the colours that the original mirrors were decorated in, and I think it really shows just how bright and colourful the originals must have been.

If I turn the embroidery on the side slightly you can see the relief-work more easily

I love the fantastical flowers and birds

The little yellow butterfly which is completely out of scale, ust like the originals

And how do you like them apples!

A very dainty lady has a needle lace ruff and flounces on her skirt

It's coming together surprisingly quickly, but I have to get back to boring daily tasks tomorrow....  Sometimes I wish I were a 17th century lady with servants and leisure time to sit and sew for hours!



  1. Love your embroidery, it's so delicate, but also very colourful. I just wondered, what thread you use and have you done this in 1:1 size before starting on miniatures? It looks a lot harder than cross stitch and petit point...

  2. Thank you so much Idske - originlly stumpwork was really vibrant, which mkes it such fun to do, I can raid my silk thread box with abandon!

    I only use Piper's silk floss thread, and I pretty much always sew on pure silk. There is nothing compared to that in quality and ease of sewing.

    I have sewn for....oooooh, nearly 30 years now, and although I rarely do full scale embroidery now, I have had years of practice in a range of techniques. The only thing I can't quite seem to do is crochet and tatting, which is frustrating!

    It is difficult to say if surface embroidery is 'harder' than petit point... I would say that it is, as you have to know your stitches before starting, and choosing which stitch to use can totally change a design. I'd put sewing techniques like this:

    Petit point is like typing, the stitch 'destination' is amready decided on, so the skill is in the neatness and quickness of the work.

    Crewel and surface embroidery is like handwriting, the form and practice of the letters is important

    Goldwork, whitework and needlelaces are calligraphy

    stumpwork is like the Illuminated manuscript!

    But this is only my humble opinion, and petit point can be absolutely fantastic to do!


    1. Thanks Jonquil, I feel a book hunt for a book on crewel and surface embroidery are on my near future research path!

  3. t is just gorgeous. I love 'them apples' too. ;-)

    1. Don't they just jump off the tree at you? Very tempting, and the right time of year too!

  4. I absolutely love it and I was going to ask the same question as Idske and like her I feel a book hunt coming on. Your mini stumpwork is really inspiring, do you use anything like fabric or something to raise the figures or is it just thread?

    Glad you are having fun!

    1. Hi Elga,

      I don't use traditional padding, because that would add too much bulk, but I do build up my stitches and oversew to give depth. I use wire for the more 3D forms, like the butterfly, and I also use synthetic horse hair for button holing.

      It would be near impossible to reproduce all the stumpwork techniques in miniature while keeping the figures delicate and in scale, but I am trying it!

      Currently on the look out for tools that I can use, but might have to get them made as nothing I have found online is small enough.

      As for books, I like stitch dictionaries, as they leave a lot to the imagination, and nothing beats Mary Thomas.... I have a lovely edition from the thirties with cute little illustrations.

  5. Oh Jonquil, your work is fantastic and yes, I would like to bite in one of those fresh blushing apples ;)! I have noticed in summer there were a lot of bloggers on holiday, but also people who have lost their miniature Mojo, so you were not the only one ;)! And for this week I also would love to have some servants too :D!!
    Hugs, Ilona

    1. Just for this week? I would like them for longer, but I know I would end up feeling bad and help them tidy up and clean!

      I hope my mojo is back, as Fi says, I think a break can really help to recharge the battery and focus on things. And of course, winning a great giveaway, well, that REALLY helped ;)

  6. Wow!!!! I am so in AWE of your needlework!!! To do these complicated stitches in Tiny miniature scale is just Breathtaking!!! I LOVE the close-up pictures you have taken to show the details! This work is SO Inspiring!!! I too wish I were a 17th c. Lady with Embroidery to do!!! I will have to work on my mini curtains now....!!! :)

  7. How on Earth do you do that, Jonquil? I've never seen such detail in such a small work. Especially the Lady and gentleman --simply incredible. I'm glad you had such a pleasant and productive day playing Lady of the Manor.

  8. Hello Jonquil! I would like to comment on your reply to Idske, and only to say that your explanation of the different personalities of the embroideries is wonderful! I am envious of your exceptional skills. This Stumpwork looks like you are really having fun; it certainly makes Me smile!


  9. Ohh Jonquil this is stunning! And in 3D as well!
    I have several books already on the subject and have taken numerous photos at museums (the V&A has some fantastic works) to use as reference. But I first have to start at the basic stitching. Your work is very inspiring though, I absolutely love it!!! Makes me happy just looking at it.

  10. The 3d effect is very cool, and I love the pattern! Hannah

  11. Hi Jonquil, Very nice work would love to try to do some soon. I left the following message on my post for you.

    Dear Jonquil, The tool is not a jigsaw but a vibrating blade tool. I have found it to be very useful and forgiving. The photo indicates the tool and the blades I used. They are available in many different widths.

    I have added a photo to the bottom of the "Starting Small" post.

    I use a Dremel brand but there are many manufacturers producing the same tool and attachments.
    Masking tape helps to protect the surface as you cut, better placed on both sides.
    Hope this helps.
    Regards Bruce

  12. Very beautiful and delicate stitching, Jonquil! The little cute butterfly is my favorite! Mini hugs, Natalia

  13. Hello Jonquil,
    As always, your embroidery work takes my breath away. It is so beautiful. Bravo my friend! Your talent delights and amazes me every time.
    Big hug,