Mary Corbet

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I learned to embroider when I was a kid, when everyone was really into cross stitch (remember the '80s?). Eventually, I migrated to surface embroidery, teaching myself with whatever I could get my hands on...read more

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Free Pattern for Hand Embroidery or Goldwork: Stylized Pomegranate


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The other day, I posted links to an online needlework book on church embroidery. In the book, there are some nice embroidery patterns, but they aren’t very clear and they require some adjusting if you want to use them for your own embroidery patterns. One in particular struck my fancy, so I cleaned it up and here it is…

In the book, Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern, this particular embroidery design is shown as a sample showing how to frame up a piece. It’s on page 125 of the actual book (plate 18) and 178 of the PDF.

In looking at the original drawing, the piece looks as if it is worked in silk shading (on the leaves) and goldwork on the undersides of the leaves, outlining the leaves, and on the main body of what appears to be a stylized pomegranate-type design. I don’t know what else to call these types of designs – I’ve seen them listed under pomegranates in different books of design, such as 4000 Flower & Plant Motifs: A Sourcebook by Graham McCallum. If you happen to know if designs like this have a particular technical name, please let me know!

If you click on the design below, you’ll get a larger version. I’ve also included below a PDF link for those who are interested in a PDF version of this pattern.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern for Embroidery or Goldwork: Stylized Pomegranate

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern for Surface Embroidery or Goldwork: Stylized Pomegranate (PDF)

Truth is, I really like this little design. I’m itching to start another project, and I think this would be a fun way to combine goldwork with a tiny bit of silk shading here and there. In fact, it could just be a fun goldwork design, without any silk shading… better yet, it would work well in goldwork with some of the couching done in colored silks. Oooooh – the possibilities!

We’ll see if this one works into my list of “smaller” projects for this year! In the meantime, if you can find a use for the pattern, I hope you really enjoy it!

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(7) Comments

  1. Hi Mary,

    My first thought (apart from what a beautiful design) is that it looks like an artichoke to me. It reminded me very much of one of Anna Scott’s designs (after William Morris) in Inspirations 44.

    I’ve looked everywhere for an online photo, and below is the best I can do:
    Go to: http://www.ericas.com/embroidery/magazines/inspirations.htm
    Scroll down to find Issue 44, then click on the cover and it will take you to a view of the contents page. There are 8 small previews of the projects from that article, and the blackish one, second from the bottom on the right, is Anna’s Artichoke design.


  2. Thanks, Yvette! It does look like the same shape, doesn’t it? I think I have that issue… I’ll look at it more closely on the pattern page.

    I don’t know if artichokes have a place in ecclesiastical needlework, though. The pomegranate is used widely in church symbolism, after Easter (or Pentecost). Stylized, they have these little flourish things on the sides (which I don’t quite understand, as far as pomegranates go) and some sort of crown-ish tip. The “flowers” in the stole I did (that are also featured in my header) are considered pomegranates, too. They are William Morris like, too, and to tell you the truth, I’d be more inclined to call them “flowers” or some other leafy, flowery, thingamabob, rather than a pomegranate or an artichoke!

    I was thinking, to pull out more of the pomegranate look, gold passing couched with red in a kind of basket-weave in the center might be an interesting approach, with the sides worked in gold passing, too, only couched more closely in a darker red to give the effect of the skin….

    In any case, I do believe I am going to play a bit with this design and maybe work something up! I’m going to get rid of the little arm things sticking up on each side towards the top, though. They remind me of Lowly Worm!

  3. Sounds good, Mary! How would burden stitch with purl chips over strands of red silk look for the seeds in the center?
    I like fatter pomegranates (like the last one you worked) myself, but this one is beautiful in a different way.

  4. Hi Mary!

    Endless possibilities yes. Thought you’d get a kick to know Im combining this pattern with a border pattern and using the ideas you gave about whipped chain stitches in your stitch play series! Along with a little satin and shading long short filling. Thinking Ill sew the linen into a little bag and have the embroidery as the front. Or maybe a bookmark hmmm.
    Anyways Im off to read more of youre amazing articles and howtos for more ideas. I literally just started embroidering a couple of weeks ago and you have been a godsend! So far with your help Ive started and finished two christmas gifts (which are the very first two of my embroidery pieces ever lol). Last project I learned six stitches from you : ). Ty for this wonderful website, it is pure delight!!! You are wonderful for sharing so much

    1. Wow, Thanks for your note, Veronica! I’m so glad you find Needle ‘n Thread so helpful! And it sounds like you’re really enjoying embroidery, so that is Wonderful! Isn’t it fun?! ~MC

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