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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Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork – Book Review


Amazon Books

Ribbon embroidery and stumpwork may not be your idea of “beginner’s” embroidery, and, in some cases, I would say it really isn’t. But this fantastic book by Di van Niekerk – Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork – makes both ribbon embroidery and stumpwork accessible even to the newbie.

(Update, 2022: There’s a newer edition of this book available. The photos reflect the new edition.)

Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork

Ribbon embroidery in itself isn’t too difficult. If you know your basic stitches, then you can apply them to embroidery with ribbon almost as easily as with thread.

But if you want to go beyond the average daisy or rose, then you’ll want to have a good guide to show you how. Di van Niekerk is just such a guide. The book Ribbon Embroidery and Stumpwork not only makes the journey from simple ribbon stitching to complex, full-textured stumpwork and ribbon easy, but it also makes it fun.

This book is beautiful – anyone, whether an embroiderer or not, would be enchanted just flipping through it.

The flowers and plant life are realistic and charming!

Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork

The author takes the stitcher step-by-step through creating 12 different “panels” or motifs in stumpwork and ribbon. Each panel is made up of a small collage of flowers or fruit or greenery, sometimes accentuated with an insect or bird. The little panels can be worked in one lattice-like composite (gorgeous!) or separately.

The author also takes the stitcher through all the basic stitches. There’s a colorful and clear stitch glossary in the middle of the book.

Besides covering the embroidery aspect, you’ll get some good direction on setting up your fabric, choosing threads and ribbon, and transfering designs. There’s quite a bit on heat transfer, using your color printer (or a commercial one) to print the design on the appropriate type of heat transfer paper. You then iron the design on to your fabric – so you get all the color. The lattice-work composition that is shown on the front cover of the book is included inside. It’s a watercolor-type print that you can scan and print on the correct transfer paper.

Anyone interested in either ribbon embroidery or stumpwork – or both! – will love this book! So if you want to explore silk ribbon embroidery, especially working through small motifs that are fun and accessible, this is a great book to add to your embroidery library!

Where to Find It

(Updates 2022)

Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork is not easily available through regular book outlets these days. You can find it directly through Di’s website here.

And if you want to work through the whole panel featured in the book, you can find the whole ribbon pack for the panel available there, too. She also sells the printed panel, so that you don’t have to print it yourself. Definitely worth checking out!

Keep in mind that Di is from South Africa, so her products will ship from there.

If you’re in the US and you want to find used copies of the previous edition of the book, you can try finding some here through Amazon. You can find used copies of the newer edition here. It’s worth browsing through all the offerings to find a reasonable price. An algorithm often forces the price of used books upwards, so look around carefully!

The Amazon links above are affiliate links, which means that Needle ‘n Thread may make a small commission from purchases through those links, at no extra expense to you.


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(5) Comments

  1. I received my copy of Di van Niekerk’s Ribbon Embroidery & Stumpwork today. There are many beautiful projects. However, there does not seem to be a pattern for some of the projects. There are pictures and instructions but no pattern. On pages 74, 79, 85, 86 and 87 there is a blank colored strip. On pg. 79 it is lavender. I don’t know what they are for. There is not a pattern for the stumpwork flowers, etc. on pages 40 and 41 which is of great interest to me. Am I missing something or are those stumpwork to be done freehand? Thank you for your help. Elizabeth

    1. Hi, Elizabeth – I don’t have Di’s book out right now, so I can’t look through it at the moment, but your best bet when asking about a particular designer’s work is to contact the designer directly. She’ll be able to give you the best and most complete help. Di has a blog and website here: https://dicraft.co.za/blog/ She has a contact page that lists the various ways you can get in touch with her, including email. She’s very nice, and I’m sure she’ll help you out!

  2. Thanks for bringing this art to light. I first came across ribbon embroidery when I began to collect and wear vintage clothes in the 80’s. So encouraging to see the art is not lost.

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