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 Hand Embroidery Design: Motif Suitable for Goldwork


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Here’s another free hand embroidery pattern – a motif suitable for goldwork or any kind of surface embroidery, really. I’ve been having fun playing with repeat patterns in Inkscape, and this is one of the ones I was fiddling with, so I thought I’d share it with you.

This design is originally from an old church embroidery book that’s now in the free domain. The book is called Church Vestments by Anastasia Dolby, and it’s available on Google books. She’s the same one who wrote Church Embroidery, Ancient and Modern, where I found this embroidery design and cleaned it up.

This little design in the book is actually a black and white line drawing that’s rather small. I took a screen shot of it and exported it into Inkscape, where I enlarged it then traced it. The original was really unsymmetrical, with each swashy leaf area being completely different from the other – fat arms on the scollies, skinny arms on the scrollies, etc. So I tried evening it up a bit, just in one quarter, and then I repeated the quarter, mirroring it around the image. I like Inkscape!

Here’s the embroidery design. You can click on it for a larger image.

Free Hand Embroidery Design suitable for goldwrk or any surface embroidery technique

And here’s a link to the same design in PDF format:

Hand Embroidery Design suitable for goldwork or other surface embroidery

Now, to speak of the design itself, I’d really like to work this one. Do you have so many ideas rattling around in your head, but absolutely no time to execute them? That’s the situation I’m in right now! Anyway, I’d love to do the arms of the design in gold passing thread. The rest of it, I haven’t really thought about…

I hope you like the design as much as I do!

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(3) Comments

  1. I can’t believe I’m commenting on my own post here….

    But I just squinted and looked at the design, and I realized that the “arms” could (and are probably suppoed to!) extend behind the leaf, finishing at the scrolly thing on the other side of the leaf.

    Do you see it?

    Hm. Why didn’t I think of that before. And oh – all the more reason for doing the arms in a solid gold, with passing thread or something….


  2. Yes – I can see how the scroll lines would extend along and past the edge of the acanthus leaves. The lines from between each of the two leaves line up on where the scroll protrudes from each leaf.

    I can see the leaves being done in shaded satin stitching, in rich colours, and darker versions being used in the middle. There was some lovely shaded acanthus you put up awhile ago that had a lot of purple in it….

    Those cross over lines in the middle being in gold too – perhaps an ornate chainstitch.

    The “clovers” being done in gold too – perhaps some pearl purl.

  3. Can anyone think of a way to work acanthus leaves other than long and short shading? I don’t feel confident in that technique, and I don’t think I’ve ever seen leaves worked in any other way.-Particularly any ideas in goldwork that isn’t just an outline.

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