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: Scrolly Medallion


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I’ve been playing around with some scrolly medallions and other motifs for hand embroidery, doodling in trusty Inkscape (hey, it’s free, and it works! I like it a lot!).

Lately, I’ve been looking at all things from the point of view of potential embroidery designs. I live close to a beautiful historical site, where the old buildings, built in brick and some in native limestone, are adorned with wonderful little bits of art – from wrought iron railing to caps on buttresses, to little stonework designs over windows. It’s funny how I never really thought in terms of embroidery whenever I saw these buildings – but now, I do! (In fact, I think of so many things I see daily in terms of embroidery, that it’s starting to worry me!)

So, here’s a design that can be used for anything – you can size it up or down. I think it’d be great in multiple layers of stitches. For example, you could “bolden” up some lines – like the parallel lines in the center – with a nice line of Palestrina stitch, then, right next to it, a tiny line of chain stitch or backstitch (as is done in Schwalm work, with coral stitch and chain stitch right next to each other for the bold lines). Then you could work the other scrolly bits with lighter lines, for a good contrast and to give interest and dimension to the design.

The dots (center and tips) can be filled or outlined. If you’re not up to satin stitch on dots, just outline them!

Here’s the design. You can click on it for a larger version, which you can save and resize as you wish… or you can pick up the PDF version below and resize before printing.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Scrolly Medallion

Scrolly Medallion Hand Embroidery Pattern (PDF)

I think this would look really pretty in white, by the way, on a natural linen background – perhaps on the outside pocket of a bag? Or on a square journal cover? Hmmm… lots of possibilities!

For more free hand embroidery patterns, I’ve got an Index of Hand Embroidery Patterns that includes those here on Needle ‘n Thread, as well as free embroidery patterns online. And, if you’re wondering how to stitch, feel free to check out my Video Library of Hand Embroidery Stitches!

Have a terrific Friday, and have fun with the new pattern! (Hey, if you do anything with it, let me know!)

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(5) Comments

  1. This is terrific. It looks very wrought-irony. I, too, find lots of inspiration in architectural details.

    So, you’re hooked on Inkscape, eh? I know the feeling! It’s a wonderful little application and I can’t wait for the spiro-enabled version.

  2. Yep, and it’s all your fault, Margaret! I’m looking forward to the spiral version, too. Any idea when that’ll be?!

  3. Re: Inkscape

    I don’t know when the next version will be out. (I’m waiting very impatiently.) I got a development version to try to play with spiro, but the interface didn’t match the tutorial and I haven’t had a chance to go back and see what’s going on.

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