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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Hand Embroidery Pattern: Quaker Motif 2 for Surface Embroidery


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I’m still playing with the idea of translating Quaker motifs (that are normally worked in cross stitch) into designs suitable for surface embroidery. Here’s a free hand embroidery pattern of a bird-in-tree Quaker motif suitable for surface stitches.

Now, this is a pattern I really want to stitch. The first Quaker pattern I posted for surface embroidery stitches looked fun, but since I had already stitched it on paper in cross stitch, I find I’m a bit more eager to try a different design. I played again with some of the Mary Wigham designs offered on Needleprint, and this is one that I like a lot. I think it could be fun.

I “updated” the bird a bit after finding it a bit difficult to translate the gridded bird into something smoother for surface work. If you don’t particular like this bird, you can always sketch your own into the design, I suppose! (Don’t worry – I won’t be insulted!) In considering the bird, I wanted something suited to more than just an outline stitch. The wings, tail, and crest give some room for playing with fillings.

Here’s the pattern:

Hand Embroidery Pattern: Quaker Motif for Surface Embroidery

The double lines around the outside of the pattern would be a good place to practice composite stitches, like the raised chain band, or double herringbone stitch. Ladder stitch would work well there, too.

I’m thinking about filling the trunk of the tree with stem stitch in several shades of brown, working the branches in stem stitch in brown, and working the leaves in a couple of colors of green using daisy stitch. The small berries would be worked in red French knots, and I think the bird would be worked in a variety of stitches in red, though I’m still contemplating that one.

I was thinking this might a good design for a Christmas ornament, too. What do you think?

Here’s a PDF of the pattern:

Quaker Motif #2 for Surface Embroidery Stitches


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(21) Comments

  1. I'm not sure how I missed the Quaker motif #1, because I look forward to what's new on your site every day…but miss it I did! I've gone back and found it now. Love it! And love this one too.

    I think it would be wonderful to keep collecting them as you translate them and offer them here! I'd love to collect enough to create quilt squares for a nice size quilt. Thanks very much for your efforts, Mary! – Jeannine

  2. Thanks for this motif. I also missed the first one. Also, I appreciate your thoughts on which stitches you would do. It helps me understand the choices that exist. Yes, this would be good for Chx. He could be the partridge in a pear tree–a stuffed ornament, on felt perhaps, with a few seed beads at the pointy tips of the leaves, with a metallic thread border to catch the tree lights.Hmmm…..

  3. I love this motif, Mary. Thanks for giving us the PDF for it. I'm thinking that the little leaves would look great in a variegated green, narrow, silk ribbon!

  4. Hi Mary, This pattern is lovely! And thank you for the ideas on stitches to use. I'm new to your blog and returning to embroidery after some years away from doing anything with a needle and thread. Your blog was so encouraging and inspirational and, as I live and teach in Berlin, Germany and my German isn't quite good enough for a class here, you are my long distance teacher! Thank you so very much.

  5. I was able to enlarge the pattern to about 8" across. Stitched up with a nice fabric border it could be made into a wonderful throw pillow.

  6. Mary, I'm not sure that this design warrants so much thought in stitchery. It is a simple design and will look good in a few basic stitches such as the daisy stitch that you suggested but not in variegated shadings of a hue. My vote:
    keep it primary and basic to maintain its' folksy look.

  7. I don't know why, but when I looked at it I instantly saw it in shades of blue like a piece of Chinese porcelain.

    It would be gorgeous as a pillow stitched in crewel wools, using your suggestion to vary the stitches so that only a few shades could create the impression of a wide range of tonalities….

    Thank you so much for the inspiration! I have made so many of your designs in my mind — and they're all masterpieces. Now, if only I could stick to your idea of 15 minutes a day….

    Karen in Arcadia

  8. I missed the first one as well. Could
    you please post where I can find it? I save all of your posts in a special file. I love this Quaker Motif…it reminds me of the "Tree of Life."
    Annie in Michigan

  9. I'm going to stitch this andmotif oneon a set of dishtowels for my fiance's mom for Christmas… I love the folksy charm of both motifs and will probably work them up as real red work.

  10. Lovely !
    Thanks for sharing !
    This will be on my "must do list".
    I personally think that the bird is just perfect as is in your pattern. It would look lovely in a frame on my work desktop. Thinking I may embroider the cute birdie in bright colors.
    Thanks Again !

  11. I just found this thanks to a link on Needlework News (I'm really behind with my blog reading) and I love it. I'm impressed you used a cross stitch design to get this. Thanks, Mary!

  12. Mary, I know this comment comes late, but when I saw this design I thought of the leaves being cutwork with a green silk underlayment.

  13. Hi, Denise –

    Thanks for your comment (and the one just previous to this on today's post)….

    Ah – yes, that would be a neat interpretation of the design. I think the leaves would probably have to go the route of "eyelets" more than cutwork, if you kept the proportions of the design the same. But if you increased the size of the design, you could definitely go the cutwork route and put fabric behind it – that would be a really pretty approach! So, here's your assignment – go do that, and then send me pictures!!!!!! I'd love to see it!

    I still haven't gotten around to stitching this design myself. Some day soon? Hopefully!


  14. could you please direct me to someone that could identify an embroidery that I bought several years ago? I could forward you a pix if possible. It is a boy rocking in a chair, reading a book with his shoes underneath him and has a tiffany lamp to his right. Thanks so much..

  15. I Read the “By Hand” column in BDN. (which I do every week). Ardeana gave info about your site. I am so happy to see the wonderful patterns available and all info you share. I have a hugh collection of Hand Embroidery patterns, from buying, friends and old magazines. Recently I purchased a stack of vintage embroidery pieces, which belonged to some older sisters who I knew as a child. These are exqusite and I love to examine the stitches. Keep up the good work.

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