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: Another Stylized Pomegranate Design


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Here we go again, with another free hand embroidery pattern, the creative naming of which fails me. The design is definitely a stylized pomegranate, though you’d find it hard to believe so by looking at it. It doesn’t look too pomegranate-ish. But, let me show you the design and tell you a bit about the symbolism.

Free Hand Embroidery Pattern: Stylized Pomegranate

Once I finished the vector drawing of this embroidery design – inspired from an ecclesiastical source – the first thing that popped into my head was goldwork and silk shading. Why is it that goldwork and silk shading always pop into my head when I see stylized pomegranates meant to be embroidered? I don’t know. But I’d be interested to know what kind of technique pops into your head when you look at this piece? Hmmm??? Am I nuts, or does it scream goldwork and silk?

The design would work for either a religious or a secular work of embroidery. As far as the symbolism goes, the fleur-de-lis at the top of the inside core is doubly representative: it marks the crown on the pomegranate, while at the same time being symbolic of the Blessed Virgin. The opening “swashes” all around the central core are the bursting open of the pomegranate (representative of renewed life, and, in religious symbolism, of Christ), and the circles – well, you guessed it – they are the seeds.

Any brilliant ideas for techniques or for a specific name for this design? If you do, feel free to share! I loved reading all the ideas for the “circular thing” I posted a while back – I enjoyed reading the comments, and somehow, afterwards, the design took on more meaning! (There’s a lot in a name, you know!)

If you’d like a PDF version of this design, here it is:

Hand Embroidery Pattern: Stylized Pomegranate #2 (PDF)

If you haven’t had a chance to sign up for my give-away this week, don’t forget to get your name in before Wednesday. I’m giving away one of Trish Burr’s Needle Painting kits – complete with fabric (pre-printed with the design), threads, and instructions.

Later this week, I hope to have at least one video up for you, to add to the growing (and remodeled) collection of How-To Embroidery Videos here on Needle ‘n Thread.

And somewhere along the line, I’d like to show you my current planning stages for some embroidery projects.

Needless to say, despite all the anticipation of having a long weekend to catch up and get ahead, Thanksgiving weekend was a wash for me in that regard. I’m running to catch up. I just can’t seem to find the finish line! If I take a day off this week, you’ll know I’m out hunting for it!

Enjoy your Monday!

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(15) Comments

  1. Mary I invision deep purples, reds, beads and yes, it has to have goldwork. I have never tried goldwork as we live in an area where the supplies are not readily available, but would like to follow you working through a sample such as this one, where, I could order supplies. I do have silk threads. I also have a good bead collection. Beads in this one could be taken away and spangles or gold sequins could be used………it would be gorgeous.

    1. I agree, Linda…. and beads or sequins sound like a great idea. The circles are perfect for that! We shall see… I do want to start one stitch-along type project one of these days (soon!); it’s just a matter of getting everything in life organized right now, so I can get started. Lots of work to do at school these days!

  2. Well, it screams silk and goldwork at me too. May be I think in terms of silk and/or goldwork for so many designs because I love it so much, but I wonder if I just lack imagination!

    I think white work would also work very well for this design.

    How ever it is stitched, I think it would look glorious, it is such a lovely design.

  3. I propose a cutwork and pulled thread design as an alternative to gold and silk. Work the circles as eyelets, and cut out the space between the frame and the fleur-de-lis. Major lines can be done with buttonhole stitch instead of gold couching. The interior of the fleur-de-lis could be pulled thread patterns. I like color, though, so I would not be using white threads.

  4. Beautiful design, Mary; pomegranates are my favorite motif. Thank you! And yes, it does fairly sing out for sheen-y silks and goldwork. If it were to be viewed up close I think it would look very nice in subdued shades with the goldwork, but “up close” seems unlikely for most ecclesiastically-inclined design.

    I know your subject matter on this blog is not necessarily graphics, but I’m wondering if you might sometime be inclined to share how you “clean up” a design and otherwise get them into such wonderfully clean lines, or to direct us to where such information is found. I’ve spent many hours at such work and have had little success; I suspect I’m not using appropriate software and it’s clear I’m off-base on techniques. I’m more than willing to put in the time but have reluctantly concluded that it’s beyond me at present.

    In any case, this one is a winner and I’m now doomed to walk around all day with it in my head, trying out colors on it.

  5. Mary, it screams silk and goldwork to me, too. I don’t know if that’s because a lot of pomegranate designs are based on ecclesiastic embroidery, or because I just love silk and goldwork! 🙂 And I love the idea of spangles… or sequins, whichever floats your boat… along with the gold and silk!

  6. Yes, definately silk & gold. I think it would make a wonderful Christmas ornament gift, mounted on foam board or cork board. A little non-traditional use of a pomegranite, but I like the idea. I looked up the spiritual meaning of the pomegranate on the internet and it is memory/knowledge of good (See http://biblemeanings.info/Words/Plant/Pomegranate.htm.) Such a nice gesture for a gift to someone you love, I think.

    By golly, I think I have just enough time to make one! Thanks for the pattern, Mary.

    By the way, how do you produce your vector drawings? Do you use a certain software?

  7. Hi Mary,
    love your site – I’m reviving my old needlework skills, and feeling inspired by you!
    Need lots of practice – but had a request to make a canopy – going to try my hand at a little (and I mean Little!) orphrey for it.
    As to the Pomegranete – heres how the Old Testament explains it – God gives instructions as to the colours and decorations for the robes of temple priests – Exod 28:31-35 “You shall make the robe of the ephod all of blue. There shall be an opening for his head in the middle of it; it shall have a woven binding all around its opening, like the opening in a coat of mail, so that it does not tear. And upon its hem you shall make pomegranates of blue purple, and scarlet, all around its hem, and bells of gold between them all around: a golden bell and a pomegranate, a golden bell and a pomegranate, upon the hem of the robe all around. And it shall be upon Aaron when he ministers, and its sound will be heard when he goes into the holy place before the LORD and when he comes out, that he may not die.”

    1. Hi, Mellisse! If you’d like to sign up for the daily newsletter, you’ll find a sign up box at the top of the right column on the website (www.needlenthread.com). You’ll get a confirmation email after entering your email address, and then you’ll be signed up. Hope that helps! -Mary

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