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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Birds for Whitework – Hungarian Embroidery Pattern #7


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Here’s another hand embroidery pattern from Lilly’s Legacy. Like the “Hearts for Whitework” pattern posted in April, this one is painted simply in black. This particular style of pattern was apparently intended by Lilly to be a whitework embroidery pattern.

Like many of the other Hungarian embroidery patterns in this series so far, this one lends itself to all kinds of possibilities in other craft areas, including appliqués, paper and wood crafts, and so forth. For embroidery, though, the oblong nature of this design suggests a table runner to me.

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #7: Whitework Birds

See how the whole design is connected? Besides the fact that it’s black, the piece reminds me of a paper silhouette. The fact that the design is completely connected lends itself to cutwork, though you’d have to work in a “web” of supporting bars. I know there’s a reader who is using these patterns for twilling on quilt squares, using tone-on-tone colors – it looks really neat! – so that’s a possibility, too. I’d love to hear some of your ideas on how a design like this one could be stitched – what does it say to you, when you look at it?!

I’ll present the pattern here in two ways again, as the full pattern and then the corner, enlarged, that you can print and repeat four times. Here’s the full pattern line drawing:

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #7: Whitework Birds

Here’s the PDF for the full pattern:

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #7: Whitework Birds – Full Pattern (PDF)

And here’s the corner design:

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #7: Whitework Birds

And the PDF for the corner:

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #7: Whitework Birds – Corner (PDF)

There are several other Hungarian Hand Embroidery Patterns from Lilly’s Legacy here on Needle ‘n Thread, some more complicated and some less, so if you’re hankering to stitch something kind of folky, feel free to stop by my hand embroidery patterns page.

Ok – your turn – how do you see this pattern interpreted in stitching (or other crafts)? Leave a comment and inspire the rest of us!

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(11) Comments

  1. I think this pattern printed to the visible size on this blog page would be a nice bookmark and would make a small project for someone practicing or just not wanting a big project to drag on. I am considering printing it this size and doing it in whitework as a bookmark like I’ve stated. I think it might work also as a mola. I’ve never made a mola but I’ve always wanted to try. They remind me of a coloring technique we used as children where we could color something then scribble heavy layers of black crayon on top of the design and then use something sharp to scrape away the black and leave the colorful design peeking through.

  2. Bird design, enlarged, would make a great tablecloth in many media, but my first thought was applique with hand embelishment.
    Second thought was that the birds look a bit like cardinals, so if one wanted to deviate from the single color concept, red and green could work for a fall/winter holiday theme.
    Love your site and look forward to it every day.
    Also love the references you provide.
    Thank you for your dedication.

  3. This would make a great design to quilt on a tablerunner quilt. It could be done in one
    continious line. I love it, thanks Lilly!
    And thank you too, Mary.

  4. G’day there Mary,
    I like the whitework idea but using off white, cream or similar, with a dark outline around all the design as in your outline. I think probably a nice darler brown to compliment the cream. Or a dark navy. Would have to see how it looked. I don’t know about the ground colour. I do like cream on white or visa versa. If it was done in white on white I’d outline in black. Would probably only need a thin simple outline like backstitch or outline stitch.
    Cream on cream with a white outline might be nice too.
    The design keeps popping on me. Going from the birds to aemeba sort of weirdo flat seaweed thingies. It won’t stay together for even a few seconds!
    Cheers Mary, Loving these patterns. Kath.

  5. This would be a beautiful piece of reverse applique. If my wish could make it so, I’d wave my wand and make a log cabin-ish quilt, three of these panels to a square, with the squares super large-scale–like 18″ or even 24″. I’m thinking a dark teal ground with rusts, oranges and yellows coming through the back.

  6. Mary, I have a question. What is the difference, if any, between Hungarian Hand Embroidery and English Crewel work? Being a quilter as well as a rug hooker, I can see this pattern used in both.

  7. Hi Mary,

    It took me ages to even see the birds, maybe I am just over-tired!

    Do you think that Colbert Embroidery, or an adaptation of this would work for this design? I have been wanting to try the technique, but haven’t been able to find something suitable to stich.

  8. Dear Mary

    I hope you are well! Lovely design love the Hungarian patterns and thanks for making it available for us. I could see this design on a table runner or smaller a table mat or xushion/pillow cover.


  9. Kuna Mola Applique (layered reverse app) or Hawaiian Quilt (looks like a paper snowflake cutout, enlarged)

  10. I stumbled across your site looking for a quick instruction on a lazy daisy stitch (I’m no good at explaining I’m afraid!) and have just been pleased as punch. I love all these patterns! Thank you so much!
    Admiration from Sweden!

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