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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Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9: Floral Rectangle


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This is a magnificently complex rectangular design from Lilly’s Legacy, a collection of Hungarian folk embroidery patterns drawn by graphic artist Lilly Baróthi Zathureczky between the 1930’s & the 1960’s. Today’s design was drawn in 1945, while Lilly was living in a refugee camp in Reggio Emilia, Italy.

Unlike most of her other drawings I’ve posted so far, this one is not completely colored. Just a corner has been painted, with the outline of the rest of the design drawn in ink.

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9

I love seeing the clear lines of the design, with only part of the design colored in. Admittedly, it makes it easier for me to translate the original into a pattern – but that’s not the reason I like the exposed outlines. I just like this “half-completed” look – the design itself is very clear, without the impediment of color – but the colored area adds a splash of the artist’s imaginings for the piece.

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9

You certainly aren’t limited to stitching Lilly’s choices of color in these designs. I find the combination of dark green, black, and brown a bit heavy, personally, but the bright red really jumps out, doesn’t it?

The original intentions for the design aren’t clear to me. I think it would make a beautiful trolley cloth, or a decorative pillow case. With a little manipulation in the design, you may be able to work it down into more of a square. And you can even cut back some of the side elements, leaving the design just on ends. Lots of possibilities!

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9

This is a full line drawing of the design, which you may download in as a PDF (prints about 10″ high and 6″ wide, and can be enlarged on a photocopier):

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9: Floral Rectangle (PDF)

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9

I’ve also provided an enlarged corner repeat of the design, in case you want to enlarge the piece significantly. Here’s the PDF:

Hungarian Hand Embroidery Design #9: Floral Rectangle – Corner Repeat (PDF)

You can find some of Lilly’s other beautiful Hungarian hand embroidery patterns here on Needle ‘n Thread, in their own section on the Hand Embroidery Patterns page.

I hope you enjoy this one – and I hope that someone out there gets a chance to stitch it some day! If you do work up any of Lilly’s patterns, I’d love to see the outcome. Drop me a line and I’ll tell you how to send photos!

Until tomorrow, then – enjoy your day – and stay cool!

I mean that literally, but if you want to take it as “Yo, Dude. Stay cool!” you may!

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(8) Comments

  1. Hi Mary! According to Lilly’s inscription this was originally a design for a painted wooden box; however, it is obviously suitable also for embroidery.

  2. Mary,
    These are beautiful!!! Thank you so much for sharing them. There is an idea brewing in my little mind for these…In the meantime thankyou for sharing and for your website it has helped me in so many ways. 🙂
    Jen in Oregon

  3. I love the colour combination, but also the fact that the design isn’t totally coloured – it’s like the artists suggestion, but is completely open to personal interpretation, much like most embroidery designs! Would love to use this as a base for a tea-tray, or even square it off and make a cover for my bedside table…

  4. While the colored-in portions are always interesting, I agree that I prefer to look at just the line drawing. I usually “view” it as an embroidery — in whatever colors and techniques that pop into my head. And I usually like to imagine things shaded, which the Hungarian tradition doesn’t usually do very often. This would be an outstanding crewel design! And could be modified into an attractive “arts & crafts” applique/embroidered design. What fun! Thank you for all these, Mary. Doing the work so all we have to do is print out the design. I appreciate it.

  5. I think this is a delightful ‘folk’ design, but Mary, for the life of me I can not see the bright red – jumping or otherwise! Can you please enlighten me?

  6. Red face, and it is bright red. I realised that if I tilted my monitor a tad, all those bits that I thought were orange suddenly became … guess what? yep, red!

    So sorry …

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