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 Embroidery Pattern #10: Circus Pods?


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It’s been a while since I’ve posted another Hungarian embroidery pattern from Lilly’s Legacy! This one is really hard to name descriptively. It’s busy, it’s colorful, and for some reason, it reminds me of a circus. I think it’s the striped “pods” around the outside of the design.

Many of Lilly’s patterns weren’t necessarily intended as embroidery patterns, per se. They can certainly be used as embroidery patterns, as they are typical of the folk art traditions of Hungary, and this folk art translates well into Hungarian embroidery styles. But we’ve already seen patterns that were intended as wood inlay or painted designs. This particular pattern that I’m sharing with you today can be used for many arts & crafts applications: wood design, folk painting, appliqué, paper crafts, and – of course – embroidery. There is no indication on the pattern what Lilly intended this one for. All I can tell from the pattern is that it was painted in 1956.

Hungarian Embroidery Pattern #10

See what I mean about the striped pods?

The pattern is busy and colorful, combining brights with pastels. When you look at the center of the design, you get a sense of a vertically mirrored image, with the point of reflection converging right down the center line.

For embroidery techniques on this particular pattern, I can see a lot of satin stitch and block satin stitch going into a piece like this. Some variation could be had by using chain stitch to fill, or other filling stitches, like Bokhara or Roumanian couching. In most examples I’ve seen of Hungarian folk embroidery where lots of filling is used, block shading or block satin stitch seem to be the dominant fillers.

If you were to stitch up a piece like that – say, to line a tray or to make a pillow cover or something to that effect – how would you stitch it? Any ideas for the pattern’s use? Fee free leave a comment below and share your ideas to inspire the rest of us!

Here’s what the line drawing of the pattern looks like:

Free Hungarian Hand Embroidery Pattern #10

And here’s a link to download the PDF version:

Hungarian Embroidery Pattern #10 (PDF)

And of course, any clever ideas for a descriptive name for this pattern are always welcome! I don’t think “Circus Pods” does it justice, do you?

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(14) Comments

  1. How about splitting the design halfway, putting stripes in the same colour as the striped pods you work on each corner and making the striped area the back spine of a book with the other areas front and back?
    It would make about an A5 book sized front and back cover, striped spine and perfect for a book cover for a photographic record of a special person.
    Thanks as ever for all you do for your stitching fans all over the world, Mary.

  2. When I first saw this lovely pattern, my first thought was of flowers. I notice that the pattern looks as though it’s a reflection both horizontally as well as vertically. I would call it ‘Flower Reflections’.

  3. Hi Mary,
    Beautiful pattern! Thank you for sharing it with us. I can see it in crewel wools – Renaissance wool maybe? – all done in long and short shading in a style similar to W. Morris. Or, in silks with gold or even blackwork. Too many choices! I love Gill’s idea of a book cover – that’s brilliant!
    Liebe Grusse,

  4. @ Gail…
    If Mary would agree, would you be willing to do a guest post to teach us how to do book covers? I’m very interested in them (especially after seeing the one in Ask and Share) but don’t know where to begin.
    @ Mary… do you think that’s a good idea?
    @all the beautiful ladies and handsome gents that read this…would you be interested in this too? (if I’m the only one then it would be no good)

  5. It is a stunning pattern and I like the colors as pictured although there are all kinds of possibilities. How about “Hungarian Rhapsody”?

  6. Hi Mary,
    I am new to your group. Thankyou so much for the lovely Pattern #10. I think the name Lily Pods that Gail had mentioned sounds nice. So, that is what I’m going to call my pattern, can’t wait to try it.

    Have a good weekend, Suzanne

  7. How about “Audrey II”

    Oh, dear, I’ll freely admit that I can, at times, have a rather bizarre sense of humor; so when you called the striped flowers “pods,” I had to laugh, as my mind immediately went to the movie/play, “Little Shop of Horrors,” in which a small, innocent-looking (pod-shaped)venus fly-trap, named Audrey II, grows into an enormous, man-eating plant. See, I told you it was bizarre. To read more…

    Carolyn in SoCal

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