Trying Stumpwork

Kiwi In Stumpwork

Kiwi In Stumpwork

As I’ve already mentioned, almost every embroidery technique I have done has been learnt from a book, or just developed by guesswork based upon something I have read.

In this case, I had been reading about 17th Century stumpwork, and had just returned from a half-business trip, half-holiday in New Zealand. And I had some rather gorgeous overdyed silk threads and wanted to experiment with them!

The body is worked in layers of straight stitches, using several different colours of the overdyed silks. I worked a slip, slightly smaller than the body, on a separate piece of fabric, then applied that piece over some padding, and used more straight stitches to cover the join – very thoroughly!

The legs and the beak are both worked by stitching very closely over a trailing thread of soft cotton. The background fabric is a sturdy cotton damask upholstery fabric, so the close stitchery did no harm.  The ground is worked using still more straight stitches, with scroll stitch, coral stitch and fern stitch to create the fragmentary undergrowth.

This was intended just as a piece of fun, but I was happy enough with the outcome to mount it in a flexihoop frame. I’ve bought a couple of books on Stumpwork since I stitched this, but I don’t know that I would have thought of doing the Kiwi this way if I had read the books first.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    That a lovely delicate kiwi.

  2. karen says:

    stumpwork is a beautiful techinique. Are you going to explore it further? The possibilities are endless.

  3. Rachel says:

    Hi Karen
    I may well use stumpwork on the Dreams of Amarna panel, but it really depends on what technique the piece I want to do seems to be asking for!

  4. Elmsley Rose says:

    Just lovely!
    I’ve got some notes collected on attaching slips, (not that you did it incorrectly, but lots of info on a particular area is always a good thing) if you are interested. E-mail me if you are interested.