Mock Deerfield

It's deerfield embroidery, but not that Jacobean looking. And using more than just blue and white threads. So not technically deerfield, but inspired by it.

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Deerfield embroidery is named for a town in western Massachusetts in the US. The story goes that in days of old, two women founded the Deerfield Society of Blue and White Needlework to replicate some old Jacobean embroideries for posterity. But they were forced to adapt to the realities of the time and used the blue and white linen and flax threads that they could get their hands on.

The crewelwork designs popular in that era had already been adapted to use less thread, another nod toward practicalities in deerfield embroidery. And so Mock Deerfield draws on elements of Jacobean or crewel embroidery but in a more contemporary design - the elaborate floral element is pared down and the larger trellis left unadorned.

Stitches commonly used in deerfield embroidery spring from those used in Jacobean pieces - stem, feather, fly, seed, herringbone and others. And you'll find these used in innovative ways in Mock Deerfield. Along with, of course, trellis work and multiple rows of chain stitching. 

Adding more colours isn't really a new thing, as different colours were introduced to traditional deerfield embroidery as and when new natural dyes were discovered and used to colour thread. It does keep the embroidery interesting to do, though.

Mock Deerfield, the fourth and final design in the Mock range, is available as a PDF pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Mock Redwork

It's redwork, but without any farmyard animals or bonnets. And worked in more than just red thread. So not technically redwork, but inspired by it.

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Traditional redwork has its origins in the middle and lower classes, rather than the more expensive silk and linen embroidery that only the wealthy upper classes could afford. And although it originated in Europe, it became really popular in America as penny squares - simple designs printed on to a square of fabric and sold for 1p. They were used to make bed covers, quilts and other household items and this type of embroidery was dubbed redwork after the red cotton thread used to embroider the designs, which was made using a natural dye called Turkey red

French knots and running, back, blanket and stem stitch are the most commonly used stitches in traditional redwork embroidery, along with lazy daisies made up of detached chain stitches. Mock Redwork uses variations on these stitches or reproduces the look and feel of them with alternative stitches not usually associated with redwork.

Designs were fairly naive line drawings and generally reflected everyday life. Farmyard animals, kitchenalia, nature and young children featured heavily. In keeping with this, Mock Redwork draws on the traditional nature theme but in a more abstract and contemporary way. And the addition of extra colours adds another modern twist to this age-old style of embroidery.

Mock Redwork, the third in the Mock range, is available as a PDF pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Mock Blackwork

It's blackwork, but not on even-weave fabric. And using surface embroidery stitches. Done in colour. So not technically blackwork, but inspired by it.

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Traditional blackwork is striking, done in black thread on white even-weave fabric in a style that is structured and uniform. It's beauty lies in stitch repetition. If you're not familiar, you can read more about this type of embroidery and how to do it on Craftsy, Nordic Needle and Sew Guide

Historically dictated by the weave of the fabric, blackwork has evolved to include more freeform stitching and colour, making the leap to a creative surface embroidery design that mimics blackwork that much easier to envisage.

Sonia Lucano's book, Made in France: Blackwork, is beautifully photographed and full of inspiring blackwork that feels contemporary despite the designs drawing on traditional patterns. And a pinterest search shows the more freeform elements of this style of embroidery as well as the repeat patterns that inspired my surface take on this style of embroidery.

Adding colour isn't a new idea, but it does add more interest to a design already made more interesting (I think) by the use of various surface embroidery stitches as opposed to the limited number used in traditional blackwork.

Mock Blackwork, the second in the Mock range, is available as a PDF pattern on Etsy and Craftsy

Mock Whitework

It's whitework, just reimagined and in colour. So not technically whitework, but inspired by it.

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Traditional whitework incorporates quite a few different types of embroidery, from Mountmellick to Hardanger to Broderie Anglaise. They're very traditional types of embroidery and you can find out more about the various techniques from the Royal School of Needlework, The Spruce and a slew of articles on Needle n Thread

I've taken extreme creative licence in designing a pattern with the feel of whitework, but using creative surface embroidery stitches.

A quick google image search and you'll see the similarities and inspiration, from the stitched squares of Hardanger to Mountmellick stitch (learnt from Yvette Stanton's book on Mountmellick embroidery), knots and other stitches used in this particular style of whitework to the "grids" found in drawn thread embroidery.  

And then I added colour to keep the pattern fun to stitch and add interest to the design. 

Mock Whitework is the first in the Mock range and the PDF pattern is available on Etsy and Craftsy.

120 embroidery stitches and eight samplers

It's done! I finally finished collating, writing and illustrating instructions for every stitch I've ever used in a design and put them all into an ebook. 

Turns out I've used 120 hand embroidery stitches in various designs for books, kits, magazine projects and PDF patterns up to this point, a handy number for a book title. Turns out there are also often many different names for the same stitch and many different variations on a single stitch, so I'm hoping this helps eliminate any confusion any of you may have had over which stitch to use. The stitches are named as I know and use them in my designs, with all the alternative names I've come across listed underneath. 

The stitches are grouped into eight families, based on how the stitch is done. So stem stitch falls into the chapter on back stitches, because of the way you do it. It's a logical way to group stitches (to me, anyway) and you can progress through each chapter, often adding to a previous stitch or stitching technique to learn the next. 

To make it even easier to master the various stitches, I've come up with eight samplers to get to grips with some of the more commonly used (and a few not so commonly used) stitches from each chapter. They're fun, inspired by traditional embroidered patches.

The ebook and samplers are available in four different packages: 

The single pattern with all eight samplers does not include stitch instructions, as this would basically be a repeat of the book. But the standalone patterns do include stitch instructions, so you can use them to teach yourself embroidery if you're a beginner or looking for new stitches.

The book came about as an accompaniment to my patterns but stands on its own as a straightforward stitch guide too, whether you're looking to learn the basics, add to your stitch arsenal or give your #1yearofstitches project an injection of inspiration.