Wednesday 18 January 2012

Assembling a Wired Stumpwork Flower

A couple of days ago I posted a tutorial on creating wired needlelace elements for stumpwork, which you can use for flowers, leaves, insect wings and several other things.  Now it's time to fasten the detached elements to the main fabric and complete the motif.

This is the piece I was working on, the now deleted (waaah!) DMC Stumpwork kit 'Poppy and Beetle'.  Those of you who've been following this project will notice that I re-worked the bud to the original design after all!!  Anyway, the poppy was the only part left to complete and you can see where it's to be located, top left..

The first thing to do was to as near as fill that oval shape with beads as the supplies in the kit allowed.  The instructions actually suggested you do this after attaching the petals, but there were two reasons why I decided to work it the other way around: 1) I think it would be very hard to attach or stitch anything when there are going to be a lot of wire ends from the petals in the way on the back; and 2) One can never be sure that the beads provided would fill the space and, if the petals were already in place, then there could be a gap and/or pattern lines showing.  Yikes!  So, beads came first and were attached with one strand of black thread and a beading needle.

Here you can see me preparing the holes for the third petal.  Using a thick needle, such as a chenille type, punch a couple of holes where you want the wires to go through.  I did this as close to the beading as reasonably possible so that printed pattern lines weren't visible afterwards (I can't tell you how much I hate being able to see that sort of thing on a finished piece, it SO spoils it!)

When the holes are ready, poke the free ends of the wires through and pull them from the back so that the petal (or wing, or leaf etc) sits on the fabric.  Don't concern yourself with the angle it sits at just yet.

When all the detached elements are in place, turn the work over and pull them through as far as you can.  Then bend the wires to stop them from going back through again and trim off some of the excess using wire cutters or goldwork scissors (anything toughened, but NOT your regular embroidery pair!)

Using the black thread I still had attached from the beading, I secured the wires to the back of the fabric by weaving it around the wires and taking it through the back of whatever stitches I could.  Whatever you do, take care not to allow the securing stitching to show on the front (which is possibly what motivated DMC to suggest doing this before the beading, but you can see how easy it would be to attach beads through this lot, right?)  Trim the wires as much as you can, but leave enough to make sure they're secured.

Turning back to the front and you can now arrange the petals in any way you like.  The wire bends easily, so it won't be too hard to have them at any angle you choose.

I hope that was helpful and that it's inspired you to have a go at wiring a flower or something similar. If you do, please leave me a link to see your work.  It's rather hard finding blogs of active stumpworkers!

Here's the final piece, the bottom photo of which surprised and delighted me by remaining at number one on the Stitchin' Fingers content and photos leaderbeards for a couple of days!

I still have two more of these kits (see the 'Stumpwork page for the first two that I worked - 'Bee' and 'Ladybird'), which are 'Dragonfly' and 'Butterfly', so look out for those coming soon!

© Elizabeth Braun 2012


  1. Thank you for sharing, this looks wonderful.


  2. Good work and a clear tutorial.
    I plan to do some stumpwork violets for my crazy violet quilt.
    I will post pictures of the whole process.

  3. Wow, it's very pretty and I so enjoyed seeing the process.

  4. Yay, Sharon linked your wonderful tute! I cannot compare to this I know, but I have just linked this one to my TAST post today. These are really so good, I want to do some stumpwork right now! Well done:)

  5. Hi Elisabeth, Ich bin entzückt, dass du mir auf Deutsch schreibst. Fantastisch! Going on in English for others to read....Your stumpwork poppy is so so beautiful and so well described that I feel the absolute need to try myself at this or anything other - because I bought for Christmas a book about stumpwork, as I am not at home for the moment I can't tell you the author.
    Liebe Grüsse

  6. Thanks so much for this nicely explained and detailed tutorial!!! 2 thumbs up!!!

  7. Your poppy is exquisite Elizabeth -following your blog could well lead to a few diversionary projects!I had forgotten how much I enjoyed stumpwork. I joined your site after a serendipitous 'google' when I was looking for Cornelli ribbon work and came across your ribbon embroidery tutorial. Its so delicate -have you used tulle ribbon as it looks net like in the photos?

  8. Well done - you've done a great job with this!

  9. Beautiful! I'm interested in stumpwork, so thank you so much for posting this!!

  10. Thank you for this great blog. Your photos are absolutely wonderful! I'm getting ready to start in stumpwork

  11. O my Goodness, this is gorgous! Almost real, it looks like if the beetle can crawl away any time!

  12. sei veramente fantastica!!! mi piacciono molto i tuoi lavori. COMPLIMENTI!

  13. I thought the middle of that poppy was going to be a blackberry, in the shot where it's just the middle. It comes out beautifully :)

  14. This is beautiful. I need to read where you made the petals in the first place as I am a newbie to stumpwork and it looks very interesting to me.

    A nice little tutorial for placing the petals.



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