Sufi ‘whirling dervish’ embroidered box lid

Here’s another one of the satin-covered boxes, that I have been embroidering for a few months now. I’m getting a collection of these together, so that I can take them to a Sufi summer school in Germany in July, and hopefully sell some at the market that is held mid-week during the school. With a bit of luck, I might be able to make enough from what I sell, to cover the costs of what I buy (it’s a very good  market – lots of jewellery, clothes, prayer beads, books, etc. – very tempting stuff!).

The design was stitched with one or two strands of Anchor cotton, shade 403 Black for most of it, with the hat done in 46 Red. I only used stem stitch, with a bit of straight stitch to define the fingers and facial details. The fabric was a piece of yellow polycotton, underlined with white (although, on a piece like this with quite light stitch coverage, I don’t think the underlining was actually necessary).

The box measures 3 1/2 inches by 2 1/4 inches, so it’s just large enough to keep prayer beads in, or a favourite piece of jewellery.

For such a small, minimalist piece of stitching (not my usual style at all), I was very pleased with the effect of movement that I achieved with this.


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7 thoughts on “Sufi ‘whirling dervish’ embroidered box lid”

  1. Hello Janet,

    Thank you for sharing your box lid, it is beautiful and as you say the spirit of the movement is definately there. I must tell you I was surprised because I too have been experimenting with redwork (done in black with touches of red also). I sketch my designs on muslin from photographs of living history friends (either Civil War or Seminole War) and they have been so well received as gifts. It is fun to be creative with our needlework skills. Love your work, you are very inspirational.


    1. I do get the feeling that it’s becoming a bit more ‘acceptable’ to do all kinds of embroidery now – not just cross stitch. I still do cross stitch sometimes, but there are lots of other styles, too!

  2. So simple, so elegant! I love the drapery lines you’ve designed for the dress.
    Not my style either….I love detail. I wonder if I’ll ever manage to do a piece that is this ‘clean’ – or whether I’ll find myself adding attaching least a few paillettes and embroidering a flourish or two to bracket the design LOL!

    1. Yes, it was difficult to stop when I did, actually….I usually add more colour and texture. And I’m not a fan of ‘doodle embroidery’, so I didn’t want it to look like that style!

  3. Oh how fantastic your whirling Dervish is. It is amazing how little is needed to give the wild dancing movement, You captured it so well.

  4. Hey 🙂
    I say your comment on SueTortoise’s blog re “proper embroidery”. (Beautiful piece, hey – too good to be dismissed as a ‘practise piece’.) If you are interested, have a look at the “Historical Embroidery Blogs” on my blog to find some serious HE blogs., My blog list is divided into all HE, some HE, and General Embroidery lists. I’m a bit of an organiser!

  5. The minimal lines capture so much movement in the folds of the clothes. I love embroidered box lids, and this one looks great.

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