Having stitched all of the ‘surface embroidery’ parts of the Illuminated Floral stumpwork panel by Alison Cole, I’ve now made a start on the detached elements. Alison’s kit includes several pieces of quilter’s muslin to work the detached parts on, as well as plenty of fine wire for the shaping. I’m doing the petals for the pinks on the gold diamond first. Each petal shape is traced onto the muslin, and then fine wire is tacked on, buttonhole stitch is worked really closely over the wire shape, and then split backstitch is worked just inside the wire outline. Finally, the centre is filled with long and short stitch (see the image below – stages worked right to left). It’s essential to use a hoop for this process, as the muslin needs to be really taut. In ‘full size’ detached stumpwork pieces, the wires sticking out at the base are usually left double, but as these petals are so tiny (about half an inch long), one of the wires is trimmed off to make attaching the petal easier.
I’d never made such small stumpwork pieces before, but once I got the hang of it, these were quite easy to do. I found it quite hard to get sharp corners, though, so mine are a bit more ’roundy’ than Alison’s! Notice on the image below, that all the ‘tails’ of wire are sticking out around the edge of the hoop – this limits tangling of your working thread as you work multiple petals.
When it came to cutting out the shapes from the muslin, it was good to leave the muslin tautly fixed in the hoop, as the tension helped when cutting neatly up to the edge of each piece – this was one of Alison’t many helpful tips in her instructions.