Hungarian Sampler Blouse Part 3: Transsylvanian Tulips

The second section of our sampler is a design made up of three tulips based on the embroidery style of the Hungarian regions of Romania, in Transsylvania:

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Most often a very wide, very tightly stitched open chain stitch was used to outline each shape, in or red, blue, black, and sometimes white thread on hemp, linen or cottn cloth. This is called “large-written stitching”, like on this pretty doily of my sister’s:

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Or in these examples:

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(source)

The insides of the motifs were filled in with a variety of other stitches. You can view more examples here and here. This style of embroidery originates from the elaborate silk cloths noblewomen stitched with expensive gold, silver, silk, or wool threads, most often to decorate their churches. As it passed into villagefolks’ hands the original lily and pomagranate motifs of the nobility’s embroidery were somewhat simplified, the stitching became more stylized, and the motifs were reinterpreted as birds and flowers familiar to the inhabitants of villages from their daily lives. The tulip shape is especially important, it mostly stands for femininity, like the center tulip in our sampler, which has a kind of almond seed in its center, which symbolizes a fertile womb. The other tulips, however, can be interpreted as something a bit different: the upside-down heart-like shape can stand for male genitals with the tulip, the woman, enclosing it within herself (not kidding… isn’t that kind of great?).

So, let’s get to work!

Here are our bare tulips:

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Since we barely got started with our sampler, we are going to use the same, plain chain stitch to outline our motifs, then a stem stitch in the center areas of all three tulips, and a button-hole stitch for the round bits at the edges.

I began outlining at the bottom of the center tulip:

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Keep going until you’ve got a tulip fully outlined, and the center area and spirally pollen tubes, like this:

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Then, bring your needle up at the bottom mid-point of the center area, very slightly to one side of the marked center line:

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Now take your needle down not more than 1/8 (2mm) ahead, very silghtly to the other side of the marked center line as where you began, and bring your needle back up right next to where you started this line of stitching, very slightly to the first side of the center line:

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Then make another stitch, about twice as long as this first one, taking your needle down very slightly on one side of the center line, and bringing it back up on the other side, right next to where your first stitch ended:

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Now keep going like this – taking your needle down to the wrong side of the embroidery moving ahead, slightly to one side of the center line and bringing it back up halfway behind, slightly to the other side of the center line:

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Until you’ve covered the entire line:

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To finish the rest of the “heart”, take your thread to the beginning of the little line next to the center line, like this:

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And stem-stitch along the line. Do the same with the other shorter lines in this part of the motif, like this:

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Repeat on “heart” of the tulip on the other side, and the almond-shaped center of the middle one:

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And now the last stitch: decorative circles with buttonholes!

I’ll start at one of the side tulips, bringing my thread over in back to where the little circle with the dot is marked on the pattern:

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Bring the needle up at the edge of the circle:

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Then stitch down into the center dot and bring the needle back 1/10″ (1mm) ahead, catching the thread with the needle:

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And making a loop, a bit like in a chain stitch:

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Now repeat these steps – needle down in center point and up a bit ahead on the line, catching the thread to make a loop:

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Keep going round like this to make the complete buttonhole-circle, stitching down the last loop:

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Do the same with the other circles, and you’re done! Look how pretty it looks:

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And look how pretty our sampler is looking already:

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Links to tutorial pages:

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