I’ve always been drawn to folklore embroidery. There is something about the way I imagine it used to fit into everyday life that I find appealing, even if I know that some of what I imagine about it is pretty much just fantasy. A nostalgic, sweet pastoral fantasy of a time and place where people lived in harmony with their surroundings and spent time lovingly embellishing everyday clothes and objects with the work of their two hands. Never mind that, for example, in Eastern European villages embroidering a trusseau’s worth of textiles was basically a competitive sport that no girl escaped having to participate in. Whether she liked stitching and had some aptitude for it – or not.
Still, I have a particular fondness for folk embroidery because it is something that comes from a time when hand-embroidery was a well-known and important craft that had real value.
Having said that, some of the stitching can be intimidating. Not because it’s complicated: most embroidery in a particular region of Hungary uses no more than 3-4 uncomplicated stitches. The Faraway Garden and Cabbage Rose Fancy patterns can be stitched with just stem stitch and satin stitch. Look:
Really easy stitches, deceptively so even because it can be tough to get them looking even and neat. And, depending on how large an area you want to cover with them, they can make for rather monotonous stitching.
While making samples for Faraway Garden I started doing the leaves differently, by hacking some needlepoint stitching (which in most books you’ll under ‘scallop stitch’). (I did the same thing for the leaves of the little sample for the Bewitching Botanicals pattern set at the top of the post.)
Here’s how it works:
And if you combine this with simple outlining with the stitch of your choice (I did stem stitch, because why not), you’ll get a quicker and easier the results are still quite pretty.
You can download the diagrams above as a printable PDF too.