Wednesday, 9 May 2012

Stump work Jewellery

Well, you’ll be pleased to know I didn’t catch a cold after all, in fact, I’ve been unusually busy,  fermenting my little ideas…

Believe it or not, this post started out being quite short….

Those of you following this blog from the beginning will know that the main reason I wanted to decipher how they made ‘The Sweetbag’ was to learn news ways to make flowers, and most of all, tiny flowers.  I’m pleased to say, I think I’m finally reaching my goal and each new discovery just seems to spark another….

Textile Brooch Using 2 Historic Techniques

I made this very small Daisy Brooch by combining two historic techniques and adding 6 modern sepals and a calyx.

Stumpwork Daisy Brooch

Last time I mentioned that I made the centre with ‘Spiral Corded Buttonhole’ like this:

Spiral corded buttonhole flower centre

Note: If you’re right handed, you would be buttonholing from left to right.

The technique is described fully in Sweet Bags and since I visited the Ashmolean Museum and photographed those tiny needlework posies, I’ve been keen to try that way of working out for myself. 

I already posted that I made the first row of 8 petals, using tiny 3-d needle lace method.  The whole thing is worked in the hand and the right side of the work faces you at all times.  

Tiny needle lace daisy - 3-d

Then, as I had decided that I was going to turn this into a brooch, I realised it needed to have another layer of petals.  Plus, I figured I wanted to try something different this time, because my main aim was to try to introduce the idea of ‘movement’ into the piece. 

Curly Elizabethan needle lace is wonderful for creating that illusion, but my first row of back and forth Corded Buttonhole (DBH) appeared to consist of too few stitches to curl very much. 

So I wandered off for a few days to ponder the problem, then decided to simply continue using Spiral Buttonhole method and see where it took me?

Quite soon into my miniature journey of discovery, I realised that once you give the cord row its final tug, the completed little petal has a charming way of twisting on itself and that could be advantageous !

Time to get technical

In these next two pictures you can see how the first petal, now complete, has duly twisted.  Followed by a close-up of 3 completed petals. 

Next time I’ll show you how I set up my ‘miniature loom’, because after all, if you think about it, by tensioning the Cord row, you end up with a classic warp thread but rigged-up horizontally, this time.  Remember I discussed the Elizabethan’s love of working over horizontal warp threads, when I investigated Soumak Weaving, the technique they used typically on Sweet Bag formers.

Corded buttonhole Daisy petal construction

3 daisy petals

The petals worked-up very small, as you can see, each is the length of my thumb nail !  

However, I was still left wondering if I could maybe make them even smaller?? 

Also, notice how if you work multiple rows of buttonhole like this, the surface patterning is virtually exactly the same as for Cluny Leaves in Tatting, or Woven Picots in embroidery.

For now, I will say that in terms of construction method, I found it to be most akin to Irish Crochet, where you turn the work and fold the foundation cord down to start the next row... (more next time).

Eventually, I made these 9 petals:

Corded Buttonhole Daisy Petals

Deciding that the curly layer would remain uppermost, I placed them over the earlier layer and sewed the two together with fine sewing thread, like this:

Two layers of petals for daisy

Then I needed to think about sepals?  To speed matters up and because I wanted the tips to come forward once in place, I decided this time to simply crochet some tiny leaves, using my own pattern that I include at the end of this post.

Daisy sepals

All that remained after that, was to think about how I would finish off the back and position the leaves?  After a few mock-ups, I made one more leaf and produced this:

Reverse of Daisy

The brooch pin will fit nicely onto this sturdy base and you could even extend the calyx and create a slender stem, maybe?  Earrings to match would be nice too…

Crochet Digression

Then, as I had all this lovely DMC ‘Forest Green’  crochet cotton out, I decided to finish off something else I’d been working on…

Its going to be another gift, this time for a very nice lady who takes in orphaned hedgehogs from the forest near her house.  (As cute as this sounds, they are very demanding little creatures and in need of a lot of flea powder, I’m told!!!)

This really cute design for rose and leaves is from Crochet Bouquet, by Suzann Thompson. 

Crocheted Rose leaves

The wonderful rose pattern is called ‘Shelly’, to be found on page 68.  As far as the leaves go, (page 114), they are the most life-like that I’ve seen in a crochet pattern.  Perhaps its little wonder that the author was able to achieve this design, because as you delve into her book you realise she has a very thorough grounding in the fabulous floral tradition of Irish Crochet.

Crocheted Rose corsage with 6 leaves

I should add, the rose incorporates an ingenious assembly technique, involving lots of ruffles and tacking stitches.


Beth Lea’s: Sepal Pattern (U.S. Terms)

(Makes One)

Ch 9

Sl St into second ch from hook

SC in next ch st

HDC in next ch st

DC in next ch st

HDC in next ch st

SC in next ch st

Sl St into each remaining ch st (2)

Fasten Yarn leaving a long tail.


Gosh, is that the time already?!


  1. I got the cold!!! The flowers look great I am going to try them

  2. Oh no, sorry to hear that, hope it doesn't last too long and its not a wet one...

    Will be posting fuller instructions next time on these petals, made out of yarn so will be much easier to see what goes where...

  3. Just found your blog.This is a great site.

  4. Thank you so much letslearnembroidery!

    Very encouraging comment!

  5. You mention that the spiral corded buttonhole is "fully described in Sweet Bags", but I can't find where. Can you point me to the proper page number? Thanks.


  6. You mention that the spiral corded buttonhole is "fully described in Sweet Bags", but I can't find where. Can you point me to the proper page number? Thanks.


  7. Hi Linda

    True, I ought to have been more specific.
    Nomenclature issues aside, I refer to this stitch as 'Spiral' to help me remember how its worked.

    In 'Sweet Bags' its referred to as 'Elizabethan corded Brussels stitch' on pages 104 and 105.

    The illustration on page 105 (Fig. 116) is used again in the follow-up book 'Elizabethan Stitches' but this time to help to illustrate 'Corded Trellis stitch'.

    In Sweet Bags the author observes that if you stitch over metal thread in this way, the work remains easy to manage (paraphrased). My experiments with standard thread showed me that if I tension the thread first by tying it to something, then its possible to achieve consistent results and better speed.

  8. Thanks, Beth. What is the best way to start the circle? Wind the passing wire in a tiny circle and whip thread over it, then work DBH off of that? Or is there a better way? Thanks for the help.


  9. Good question, will cover that in next post but for now: for the start to remain stable and provide something to hold on to, I found the best way was to tie the Cord row and the working thread together loosely. As you would with say Irish Crochet. Your last stitch will be to go into the first stitch you made. Making sure the knot and tails poke out of the back of the work as you do so.

    Once you have gone round a couple of times working the buttonhole stitches, you can then go back and untie that knot from behind and tighten up your first stitches, by pulling on the tails. I did this a couple of times for each centre but the results were neater on the second attempt, as you would expect. I tensioned the Cord row gradually too, from both ends.

    I hope to post soon btw!