Monday, September 28, 2015

Teeny Needlelace Vinyl

&Stitches Strawberry Stumpwork


A few days ago, I pointed you in the direction of some great needlelace video tutorials. I followed the very basics of those tutorials (more or less) to give needlelace a try - nothing more than absolute beginner's needlelace, but I manage to produce a tiny project!

My first, and biggest, problem was that I couldn't think of anything to apply these skills to. I got my brain stuck on traditional needlelace / stumpwork subjects - mostly flowers and leaves - and although they're lovely, I was looking for something a bit more me. In the end, I was inspired by my own blogmates' projects, and I settled on music as something I love enough to build with tiny threads. Stumpwork vinyl?! That's definitely a me thing to do!


As you can see in my little montage above, I started by couching wire to muslin (I didn't have any tracing paper to work over, but that would've helped make the process a little smoother, I think) and then worked one round of buttonhole stitch around the wire. From there, I was able to work in a spiral, skipping a stitch here and there to decrease the rounds and keep it lying flat.

None of the books I had told me what to do when adding a new thread in, either with the ends or the new thread - so I just sort of fudged that and hid the ends under my finished piece when I applied it to fabric, which worked out ok in this case. Otherwise, I found the basic, no-frills needlelace stitch remarkably easy and surprisingly quick to do. I can imagine it would take a bit of practice to get a properly even tension - this wasn't really an issue for my teeny project, but I can see that it's not especially even. I would also start with a thicker thread, perhaps - I used a number 12 perle cotto, but a 5 might've been better for a first attempt.

I finished off my wee record by buttonholing all around the wire edge and removing it from the muslin - the record is only about an inch across! I then added a label (a tiny piece of Liberty fabric with interfacing on the back to help it keep its shape, and a 'hole' satin stitched with sewing thread) and applied it to a fabric turntable. My dials are fat french knots and I made a tiny arm by wrapping a folded-over piece of the same wire as I used earlier.


I enjoyed the wire wrapping more than the rest of the project, for some reason - I can definitely see me playing with that again sometime!


I did enjoy this funny little stumpwork project and I'd like to try more, but I have to admit, I'm still at the same place as I started - I honestly can't imagine what sort of project I'd apply these techniques to. But you never know, maybe I'll run into some unexpected inspiration one day and start stumpworking up a storm!

What are you stitching? Please share in the &Stitches Flickr group. We'd love to see it!


  1. Nicely done and good to see a departure from the trad stumpwork designs. Barbara and Roy Hirst's Raised Embroidery books might give you even more ideas!


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