Stumpwork is a beautiful and interesting type of embroidery. Many stitchers are curious what it is and
how you acheive such effects. Here are a few answers to some common questions regarding stumpwork
embroidery. Feel free to send more if you think of any!
What is stumpwork?
Stumpwork or raised embroidery, is a technique that became popular in the 1600s. The idea is to use different stitches and techniques to
create raised surfaces.
What stitches are used?
All stitches can be used. Some are well-suited for creating raised surfaces because much of the thread sits above the fabric
and helps to create interesting textures.
Examples of popular stitches in stumpwork embroidery are bullion knots, french knots, and turkey work and many others.
What other techniques are used?
A variety of techniques are used to help create raised areas in stumpwork. These include stitching over areas padded
with felt or other stitches, using slips and lightly stuffing them, covering wooden and glass beads with thread, and
using detached shapes. You can also make forms with little pieces of felt and cover them with stitches. Only
your imagination is the limit for which techniques can be used!
What are detached shapes?
These are diffent shapes, such as leaves and petals that have a wired edge to help keep their form. The wires
are not required though, depending on the effect you want to achieve. Shapes that you might want to roll
over on themselves such as an old leaf, might not need any wiring.
How do you make wired detached shapes?
There are several ways to do them. One way is to couch down a wire over your shape, then cover the wire with buttonhole stitches,
fill in the shape with stitches if desired, then carefully cut out the shape. You can also fill your wired form
in with needlelace stitches. Needlelace can also be made without wiring too!
What about designs?
There are many designs that are designed to be stitched with stumpwork techniques. However, many design intended
for other types of embroidery can be adapted to stumpwork, it just requires a bit of imagination!
What fabrics can stumpwork embroidery be stitched on?
Many fabrics are suitable for stumpwork, linens, cottons, wools, silks, blends. If you are creating an embroidery
with many wired forms that must be supported, you may want to use a backing fabric.