I’m beginning to understand myself as an embroiderer.

I’ve written about how I design for hand embroidery, but there’s another element to what I do that seems to make a lot of sense to me.

I call it layering.

The idea or concept is the beginning – I usually don’t draw out a design for hand embroidery, I simply begin.

But each following layer or step has to build upon what has gone before – that’s where the concept of layering comes into play.

And that applies to colour, texture, and embellishments because they’re the sorts of things that can make embroidery sizzle.


Take this work as a case in point.

It began with an idea from a Christmas decoration, then moved to cover a sphere when I came across them fossicking for threads.

Now it will simply be stuffed to help blow out that simple yet effective embroidery.

And it all started – with stem stitch, repeated and repeated.

But, it draws the eye because I graduated the colours, melding them gently yet effectively.

A touch of black for excitement, a hint of silver for elegance, and some coloured beads for added texture.

Plus it made sense to use the sequins along each of the four edges as a finishing to link and unify them to the base.

Just a small amount of beautiful lavender silk thread adds another pop of colour and contrasting texture.

Since taking this work-in-progress image, I’ve completed the central flower and will begin to assemble and finish this small work.

But the point I want to make is that each step along the way informed the next one – and so on.

I’m relying on my instincts as I work – something that’s not often spoken or written about, but an aspect of embroidery that’s so important.

Old work often informs new work, and those ideas and techniques can be used again and again – with simple changes they can look completely different.

In some ways, looking at each step as yet another layer encourages innovation.

Just how far can you go?


All views and opinions expressed are my own, except where acknowledged information is included from other sources.