Jacobean Stumpwork – Step 6

Note: There are a couple of things in this step I would have done differently if I were doing this again. And will, next time I do stumpwork! And as I wrote this up, I realized that I can’t find video or photo tutorials on working these stitches over a wire frame, so in the next few days expect a video here, technology permitting.

Again, the images are in a gallery at the bottom, with descriptions. Click on them to enlarge.

Step 6 – Wired needlelace leaves

The finished leaf, from an odd angle.
  1. Start in the same way you started the small petals: couch the wire down along the muslin pattern. Note: This is where I would have done something different: You will be pulling these couching threads out in step 7. I’d suggest using contrasting thread to couch with, rather than something that will blend in, like the blue I used.
  2. Using 2 very long strands of green floss and the tapestry needle, secure the thread at the FRONT of the work, a bit away from the leaf, and bring your needle up about halfway down one side. Wrap the thread around just the wire up to the point. This will secure the thread when we are finished with the leaf.
    Note: This is another thing I would have done differently: I would have used one strand of fine perle cotton, maybe a size 12 for the leaves. (and maybe for the stem, too…) Needlelace is much easier to work with a thread with some body.
  3. Starting with one buttonhole stitch at the tip of the leaf, work detached buttonhole downward, filling the leaf. This is detached from the muslin, not from the wire. Make sure you wrap each row of buttonhole stitch around the wire at the sides. I can’t find a tutorial for this. Near the beginning of next week I will try to video one and get it posted, if I can figure out the technology!
    Note: I wanted a lacy look to this leaf. If you are just trying out this technique, you might want to work a Corded Brussels stitch (with a returning thread bar for stability) instead of the Brussels (just buttonhole) stitch. The corded stitch is easier to maintain tension and make even stitches with.  I’ll include both versions in the video.
  4. When you reach the bottom of the leaf, wrap the thread up around the leaf edge and park it to the side of your work.
  5. Start another length of thread, again 2 strands, and as long as you can work with: I find that 24-30 inches is about as much as I can handle without it becoming a mess.  Secure it using the same method, but this time, come up on the left side of the leaf, 1/2 way up and wrap it to the bottom. Buttonhole around the wire and the wrapped threads all the way around the leaf.
  6. Secure that last dangling thread by switching to your thinner, sharp needle and running it up under the last few buttonhole stitches you have made, between the stitches and the wire.  Clip the dangly green threads and your leaf is finished.
  7. Repeat for the second leaf.
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