William Morris Embroidery

It’s my Embroiderers Guild meeting on Monday so I thought it was time I embroidered something for the travelling sketchbook in my possession at the moment. We’re in a group of five this time and our sketchbooks are circulating round the group each month so we can put a piece of work in each one. I think this is the penultimate swap!

This month the book is on the theme of the Arts and Crafts movement. I have been inspired by William Morris and his contemporaries for years, I found an excellent set of articles on the Victoria & Albert museum website all about the Arts and Crafts movement, here is an excerpt;

The Arts and Crafts Movement began in Britain around 1880 and quickly spread to America, Europe and Japan. Inspired by the ideas of John Ruskin and William Morris, it advocated a revival of traditional handicrafts, a return to a simpler way of life and an improvement in the design of ordinary domestic objects. 

When I think of William Morris I tend to think of the complex fabric designs, full of twirling leaves and stems, such as the one above which covers the sketchbook. I was finding it quite hard to think of what to embroider. I looked on google and pinterest and found this photo of a stained glass window he designed which is currently at the V&A. I decided the simple flower design would be perfect.

I sketched the left-hand image onto paper and then used my lightbox to trace it onto some calico.I used calico as I wanted a fairly firm fabric both for tracing on and also for colouring. The stained glass has a touch of yellow on the flower. For Christmas I got a set of Inktense pencils by Derwent, they are made up in the Lakes and we visited their pencil museum when we were last in Keswick. They are watercolour pencils which you can use on fabric too. I coloured round the edge of the flower and in the centre, then went over it with a wet paintbrush, it does make a lovely intense colour. I’m quite pleased with my first try with them.

I overlaid the design with a silvery piece of organza to give the impression of glass. I tacked the organza round to hold it in place and then put it in a hoop to work it.

I used DMC 3011 to embroider the design, it’s a nice soft olive green. I used stem stitch for the stems and the leaves and buttonhole for the flower. The centre of the flower is like a sort of thread weaving to make a criss-cross pattern.William Morris Embroidery

To give the effect of the leaded edge I used DMC 3021 which is actually a brown/grey colour. I just chain stitched around the edge. I usually blanket stitch around the edge of these little embroideries but I felt it would detract from the chain outline, so I decided to just leave it as a raw cut edge, as it is going in a book it hopefully won’t fray too much. I applied some iron on interfacing to the back and then stuck in in place in the book.William Morris Embroidery

I’m pleased with the way this has turned out, although it was interesting how I found this harder to do in that I was effectively copying a design, so there wasn’t much freedom, I much preferred the previous ones when I stitched a bird for example where I could create whatever effect I wanted.

I’m linking up with Kathy’s Quilts for Slow Stitching Sunday tomorrow, why not follow the link and see what everyone else has been hand-stitching.

About craftycreeky

I live in a busy market town in Yorkshire with my husband, kids, dogs and chickens. I love trying new crafts, rediscovering old ones, gardening, walking...anything creative really I started this blog after my New Year resolution worked so well. My resolution (the first one I've ever kept!) was to post a photograph of my garden on Facebook every day. My hope was that I would then see what was good in the garden and not just weeds and work, which was my tendency. The unexpected side-effect was that I have enjoyed many more hours in the garden. I am hoping that 'The Crafty Creek' will have the same effect. Happy creating!
This entry was posted in embroidery, Serendipity, Textile Books, The Travelling Sketchbook and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

30 Responses to William Morris Embroidery

  1. nanacathy2 says:

    Utterly charming.. I like the strawberry thief too.


  2. kathyreeves says:

    I love this! I think you captured the stained glass motif perfectly!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Boosmummy says:

    I love it. I’m a big fan of William Morris and you’ve caught the flower wonderfully. I like the way you can find beautiful flowers inbetween lots of greenery in his work.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. katechiconi says:

    People always think of complex designs when they think of William Morris, but he did produce some beautifully simple designs too, and I think you’ve executed one of them really well.

    Liked by 1 person

  5. MrsCraft says:

    It’s turned out really nicely, it looks like the window was the perfect inspiration!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. This is stunning! It’s such a pretty pattern.

    Liked by 1 person

  7. Gail says:

    Very pretty! The owner of this sketchbook will be pleased!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. Very pretty! You chose a really elegant design.

    You should be aware that Inktense pencils are fugitive pigments – they fade over time, especially when exposed to light. I would think they’ll be okay in a book, but I’m not sure I’d use them for a piece that’s going to be framed.


  9. Jocelyn says:

    I am a big Morris fan and this really caught my eye. I love to embroidery and while I have cross stitched a Morris design….Strawberry Thief, I have never embroidered one. What a great idea and I’ve made note of those pencils too. Lovely work and thanks for sharing your method.

    Liked by 1 person

  10. shoes15 says:

    Very pretty. I think I could use this technique to do a Glasgow Rose, a Charles Rennie Macintosh design.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Great idea to isolate one flower from the stained glass! Usually the Wm Morris fabrics are so busy.
    Well done!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. karenlogcabinquilter says:

    The sketchbook idea sounds oh so interesting.

    Liked by 1 person

  13. sewchet says:

    I love William Morris’ designs and this is a great interpretation. It was interesting to see your process, too, especially the use of an organza overlay to mimic glass.

    Liked by 1 person

  14. I think doing a traveling embroidery sketch book is one of the best ideas I’ve ever heard of! This Morris inspired design turned out so nicely!


  15. Catherine says:

    William and May’s work is truly inspiring, and I love seeing their pieces in the gallery, and in the various books I’ve acquired. I love your little piece here, it’s very effective and carefully planned and stitched. I love your touch of watercolour too. I may have to try that ‘one day’!


  16. Kate says:

    That’s very pretty! You did a great job with it.


  17. Pingback: Eighteen for 18 | thecraftycreek

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