Bethlehem Embroidery SAL

It’s three weeks since I shared my Bethlehem embroidery, this is the piece from a workshop I did last year with Deborah Mullins. She was keen to stress it was’inspired by’ not a true representation of Bethlehem embroidery, which is considered to be the finest of the regional Palestinian embroidery styles. Last time I was just finishing the copper wire coils…

I ordered some more perle threads, found the ones originally provided in the workshop, and debated how to finish it. I was tempted to go more down my usual repetoire of stitches to complete it, rather than predominantly couching which seems to dominate this style of embroidery. I then happened to mention the embroidery to one of our doctors at work who is Palestinian. He was so enthusiastic and keen for me to meet his wife (once social restrictions are relaxed) as she is very keen to keep the embroidery traditions alive, that I haven’t the heart to not finish it ‘properly’!!

I started to couch some turqoise variegated perle thread around the spirals, using a soft copper colour to couch it down. I liked the first spiral and initially I liked the second spiral…until I tried to continue on to the third one. Palestinian embroidery is traditionally done with one long continuous thread, if you look at the bookmark below which I made in a previous Deborah Mullins workshop, each side with the flowers, hearts and loops is done with a continuous thread…

…so I tried to have it contiuous which meant couching either side of the spiral. The first one (second spiral!!) didn’t look too bad, but the third one was much closer together so it really wasn’t going to work. I then decided to stop each thread at the Y junction and restart in the centre. I think it looks much better.

Once I’ve stitched the last two spirals and sorted out the second and third one, I can then work out another couching pattern to fill in the spaces. I can’t quite decide between leaves or hearts! There’s also another row of chevron stitch to go on the border between the orange and the teal background. So still a fair bit of work to do!

This stitch-a-long is organised by Avis of Stitching by the Sea, we post our progress on our chosen projects every three weeks. Please follow the links to see what everyone else is stitching.

AvisClaireGunCaroleSueConstanzeChristinaKathyMargaretCindyHeidiJackieSunnyHayleyMeganDeborahMary MargaretReneeCarmelaSharonDaisyAnneConnieAJJennyLauraCathieLindaHelen

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!
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15 Responses to Bethlehem Embroidery SAL

  1. Lovely story and I look forward to hearing what you learn from your future meeting. Absolutely gorgeous colours and who doesn’t love an excess of couching? My inclination would be leaves to contrast all the roundness of the shapes you have – but I am not sure if that’s in keeping with the style you’re going for or not. Can’t wait to see this one finished.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Carole says:

    That’s looking gorgeous. I love the colours you’re using and the couching is beautiful.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. CathieJ says:

    I think it is wonderful that you decided to continue with the traditional stitches. This is so very pretty. I can see what you mean with the third spiral, but all the rest look gorgeous.

    Liked by 1 person

  4. claire93 says:

    all those swirls look fabulous ^^

    Liked by 1 person

  5. Sharon says:

    Stunning project! What a beautiful art piece you’re working on. Excited to see what you choose, leaves or hearts 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Looks beautiful and how lovely to be able to connect with someone who has experience of this type of embroidery. xx

    Liked by 1 person

  7. This is so pretty. I love the bookmark too!

    Liked by 1 person

  8. kathyreeves says:

    It will be so cool to visit with your doc’s wife about this…hopefully soon.🙂 This is a beautiful stitchery, and I’m looking forward to seeing you next steps, whether they be hearts or leaves.

    Liked by 1 person

  9. anne54 says:

    You are such an adventurous embroiderer, Margaret. This style seems to have thrown challenges your way, but I know you will solve them. Are you sewing this onto felted fabric?

    Liked by 1 person

  10. teamwilsun says:

    Love the couching on the spirals — I’ve never seen this sort of work before so it’s fascinating!

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Christina says:

    Such pretty progress and colors! I’ve never couched before, but it looks satisfying to stitch.

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Wonderful embroidery! I am watching with interest how it will continue..
    Good Summer, Carmela

    Liked by 1 person

  13. magpiesue says:

    This sounds like such an ambitious project. I look forward to watching it develop further. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  14. rutigt says:


    Liked by 1 person

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