Bethlehem Embroidery SAL

It’s three weeks since I last shared my Bethlehem embroidery, this is the one I started at a workshop by Deborah Mullins at Fabbadashery last year. The design is inspired by the style of embroidery from Bethlehem. Deborah spent a few months in Palestine when her husband was there on a sabatical, she spent her time studying the different regional styles of embroidery. Bethlehem embroidery was always considered the finest.

Our version is stitched on a heavy hand-felted background, with calico and canvas behind to give it stability, it’s pretty thick. Three weeks ago I was plodding round the outer border with chevron stitch…

Well I’m still plodding round, but I have done a little detour too…

I remember the chevron stitch in the middle took hours in class, and obviously this one is probably three times the length, I wanted to do it before I started filling in round the spirals togive me a feeling of the space I had to fill. However it has gone on and on…and on! I decided to have a break and fill in the centre bit.

I’d been debating how to fill it in, Bethlehem embroidery is pretty densely stitched, lots of couching and satin stitch from what I can gather, but I didn’t want to detract from the central spiral.The couching is also usually stitched in one continuous length, I decided in the end to do a sort of meandering loop round the edge which I could mold into the space available, I used a variegated blue perle thread which had come with the kit provided on the day….

I then started to look at filling in the triangular shapes under the outer spiral border. I’d thought about leaves, or hearts, or circles…I looked on Deborah’s website and a few seemed to have stitched hearts here. I tried with some finer orange perle thread, but the hearts just looked bulky and messy, so last night I unpicked them. At the moment I’m wondering about a more stylised heart – a sharp cornered one, or even just a triangle. This is what is taking the time with this piece – deciding what to do!!

So this is my progress so far…

Hopefully by next time I’ll have had some bright idea of what to do – it doesn’t help that one of our doctor’s is Palestinian and he is keen to see it – no pressure then!!

This SAL is organised by Avis of Stitching by the Sea, we’re small group of stitchers and we post our progress on our particular piece every three weeks, there’s a huge variety of projects, so please follow the links to see how everyone is doing…

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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18 Responses to Bethlehem Embroidery SAL

  1. wybrow1966 says:

    It is great to hear your thoughts as you progress through this piece. Just loving the colours.


  2. Cathie J says:

    The chevron looks great and you have made a lot of progress with it. I do like those loops you made around the spiral. They complement it quite nicely. I am sure that you will figure out the other fill-in soon.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Gail says:

    Beautiful colours and stitching. It is interesting to see this project each time you show it and I love hearing your thoughts on what to do next. By the way, do you have a guidebook that you would recommend for the walks you have been doing?


  4. I know what you mean about decisions taking up loads of time. Love the loops 🙂 They’re perfect!


  5. kathyreeves says:

    Beautiful! A nice break from the chevron stitching, filling in the center, which looks fabulous! You can stitch on the chevron, and when you get an idea for the next section, you can try it out, and if you’re not sure, finish the chevron! It sounds like a win-win. As for those hearts, I could never draw them, but I can see stylized ones that just fit the space. For me triangles would be a better choice, because the heart would never look like I had envisioned them!


  6. Carole says:

    I love the meandering loops. The colour is perfect and they fill that space beautifully.


  7. Laura says:

    Love this project, and your thoughts as you progress, Margaret! I like the triangle idea better than the heart idea, but whatever you decide…it will be the right decision! 🙂


  8. Very nice work! And skillful stitches 🙂


  9. claire93 says:

    I love how this design pops on the dark petrol blue background, and all the texture you’re adding ^^


  10. Sharon says:

    So stunning – its a magical piece!


  11. Christina says:

    Love the meandering stitches! Love seeing your creativity on shine through this project. Stylized heart would fit nicely, but so would triangles. Eager to see what you end up choosing.


  12. magpiesue says:

    I didn’t realize the foundation under the embroidery was so stout. That makes what you’ve done so far that much more impressive. I completely understand about figuring out what to do next being almost the hardest, most time consuming step of the process!


  13. anne54 says:

    It is looking sumptuous, Margaret! But I can understand why you need a break from the chevron stitching. I just realised that the tight, controlled chevron lines are a great contrast to the more wild and organic loops and swirls of the other stitching. I think triangles that follow the lines of the swirls would look good, but as the others say, what you decide will be the right decision.


  14. rutigt says:

    This is so beautiful!!!


  15. This looks very interesting and beautiful and I am sure the right decision will come to you,


  16. It is precious! I love how it grows and its colors … energetic! Very beautifull!


  17. teamwilsun says:

    I love the colors and the different stitching techniques — so interesting!

    Liked by 1 person

  18. Amazing piece – love the colors and the stitching!

    Liked by 1 person

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