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Raised Embroidery - A Book of Inspiration

(originally published 14th December 2015)

And now, something completely different…today I’m starting a series of blogs that will take me well into next year! Some time ago, I was asked by the Royal School of Needlework and Search Press to write a book about three dimensional embroidery. When I asked whether they meant that the embroidery itself was to be three dimensional, or that the object being embroidered was ‘in the round’, the answer was - ‘yes!’ Thus began an adventure of what I fondly refer to as ‘off the wall embroidery’ - inventing, designing, sourcing materials and stitching beautiful objects to wear, to use, and to simply pick up and admire.

17th-century Stumpwork Casket housed at the

Holburne Museum, Bath

17th-century Stumpwork Panel depicting a marriage scene

In the coming months I’ll take you with me as I tread a path through an unknown country - I’ve NEVER written a book before, much less one which needs to inspire and visually delight, AND provide accurate information on stitching! Before I dive into the concept of a flat plan (!), I thought I’d chat a bit about this technique often called ‘Stumpwork’, but was originally known simply as ‘raised embroidery"…

The Lady and The Unicorn - 'Sight' by Kelley Aldridge

...and then I found this article in the Telegraph, which does the job nicely, AND includes some lovely images of historical pieces...

There is also a very interesting video from the Victoria & Albert Museum on a raised embroidery casket embroidered in 1671 by eleven-year-old Martha Edlin...

I never lose my respect and awed admiration for the embroiderers of these pieces - their very young age, not to mention the materials and working conditions they were challenged with. Above all, I adore this glimpse into a bygone age.

Stumpwork Stitch Sampler by Kelley Aldridge

Stumpwork Violets Kit designed by Kelley Aldridge

Stumpwork Holly Spray Kit designed by Kelley Aldridge

I'm incredibly flattered and honoured to have been asked by The Royal School of Needlework to write what will be the second in a new series (the first book, Applique, by Kate Cross, is due out in April 2016). The idea behind this series is to take 'the next step' in a variety of techniques which are set out in the first series of Essential Stitch Guides - my job is to bring the wonderfully varied and creative aspects of raised embroidery (also known as Embosted Work) into a very contemporary setting - and, I like to think, 'off the wall'... More soon!

Stumpwork Seasons Sampler (detail) - Ceylon Stitch by Kelley Aldridge

Love 'n Stitches,



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