Nature-Inspired Stitchwork

Nature, the ultimate muse, has provided endless inspiration for all forms of needlework throughout time. From the most delicate bobbin-lace patterns to handknitted Lithuanian-colorwork mittens, nature’s influence is evident. Nature-inspired stitchwork spans the globe and is captured in Elizabethan tapestries and depicted in intricate embroidered Chinese Imperial Rank Badges. Issue after issue, PieceWork rejoices in nature’s glory and timeless splendor.

Nature-Inspired Stitchwork: Miniature Garden Rug

Teresa Layman’s Miniature Knotted Garden Rug. Photo by Joe Coca.

Spring brings the promise of nature’s bounty as winter’s grasp gives way to a vivid floral display. Capturing this abundance is a favorite theme for needleworkers. Nature-inspired stitchwork compels embroiderers, knitters, crocheters, tatters, and sewers alike to take up their needles, hooks, and shuttles and replicate the magnificence before them. PieceWork designers frequently feel the pull to emulate nature’s profusion.

Poppy Cowl

Eileen Lee’s A Red Poppy Cowl to Knit. Photo by Joe Coca.

  • Featured in the March/April 2006 issue, Teresa Layman’s exquisite Miniature Knotted Garden Rug’s rhythmic embroidered Colonial and French knots unite to form a textured pile depicting a peaceful floral garden surrounded by a flutter of butterflies.
  • Knitwear designer Eileen Lee re-created a field of poppies in her double-knitted cowl—A Red Poppy Cowl to Knit—from the March/April 2014 issue. During World War I, the corn poppy (Papaver rhoeas) carpeted the battlefields and inspired Lieutenant Colonel John McCrae (1872–1918), a Canadian medical officer, to pen the poem “In Flanders Fields” in May 1915, referencing the accumulation of poppies growing on soldiers’ graves. Lee’s cowl is inspired by the custom of wearing a red poppy in remembrance of veterans lost in times of war that harkens back to the years following the Armistice in 1918.
  • Traditional Orenburg-style lace motifs, including Strawberry and Honeycomb, envelop the wearer’s shoulders in the trio of Silk-Blend Lace Cowls to Knit designed by Inna Voltchkova from the November/December 2016 issue. Knit in three divine natural-colored silk-blend laceweight yarns—it’s heavenly on your needles.
Silky Cowl

The Silky Camel Cowl designed by Inna Voltchkova. Photo by George Boe.

The endless array of nature’s beauty can never truly be matched—but that won’t keep us from aspiring to reproduce nature’s majesty with the humble thread and needle. And PieceWork will continue to recount the nature-inspired stitchwork of generations past.

Happy stitching!

Featured Image: Photo by George Boe.

PieceWork kits inspired by nature!


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