Bishy barney bee

What, you may ask, is a Bishy barney bee – unless you come from Norfolk that is!

A Bishy barney bee is the local Norfolk name for a ladybird or ladybug. Goodness knows how that name came about – are there any Norfolk people reading this who can explain? 🙂

Now, I might have hinted that I’m enjoying a revival of interest in embroidery. Actually it would be more honest to say that I’m enjoying a first time round interest in embroidery! I’ve always admired it but never really been inspired to give it a go.That is, apart from cross stitch (I was quite into that several years ago), blackwork (I loved that for a while too), the occasional backstitch picture, and blanket stitch appliqué design. Actually putting it all down on ‘paper’ perhaps I have done quite a bit of embroidery!

I stumbled upon Elizabeth Braun’s blog Sew in Love and was inspired by a tutorial she has put together on Stumpwork ladybirds and beetles – link here.

Her explanation and photos were so clear that I was encouraged to give it a go.

Just remember I am a beginner…


The satin stitch is a bit wonky and the body certainly isn’t symmetrical but, you know, it’s OK.

I did a few more beetles using any ‘special’ thread I happened to have  🙂


The little beetle in the bottom left is embroidered with metallic thread which was AWFUL to sew with but I loved the shimmer on the wing cases.


This rather poorly focused photo was supposed to show you that the beetles are slightly raised.


The legs really finish off these little bugs 🙂

I embroidered a leaf around the bugs using back stitch.



So now what do I do with this bit of embroidery? What can I turn it into so it doesn’t end up in a drawer? Answers on a postcard please (or in the comments box 😉 )

Apologies about the photography in this post, my camera just isn’t up to doing close ups of tiny objects (these beetles are only 3/4 inch long).

Until next time,

Chris x


7 thoughts on “Bishy barney bee

  1. Bethan Davies

    I think they’d look great as earrings – backed on invisible binding or sitting on an appliqué leaf! Maybe a ladybird necklace!

  2. Jon

    Did you use the macro setting when taking the close up pics? If not, then that might help to get them a bit more focused. Although, to be honest, they’re pretty cool already! 😀

  3. Wow! I think these little beetles are amazing. I’ve only tried stumpwork once, and I loved doing it, but I did find it quite tricky. I think the photos do show the 3D effect, but as Jon says, a macro setting would probably help. Thanks for the link to the tutorial – I will definitely be taking a look.

  4. they are fabulous! I’ve never tried stumpwork, it frightens me a bit. Ideas for what you can do with it? Picture/cushion/bag/pouch… usual suspects!

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