Manon’s Garden

My heart skipped a beat when I first saw the antique – such a sweet collection of flowers, such a bright, rainbow palette and such an enigma. The almost anonymous stitcher only left us a single initial. Having sourced the antique from France, I decided to give her a French name, and to recreate her design as a kind of walled garden that might lie alongside a chateau…

Reproducing this design was such a pleasure. I love stitching flowers, and this little sampler has rows of flowers blooming and fruit ripening, flowerpots bursting with blossoms and even a couple of birds fighting over a tasty morsel.

The original antique sampler

In my reproduction, I only made one small change from the original – the colour of the initial. In the original antique, it was stitched in a bright blue and purple, which were not used elsewhere in the design. I replaced these colours with a couple already used, which I think create a sense of harmony and add to the quiet enigma of the stitcher’s presence.

The initial in the original antique

If you would like to stitch the initial exactly as the original, simply replace the stitches in Scuppernong with Weeks Dye Works Navy/DMC 3750, and the Raspberry Frost stitches with Classic Colorworks Mulled Berries/DMC 3834.

Alternatively, you might like to stitch your own initials, or the name of a favourite garden that you’ve visited.

The design uses full crosses over two and a small area of full crosses over one. I think this over one border gives a lovely sense of delicacy, but if you prefer not to stitch over one, you could also add your initials and the date here instead.

The fabric I used (and which I failed to photograph in all its warmth and loveliness), is 36-count ‘Toasted Mallow’ from Number12StitchCo on Etsy. My model was stitched in Weeks Dye Works, Gentle Arts and Classic Colorworks overdyed cottons, and the chart provides a full DMC conversion. I’d love to see it stitched in silk too…

The original and my reproduction, side by side

I hope you enjoy strolling through Manon’s Garden as you stitch, and think of warm afternoons listening to the bees, watching petals tumble in the breeze and breathing in the layering scents of flowers reaching for the sun.

The chart is available through stores now (see my stockists page) and will be available as a hard-copy and pdf in my Etsy store in the beginning of October.