Little House Needleworks ABC Samplers – 3 – finishing the other 8 pincushions in the series

These little cross stitch pincushion ‘smalls’ from Little House Needleworks are so sweet, and were really fun to do! They are a great project for when I’m travelling about, as each one is small and portable, and I can stitch them using just an eight inch hoop to put the fabric in, rather than a rectangular frame. There’s nine in the series, covering the whole alphabet.

ABC samplers - Little House Needleworks pincushions

This is the first one that I completed a couple of months ago. It’s four inches square, when finished.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I’ve been stitching these in a hoop, using cotton sheeting to make the fabric piece large enough to hoop up, without wasting the 32 count linen fabric.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I think I like these three designs the best:

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

When they were all stitched, I raided my patchwork fabric stash to choose cotton for the back of each pincushion, and co-ordinated mini pom pom trim that I bought from xJudesign on Etsy.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

Once they were all finished, I decided to display them in this little wicker basket with a cotton lining, that I found in a charity shop:

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I love stitching little houses, so this was kind of ‘binge overload’ – I need to stitch something completely different, now, I think!

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Book review: Embroidered Country Gardens by Lorna Bateman

Lorna Bateman has been selling surface embroidery kits for years now, but this is her first book, called ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’, and it is really lovely.

If you love surface embroidery, then this book is going to make your fingers itch to get stitching! I saw this last autumn, when it was first published, and immediately put it on my wishlist for Christmas!

The sub-title is  ‘Create beautiful hand-stitched floral designs inspired by nature’, and that’s a really good description of what this book covers.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Lorna has taken one kind of motif – that of an English country garden – and designed a whole set of embroidered bags, pockets, and holders for embroidery tools of various kinds. The designs make a coherent collection, but are different enough to not be boring if you choose to stitch them all – there’s a lot of variety here, both in types of designs, and difficulty level.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Here’s the contents page:

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

There are twelve different projects to make, plus lots of explanations about how to stitch each type of plant featured, so if you wanted to make your own designs using this book, it would be very useful for that too. In fact, one of the sections covered is ‘how to make your own’. Lorna is obviously a very good gardener, and that comes across in her writing.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

This is my favourite project in the whole book – it’s a tote bag with a  crinoline lady design on one side, and lettering spelling out ‘In my country garden’ on the other side.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

One cop-out, though, which isn’t unique to this book (I’ve seen other designers, both in books and magazines, do this lately) is that Lorna doesn’t give the actual design for this lettering. She just says ‘you could look up a nice font, and do your own’. Hmm, don’t think so, actually. Most people, if they like a design they’ve seen enough to want to make it, want EXACTLY what they’ve seen – so they expect to have THAT font and THAT exact wording presented in the book as a design to follow. It seems bizarre to me to have such a lovely book of designs for almost everything, and then skimp on this bit.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Anyway, another idea in this book that I absolutely love is these randomly embroidered buttons. Aren’t they pretty? And the bigger the better! You could practice doing little flowers all over a small piece of fabric, and then use a metal cover button to make one of these, and use it as a brooch, or a fridge magnet, or make several for use on clothing.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

The book has 160 pages, and a pocket at the back with a pull-out sheet of templates for the various projects. Little line drawings are given for each project, so you get an indication of what to stitch where, but a lot of the choices are up to you. The photography is gorgeous, and the explanations are clear. At times, I did feel that Lorna struggled a bit to write enough text, as it got a bit repetitive, but I suspect that might have been due to the publishers saying ‘you need to write xx thousands of words!!’ when really, a book like this just needs lovely photos, which this book has in bucketloads.

Lorna is a really good designer – if you want to try some surface embroidery for a change, then get a copy of this book and give it a go. You can’t hope for a better teacher of this style of embroidery.

Title: Embroidered Country Gardens

Author: Lorna Bateman

Publisher: Search Press

Price: £17.99 in 2020

ISBN: 978 1 78221 578 3

 

 

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Hands to work, hearts to God: 2 – finishing the cross stitch design as a ‘stand-up’

This is the small cross stitch design ‘Hands to work, hearts to God’ which I’m stitching from a Little House Needleworks chart.

Now that I’ve completed the stitching, I’m finishing it as a ‘stand-up’. I bought some Oasis floral foam to make the block. I couldn’t get one block large enough, so I bought two, cut them down to make the correct size of 7 x 7 x 2.5 inches in total (with a bread knife – easy!) and taped them together to make one piece.

To make the front and back look very flat, I cut two pieces of mount board, 7 x 7 inches, and stuck a piece of 2 ounce wadding on each board with double sided tape, to make the front and back of the stand-up slightly padded, and also to disguise the join in the floral foam. I won’t be sticking any pins into the front or back panels, so that works!

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

I did take process photos of the next few stages, but unfortunately my camera and my computer had an argument, and the photos got deleted in the process of uploading them 😦

Anyway, what I did was to use dressmaking pins to pin the cross stitched piece, trimmed one inch larger all round than the foam block, to the sides of the block, folding the corners neatly to reduce bulk, and pulling the fabric square and taut as I went.

I found that it was easier to use quilting pins with a pearlised bead top to them first, so that they were very visible and easy to re-position, and then once the fabric was exactly how I wanted it, I replaced those with small dressmaking pins.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

I chose a pretty red cotton fabric from my patchwork stash for the sides and back of the block. The back piece I cut to the same size as the cross stitched front, and pinned it on in the same way.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

The sides were covered by cutting a long strip of the red fabric, the width of the block plus two inches, and the total length of the four sides plus two inches. I ironed the excess to the back of the strip, so that when pinned onto the block, the red fabric comes just up to the edges both back and front. The overlap (about half an inch when trimmed) is at the centre bottom.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

Then I pinned on a long length of organza ribbon with a wired edge, making sure there was enough left to manipulate it into a double bow shape at the top. I didn’t use many pins here – just enough to stop it slipping on the block. The pins all blended in to the fabric, so they hardly showed when it was finished. Using wire edge ribbon meant that I could manipulate the ribbon to look ‘larger’ than if I’d just used ordinary ribbon, which might have sagged, with time.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

I’d planned to add large buttons or beads for feet, and pin those on too, but once I got it to this stage, it looked finished to me, so I left it at that. I’m really pleased with this! Nice, isn’t it?

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

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Hands to work, hearts to God: 1 – a small cross stitch project from Little House Needleworks

I’ve been hunting for a nice cross stitch version of the phrase ‘Hands to work, hearts to God’ for ages. Recently, I came across this one from Little House Needleworks. It’s a chart (not a full kit), and I bought mine from Peakside Needleworks in the UK. It’s about seven inches square when completed.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

As this is a small chart, I thought I’d raid my stash for suitable colours, as I wouldn’t need much of anything to be able to complete this. I used mainly Silk ‘n’ Colors and Cascade House threads. I chose Zweigart 28 count ‘Platinum’ shade for the fabric.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

This is how I work from a black and white symbol chart. I colour in the squares in very obvious colours (not necessarily realistic ones) so that it is easy to see shade differences between colours that are next to each other. I also stick pieces of the actual thread next to each symbol on the colour key, as a reminder of which thread to use, as well as writing the thread name on (especially when I am substituting colours).

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

It’s a lovely early American ‘naive’ design, which doesn’t take long to stitch. Those little black and white blobs are surprisingly effective sheep!

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

This took just a week – and it’s ALMOST complete! Just a little bit more of the bottom border to do.

Hands to work hearts to God stand up cross stitch

So, the next bit to do is to mount it – and this time, I want to make a ‘stand-up’ rather than frame it.

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