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During the last 5 months, we have been working on a complete overhaul of the Janet Granger Designs miniature needlepoint kit website. So now, when you visit it, you will find fresh new articles for you to read, a much-improved layout and simpler navigation, as well as clearer, bigger pictures. As many of you use your phone or iPad to shop online these days, the new website is designed to suit your smaller screen (as well as your bigger desktop screen, obviously!).

I’d be interested in hearing your opinion about the new website design. Do you like the style? Can you find what you are looking for? Does it display properly on the kind of device you use to view it?

When you visit the website you can see over 250 kits and charts for doll’s house needlepoint – everything from carpets, cushions and bellpulls, to chairs, handbags and wallhangings. The kits are to be stitched on fabrics in counts from 18 canvas to 40 count silk gauze, depending on the type of kit.

chair_hand_sroses

Barbara green range Jan 2015

handbag_group_with_hand

One of the pages which was long overdue for an update was the page showing images of my own dollshouse. So, we’ve taken some new photos, and I’ve written in detail about every room in my Georgian style dollshouse. The full article can be seen here.

Janet Granger's doll's house

My Georgian style doll’s house – read about it on my website http://www.janetgranger.co.uk

 

 

 

 

For Christmas 2014, my husband bought me a ‘demi kit pack’ from the French website Les Brodeuses Parisiennes to make a lingerie bag. He’d had a bit of a helping hand from Santa’s little elves to know what to get me – I’d had my eye on the bag for over a year!

Parisiennes 01

The demi kit pack contained the fabric bag ready to embroider (with a front panel of 28 count linen) and the colour block chart, and suggestions for thread colours using DMC stranded cottons. By Christmas Day lunchtime I had pulled the threads I wanted to use from my stash (using Anchor stranded cottons instead of the DMC), and by Christmas Day teatime I was stitching  :-)

Parisiennes 02

The design is very pretty, and so typical of French style.

Parisiennes 03

 

To make it easier to do the cross stitch, the lining of the flap has been left partly undone, so that you can get your hand inside. When the stitching is finished, you just slip stitch the opening closed.

Parisiennes 04

The chart includes a floral alphabet, so that you can personalise the pouch. As my initials are JG, that’s what I stitched on mine, but I had to alter the ‘J’ slightly, as I find that most J’s in alphabets are rendered so curly that they become unreadable. In this case, it just about works!

Parisiennes 05

The finished pouch measures about ten inches by twelve. I wanted a pouch that I could keep small embroidery projects in when I’m travelling, as I travel quite a lot, and I don’t like using plastic bags for my stitching. I thought this would be much nicer  :-)

However, now that the pouch itself is finished, I fancy making a scissor keeper and maybe a needle book using motifs from the pouch, to keep inside it, so I’m going to sort through my fabric stash now to see if I have some 28 count fabric the same colour as the pouch flap.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This is the base of the spoolholder from Carolyn Pearce’s book ‘Home Sweet Home Workbox’. Having assembled it over the plastic and interlining in the same way that I did for the lid (see the previous blog post), I now needed to attach it to the base of the embroidered wall, as a kind of upside-down lid!

Spoolholder 42

The hinge for the lid is a piece of ribbon, stitched across the edge of the wall base at the centre.

Spoolholder 43

The ribbon is folded in half, and slip stitched to the edge of the embroidered base.

Spoolholder 44

Then the lining for the lid is attached with tiny slip stitches, covering the ribbon except for a small piece left exposed to allow the lid to close neatly and not too tightly.

Spoolholder 45

I then stitched Knotted Pearl Stitch all around the edges of both the lid, and the top with the eyelet in the centre. I found it easier to work the stitch around the top by turning the spoolholder upside-down, so that the needle could be pushed towards me as I tightened each stitch to make the knots.

Spoolholder 46

The spoolholder is held closed by a cloisonne bead which is attached to the front of the wall, with a buttonhole stitch loop closure on the lid.

Spoolholder 47

This is the spoolholder now it is completed:

Spoolholder 48

A spool of Number 12 Perle thread from DMC sits neatly inside.

Spoolholder 49

The end of the Perle thread is fed through the eyelet, so that lengths can be pulled off the ball of thread with the spoolholder still closed.

Spoolholder 50

Isn’t it pretty?! I’m really pleased with this. I thought, as I was assembling it, that it was too fiddly to make it neatly, but in the end it has come out really well (except for a couple of wrinkles in the lining, but you can’t see those!!).

This is how I made the top of the spoolholder for the Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home Workbox, from her book. I cut a piece of plastic, and a piece of interlining, with a hole cut in the centre of each.

Spoolholder 33

Then I cut another piece of thicker interlining, with a slightly larger diameter, which went just a bit over the edge of the plastic.

Spoolholder 34

The top of the spoolholder has an eyelet stitched in the centre, for the thread from the spool to emerge, so as I attached the fabric to the sandwich of plastic and interlining, I had to make sure that the eyelet matched up with the hole behind it. I made running stitches around the edge of the embroidered piece with quilting thread, and gathered it up tightly over the plastic, padded side against the reverse of the embroidery.

Spoolholder 35

Then I laced across the back of the fabric to hold the seam allowance down, making sure that I avoided the eyelet area.

Spoolholder 36

I did the same process on a piece of the lining fabric, having stitched an eyelet in the centre first. Then I slip stitched the two circles together, back to back.

Spoolholder 37

To attach the round top to the embroidered wall piece, I placed pins in the very edge of the circular top – placing them at the quarter points first, then adding more pins equally until the top was securely held. This was quite tricky, as the top kept twisting sideways!

Spoolholder 38

Then I slip stitched the top to the tube, removing the pins as I did so.

Spoolholder 39

Using a thread of a similar colour to the fabric, this was a very neat join, which will later be covered with Knotted Pearl Stitch.

Spoolholder 40

I finished this part late in the evening, so this photo is rubbish, but it is supposed to show the lining of the spoolholder at this point!

Spoolholder 41

All I need to do next is to attach the base, and it will be finished.

 

The instructions for assembling the spoolholder in Carolyn Pearce’s Home Sweet Home Workbox book are very detailed. This is how many layers of various materials are needed in the construction of the spoolholder:

Spoolholder 25

Both thick and thin interfacing are required, as well as acetate, some stuff which I think is similar to Bondaweb, and ‘template plastic’. Some of the brands listed in Carolyn’s book aren’t available in the UK (she’s from Australia), so I had to improvise. I found that a cheap ring binder made of a flexible plastic was ideal to use as material for the plastic liner for the side wall, top and base!

Spoolholder 26

Here are the embroidered pieces,  cut out to the seam allowance markings and ready to be assembled:

Spoolholder 27

The embroidered wall is placed right sides facing with the lining fabric, with interfacing backing the embroidered side. Then a small seam is made along the long side at the bottom edge of the wall.

Spoolholder 28

I trimmed the seam allowances, layering them to reduce bulk.

Spoolholder 29

Then I turned down the long edge of the lining by half an inch, tacking it in place, and stitched a seam along the short sides of both the lining and wall, making a tube.

Spoolholder 30

The instructions then go into a very complicated way to make the cylinder out of the plastic, and then to fix the wall and lining around it. I found it easier to roll up the plastic very tightly, insert it behind the embroidered wall part, then let go until it had unrolled to fill the space, then fold the lining up into the centre of the tube and smooth it out. I poked a bit of sticky tape along the join of the plastic to hold it in place, but I didn’t feel that was really necessary – the plastic couldn’t move at all, due to the tension as it pressed against the embroidered wall.

Spoolholder 31

I folded the seam allowance of the embroidered wall into the tube, then smoothed the lining against it, and oversewed the two fabrics together, then removed the tacking stitches. This oversewing was tricky, as I didn’t have a curved needle, and the diameter of the tube is less than two inches. The lining is a bit bumpy and twisted in places, but when it’s finished, that won’t be seen, as the spool placed inside will cover it up, hopefully!

Spoolholder 32

That’s the fiddliest part of the project completed, now, so I just need to add the lid and base….

 

 

This is the final day of the Art Challenge. Today I am featuring three images sent to me by my customers – people who have bought my kits, stitched them up, and then displayed them beautifully in their own doll’s houses. I have a Customers’ Gallery section on my website, which features dozes and dozens of these images – it is one of the most popular sections of my website. I love looking at the images myself – I find it very inspirational, and I hope you will, too.

gallery_margaretb_tudor3

Room setting 2015  Simonova

Room setting Hansen 2015

The final person that I am nominating to do the Five Day Art Challenge is Bea of Petite Properties, who makes the most amazing tiny scale houses and furniture (1/24th scale and smaller).

Today’s selection of three images for the Five Day Art Challenge features a selection of my miniature needlepoint kits in what I like to call their ‘family groups’. Over the years, I have become known for bringing out kits in co-ordinating groups, for people who like to create a matching look in their dollshouse.

There is a special page in my online shop, featuring these family group photos, with links to all the individual kits, so that if you like a particular range, you can easily find them all, throughout the shop. These are the most popular ones, although there are several dozen on the website:

All the kits from the 'Summer Roses ' range

All the kits from the ‘Summer Roses ‘ range

 

All the kits from the 'Barbara (green)' range

All the kits from the ‘Barbara (green)’ range

 

All the kits from the 'Judith' range

All the kits from the ‘Judith’ range

Today, I am nominating Ann Bernard to showcase her flowers in surface embroidery as part of the Five Day Art Challenge.