For the past few weeks, I’ve been working on embroidery designs for footstools for one twelfth scale doll’s houses, to add to the range on my website. They are now ready, at long last!
These designs are a selection of what I have come up with – shown flat, just before they were mounted in the mahogany bases. When completed, the footstools measure one and a quarter inches in diameter, and just three eighths high, including the bun feet. I sell these as kits, and they are to be stitched in tent stitch (similar to half cross stitch) on 28 count evenweave fabric. This means that they are quite quick to do, as you only need to stitch the design detail – the background fabric is left showing, as it is already coloured. The kits contain an easy-to-assemble mahogany footstool kit, along with the stitching kit, and cost £8.95 each. There are eighteen designs to choose from altogether – most co-ordinate with carpets, bellpulls or cushions, too, if you like the ‘matching look’. There’s an online tutorial to show you exactly how to make one of these, here.
I’ve spent a good few days thinking about the design for the front flap of the envelope folder that I’m going to embroider. I want it eventually to be quite heavily covered in stitches, so I’ve got to make sure that the fabric’s foundation is strong enough to take dense stitching.
I’m using my favourite method for transferring the design onto the fabric, which, fortunately, will help to strengthen the Dupion silk fabric at the same time – I made a tracing of the design, then used a light box to re-trace from the paper tracing onto cotton batiste, turning the tracing paper over first to reverse the pattern. Then, I placed the cotton fabric on the back of the blue silk, stretching both into my hoop at the same time.
Now I’ve got a good few hours of work to do, going over the pencilled lines on the cotton fabric with tiny running stitches, to get the design to show on the *front*. It’s time-consuming, but actually quite a nice part of the project – while I’m slowly doing all this transferring of the design, I can really ‘get into’ the design itself, and plan exactly which stitches I’m going to use for each part. I could do all the running stitches in one colour of sewing cotton, but I make it more interesting by choosing sewing cottons which match, as closely as possible, the embroidery thread shades that I’ll later stitch with.
Maybe I’ll unpick each length of cotton as I go (usually I do anyway), but if the odd piece gets left in, then it won’t show much if the shades are similar. Anyway, it makes the design tracing stage more fun.
Now that my ‘Shlama’ bag is finished, I want to start embroidering something new, but related to the bag in some way. I want this new project to still have an Aramaic word stitched on it, linking it to the contents, as I did with the bag (‘shlama’ in Aramaic means ‘peace’, which is the result I get from listening to my music and meditation tracks). So this folder will have the word for ‘wisdom’ in Aramaic embroidered on it, as the notes it will hold are to do with the Aramaic-themed audiobooks and guided meditations of Neil Douglas-Klotz which I listen to a lot.
I had originally intended the bag to be large enough to be able to keep A6 sized notes in, as well as my MP3 player, but as that wasn’t to be, now I want to make some kind of an envelope folder to keep the notes in, separately. I’m still very much at the planning stage, but I’m getting ideas for the colour scheme – that’s usually the bit that sparks ideas the easiest, with me.
I found some gorgeous royal blue Dupion silk on a goldwork website, so that is going to be the background colour. I want the front flap of the folder to have heavy embroidery covering most of it, with more on the front pocket when the flap is lifted up.
So far, this is what I’ve collected together to use, either from my stash, or from ‘preliminary’ online shopping. I want the shades to be deep, on the whole, and most areas of embroidery to be outlined with gold thread and braid. I’ve bought some milliary wire to try, for some of the outlining – never used that before – and I’ve also got some shisha mirrors, and red and blue cabochons which I might incorporate somehow.
Most of the time, I use Anchor stranded cotton to embroider with, as that is the range that I use in the miniature embroidery kits that I sell on my website – I keep a full set of the skeins, in shallow trays so it’s easy to choose the shades I want.
I like the look of Rayon, but it drives me mad, the way it twists up all the time! Similarly, I get attracted by variegated thread – I’ve bought loads of the stuff, but it’s never *quite right* for any one project, so it just sits in a drawer…..
I’ve just bought some lovely pearl purl from Rajmahal, which is very tempting stuff, and I fell for a tiny piece of red kid leather, although I’ve no idea how to incorporate that, yet. And then there’s the gold beads – both size 11’s, and teeny tiny size 15’s.
I have been selling tray cloth kits for adult collectors of doll’s houses as part of the range on my website since last summer, and in each kit, I’ve been putting a whitewood tray, for the finished traycloth to fit into. The tray cloths are to be worked on 32 count silk gauze, with one strand of Anchor thread.
At first, I was pleased with these kits. But now, I’ve found a much better tray to use in the kits, so I’ve overhauled the packaging, the kit contents, and designed two new traycloths as well, and re-launched them. Here are a selection of the traycloths in their new trays:
The ‘old’ trays were much chunkier, and made from a pale wood. These new ones are a fine grain mahogany. They come in kit form, though, so they need waxing to be properly finished. So….anyone who has been following my blog for a while may have seen a few weeks ago that I was investigating the idea of offering Wood Finishing Packs to go alongside the doll’s house stitching kits – the problem I have had for years is that I couldn’t source really small bottles and jars (as, to finish a doll’s house sized item, you only need a very small amount of wood stain, or wax, or whatever). But recently, I managed to find a great supplier, so now I have launched these two Wood Finishing Packs – a Mahogany Wax one, at £5.95, and an Oak Varnish one, at £4.50.
As well as being good for completing the tea trays, these Packs can be used to finish the miniature dining chairs, rectangular stools, and soon (give me another week or so!) round footstools.