Monthly Archives: April 2010

Beautiful Sufi embroidery on an altar cloth

Last weekend, I went to Leicester for a day of Dances of Universal Peace. It was held at the Quaker Meeting House. The altar at the front of the room immediately got my attention, as it had several items set out on it, all on top of a beautiful embroidered cloth featuring the Sufi emblem of a heart with wings, sometimes known as the ‘flying heart’.

The altar cloth with the beautiful 'heart with wings' embroidered motif

This cloth was bought recently by Gulzar Christina Lausevic, who was leading the dances last weekend. She had bought it in New Delhi, India, in February, when she went there for the URS celebration of Hazrat Inayat Khan (the man who brought Universal Sufism to the West in 1910).

She explained that the altar cloth was sold as a pashmina (she demonstrated it later, and it does make a good wrap – it’s just the right size, and it’s made from a very softly woven, comfortable fabric!). A Sufi charity called the Hope Project provides help for local people, including employment for girls in the area, who embroider souvenirs for the pilgrims who visit the dargah (tomb) of Hazrat Inayat Khan in New Delhi. As it says on the website of the Hope Project, “The Hope Project emerged from the vision of Pir Vilayat Inayat Khan to translate Sufi values, guided by the spiritual ideals of Hazrat Inayat Khan [his father], into practice.”

Detail of the stitching

This cloth features long and short stitch, stem stitch outline, and herringbone stitch for the feathers on the wings – which is very effective. I had a quick look at the back of the stitching, and it’s as neat as the front!

Hopefully, the income that these girls get from their embroidery will give them more choice for their futures than they would otherwise have.

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Finished embroidery: A sneak preview of new miniature needlepoint cushion kits for doll’s houses

I’ve been quiet for a bit, working on some new designs. The last post I did was to show off the new miniature footstool designs in one twelfth scale, for doll’s houses. Today, I’ve been stitching up some of the cushions that co-ordinate with the footstools. Here are the first three that are finished:

Three tiny cushions for adult collectors' doll's houses - each one measures an inch and a quarter across

There will be eight designs altogether – each stitched in tent stitch with two strands of Anchor stranded cotton on 22 count mono canvas. Give me a week or so, and the kits will be added to the online shop on my website.