Finished embroidery: a ‘knot garden’ pincushion

The pincushion is stitched in various embroidery stitches, and measures nearly five inches square

I made this pincushion recently, and it was one of the most enjoyable projects I have ever done. The design is by Robyn Rich of Victoria, Australia, and the design was featured in Issue 17 of the fantastic Australian embroidery magazine ‘Inspirations’. Issue 17 is from quite a way back, now – from 1998. The style of the magazine has changed a bit over the years, and this design is from their most ‘romantic’ period, which I really like. The website of the magazine’s publishers, Country Bumpkin, often has back issues still available, which are well worth buying. (When I first came across the magazine, I thought it was so wonderful that I paid over ÂŁ40 in postage costs alone to have ALL of the available back issues posted to the UK from Australia – and it was worth every penny! I had a wonderful few weeks, reading through the magazines, and planning the projects that I’d like to make – enough for several lifetimes, probably 🙂  )

I didn’t adapt the design of the pincushion much, as it was so perfect as it was. I did use Anchor stranded cotton instead of DMC, as that is the brand of thread I use in the miniature needlepoint kits that I sell, so I always keep the whole Anchor range in stock, and it seemed daft to buy even more thread!

The fabric I used was a cream glazed cotton fabric, which I’d bought years ago in a  junk shop. It’s so closely woven, that when a needle is poked into the cushion, it always makes a satisfying ‘popping’ sound!

The instructions suggest first indicating the areas of dense stitching in the four corners by painting the fabric with green fabric paint, which I did. But this seemed to come out quite a harsh green, so I turned the fabric over and stitched on the other side, where the green paint showed much more faintly.

The pincushion seen from above

The text given in the magazine ‘suggested’ ideas for where each kind of stitch for each kind of plant could go, rather than giving precise placement instructions, so it was a very creative project to do – lots of choices to make. The stitches used gave a good impression of each type of plant. For instance, the delphiniums I stitched in columns of French knots, the central roses in close-lying bullion knot rounds, and the lavender bushes  in lazy daisy stitches, done in short rows.

The border was great fun to do. Just short lengths of French knots, in lots of colours, worked randomly. The ‘cushion’ part, when embroidered and made up, is stitched to the base at the very corners only – the base being a piece of thick mount board covered in fabric. Tiny flowers are stitched at the corners of the cushion to cover the joining stitches. The seam of the baseboard fabric is covered with two rows of open detached blanket stitch, in two colours. The way that the cushion and the base are joined means that there is a kind of  ‘slight gap’ in between the two, which the article suggested using to tuck packets of needles, etc., into, but I think I’d worry that they would get lost, so I don’t do that.

I keep meaning to use motifs from this pincushion to make matching scissor holder, needlebook and scissor keep, but then there’s this issue of time…..


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Finished embroidery: a William Morris Arts and Crafts carpet in a beautiful doll’s house

Last week, I was bemoaning the fact that very few of my customers ever send me photos of the kits they buy from me, once they’re stitched up and displayed in their doll’s houses….then I get two sent to me in a week! I should be grateful, really 🙂

A William Morris style carpet in a pretty doll’s house bedroom

This lovely doll’s house scale bedroom is made by a customer of mine called Heleena, who comes from Finland. The room is beautufully romantic. The carpet she stitched for it is called ‘Carole (pastel colourway)’, and is worked in tent stitch and basketweave stitch, using Appleton’s crewel wools on 18 count interlock canvas. It measures eight inches long by four and a quarter inches wide. It is available from my website as a kit for ÂŁ18.50, or as a chart pack for ÂŁ9.25 (for if you’d like the flexibility of working the design on a different count of fabric, or in different shades of wool or silk).

The design is based on a William Morris  ‘Hammersmith’ carpet, of the late 1880’s. Peonies are depicted in the central area, with a border of stylised tulips.


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Finished embroidery: a happy stitcher and her doll’s house!

Very rarely do I get to hear how my customers feel about the kits they have bought from me, which is a pity. I love hearing how the kits have come out! Even better, I love to be sent photos of the completed kits.

Recently, one of my customers, called Nina, emailed me with an image of the doll’s house cushion that she’d just stitched, showing the cushion in situ in her doll’s house. She also has a very good blog which is well worth a visit, where you can follow the progress of the doll’s houses that she and some friends (in Canada) are  furnishing. Nina says in her email:

“Dear Ms Granger:

I just wanted to thank you for designing and selling such lovely embroidery kits!
I’ve just finished the first project I’ve ordered from you, the “Sophie” cushion, and am thrilled with the way it turned out.  Your kits are beautifully-packaged (they would make great gifts for any miniaturist), well organized, totally complete and the instructions would be very clear, even for a novice stitcher.
I look forward to purchasing and completing many more kits in the future 🙂
Here’s a photo of the cushion on a Queen Anne settee designed for me by artisan Kris Compas”
This miniature needlepoint cushion is stitched in tent stitch on 22 count canvas with Anchor threads
Nina’s full kit review about the cushion kit  can be found on her blog. The Sophie cushion kit can be bought from my website here.


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