A few weeks back, I showed off a picture of the first of my new Christmas tree mat designs for doll’s houses, as soon as it was stitched up. At the time, I said I’d let people know when the range was ready to be launched. Well, today’s the day! There are three designs in various diameters, to suit several sizes of miniature Christmas tree. They are all to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze, with one strand of Anchor stranded cotton, in tent stitch. The kits come with a colour block chart (the design is not printed on the fabric), and full instructions, including how to neatly finish the edge of the mat. The ‘Snowy village’ design will have a matching Christmas stocking design available soon, and I’m working on matching designs for the other two. The ‘Snowy village’ kit costs £18.95, and the two larger kits cost £19.95 each. Shipping is free worldwide on all orders over £10.
This is what’s included in each kit:
There is a free online tutorial available, which shows exactly how to stitch and assemble the Christmas tree mats.
This is my latest design, which I’ve done so far as a bellpull and a bolster cushion, on 32 count silk gauze. It’s called ‘Tabriz’. I’m also working on a carpet to co-ordinate with these, which will be for 18 count canvas, but that’s not quite ready yet 🙂
The bellpull is 4 1/2 inches long, and the bolster cushion is 1 1/2 inches long and 5/8 inches diameter. Both of them are stitched in needlepoint (like half cross stitch) using one strand of Anchor stranded cotton. The bellpull kits are £9.95 each, and the bolster cushion kits are £12.95 each.
Kits for each of them are available from my website – for bellpulls look here, and for bolster cushions, look here. There are free online tutorials for each type of miniature needlepoint kit (and many others) – see here for details.
Seven new kits have just been launched on my website – cute little bolster cushions for your doll’s house. They measure just an inch and a half long, by five eighths diameter.You can choose from floral, ethnic or ‘all-over’ designs, in pastels and brights. Each bolster is to be worked on 32 count silk gauze, and is designed to be really simple to do.
Everything you need is included in the kit, from the silk gauze and Anchor stranded cotton (floss), to detailed making up instructions with diagrams, wadding, and a suitable needle. As usual with my kits, a clear colour block chart is included, to count the design from. There are even detailed instructions for how to make the tiny tassels that decorate each end of the bolster! Each bolster kit costs £12.95 , and postage & packing is free worldwide for these kits (as we only charge a flat rate of £1.25 on small orders of less than £10 ).
If you are a beginner to mini-stitching and are unsure as to whether you would be able to make one of these bolsters, why not have a look at the FREE ONLINE TUTORIAL first? It guides you through every stage of stitching and finishing the bolster cushion, with detailed photos to show you exactly what you need to do. You’ll see just how easy they are to stitch! Go to the BOLSTER CUSHION TUTORIAL now to see how easy they are to make.
A few years ago, I used to attend a Unitarian Chapel near where I live. For a couple of years, I got really ‘into’ the Chapel, and got involved in various groups, Committees, and so on. The Chapel was in a modern building, and looked quite bare inside – quite like a classroom, really – with chairs in rows rather than pews, and only a couple of framed prints on the walls.
So, I volunteered to make an embroidered wallhanging for the Chapel. I discussed what might be suitable with the Minister, then searched online for a suitable piece of text.
Unitarians are not just Christians who don’t believe in the Trinity, these days – Unitariansim has broadened out during the past fifty or so years to include people ‘of all faiths and none’, as the blurb on the leaflets goes, so I had a very wide range of texts to choose from for the wallhanging. I settled on part of a piece of poetry from a Buddhist monk and philosopher called Dogen Zenji, who lived from 1200 to 1251. It seemed to exemplify what Unitarians of all types believe:
Do not listen to the ideas of others, but learn to listen to the voice within yourself.
It seemed ideal.
So, I went shopping for some linen for the embroidery, and some apple green velvet for the backing fabric. I raided my (huge!!) stash of Appleton’s crewel wool and Anchor stranded cotton for the threads to stitch the wallhanging with, and then set to working out the design.
I wanted the piece to have a kind of Jacobean feel – like Tree of Life wallhangings from country houses, only more delicate. I wanted it to be interesting to stitch, as I knew it would take a long time and I didn’t want to be bored to death stitching it, but it also needed to have impact from a distance, so the blocks of colour needed to be quite bold.
I worked the lettering first, as I wasn’t sure if the technique I had chosen would work, so if it was going to fail, I wanted to know that before spending weeks on doing all the rest of the embroidery! I used a padding technique described in Susan O’Connor’s wonderful book ‘Monograms – the Art of Embroidered Letters’ (which, annoyingly, was only in print for about 18 months, and is now hard to find, but if you get the chance, then buy it, as it’s great). The technique involved working a split stitch outline first around the letter, then working loose stem stitches in rows thickly all over the inner area, at right angles to the direction that the final close satin stitches would be placed. I used two strands of Anchor stranded cotton for the lettering, and each letter took about an hour.
The floral swags above and below the lettering were great fun to do. I only vaguely planned the colour scheme before I started stitching, so I surrounded myself with embroidery stitch manuals as I worked, choosing different stitches all the time.
When the stitching was finished, I pressed it gently on the reverse side, over a thickly padded ironing board, then attached the embroidered piece to the green velvet. I made tabs to hang the wallhanging from, so that a wooden pole could be slotted through later.
The whole piece took about a year to do.
But here’s the problem: six months after I gave the piece to the Chapel, I stopped attending services there, as I felt that, spiritually, I had outgrown Unitarianism, and, due also to other issues around the Chapel, felt I needed to move on. But the wallhanging stayed there. Part of me wanted to take the wallhanging back (as my leaving wasn’t done under the most pleasant of circumstances), but I knew I’d given it willingly at the time, so it seemed unfair to demand it back. I just hope that the people who may see it, get something out of it. Recently, I’ve heard that the Chapel may close, as the congregation has dropped to less than ten, and the Minister has moved on with no permanent replacement in sight.
I’ve ‘lost’ embroideries of mine before, for various reasons, and each time it hurts! I think this may be a lesson in trying to not be attached to things, but it’s not easy!