Finished embroidery: A brand new co-ordinating range of doll’s house needlepoint kits

A collection of doll’s house items for you to stitch – all of them are available as kits

This is my latest range of doll’s house needlepoint kits for one twelfth scale doll’s houses – the design is called ‘Alice’, after a friend of mine who lives in Edinburgh. The design is available in all these different types of kit – two sizes of carpet, cushion, round footstool, rectangular stool, dining chair, firescreen, bellpull and bolster cushion.

To give you an idea of the scale, the large carpet measures eight inches by six and a quarter inches. The bellpull is four and a half inches long.

The carpets are to be stitched on 18 count interlock canvas with Appleton’s crewel wool (chart packs are also available, if you’d prefer to make them in a different colourway or a different count of fabric). The cushion is to be stitched on 22 count canvas with two strands of Anchor stranded cotton. All the other kits are to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze, with one strand of Anchor. Prices start at 4.50 GBP for the cushion. Postage is free worldwide on any order of 10 GBP and over. They have all just been added to the website today, and are now available from the online shop: .



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How to use variegated threads for embroidery

This is my collection of skeins of variegated thread of different kinds. They’re beautiful, aren’t they? I buy them wherever I can. I’m particularly drawn to teal-greens and purpley-pinks, as you can see. I haven’t yet been able to track down a really good variegated red, but I live in hope! What you might also be able to deduce from the photo is…..they are all still complete skeins. None of them are started yet. That’s because I have a problem. I can’t think what to use them for. Whenever I start a new project, I pull out the drawer where I keep all these lovely bundles of colour, and I hold them in my hand, and I consider using them – and then I put them back in the drawer, and settle on a non-variegated thread for whichever project I’m starting. The fact is, variegated threads can be difficult to use, simply because they are unpredictable. The subtle colour changes aren’t going to repeat evenly across your piece of stitching, so you can’t be sure what effect that will have. If you use them on a border, for instance, will the changes in the gradations of colour become noticeable in odd places, such as near the corner on one side, but half way along on another side?

However, I’ve come up with a solution.

This year, I have bought a selection of small satin-covered boxes, with padded lids that take embroidery. I’ve decided to do a series of embroidered calligraphy designs, featuring spiritual words in Arabic, Hebrew and Aramaic, such as ‘Love and Peace’ and ‘Praise be to God’. These designs are perfect for using variegated stranded cotton and silk – and I’ve got lots to choose from! The calligraphic shapes of the letters really lend themselves to being filled in with stem stitch, and the gradual changes in the shades from one colour to another work wonderfully well.

So far, I’ve completed one box – it’s a ‘Love and Peace’ design (in Arabic, it says ‘Houb Salaam’), in the shape of a dove. I used two strands in the needle of a Stef Francis variegated stranded cotton in fuchsia-mauve (shade 37 ) on white silk. The box itself is covered in navy satin, and measures three and a half inches across. It took about four hours to stitch.

Love and Peace (‘Houb salaam’) embroidered box

The trickiest part was transferring the design onto the fabric, but I used my favourite method, which is a bit time-consuming, but it means there is no chance of getting carbon or chalk on the fabric: I traced the design onto dressmakers’ pattern tissue, then pinned the tracing onto the fabric. Then, with sewing cotton in a shade similar to the variegated thread shade, I tacked through the tracing’s main lines, leaving short stitches on the front and longer ones on the back. This uneven stitching helps with the next stage – ripping off the tissue, to leave the design lines on the fabric, ready to stitch over. The sewing cotton doesn’t need to be removed – I just stitch over it with the stem stitch lines.

Love and Peace (‘Houb salaam’) embroidered box showing stem stitch and French knot detail


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How low have we sunk?!

During the past few days, with the UK media totally taken up with the looting and arson that has been going on in our major cities, several theories have been discussed as to how to deal with the  %&*^#  who have done these crimes.

One member of the public who expressed a view on a forum said that the young people (and it *is* mainly young people) should be locked up, and the boys made to do heavy manual labour, AND THE GIRLS MADE TO DO SEWING!!

Oh dear, sewing has now become a PUNISHMENT? Says it all, really.

Who was it who said that when a society doesn’t respect art, it is doomed?

An embroidered handbag made by me, for the sheer pleasure of doing it! The design is by Susan O’Connor, of Australia


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Read about my love of dressmaking in this month’s online AIM magazine

This month’s free online AIM magazine

In this month’s free Artisans in Miniature online magazine, I have  an article  on my love of dressmaking. It’s a hobby I’ve had since I was a teenager – but what I’ve actually made over the years has changed, from clothes for myself to more unusual things such as curtains for a bell tent! It is very different from what I do for a living now – designing embroidery kits for adult scale doll’s houses (1:12 scale).

The beginning of the five page article

If you’d like to see what I do in terms of the tiny embroideries, then go to my website at and maybe choose something tempting to keep you busy for a while 🙂

This month’s magazine has the theme of  ‘modern living’ for many of the articles – as well as having the usual sprinkling of how-to’s, there is a gallery of wonderful photos to show you what the top miniature artisans are doing at the moment.



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