The Lavender and Lace ‘Celtic Ladies’ have got me….

A couple of weeks ago, I posted here about the death of Marilyn Leavitt Imblum, the designer of the Lavender and Lace angels and Celtic Ladies, who was also known for her ‘Told in a Garden’ range of cross stitch.

Several times, I have been back to her website during the past two weeks, looking at her lovely designs again and again…

Eventually I got to the stage where I decided that I really *did* want to stitch some of those huge, complicated cross stitch pictures. I’ve done two of the angels before (Angel of Hope, and Angel of Summer), but this time round it’s the Celtic Ladies that have attracted me.

At first, I was just mildly interested in getting perhaps one chart – then I had a quick look on Ebay (as you do), and saw that someone was selling all the Celtic Lady charts, together with all the threads and beads as well.

Well, you can’t pass up the chance to get a bargain, can you? Well, I can’t. I managed to ‘win’ one – the Celtic Spring design. Which is fortunate, really, as, having spent a bit more time researching the colours of threads and fabric, that is the only one where I wouldn’t want to alter something in the pack! I still need to track down the correct fabric to stitch her on – the chart pack suggests Zweigart 28 count linen ‘Willow Green’ – but that seems to be impossible to get at the moment.

So, I then set about finding the other charts. I got Celtic Christmas next. I had most of the necessary threads in my stash already, so the beads didn’t take long to get hold of. The beads and fabric I got from Sew and So (I love that website – huge range, and very quick service). I decided that I’ll stitch the design on the recommended fabric – 28 count Cashel linen, in Natural colour. I’ve loved this design ever since it first came out, about 15 or so years ago!

An almost-finished version of Celtic Christmas, on black fabric – beautiful, but hard to do, I should think

Above is a version that I found online, stitched on black fabric. It’s stunning, but I don’t think I could face doing such a large project on black fabric!

Celtic Autumn chart, but with the threads for the alternative colourway.

The Celtic Autumn design is probably the one I’ll stitch first, as I found a lovely alternative colourway for it on the Lavender and Lace forum.

The alternative colourway for Celtic Autumn
A detail of the alternative colourway

Instead of the original yellowy olive/lavender colourway (a bit weird for Autumn, I thought), I’m going to do it in green and russet shades, which seems much more fitting. The fabric I am going to stitch it on is 28 count Cashel linen ‘Platinum’.

I’ve still to get the chart for Celtic Summer, which is a gorgeous design, but again, the colourway isn’t quite right.

Celtic Summer in the original colourway

I  love this alternative colourway in more teal/blue shades – I’m just trying to track down the actual thread shades now, as, so far I’ve only got an image to go by, that I found on a blog that seems ‘dead’ now.

[Edit 24 Sept 2012: I have recently found out that the reason that these two images above look so different, is that the cover photo on the chart pack appears to be a computer-generated image. That is, it is the colour block chart with the gridlines removed, superimposed on a fabric image background. This would account for the harshness of the colours. When the design is actually stitched in the colours suggested in the colour key, it comes out looking like the larger photo above (although the fabric used above is obviously a different shade).  Celtic Summer, Celtic Autumn and Celtic Winter have all been put on sale with these ‘constructed’ kitfront photos, which is a pity, IMO. A  photo of real stitching would have sold more charts, I think. Still, at least it means that I can now buy the ‘usual’ threads and beads for Celtic Summer, and know what it will come out like. I still have the problem that some of the Needlepaints that this design calls for are unavailable now, but I am going to use Presencia Finca thread instead, as they seem to have close matches.]

The Celtic Winter design, in its original colours

Celtic Winter is another lovely design, but again, I’ve got my eye on alternative colours. The original chart has gold thread around the hem – I think a more blue-toned dress, and silver thread highlights, would work better. And there’s an alternative colourway version that I’ve seen where the hair colour is changed from a very dark brown to a silvery white, which tones better with the pale icy colours of the rest of the design.

[Edit 24 Sept 2012: This lovely alternative version shown below comes from HERE, on Nathalie’s website – where she displays many Lavender and Lace designs that she’s stitched (including all of the Celtic Ladies), many in alternative colourways or with adaptations to the design, and they’re all beautiful!!]

This beautiful customised version of Celtic Winter has the silvery hair and silver thread that I would like to use

I’ve read on a Celtic Ladies Stitch A Long blog that each of these Celtic Ladies takes about a hundred hours to make, including attaching the beads (often around 1000 of them per design). Never one to to be disheartened, I just feel that it’s a long term project. I definitely haven’t got enough wall space left to display all of these at once, if I ever get all five of them stitched. But one stitcher on a blog had the good idea of displaying each one in its suitable ‘season’, so each one got displayed for a few weeks each year.

I’ll probably do that then. All I need to do now is get stitching…..


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60 thoughts on “The Lavender and Lace ‘Celtic Ladies’ have got me….”

  1. Janet these are so beautiful and I love the alternative colourways that you have chosen! Though I must admit that I do find cross-stitch a bit tedious after doing miniature petitpoint – twice the number of stitches :). I am doing Christmas for my 6 grandchildren and feeling somewhat daunted by the task!. You were very clever finding those kits on eBay, they are great buys.

    1. I was surprised at the variety of alternative colourways that people have worked out, since these originally became available as chart packs by Lavender and Lace. When I made my two Angels, I never considered changing any of the colours – I just did what the chart told me to do! But these alternatives are so yummy, it makes me want to make them all NOW!! I agree that cross stitch can become tedious if you do it for too long – I like to have a cross stitch project and something like stumpwork on the go at the same time, so that I can swop them around. But these designs also have a lot of beading on, which gives variety, and makes the finished pictures look very special. Also, a large project like these Celtic Ladies isn’t very transportable, and I like to take stitching with me when I’m away from home, so a smaller stitching project is ‘necessary’.

      1. Oooh yes! Wherever I go I like to have a small project to take with me – usually a small cross-stitch because my eyes don’t cope with the silk gauze and single thread without magnification any more 😦 I’m doing a cross-stitch needlecase with beading on it at the moment and it’s simple but really fun. I’m very tempted by these angels – though the last thing I really need is more cross-stitch projects lol!

  2. Janet, are you saying you’re going to do these lovely cross stitch patterns in 1:12″ scale? REALLY? How big will they be then?

    1. No, they’re not going to be twelfth scale. I’m going to do them as they’re charted – for 28 count fabric (2 over 2), so that’s equivalent to 14 count. They’ll be 11 inches by 17 inches each when they’re finished.

  3. I stitched 5 of her angels – the Angel of Grace, Angel of Spring, Angel of Summer, Angel of Autumn, and Angel of Winter – years ago. I bought many of her other patterns, but have not stitched them due, in part, to the time commitment. I agree that it is a minimum of 100 hours. I stitched all of these “in hand”, without a frame, so they were portable, as I rolled the edges of the fabric so that only the portion that I was working on was visible. Of course, that was all before I started stitching other forms of embroidery and learned about scroll frames and stretcher bars.
    I love the alternate colourways that you found. They are beautiful, and I will cheer you on every stitch of the way. I find myself being very tempted to stitch one or more of these beautiful pieces, too! Perhaps I will start surfing to look for alternate colourways and see what I can find. Good luck!

    1. Wow, that’s a lot of stitching you’ve done! I bet they look amazing. When I stitched the Angel of Hope I did mine in the hand, not in a frame. But I did that on Aida, which is less likely to pull out of shape than linen (which I’m going to stitch these Celtic designs on). The Angel of Summer was stitched on a rotating frame. They are more portable when they’re not on a frame, though. If you do a Google image search for, say, ‘Celtic Spring conversion’ or ‘Celtic Spring alternative colours’, you’ll get the variations coming up in the results.

      Did you find that your angels pulled out of shape when you stitched them in the hand? There’s a lot of beading on each of them – was that easy to do without the fabric being mounted on a frame?

  4. Hi Janet,
    I’ve just come across your blog while searching for chart and floss for Celtic Winter.

    I’ve already stitched Celtic Christmas, Spring and Summer and have to say that although there’s a lot of work in them they are an absolute pleasure to stitch and well worth the effort when finished. I have to agree that the Celtic Winter stitched in Blue is stunning so not I’m in a quandary now!

    How sad I am to read of the death of Marilyn Leavitt Imblum. She was such an amazing designer. I’ve stitched several of her designs (which you can see Here on my stitching blog, I’d Rather Be Stitchin’, and I love them all.

    Happy Stitching!
    I’ll just become a follower by the way!

    1. Your stitching blog is beautiful! You’ve certainly spent many, many hours on your Lavender and Lace beauties 🙂 Your photos are really inspiring. With the Celtic Summer one, did you use all the thread shades that are listed on the original chart, or did you have to substitute some? I’ve heard that some of the Needlepaints threads have been discontinued now (the green shades) – did you have to use DMC alternatives for your Celtic Summer?
      I think that framing needlework is often not given enough attention, so I liked it when I saw on your blog that your Celtic Christmas cost £80 to have professionally framed, because I think when we spend so many hours on our stitching, it deserves to be shown off properly once it’s finished!
      As for Celtic Winter in blue – now I’ve seen such a beautiful alternative colourway, it’s just a no-brainer, isn’t it? The only problem is finding the time to do it…

  5. Thanks for you lovely comments about my stitching Janet. Your work is equally beautiful, if not more so. I don’t know how you can work such small pieces for the dolls houses, I’m in awe!
    My Celtic Summer was stitched back in 2007 so I was able to use all the original threads as listed on the chart.

    Happy Stitching!

    1. Ah, I wondered why your Celtic Summer had such lovely shading. It seems that, now that the greeny-blue shades of Needlepaints threads are unavailable (purples are now available again, though), it’s harder to get the look that you had in your original colourway of the Celtic Summer design.

    1. Oh, Nathalie, your conversion for Celtic Winter is absolutely beautiful!! I think that’s the most stunning conversion out of all the alternative colourways that I’ve seen 🙂

      Although the original L&L chart looked OK in pale tones, so many people have said on various blogs that the ‘traditional’ idea when people think of winter colours is that they should be blue and SILVER. Gold just doesn’t look right, does it? So, your version is lovely. I hadn’t realised you had done so many alternative colourways of the various Celtic ladies, too. They’re all amazing. You’ve got a very good eye for colour.

  6. Thank you 🙂 If you want the pattern of the cloak, I can send it to you with a file in .pdf : I just need your e-mail and the chart of celtic spring but used in mirror …You have mine I love to play with colors and change them … Sorry for my mistakes in english, I understand, read it quite well but it’s less easy to write or speak ! I agree with you gold doesn’t look right for winter : it’s a “hot” (chaud in french) colors and silver is a “cold” (froid) color… It’s the words we use in french…I don’t know if it’s correct in english.
    I hope you enjoy your Week-end !

    1. I’ve just came across your lovely conversions of the celtic winter chart, I would be so pleased if you would email me your chart and colours, it is wonderful

  7. I’m glad that you’ve decided to do all 4 Celtic Ladies, and found all 4 so easily – I think they are lovely.

  8. Hello Janet, I too love them all and yesterday finished Winter a different colour way that I have part changed. I have now done all 5! If you would like to see them I can send you some pictures.

  9. Has anyone done the Celtic Spring and used a different color of linen than Willow Green? If you have used Willow Green, are you happy with the final project? I am ready to start this one, but don’t know if I care for the Willow Green linen. Any feedback?

    1. Hi Barb,
      I’ve not stitched Celtic Spring yet, but I’ve bought all the threads and fabric for it, so it’s ready to go (just as soon as Celtic Autumn is finished, probably). I wasn’t sure if Willow Green would work OK – in fact, I hunted around for alternative versions at first, but didn’t find any. I’ve bought the Wilow Green, now, and the threads do look good when laid on the fabric. You could try looking at the Celtic Lady StitchALong blog, to see if anyone who used different fabric discussed their choice there:

    2. Hi there
      I have done the spring one in the yellow and purple colours but on Oatmeal which is a more beige colour. It looks good and I am happy with it. All of my Celtic Ladies are on this background colour as one day I would like to have a wall big enough to hang them all together!!
      Good luck with getting started she is lovely.

  10. Hi Janet,
    Which alternative colourway have you shown for Autumn? There seem to be quite a few, and the one you picked above is what I want. It’s gorgeous!

    1. The colourway I used is listed here, on the Celtic Lady stitchalong blog (you need to scroll down about halfway on a VERY LONG page): [NB: If, in the future, this link doesn’t work, email me at for a Word file of the colour key.]

      When I was choosing which colourway to use, I did find quite a few similar ones online (some with a lot less green in), but I’m really pleased with the colours for this version. Hardly anyone seems to like the ‘original’ Lavender and Lace chart pack colours (a kind of olive green with purply blue palette – a bit weird for Autumn).

  11. It brought tears to my eyes to read about the passing of such an amazing artist. She and I emailed so much a couple years back when I was working on the Celtic Winter and wanted to change Winter to reflect “Leah”. She was truly amazing and insightful.
    I have done a couple of the ladies but now am really interested in the Noel (on the black…cause I’m silly like that) and one that I saw on Nathalia’s page (Spring…STUNNING)
    I currently am working on this project ( I like torturing myself with insanely hard projects. I will say that generally I work on the harder ones when I’m deployed. I’m currently in Afghanistan (again) and am almost done. I did two of the Celtics the last time I was deployed (2010-11) and I carry them everywhere I go. Hours sitting on a flightline waiting for a ride is the perfect time for stitching.
    I will for sure be emailing for the conversions…pretty fantastic for sure! Might actually have to go update my blog now! Merry Stitching! El

  12. Tonight I finished my fourth Celtic-Noel. I have been working on it since June, 2012. I have also finished Spring, Winter and Autumn. I began working on them in April, 2010. I, too, am not happy with the colors of ‘Summer’ and thought it may be because the photography of the cover image was ‘off’. Now that I know it was computer generated I may go with the original colors. I also thought the Autumn colors were a bit odd but the finished product is lovely.


    1. Well done for completing four! Only one to go!! If you do a Google image search, there are some beautiful photos of the Celtic Summer done in the real colours, so that would make you feel more confident about using the chart colours as listed, hopefully. It took me a while to find a photo of the Celtic Autumn stitched in the chart’s original colours, but yes, it is lovely, too. But I still like the ‘Autumnal’ colourway 🙂 I think it was very short-sighted of the Lavender and Lace company to cut costs by using a computer-generated image for the front of the chart pack on several of their designs. I have heard so many people say that they have decided not to buy the charts, based on what it *looks like* the design will come out like. On my own kit packets, I think it is crucial to have a ‘real’ version of the finished item. How else are people to evaluate what they are buying?!

  13. Exactly! The only items on which to base a decision is the front cover or if you have seen one completed. Sometimes going for the cheaper, easier route is just bad business.

    1. Yes, and in this case, it seems that customers (or, rather *potential* customers) have talked about it online a lot, giving negative publicity, which is never a good thing!

  14. Hi Just recently seen your blog page! I stitched Celtic Christmas a few years ago, she is beautiful, and enjoyed stitching her. Nearly finished Celtic spring ( I started her over 2 years ago)!! Can’t decide whether to do Summer or one of my other L&L designs (I have a few). Oh the decisions we have to make !!

  15. Hello, where can I get the summer and winter color conversions for the Celtic ladies? Thank you! They are BEAUTIFUL!!! Shannon

      1. Hello, I would like the blue cloak pattern for Celtic winter. How can I get that? Thank you for your consideration

      2. My email to you got interecepted by your Earthlink spam blocker, and then deleted automatically, so I can’t send you the charts unless you allow my email addess.

  16. I’ve searched high and low for the conversions and charts for ThalieFrance’s fabulous Celtic Winter cloak with hood. I am wondering if anyone can assist? Thanks in advance.

      1. I have done all five celtic ladys and have been searching for the conversion chart for the celtic winter with the hood and cloak. I would love to stitch this wonderful design and was wondering if anyone could help. Many thanks.

  17. Hi Janet

    I was just wondering if you would be able to send me the conversion chart for the celtic winter with hood and cloak? And I was also wondering if you had a conversion chart for the celtic easter? I cant find it anywhere 😦

  18. You’ve done a lovely job 🙂 I’m half way through my Noel lady.

    I was also wondering about the hood converstion, I think it’s a wonderful alternative, especially as the Noel and winter designes are almost the same.

  19. I have a 5 charts of these ladies and love the original colours, but I also have seen some of the alternative colour schemes. I am not good enough with the colours and would like to know if anyone knows where I can get the alternative colour charts.

  20. Hi Janet,

    I too have fallen in love with Nathalie’s cloak conversion for the Winter lady and have been unable to find the chart. I’ve completed Autumn and Summer in nearly finished, so I’m looking at Winter as my next project. Is there any way that you can send me the chart? Thank you so much.

  21. Your work is absolutely lovely! I am going to be starting Celtic Winter as my winter project next week if I can find the blue conversion for it and get kitted up in time to start it on my holiday. Thank you for all the lovely images that you have shared! Keep up the fantastic work! I look forward to seeing more WIPs of yours soon.

  22. Hello Janet, firstly I’d like to say how gorgeous your work is! Second, I have recently got into lavender and lace Angels and I’m in love with doing them! I’m 25 and been sewing since I was a kid but never have I been so happy with the type of sewings I’m doing! Iv bought spring, summer, autumn and winter Angels, finished the angel of spring and currently doing the second angel of freedom which my mum gave me but I really want to find the Celtic Angels, they are beautiful! Iv only been able to find a few of the ones I want, do you know a site or shop UK based where I can find a wider range?

    1. Hi Kimberley,

      My favourite UK online shop is I buy almost all my embroidery stuff through them. They are very quick, and their shipping is really low – often only £1. They have the charts for each of the five Celtic ladies (Celtic Spring, Summer, Autumn, Winter and Noel (the Christmas one)). Here’s a link to the Celtic Winter one:—Celtic-Winter-Chart__LAV-05-2050.aspx Sewandso are good, in that they also list, on the page where you buy the chart, the threads you’d need, and suitable fabric, so that you don’t have to hunt around for everything. You can just add it all to your basket and buy the lot in one go!

      1. Hi Janet,

        That’s brilliant thank you very much! Definitely be spending a bit when payday comes along! Iv been looking for the Celtic Angels for ages, I can’t wait to get them and get started.

  23. Hey Janet,
    I am wondering if you would be able to pass on the pattern for the Celtic Winter lady with the hood and cloak also please and the colour conversions also.
    I am nearly finished the Autumn lady in your colour conversion and am in love with it so much. I am wanting to also convert the colours for the Celtic Spring, I am wondering how to go about that?

  24. Hi Janet,

    I love your post here about the Celtic ladies, I am just finishing the Noel and am looking forward to my next one. You seem to be the only one with access to the color conversion and cloak pattern for Winter, do you think you can forward that to me, pretty please?

  25. Hi Janet I have just recently found your page and was about to kit up my celtic ladies. I wonder if its at all possible you can tell me how to do the hood conversion please

  26. I’m really glad to see that you were able to pick up all the patterns with their thread packs.

    I’ve done the Christmas one, and I gave a suggestion for anyone who undertakes this project. My mother and I both did cross stitches. She’s done ALL the angels some several times in different color ways. We always used 11 count Aida, and most of the time we dyed the cloth the colors called for in the pattern with Rit dye. Starting out light, and adding a 1/2 tsp of the dye to the dye bath, until we got the color we wanted.
    Another suggestion for the Noel piece, once you get to the point of adding in the gold thread around the bottom of the skirt is to do the gold first and then fill in with the regular DMC threads. When I did mine I waited and had everything filled in, and found that the gold thread I was using, DMC plus a strand of gold metallic thread, continually tangled, and it was very frustrating. My mother has passed away, but I remember her sitting doing her cross stitch on a large frame. I used a circular hoop maybe a foot in diameter, to do all the ones I’ve done. I still have all the patterns we did in a large tote in the basement.

    1. Hi Adriana,

      Thanks for your tips – that’s really helpful information! I used Petite Treasure Braid for the gold in my Celtic Ladies, which was OK to use and didn’t tangle. Every brand is different!

  27. Janet, I just discovered the L&L kits as a new friend has been working on the Angel of Summer for 30 years she tells me!!! I think I have now gathered everything I need and am ready to go BUT, I see no directions regarding how many threads to use for the actual cross stitch? It says 2 strands for back stitch but is the main stitching also 2 strands? I am using 18 ct Aida. I would appreciate your advice. THANK YOU.

    1. The Celtic Ladies are usually stitched on 16 count (or 32 count over two, which is the same size, stitch-wise), and then you would definitely use 2 strands. If you choose to stitch on 18 count Aida, it might work to use 2 strands, but it might be ‘tight’ to stitch. Try it out – you might find you like one strand, or two – it’s personal preference, really.

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