A new cross stitch project – ‘Mrs Waddelow’s Huswif’, from With my Needle

The chart pack for the huswif

I bought the chart pack for Mrs Waddelow’s Huswif about six months ago, but it’s been lurking in my stash cupboard since then. As Ellen Chester, who runs With my Needle, told me in an email that this design stitches up quite quickly (as it’s stitched in just one shade of a hand dyed thread), I thought I’d get this one done before I start my mammoth project – Celtic Autumn – which I expect to take months.

The huswif is a long length of fabric, with the cross stitch design on one side, and pockets made from five different cotton fabrics on the other. Ellen suggests that you choose your cotton fabrics first, and then find thread and evenweave fabric to match the cotton prints afterwards.

This photo shows the Crescent Colours thread ‘Ruby Slippers’, that I’d originally planned to use.

I love stitching on yellow fabric, so I bought a fat quarter bundle of cotton print fabrics on Ebay, in various shades of lemon yellow with pink/red flowers and fruits on them. I then chose some  yellow 28 count Permin evenweave from Sew and So. That was the easy part. I wanted to do the stitching in a darkish purply red hand dyed thread, but there are no bricks and mortar embroidery shops near me, so I had to choose online, which is never easy.

The first thread I bought was too brown, when I actually received it. So next I ordered Crescent Colours’ Ruby Slippers. But when I started to stitch with it, the variegations in the thread just seemed too coarse. Dark red, light red, dark red, light red. Very predictable. I’m sure it’s great when used on the correct project, but this wasn’t it. Before I’d got too far into this project, I had to choose something else.

This is a motif from the huswif, worked in the Crescent Colours thread that I decided wasn’t right – the variegations aren’t subtle enough.

I settled on a Thread Gatherer shade called ‘In the burgundy’, which was much better – uneven lengths of tones such as a plummy maroon, light purple, deep red, scarlet, mulberry….loads of colours. And the thread itself is great to work with – very smooth, as it’s silk. Bit pricey at nearly £6 per skein, but I only needed one skein for the whole project (the huswif itself, and a tiny needlebook).

This image shows cross stitch worked with: two strands, then one strand but in ‘reversible cross stitch’, then one strand.

Ellen suggests that the type of cross stitch used to work this project is ‘reversible cross stitch’.  I’d never heard of that. It is a stitch which looks like a normal cross stitch on the front of the fabric, and on the reverse there are crosses separated by uprights between the crosses. This is because the crosses are made with two passes from bottom left to top right, and one pass from bottom right to top left. Ellen says that when she was first stitching up this design on her fabric, one strand in the needle looked too spindly, two strands was too thick, but two passes in one direction and one in the other with one strand gave perfect coverage. Actually, I was hoping that, with the thread I’d chosen, this might not be the case, as it meant each stitch takes 50% longer to complete, but I did a quick sample, and annoyingly, she was right!!

This is how much I got stitched on Saturday….
…and by Sunday night

I got into the project ‘properly’ last Saturday, and got a serious amount completed on Sunday. It’s not going to take very long to get this finished  🙂


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6 thoughts on “A new cross stitch project – ‘Mrs Waddelow’s Huswif’, from With my Needle”

  1. Yet another interesting project Janet. Thanks to you I am doing stumpwork, goldwork, miniature knitting for doll’s house dolls and last week I started on Celtic Winter. I very much admire your latest handbags and will be ordering when I am a little further on with my present projects. You are a source of inspiration and information, for which I thank you.

  2. Janet, I’m so happy that are enjoying stitching the huswif.
    I’m looking forward to seeing the completed project–you’ve chosen some lovely fabrics. Since you are using a larger count linen than I used on my model, you will have to make adjustments to the sizes of your fabrics for the pockets, the background, and the edging.

    1. Hi Ellen! Yes, the huswif is lovely to stitch, and is coming on nicely. I started by ordering a 36 count fabric, like in your model, but I wasn’t happy with the colour, so I got some 32 count Permin linen which is a beautiful shade of lemon yellow. I realise I’ll have to tweak the finishing, but that’s OK.

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