Monthly Archives: April 2014

My fascination with Beatrix Potter embroidery kits through the years

When I was a teenager, back in the 1970s, I used to spend my pocket money on embroidery kits featuring Beatrix Potter characters. I used to travel into London from Essex, and visit the lovely (and long since closed) ‘Needlewoman Shop’ at 146 Regent Street to buy the needlepainting kits and cross stitch kits that were available then. Beatrix Potter images seem to be timeless – the first of her books appeared over a hundred years ago, now, but the images of all those cute animals in ‘human clothes’ don’t seem to date.

Recently, I was surfing on Etsy, as you do, and I came across this:

Beatrix 1

I clicked ‘Buy Now’ in an instant. This was a kit I’d had my eye on for years (it came out around the late eighties, I think), but originally it had been quite expensive, as it is large, with lots of threads included. But now it’s classed as old, so it was nice and cheap! The design chart is printed on one huge sheet of paper, and the threads looped onto two thread sorters. They had never even been out of the packet. Wonderful!

Beatrix 2

I try to buy up Beatrix Potter kits or charts if I see them on Ebay, but I’m not prepared to pay silly prices. These two booklets were about £5 each:

Beatrix 3

This Chrismas-themed booklet is one which always seems to be described as ‘rare’, and can be difficult to track down – eventually, I got lucky, and paid about £7 for this one. I’ve seen it sell for £28 before now. The designs in it are nice, but the charts are hand drawn, which makes it a bit hard to follow at times.

Beatrix 4

Different manufacturers have brought out their own version of Beatrix Potter’s images at various times. More recently, Anchor has produced this one, which I couldn’t resist, although I do find it a bit odd that there are *two* Mrs Tiggywinkles in the same picture. When I get around to stitching it, I think I’m going to have to adapt it somehow  – maybe by eliminating the left-hand Mrs T and moving the lettering over to fill her space, and then stitching her on a separate piece of fabric.

Beatrix 5

In the 1970s, JEM Patchwork used to produce these gorgeous threadpainting kits of characters from Beatrix Potter. Anyone remember these? I clearly remember standing at a display of the kits in a needlework shop, adding up my small change to see if I really could afford one of them with my pocket money – after all, they were almost four pounds each!! The kits included a cheap plastic frame (not anything to write home about, but how many kits these days include a frame?), the printed fabric, the threads, and a kind of  ‘colour by numbers’ printed design sheet to work from. I loved doing these, so when I came across some on Ebay, I jumped at the chance to buy them. I must be going soft in the head, as I bought designs I’ve already made once – although that’s going back almost 40 years now, and I don’t have the originals any more. I’ve now re-bought Tom Kitten, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.

Beatrix 6

Aren’t they sweet? This Peter Rabbit kit must have been just a bit too much for the person who first bought it – they’ve only stitched half of one of his ears, and then put him back in the packet. Oh dear!

Beatrix 7

This Benjamin Bunny kit has never even been out of its plastic wrapping, and it only cost me £3 on Ebay!

Beatrix 8

I’m still looking for my other favourites from this range to stitch, so if anyone particularly has Cousin Ribby (the cat), the Tailor of Gloucester sitting on his cotton reel, or Squirrel Nutkin, PLEASE let me know by emailing me at janet@janetgranger.co.uk, and I’ll gladly buy them off you!

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Five-sided box 12: the completed box – eventually!

Once I’d hit the snag of the box lid of my five-sided box not fitting, I decided to divert my attention for a while by finishing the sides of the main box while I thought about what to do.

I made short lengths of cording with two lengths of Gloriana silk the same shade as the tassel, and glued it in sections to the seams of the panels with PVA glue. When the glue had dried, I trimmed the cording flush with the base.

5 box 49

My ‘aha’ moment about the lid was to make another fabric covered pentagon, half an inch bigger all round, and stick the first one to the second one. Looks like it was supposed to be like that all along, doesn’t it?!

5 box 50

I had planned to make a fancy hinge made out of needleweaving, but I was getting bored with it now and wanted it finished, so I did a simple thread join instead, which is much less noticeable than a needlewoven one would have been.

5 box 51

So, here’s my finished box, measuring about seven inches across at the widest point, and about five inches high:

5 box 52

5 box 53

5 box 54

5 box 55

The fabric I used is cream linen from Chawla’s, a really good fabric shop based in London, but their website if wonderful too. The fabric cost £5.95 per metre in 2012, 54 inches wide , code LN550.01 . It’s really good for embroidering on! The lining fabric is a fat quarter from a bundle of yellow toned cottons on Ebay in 2013. The cardboard for the panels is from a Cheerios box! The most expensive component for this project was the threads, but they were all from my stash. The tassel and cording used about 3/4 of a skein of Gloriana silk, so that’s about £4, but other than that it was a cheap project to do.

This is the book where I got the motifs from:

5 box 1

It’s a beautiful book, and if you’ve got space for the blanket that the book shows you how to make, in wool, then make that. If not, use the motifs as I did, for something completely different!!

More beautiful Russian doll’s house rooms….

One of my customers, called Natalia, from Russia, has just sent me some images of her doll’s house, with my ‘Esther’ carpet kit in it, which she has stitched beautifully. The Esther carpet measures 10 3/4 x 7 inches when finished, and is to be stitched on 18 count canvas. The kit includes everything you need to complete the carpet, including fine thread to make the fringe. You can see it in the online shop here (the first one on the page). There is also a smaller version of the Esther carpet available (in the medium-sized carpet kits section), if the rooms of your house are smaller than Natalia’s!

I have displayed her pictures on the Customers’ Gallery page on my website (each person has a page just for them – Natalia’s page is here). If you’d like to go and have a look, you can see the huge selection of amazing inspirational pictures sent to me by my talented customers!

Here’s Natalia’s pictures – isn’t her doll’s house lovely?

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Natalia wasn’t sure that the carpet, as presented on the colour block chart that comes with the kit, would fit in her room. So, she adapted the border slightly, and left off the fringe.

gallery_natalias10

But once she was sure she *did* have room, she ‘retro-fitted’ a fringe, and it worked!

gallery_natalias11

 

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Isn’t her stitching neat?

Visit my new Etsy shop!

During the past few weeks, I have been working on building an Etsy shop to showcase the miniature needlepoint kits that I design. My main website has been up and running for 17 years now, but I thought it was about time that I expanded into the world of Etsy, so I have now set up my NEW Etsy shop, ‘Dollhouse Embroidery‘!

 

This is a snapshot of the first page of the Etsy shop 'Dollhouse Embroidery'

This is a snapshot of the first page of the Etsy shop ‘Dollhouse Embroidery’

If you are not familiar with Etsy, it is a web portal similar to Ebay, selling craft items – both finished, and supplies. Some is hand-crafted by the seller; other stuff is mass-produced. So, it’s a great place to find all sorts of miniature items and supplies, and also embroidery kits and supplies. I have been meaning to open an Etsy shop for several years(!), but the ‘to-do’ list always got in the way.

Now, however, the shop is ready and open for business. At the moment, it has a large selection of the 200+ kits from my range on it, and we are working to put more items on every day. The are several reasons to look at the kits in the Etsy shop:

– There is the facility to save items you like to your ‘Favourites’ list, so you can use the Etsy system to compile your own wishlist of things you might want to buy later, to save you searching for items again at a later date. This facility isn’t possible yet on the main website.
– Etsy allows each product to have five different image views, so you can see each item as a close-up (stitched), in a doll’s house room-setting, as an ‘exploded kit’ (that is, with all the contents spread out clearly in one picture), the front of the packet, and the reverse of the packet, so that you can see exactly what you will receive once you purchase it.
– Every kit shown is in stock and ready to go, just like on the main website, and kit prices are the same as the main website.

Please ‘Favourite’ the shop and tell your friends about it!

I’d be very interested to hear any feedback from you about the new Etsy shop, so please email me at janet@janetgranger.co.uk with your comments.
Visit my Dollhouse Embroidery Etsy shop now! You can also click on one of the product images in the right hand column of this blog (under the ‘Visit my Etsy shop’ heading) to be taken to the Etsy shop at any time.

2014 April 03 - 2