Look what I got for Christmas!

I hope everyone had a great Christmas! This year, I had a very stitching-focussed Christmas, with some really lovely presents which will keep me busy well into 2015.

This book, ‘Crewel Twists‘ by Hazel Blomkamp, is one I’ve had my eye on ever since it came out a while back. That’s not a black and white image of the cover – it really is that colour!! Hazel has taken the traditional ‘crewel’ or ‘Jacobean’ style of embroidery, and modernised it for the 21st Century. It’s a wonderful book.

Xmas 01

This is a quick preview of one of the projects from the book. I’ll do a proper book review of it for this blog as soon as I’ve read it properly.

Xmas 02

I had two gifts which came from a French shop called Les Brodeuses Parisiennes. They have a beautiful shop, filled with goodies, and a website with English translations. Their range is quite large, but so are their prices  🙂  This is a ‘semi kit’ (i.e the fabric pouch and a colour block chart with thread suggestions for DMC, but no threads). The flap of the bag is linen, and the lining has been left open so that you can get your hand in behind it to do the stitching, then you can slip stitch the lining closed. It measures about 12 inches by 9. I’m planning to use it to carry my small embroidery projects in when I’m travelling, as it will look better than the Sainsbury’s carrier bag that I usually use!

Xmas 03

As I was cooking the Christmas dinner, I pulled the threads that I’ll use to stitch this with (as you do!). That annoying brand label on the right hand side has been snipped off now, by the way.

Xmas 04

The other gift from Les Brodeuses Parisiennes was this multi page chart for an alphabet on the theme of dressmaking. It’s really detailed. I’m planning to make a tote bag for carrying larger sewing projects, with the whole alphabet stitched around it.

Xmas 05

This scissor keeper ‘pattern and print’ pack (i.e. another half kit with no threads, but printed linen pieces and muslin backing fabric) is from Lorna Bateman. It’s really gorgeous. The cottage garden flowers are stitched in lots of different surface embroidery stitches, with the option to personalise it on the reverse with your initials. The pretty gold handled scissors are to fit inside the scissor keeper when it is finished, and were also a present. I realised I needed some new embroidery scissors when I was cutting the threads for the hardanger windows on the Gingerbread Stitching House that I’ve just finished, and the blades wouldn’t cut neatly. My old stork scissors were over twenty years old, I reckon, so it was time for some new ones, and these are really good!

Xmas 06


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My mini needlepoint January Sale starts today!

Would you like the chance to get some mini stitching kits for your doll’s house at special bargain prices? Every miniature needlepoint kit, chart pack and fabric pack on my website is in my January Sale, which starts today. Take advantage now to stock up on mini needlework kits to keep you busy during the coldest days of winter.

Here are some of the things you could be making for your doll’s house right now – this ‘Summer Roses’ table runner is to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze, and measures just over 3 1/2 inches long. The kit costs £11.65 in the sale.

Summer roses runner cropped

These cute handbag kits are £8.95 each in the sale. Some are to be stitched on 32 count silk gauze, and some on 40 count, depending on the design.


This dining chair kit is available on 32 count silk gauze with a choice of 8 different designs for the stitching on the seat. They are £16.15 each in the sale (which includes the components to make the chair), with larger discounts available when you buy multiple kit packs.


Here’s a picture of a selection of the kits that I sell for one twelfth scale doll’s houses. Altogether, I have over 240 kits in the range, plus around 80 chart packs, so go to the website now to see them all, and maybe treat yourself!



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Gingerbread Stitching House 4: assembling the etui

I was quite apprehensive about assembling the pieces of stitching to make the little house, once I’d done all the sides and roof, as I thought it might end up being bulky. There were lots of layers to neatly put together, and as I’ve got no patience, there was a distinct possibility that I could spoil it all at this point.

All the stitched pieces, lining pieces and card shapes, ready to be assembled
All the stitched pieces, lining pieces and card shapes, ready to be assembled

The instructions in the chart pack from Victoria Sampler said to glue the cross stitched pieces to  card liners, after having ironed interlining on the back of each piece. I am always a bit wary of letting glue anywhere near stitching – especially if it has taken me hours and hours to make it!! I decided to compromise, and hand-stitch the mitres on the corners first, and glue only the straight sides, as I felt that would be more likely to be successful. I ironed all the seam allowances over first, to get clearly defined edges to work with, and that helped a lot.

The base fabric, showing the seam allowances pressed across the corners, ready to be mitred
The base fabric, showing the seam allowances pressed across the corners, ready to be mitred

With the lining pieces (using a lovely piece of  cotton quilting fabric, stolen from my quilting material stash),  I *did* glue the corners as well as the straight sides, as that fabric was much thinner than the evenweave I’d used for the cross stitch, so it was much more maneagable.

Mitres hand-stitched, ready to have the straight sides glued down
Mitres hand-stitched, ready to have the straight sides glued down

After each piece of stitching and corresponding lining piece had dried thoroughly, I stuck the correct pairs back to back. As was suggested in the instructions, clothes pegs helped hold the pairs together as the glue dried.



So, it’s all coming together nicely…..


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Gingerbread Stitching House 3: making the chimney pincushion

The Gingerbread Stitching House by Victoria Sampler that I am making has an ingenious pincushion incorporated into the chimney of the etui. It is an open, four-sided box-like structure, shaped along the bottom edges so that it sits on the roof, so that it can be lifted off when needed. The ‘smoke’ coming out of the chimney is the actual pincushion part. Clever, eh?


It was quite fiddly to make, but good when it was done. The stitching itself was quick, and simple to do. Buttons and a few beads were attached next. After trimming the fabric, it was strengthened with pieces of Vilene interlining, and then the fabric was stretched over pieces of card and glued in place.


Lining ‘squares’ mounted on card were then stuck inside the backstitched outlines for each side of the chimney.


The ‘smoke’ for the pincushion itself was made from a circle of white cotton, 3 inches in diameter, gathered with a running stitch around the edge, and stuffed with a little wadding.


The chimney was slipstitched into a tube, and the ‘smoke’ stuck down in place.


Isn’t it cute?


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