Mary Hickmott bellpulls are to die for…!

I love making cross stitch bellpulls, even though no-one needs to actually use one these days! They are just lovely things to make. The Mary Hickmott bellpulls are to die for, though – they are really special designs!

About 15 years ago, I made this bellpull, called ‘Height of Summer’, designed by Mary Hickmott. Here’s how the design was shown in the  New Stitches magazine:

summer-2

This is my one, now hanging on the upper landing of my house. It is stitched on 28 count Zweigart cream evenweave, using Anchor stranded cotton. From what I remember, it took me about eight months altogether.

summer-1

 

At around that time, the Height of Summer bellpull was so popular (it was originally featured as a project in the New Stitches magazine, and later brought out as a chart pack and possibly a kit as well), that Mary Hickmott also started to design bellpulls to represent the other seasons, too. Of course, as I’d liked the first one so much, I made sure that I collected the other three. This is the one I plan to stitch next:

autumn-1

I’ve kitted it up, with Anchor stranded cotton, Zweigart 28 count Ivory evenweave fabric, and a gorgeous pair of heavy brass bellpull ends. These were given to me by a friend of mine who is also an embroidery designer, called Karen Dixon of Millennia Designs – she sells many styles of bellpull fitting on her website, if you’re interested  🙂

autumn-2

The Height of Spring bellpull uses bright yellows and violets – very indicative of spring flowers. I really like stitching with these colours, so it will be a tough choice as to whether I start with the Autumn or the Spring bellpull.

spring-1

Here’s my materials, ready to start:

spring-2

And finally, there’s the Height of Winter bellpull. Another beautiful design.

winter-1

And the materials ready to stitch this one:

winter-2

They’re all wonderful, aren’t they? These have been available for over 15 years, and in my stash box of charts ‘to be stitched one day’ for almost all of that time. But now that I’ve kitted them up, I’m just that bit closer to actually stitching them.

They are available as chart packs from Mary Hickmott’s website Stitch Direct, and should be findable if you do a search on the site for ‘height of’ – then, all the bellpulls will come up in the search results. At the moment, they cost £9 per chart.

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

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Book review: ‘The art of bead embroidery: Japanese style’ by Margaret Lee

I love beading, so when I found out that this book, ‘The Art of Bead Embroidery – Japanese style’ by Margaret Lee had been released, I just had to get it! It’s published by Stitchology, who publish the Australian embroidery magazine ‘Inspirations’, so I just knew it was going to be good…..Art of bead embroidery

Margaret Lee really knows her subject. In the book, she goes into detail about the equipment you’ll need to do Japanese style bead embroidery, design ideas, various techniques such as how to stitch neat lines of beads, plus filling stitches too…..

Art of bead embroidery

There’s a detailed section on the tools you’ll need. I’ve been doing embroidery for over 50 years now, but some of these tools were news to me!

Art of bead embroidery

The techniques are explained with photos as well as neat diagrams in the typical ‘Inspirations magazine’ style.

Art of bead embroidery

About a third of the 116 page book is for the projects – nine in total. These are really lovely. They range from a small handbag mirror, through evening bags and glasses cases, to ones such as this lovely beaded box lid.

Art of bead embroidery

I loved the photography in the book – very atmospheric, and really gets you wanting to grab some beads and get beading!

I think this glasses case is my favourite project in the whole book – I like stitching with yellow shades, as it lifts my spirit. The design is a gorgeous flowing paisley pattern. There’s a matching small handbag that can be made from the same pattern – dimensions and instructions are given for both, and you just double the quantities of beads listed when making the bag.

Art of bead embroidery

At the end of the book there is a section for ‘case studies’, which is a kind of in-depth analysis of a couple of designs, without giving detailed instructions for how to make them, but explaining the design and execution challenges – interesting to see how Margaret Lee thinks these through.

As with the Inspirations magazines themselves, this book comes with pullout sheets of pattern outlines at the back of the book. If you love these designs, but feel that you’d prefer to just do them in embroidery (that’s what I kept thinking, anyway!), then these pattern outlines would be very useful.

 

Pros:

A beautifully presented book, with lots of projects explained in detail with good photography. The projects list which techniques are used, along with fabric and bead quantities required, and build up from simple to complex throughout the book. I really loved the fact that Margaret lists the bead quantities per project in the format of a fraction of a 2″ x 1/2 ” tube – such as half a tube, or a third of a tube. Such an easy way for you to work out if you’ve got enough beads of the right colour in your stash!! This book covers an unusual topic, so if you already have ‘too many’ embroidery books, then this one could be justified simply by being that little bit different!

Cons:

Not many, really. The contents page has the projects listed with names like ‘Hanami’, but not what the project is FOR – such as ‘glasses case’. So, if you’re looking for something in particular, it’s quicker to just flick through the book. Perhaps it seems a little pricey at £28 for a paperback, but this is an exceptional book.

Conclusion

I feel that Margaret Lee is the Jane Nicholas of the bead embroidery world. She has got an eye for detail and a neatness that really shines through. Her eye for colour is amazing. This book is full of her personality. Even if you never actually make anything from this book (despite your good intentions….) then this book is worth getting. I love it!

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The Art of Bead Embroidery – Japanese style by Margaret Lee

Publisher: Inspirations

ISBN 978 0 9923144 7 7

Price: £28.99

Available from the publisher, Inspirations (i.e. Stitchology), the UK Distributor Search Press or from Amazon.

 

PS: This month’s Inspirations magazine, Issue 95, has an article and a project (which is not one repeated from the book!) in it. It’s to make the beading tools case which is shown open in the book, but we never got to see what the beaded side looks like! So, if you would like to ‘try out’ one of Margaret’s beaded projects for yourself before investing in the book, buying Issue 95 might be the way to go first  🙂

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits

There’s a dollhouse scale Home Sweet Home kit review in this month’s DHMS magazine

If you love mini samplers, then you’ll be pleased to know that there’s a dollhouse scale Home Sweet Home kit review in this month’s DHMS magazine (Dolls House and Miniature Scene).

Home Sweet Home dollhouse sampler kit

Moi Ali, who regularly writes for DHMS, contacted me a while back and asked if she could ‘have a go’ at stitching my little miniature Home Sweet Home sampler kit, and she’d write a review of how the kit works out. Of course, I thought it was a great idea – see the September issue of DHMS (out this month, August 2017) to see how she got on! This is the one I stitched:

Home sweet home miniature sampler

The sampler is from my range of 12 sampler kits for doll’s houses – it’s a cute little design to be stitched on 32 count evenweave fabric with one strand of Anchor thread, in tent stitch (like half cross stitch – if you’ve only ever done cross stitch before, you’ll find this really easy). Each one measures 1.8 x 2.1 inches (4.5 x 5.5 cm) when framed. All materials are provided, including the wooden frame. Priced at £9.95, each kit will give you several evenings of stitching pleasure, and you’ll have a great little sampler to show for it at the end 🙂

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Are you interested in doll’s houses and stitching? Then why not visit my website, where you can buy doll’s house needlepoint kits to make all kinds of soft furnishings for one-twelfth scale dollhouses. There are over 280 kits to choose from, plus chart packs, fabric project packs, tutorials, and lots of eye candy to inspire you! Kits are available on 18 and 22 count canvas, 28 and 32 count evenweave, and 32 and 40 count silk gauze, so there’s something for everyone – from beginners to experts.

As a special offer for new customers on my website, use the code FIRST TIME 10 at the checkout to receive 10% off your first order!

Dollhouse needlepoint kits