A quick cross stitch project: 1. The Spirit of Holiday Baking (a gingerbread style angel by Brookes Books)

Now that I’ve completed the Strawberry Fayre etui (which has taken me almost all of this year to complete – I started it at the end of January 2018!!), I am feeling the need to do some ‘easy ‘stitching’ for a while. So, a quick cross stitch project like this  ‘Spirit of Holiday Baking’ fits the bill perfectly, as it’s festive, and doesn’t take long to make, so it should be finished in time for Christmas.

This is a cross stitch 3D ‘angel’ type design, by Brooke Nolan of Brooke’s Books. Brooke sells an amazing range of charts for all kinds of things – many 3D, which I love to stitch. I got a set of 14 chart packs of her gorgeous figures for Christmas last year (the Christmas pixie sent good ‘prompting’ emails to my husband, in plenty of time  🙂  )

This is the haul that I got:

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

I’ve decided to make the one in the centre first. It has the ‘gingerbread’ theme that I like to do at Christmas. For the past few years I have been making Thea Dueck’s little buildings from her Gingerbread Village range, but this year I fancied a change.

The design is to be stitched on 14 count perforated paper – this is more like thin cardboard, and is actually quite robust. It comes in lots of colours, although for this design I only need the brown one, which is a warm gingerbready colour, fortunately!

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The chart pack lists DMC thread suggestions, but I converted these to Anchor colours, as I already have a full set of Anchor threads in my stash which I use in the dollhouse needlepoint kits that I produce. I used a size 24 tapestry needle for the stitching.

Here’s my materials, ready to start (the chart itself  I have coloured in with coloured pencils, as my brain can read that better than when it’s just in black and white symbols).

I taped masking tape around the edge of the perforated paper to stop the thread from catching on the rough edges. I don’t need any kind of frame for this, so I’ll just hold it in my hand to stitch.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The instructions said to use three strands of stranded cotton when stitching. I tried a tiny sample area, and immediately decided that two strands would be OK- I really don’t like stitching with an odd number of strands for embroidery, as it means I can’t double the thread through the needle and knot it, which I prefer.

Brookes Books Spirit of Holiday Baking cross stitch

The completed figure will be about 7.5 inches high, so it’s important to start at one end of the chart, not the centre, so that the design will fit on the paper properly – this is stitched on a half sheet of the perforated paper, which is only just a bit over 8.5 inches top to bottom. When allowing a bit for the masking tape border, that doesn’t leave much leeway!

Brookes Books 7

When it’s completed, I’ll have the scary task of cutting it out right up to the stitching (cutting along the next row of holes from the stitches), but for now, it’s just easy cross stitch, which makes a drastic change from the previous  project!

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

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Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 41: it’s finished!!!

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. At last, after nine months, it’s finished!!!

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Wow, this has been an amazing project to tackle. I had planned this one for several months before actually starting to stitch it, and decided to do it as a kind of shared stitchalong on this blog, starting at the end of January 2018. So, it’s taken over nine months to stitch (and write the 41 blog posts to go with that!). But I’m so pleased with it! Here’s the inside:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

And here’s the outside:

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

It has this ingenious way of holding the four panels together, so that they fold in on themselves to make a little heap of hearts that reminds me of pancakes!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

It’s a very clever design, by Carolyn Pearce, of Australia.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The design appeared in Inspirations magazine, issue 95. I wanted to make it the first time I saw it, on Pinterest, a few years back. Pockets like these, to hold stitching tools, are just so sweet.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

And this little mother of pearl ruler, that used to be made by Kelmscott Designs, but is now like hen’s teeth to get hold of, is so cute and I love it now that I’ve got one!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The etui closes with a needlelace berry on a cord. The edges of the hearts have beading around the tops.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

What I call ‘the three dangleys’ hang from the bottom tip – a thimble holder, a strawberry emery, and a pinwheel.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The needlelace berry attaches to a Dorset button by a cord. The button was really difficult to make! My centre isn’t very central……

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This is my favourite piece – the heart shaped pincushion.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I also love the beaded chains that hold the scissors and ruler in their pockets. I nearly didn’t bother to make these, but I’m glad now that I did.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The second heart shaped pocket holds an antique button hook with a mother of pearl handle.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Three heart shaped mother of pearl thread rings, from Kelmscott Designs, hold some thread used in the project.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I learned several new stitches whilst making this – Glove Stitch is one of them. It’s a really useful joining stitch.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This image shows the doctor flannel used to make the heart shaped needle pages, held together with a flower button.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

There was lots of beading in this project, making it look really special!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

The thimble holder was fiddly to make, but holds a little silver thimble perfectly.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Although my pinwheel came out too big, I still really like it!

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This project needed quite a few bits and pieces to complete it. Although a materials pack was available from the publishers of Inspirations magazine, I felt it was pricey, so I raided my stash for most things, which kept the cost down a lot. The whole thing cost me less than £60, including the elusive mother of pearl ruler, which I had sent to me from the USA to the UK.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

Rather than put a tape measure in one pocket, I chose to put a bodkin and a ribbon-puller.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

I bought an old mother of pearl gaming chip on Ebay to use as a thread winder, which fits neatly into the smallest pocket.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

This is the antique button hook, which fits in the second heart pocket.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui

HINTS AND TIPS

Although this has been a great project to complete, there are quite a few things that need pointing out, if you’re going to tackle making this.

For instance, the project in the magazine runs to 18 pages – the longest article they have ever had in almost 20 years of the magazine. Then the construction text is on a separate pullout sheet, and that’s detailed too. So, you need to read through all of that to familiarise yourself with what you need to do, and the order to do it in. Hopefully, if you follow these blog posts, you’ll be fine! I have changed quite a few things though.

Despite the length of the article, it’s still a lot shorter than the ‘Home Sweet Home workbox’ instructions by Carolyn Pearce – as that was published as a book, with over a hundred pages. so there was more space to go into detail. So, some details have been glossed over with this etui, which is a shame. After spending hours and hours on a project like this, you need to trust the instructions.

You also need to trust that the materials pack will have enough materials in, and I have heard from several stitchers that they bought the pack (I didn’t though) and they ran out of some items. Not good, especially when the pack costs over £140!!

I think it would help, if you’re new to some of the stitches, particularly, to spend some time practicing them on spare fabric before attempting them on the project itself. There are several YouTube videos that explain things, that really help if reading text doesn’t ‘do it’ for you.

As I’ve said before, it helps to get together everything you’re going to need, and cut out all the pieces from all the materials, etc., before you start to stitch. It’s so much quicker in the long run than stopping and starting to cut one more piece of wadding, or to find the beads you need, when you’re in the middle of the project. Boring, I know!

MY CONCLUSION

I really enjoyed making most of this etui – I wasn’t so keen on making the Dorset button, as I needed too many hands to do it successfully, but that’s just me! I’d have preferred to have photographs of the stages, rather than line drawings in the magazine to follow, but I suspect that this project was written up a long time after the etui was actually made, so process photos weren’t available. Also, I think some of the instructions are just plain wrong – things are suggested that are impossible to do, such as threading a half hitch knotted cord through beads with tiny holes! You really do need some experience of assembling needlework items to tackle this one with confidence.

This is probably the most ambitious needlework project that I’ve ever made. But I’m so pleased with it – I can see me actually using this as I stitch future things, which is a good sign  🙂

Compared to the Home Sweet Home workbox, also designed by Carolyn Pearce (my version of that is shown below), this project, I feel, is quite a lot harder to make. There are more unusual stitches to learn, and more stages to it. But there is also more repetition – I found I was getting a bit bored halfway through, when doing the four inner panels …. all the same, and the rectangular pockets …. all the same. With the Home workbox, all the smalls were different, so it kept my interest going.

Carolyn Pearce Home Sweet Home workbox

But look at this now! A very different type of project, and one to take pride of place in my display cabinet  🙂

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui 40: attaching the 3 smalls to the etui, and making beaded cords

I am currently stitching the Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre heart etui as a stitchalong project. This week, I have been attaching the 3 smalls to the etui, and making beaded cords for the scissors and ruler. See the end of this post for all the information you’ll need to join in!

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When I started this project, months ago, I read through all the instructions in the magazine itself, and on the pullout sheet, to get my head around what was needed to make this gorgeous project. But how to attach these three ‘dangleys’ had me stumped for ages, and yet they are crucial to the finished look of it. If I left them off, it would have really detracted from it. But the magazine instructions seemed really unclear to me, so I devised my own way of doing it.

I made a separate cord for each dangley, and now I’m at the part where I could join them all to the bottom tip of the etui.

I had bought a large cloisonne bead on Ebay specially, with a diameter of about 12mm, and a large hole of around 3mm, to use as the decorative feature bead at the tip of the heart etui. The large hole is really helpful now! First, thread all three cords through the cloisonne bead. Securely attach a length of green quilting thread to the bottom tip of the back heart panel, then take the needle through the neat ends of all three cords. Then secure the thread to the tip of the front heart panel and pull quite tight. Go back round – back heart, 3 cords, front heart – several times, to make sure the three cords are securely attached.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Lastly, make one knot in all three cords together, under the cloisonne bead, to hold the bead close up to the tip of the heart etui. For added security, I put a drop of Superglue inside the hole of the cloisonne bead and held the cords against it for a couple of minutes to make sure it was all held as one, just before I made the knot.

I hadn’t planned to make beaded chains for the scissors and ruler, when I first started to make the etui. I’d planned to just use twisted thread cords. But as I kept looking at the magazine’s pictures, I felt I wanted to do it like the one in the magazine! So, I bought some gold beads from Spellbound Beads, and made my own beaded chains, as per the instructions on page 57 of the magazine (more or less – I couldn’t get exactly the same beads).

I adapted it though (again!) so that I used gold coloured quilting thread instead of tiger tail for the threading, as it’s easier to manipulate, and these beaded chains don’t need to be particularly strong. I started by threading on a bead and tying a knot in the thread, then threading on the calotte crimp. This bead on the end stops the thread from slipping out of the hooked calotte crimp. Then I threaded on gold ball beads, green hex beads, and feature beads, until I’d made  a length about two inches long.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Then I looped the thread through the handle of the scissors, and, leaving a small loop of beads, went back through most of them to the hooked calotte crimp, and knotted the thread to the starting thread. I put a large drop of Superglue on the knot before cutting the thread ends short, then I closed up the calotte crimp with jewellery pliers, slipping a jump ring in the loop with  a lobster claw attached, just before closing it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

I worked out where the chain would come to on the etui once the scissors are in the pocket, and stitched another jump ring to the heart panel fabric alongside the scissor pocket, so that the lobster claw can attach there.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

Then I made another beaded chain for the ruler. With this one, I attached it on the right hand side of the pocket as you look at it (rather than on the left, as the instructions suggest), as I had more space there to do it.

Carolyn Pearce Strawberry Fayre etui

So, that’s it! Finished! There’ll be lots of images, and a list of Hints and Tips for doing the whole project, plus a comparison with the ‘Home Sweet Home’ project of Carolyn’s that I previously made, coming up next week…..

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~~~INFORMATION~~~

The Strawberry Fayre design, plus the complete list of materials, appears in Inspirations magazine number 95The publishers do sell a full materials pack  (not including the mother of pearl ruler though!), but it’s rather expensive, so if you can use your stash, and just fill in with bits and pieces, then so much the better! The magazine is published in Australia – if you live in the UK, as I do, it is cheaper to buy a back copy from Manor House Magazines, and save a lot on the shipping. 

EDIT: The materials pack from Inspirations, and the magazine from Manor House in the UK are not available any more as at March 2018 – I don’t know if any more stocks will be available now, unfortunately. The publishers may bring out a digital pattern pack later, which they sometimes do with popular projects from their magazines, but we’ll have to wait and see…..

To read about this project stitchalong from the beginning, start here. The post about which FABRIC to use is here. The post about the THREAD SUBSTITUTIONS that I made, plus WHERE TO BUY the threads and beads, etc., is here.

To look up all the posts in this series in the sidebar, see under the CATEGORIES list, under: Embroidery / Full size (others’ designs) / Strawberry Fayre heart etui, or use the SEARCH BOX at the top of the blog, and search for ‘Strawberry Fayre’ to get a list of all the posts (but it’s in reverse order, sorry!).

I’d be interested to see images of how your project is progressing – please email large, clear, well-focused images to mail@janetgranger.co.uk  Please bear in mind that any images sent may be used in this blog and/or social media such as Facebook or Pinterest.

~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~~

needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder

 

Christmas gift ideas for mini-stitchers

We all love our dollhouses, and we all love stitching, so here are a few Christmas gift ideas for mini-stitchers from my range of dollhouse needlepoint kits.

How about a matching Pole screen and Firescreen set, like these two (‘Spring Flowers’ and ‘Summer Roses’), below? Each kit is available separately, but together they really add something special. Both are to be stitched on silk gauze – the Firescreen kits (on 32 count gauze) are £21.95 each, and the Pole screen kits (some on 40 and some on 32 count gauze, depending on the design) are £20.95 each. Both types of kit contain everything you need, including the metal frame kit or wooden pole kit.

Sampler kits make good stocking fillers, at only £10.95. There are 12 designs to choose from, on 28 or 32 count evenweave, and each kit already contains the wooden frame, as well as all other materials.

Teacosy kits (on 32 count silk gauze, at  £14.95), Tray cloth kits (on 32 count silk gauze, at £12.95) and Cushion kits (on 22 count canvas, at £5.95) make great stocking fillers!

For a gift for a more experienced stitcher, this Needlework stand kit on 40 count silk gauze (£21.95) would be good – there are six designs to choose from. This one is called ‘Larkspur and Roses’.

And then there are the newest additions to my website… these lovely magnetic needle minders! Perfect little gifts for stitchers, even if they don’t have a dollhouse to stitch for – because who wants to lose their needle? These little accessories will help keep needles safe, while looking gorgeous alongside your stitching. £4.95 each.

Needle minders, cross stitch gift, pin keeper, needle magnet

This is just a fraction of my range of almost 300 miniature needlepoint kits plus other accessories – there are loads more to choose from on my website.

Postage & packing is £2.25 for UK orders (£4.50 overseas) up to £50 order value. Orders over £50 are sent post free, worldwide.

Here are the latest dates to order by if you need your parcel to arrive in time for Christmas, both within the UK and Overseas. If you order on or before these dates, I can get your parcel in the post within 24 hours, so that you should receive it in time for Christmas, as follows:

Monday 3rd December 2018      Australia, New Zealand, Rest of World
Thursday 6th December 2018 USA and Canada (NB: Canada has a postal strike ongoing at the moment though)
Thursday 13th December 2018   Europe
Monday 17th December  United Kingdom

So, visit the website now, to solve all your mini-stitching gift-buying problems!  🙂

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needle minders, needle holder, pin keep, sampler, cross stitch, magnetic needle holder