John Clayton ‘Circles Series’ cross stitch: 1 – choosing the design

I have loved the ‘John Clayton Circles Series cross stitch designs for years. If you’ve not come across them yet, I bet you could be easily tempted! These were first put on sale over twenty years ago, but they are still selling well – they are produced by Heritage Crafts, from original watercolours by John Clayton. John first paints the picture and then chooses the thread shades for the cross stitch design version, before Heritage package them up and market them. They’re available as either full kits (on 28 count evenweave, or aida fabric), or as chart packs.

John Clayton Circles Series cross stitch
There are loads to choose from, and they’re all lovely!!

I made one, about 25 years ago, called ‘High and Dry’, featuring boats when the tide has gone out. I loved stitching it, and always planned to do more. Life got in the way, though, and I’ve only just got round to starting my second one, even though I have several kits and chart packs from this series in my stash.

John Clayton High and Dry cross stitch

I have decided to do this one now, called ‘Sleepy Village’. This image is taken from the Heritage website:

John Clayton Sleepy Village

Isn’t it lovely? It looks so English! The design is about ten inches diameter, and it’s full coverage cross stitch with some fractional stitches and a little back stitch, so this is going to take a serious amount of time to do.

I set up my floor frame over Christmas (as you can see from the tinsel in the background of this photo!), but it has just sat there ever since, and I need to get on with it.

John Clayton Sleepy Village cross stitch

I got this design from a needlework magazine a few years ago, and the chart is already coloured symbols, which is what I like to work from. The suggested threads were given for DMC, Anchor and Madeira shades – I’m stitching mine using Anchor. The fabric is 28 count white evenweave.

Can’t wait to get going on it, now!


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Book review: A Passion for Needlework 3

If you have managed to buy the previous two volumes in this series, you’ll know that the book ‘A Passion for Needlework 3’ is going to be good even before you’ve opened it! I put this book on my wishlist for Christmas as soon as I found out it was being published, late last autumn. I haven’t been disappointed!

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

Like the other two volumes in the series, this one is beautifully produced, and contains a dozen projects that will make your fingers itch to start stitching. The book itself is large, and heavy. It’s printed on good quality paper, and could almost be described as a ‘coffee table book’, as the images alone make it worth having.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

But the projects are what you’ll want to get this book for. I think, personally, that this book is the best one so far in the series. It has projects using several different embroidery techniques, and not just for things that could be ‘pictures’ – there are some lovely 3D projects in this book, which I particularly like to do. This etui set is designed by Carolyn Pearce, one of my favourite designers:

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

The styleshots in the book are dramatic, but there are many detail images too, so you can really see the stitching up close. The projects are featured at the beginning of the book, and then the instructions and stitch diagrams are all at the back.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston CreameryThis book, being published by the same people who publish Inspirations magazine in Australia, have their signature ‘pullout sheets’ with the patterns for the projects on, so that you can transfer the design lines to your chosen fabric. There are also materials packs available from the publishers (but I find these really expensive, and that’s before I’ve paid for shipping from Australia to the UK!)My stash of threads and fabric is huge, so I can stitch some of these lovely designs by using up what I already have in my stash, hopefully.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

My favourite project in the whole book is this amazing photo frame border, designed by Susan O’Connor. I love anything she designs!! This is just so wonderful, and I think I’m going to have to put several current projects on hold while I make this. Isn’t it lovely?! It’s stitched using about 40 Au Ver a Soie colours, so it’s not going to be cheap, if I use the called-for threads, but I just love it.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery
Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery
Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

This book would make a great addition to any stitcher’s library. It’s just gorgeous. If there is anything that could be said to be a negative with it, it would be that some of the style shots are a bit ‘sparse’, with the embroidery being quite small in the whole photo’s space, but that’s just me – I like pictures to be busy, with the embroidery itself taking centre stage. But the projects themselves are simply wonderful, so if you like interesting surface embroidery projects, go and get this book!

Title: A Passion for Needlework 3: Blakiston Creamery

Editor: Susan O’Connor

Publisher: Inspirations Studios Corporation Pty Ltd

ISBN: 978 0 6482873 9 1

Price: £23.99


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January Sale of dollhouse needlepoint kits now on!

Just a very quick post to let you know that my January Sale of doll’s house needlepoint kits and charts is now on – check out my website to see everything that’s in the sale!

Kits are available for the following miniature needlepoint items for 1:12 scale dollhouses, and they’re all in the sale!

Carpets  ~~~ Staircarpets ~~~ Cushions ~~~ Bellpulls ~~~ Samplers

Wallhangings ~~~ Dining chairs ~~~ Needlework stands

Rectangular footstools ~~~ Firescreens ~~~ Christmas stockings

 Teacosies ~~~ Clutch  bags ~~~ Tray cloths ~~~ Handbags

Round footstools ~~~ Christmas tree mats ~~~ Bolster cushions

Table runners ~~~ Placemats


Teacosy kits for dollhouse accessoriesWillow pattern traycloth kit for dollhouseDollhouse needlepoint stocking Santadollhouse teacosy ginger cat

So take a look now, and treat yourself to something tempting to stitch…..


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 around 300 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 beginner to expert.


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Happy Christmas!

Although this has been a most peculiar year for everyone, here we are, at Christmas once again, and we’ve managed to get through it all! I don’t know about you, but I have found my stitching to be a great help through all the unsettling times during this last few months. It’s just really relaxing to be able to do some stitching every day, when everything else is going crazy!

Thank you to all of you who have been following my blog during the year – I do love writing it, and of course doing all the stitching  🙂

Have a great Christmas, however you celebrate it.

Just Nan Xmas mice and gingerbread village



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