Category Archives: Embroidery

Variations on a rosy theme

The most popular collection of co-ordinating designs in my whole range of miniature needlepoint embroidery kits is this ‘Summer Roses’ one. Over the years, I have enlarged the range so that it now includes all of these kits:

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One of my customers, called Natalia, who lives in Russia, recently sent me some pictures of the Summer Roses designs that she has made up, and adapted, in some cases, for her own doll’s house. Here’s the pretty dining room setting that she has made, using various Summer Roses kits. She has very ingeniously used the tray cloth as a picture above the fireplace!

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On the table there is a teacosy, made up as per the kit, on 32 count silk gauze. But look at what else she has done! She’s taken the teacosy motif, and created a very beautiful table topper, using repeated motifs at the corners. How clever!

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On top of the mantelpiece is a table runner. In the kit, there are no tassel instructions, but Natalia has made tassels as in the bellpull kits, and added them at the corners of her runner, making her one unique.

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For comparison, here is my own doll’s house room, featuring many of the Summer Roses pieces. The ‘feel’ of this room is very different from Natalia’s. I love that about embroidery – everyone puts their own personality on to whatever they make.

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My oak sewing box

I was going to do a blog post this week about all my favourites doll’s house and miniatures websites, so that you can use it as a ‘basic resource’ when making and collecting for your own doll’s houses, but I have realised that that’s quite a mammoth task (as I have dozens of ‘favourite websites’), so rather than rush to get that one ready (I want it to be good!!), I’m going to give you a ‘stitchy blog post’ this week:

People have asked me what kind of tools and equipment I use day-to-day when I am doing my embroidery, so this week I’m going to talk about one of my favourite things. Whenever I start a new project, I collect together the threads and so on that I’m going to use, and put them in my project box. This is what it looks like:

Box 1

This is a box lid design by Sheila Marshall that I stitched about ten years ago, with goldwork highlights and some beads. I love it!

Most of the embroidery is long and short stitch, with some needlelace filling stitches for textural interest. Many of the shapes are outlined in various thicknesses of gold thread, couched in place with silk thread. Tiny gold seed beads are scattered over the background to fill the spaces.

Box 2

When I saw the design in the book ‘Elizabethan Needlework Accessories’ by Sheila Marshall, I really wanted to make it, but the box she had used for the version in her book had been specially made for her. So, I asked my husband to make me a similar sized box with an aperture lid for my birthday, to put the stitching into.

The box is beautifully made out of oak. It measures 10 inches by 6 by 3 high.

Box 3

I specifically asked him not to make the interior into lots of little compartments, as I find that although they look useful, nothing ever really fits properly. I’d rather have just one compartment.

Box 4

This is the book that the design is from. It was published in New Zealand in 1998. For several years it was out of print, but you can now get it on Amazon again here for around £13.  There are several other books in the series by the same publisher (Dick Georgeson), and they’re all very good. I’ve made several things from all the books, and they’re gorgeous. The stumpwork petal bag on the cover of the book is something I loved making a few years back.

Box 5

One small change that I made to the design was that I added a little bee from a companion piece in the book (to make a pinwheel), which was just too cute to leave out.

Here’s a picture of my box, alongside the picture from the book of Sheila’s one. Similar, aren’t they?!

Box 6

It’s one of my favourite things that I have ever made  🙂

January sale bargains to be had!

January is the time of year for bargains! And over on my website, Janet Granger Designs, there are LOTS of bargains to be had in my January Sale.

If you are the proud owner of a doll’s house, or know someone who is, you’ll find lots of ideas for mini needlepoint kits over on the website.  Here are some ideas for what you could make.

These little cushion kits are £4.45 each in the sale. They are to be stitched in needlepoint on 22 count canvas, with Anchor stranded cotton. They’re each 1 1/4 inches square when completed.

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There are lots of tiny sampler kits to choose from. This one is called ‘Hearts and Flowers’, and is £8.95 in the sale. It’s to be stitched on 32 count evenweave fabric. The varnished wooden frame is included in the kit.

The teacosy and tray cloth matching designs are called ‘Crinoline Lady’. The teacosy kits are £12.55 and the tray cloth kits (including the mahogany pieces to make the tray) are £10.75 during the sale.

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This Summer roses design is one of the most popular in my whole range. It appears on over a dozen different kits. These latest two are for a pole screen kit (£17.95 in the sale) and firescreen kit (£18.85 in the sale).

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These little handbag kits come with either 32 count or 40 count silk gauze, depending on the design. They are £9.85 each in the sale.

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Even if you’ve never made anything in this scale before, you’ll find it’s much easier than you thought. There are tutorials on my website showing you how to do the stitches and make up each type of kit. And if you need inspiration for how to use the different kits when they’re finished, you really must see the Customers’ Stitching pages, where my talented customers show off the stitching they have done, in their doll’s houses. Here are a couple:

This room was made by a longstanding customer of mine called Annette. She has stitched the Tree of Life rectangular stool in front of the piano, the Gwen carpet that the stool stands on, and the Tree of Life bellpull in the background:

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Deborah has made this beautifully ornate room, and stitched the Summer Roses firescreen and bellpull from kits of mine. She also adapted the Carole pastel carpet from a chart pack, and made the design much bigger than the original, using her own choice of colours, to make this gorgeous carpet.

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Tempted? Go and have a look – there’s over 280 kits to choose from, dozens of chart packs, and lots of eye candy!

Gingerbread Church by Victoria Sampler 7: ….. and it’s finished!

The final part of the Gingerbread Church assembly that I need to do is to fit together the main body of the church. The instructions in the chart booklet by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler are very detailed, so it’s easy to do, but quite time consuming if you want it to come out well.

I first laced up the main roof sections. I held the two pieces at the sort of angle that they would be in when the roof was completed, so that I didn’t lace them up too tightly or too loosely.

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Then I joined the side walls in the correct order, in the same way that I did with the steeple. Before I laced up the final side to make it into a rectangle, I added the base section (but I forgot to photograph that bit….).

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So this is the main part of church completed. I attached the roof next, by lacing from the top point of the joined roof sections down to the lower edge, four times, to make sure that the roof was sitting correctly in place, and not twisted.

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With a curved needle, I attached the steeple. This was FIDDLY!!!  It’s important to make sure that the bases of the main body and the steeple are level with each other first, or the finished building will not sit flat. I laced into every second or third back stitch as I went up the steeple sides, joining the steeple to the main building. I left the stitches very loose until I had done all of one side, then I pulled the stitches taut, and fastened off by hiding the thread in the join between the two pieces of the building.

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This shows the completed church, seen from underneath. You can see that the base seams are not laced together – I didn’t feel that this was necessary.

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The chart booklet’s instructions don’t give any guidance about how to join the steeple to the main building. When I first bought the booklet, I emailed Victoria Sampler to ask how I should join them, and someone from their Customer Services section said that the steeple was meant to just be placed alongside the main part, but I didn’t think that that would work, as the steeple is so tall and thin, that it would probably fall over. Hence my ‘solution’. It’s definitely fiddly to do, but it came out very well. I needed to buy the curved needles specially (from Ebay), but they weren’t expensive. I used small ones – about one and a half inches long from end to end, with a large eye.

So, as a final review of this chart booklet, I’d say that this project is just wonderful to do! I love this addition to my Gingerbread Village. I chose to use Zweigart ‘Cognac’ coloured 28 count evenweave fabric, as the suggested Antique Almond is impossible for me to get hold of, but I’m using this shade for all the buildings, and I’m very pleased with it. I used one and a half skeins of Anchor number 2 off white to do all the cross stitching in total, instead of the Kreinik Mori white suggested in the booklet. I also used most of one ball of DMC Perle 8 (as it’s used for joining the panels together, as well as the embroidery).

I bought the main coloured thread and bead/button pack from Sew and So in the UK (but not the white thread pack, which is available separately if you choose to buy that too). The accessory packs are quite expensive, but very high quality. For some reason, the thread pack I bought had far too much Mauve (about three yards of 12 strands), but I almost ran out of one of the greens, despite stitching very carefully so that I didn’t run out. And with the pearl beads, I ended up with only four pearl beads at the end, as I’d had to throw a few away, as the holes were badly drilled and couldn’t be threaded. I think that’s a bit mean, considering the cost of the accessory packs!!

The instructions in the booklet are very detailed, and the stitch diagrams are very clear. Some sloppy editing (I’m a stickler for proper spelling!) lets it down somewhat, but that’s just me being picky. The paper is good quality, and the charts are printed at a good size so that you can work directly from them.

Overall, I’m so pleased with this project, I am tempted to start the next one in the series (the Christmas Tree) now!

Here are some views of the finished Gingerbread Church:

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Church 40

 

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And just in time for Christmas, I can put the Gingerbread Church under my tree alongside the Stitching House and Candy Cane Cottage. What do you think of it?