A few months ago, I wrote a series of blog posts about a stumpwork bride’s bag that I was making, that featured foxglove flowers made out of needlelace worked over a half cone stick.
I explained that I’d bought my half cone sticks years ago, and that they weren’t that easy to get hold of, now. I subsequently did some research, and found a few stockists. But recently, a woodturner called Bruce Bassett who lives in Utah contacted me for advice, as he’s been asked to make some half cone sticks to add to his range of lacemaking tools, a few of which he recently began selling on Etsy [ EDIT November 2013: the Etsy shop is no longer active – please email Bruce instead – see below] and the items he’s come up with are really lovely. Look!
They are available in five sizes, and the finish is really smooth.
He also sells a couronne stick (sometimes called a ring stick or hedebo stick), for making round needlelace cup shapes and flowers and for other uses in bobbin lace making.
PRICES, and SHIPPING/HANDLING COSTS (for within the USA, and also worldwide):
For the half cone sticks, the price depends on the size: the smallest one is US$9, the three medium-sized ones are $10 each, and the largest one $11. Add $4 per order for shipping within USA, $6 elsewhere.
The full set of 5 half cone sticks costs $40 plus $4 shipping within USA, $6 elsewhere.
The couronne stick is $20 plus $6 within the USA, $8 elsewhere.
The complete set of 5 half cone sticks and the couronne stick costs $56 plus $6 within USA, $8 elsewhere.
To purchase, email Bruce with your requirements, and he can send a Paypal invoice. With the half cone sticks, two small holes can be drilled in the foot end if required, so that the stick can be tacked to your fabric more securely if wanted, for no extra charge – just mention that you’d like that to be done when you email him with your order.
I don’t make any money from this blatant advertising blog post! But I would like to think that by helping him get started with these lovely needlework tools, he can become more widely known for the wooden tools that he has such a skill for making, and more stitchers can make beautiful embroidery using them.
When I was making my Elizabethan bride’s bag recently, and posting photos on this blog, several people contacted me to ask where they could buy the half cone sticks from.
I used the half cone sticks to form the 3D shapes for the foxglove flowers and the bluebell flowers on the second side of my bag. I’d had the sticks for several years, but never used them before making this project. But now that I have, I can see me using them a lot more often, as the results are really good.
The sticks are temporarily tacked to the fabric, and then lifted up detached buttonhole stitch is worked over a base thread, row upon row, until the half cone shape is covered, then the stick is removed. I have tracked down various sizes of half cone stick, which are available from several UK websites (and I should think it wouldn’t be a problem for them to ship overseas, if necessary).
The type I own myself are available from Stitch Direct, and come in a set with a hedebo ring stick (to make circular needlelace rings, for flowers, etc). The text on their website says:
Hedebo Stick and Half Cone Set
The Hedebo stick (also known as a ring stick) is tapered with a range of diameters for producing cup like petals. The half cones are perfect for bell shaped flowers and create a wonderful three dimensional effect. The set contains one 7 tier Hedebo stick and two half cones, 1 inch (2.5 cms) and 1.5 ins ( 3.75 cms) long, not including the handle. Made from mahogany from a sustainable source these tools are light and will never rust or tarnish.
The set of three costs £18.73.
Viking Loom of York sell a half cone stick on its own for £4.50. No dimensions are given. The text on their website says:
Use as a template to stitch over to make a 3D flower shape.
The Guild of Needle Laces sells several different designs and sizes, singly, for £5 each. The text on their website says:
Half Cone Sticks or ‘Shoes’: Small, medium and large. Tapered or rounded ends. Please state your preference.
These are used when making stump work flowers. You work your stitches over the half cone and remove the half cone when the stitches are finished. This gives you a raised effect.
They also sell a ‘Raised Embroidery Set’ for £20. The text for this says:
This set includes a brass stiletto, medium ring stick and five half cone sticks of various sizes.
Another really good one is Needlepaws – a UK business which (from the look of the items shown) manufactures some of the items mentioned above, so maybe try them first, as they also sell direct to the public. For instance, they sell five sizes of half cone stick for £5 each, to these dimensions:
Large – 45mm x 13mm
Dumpy – 28mm x 12mm
Medium – 32mm x 10mm
Stumpy – 18mm x 12mm
Tiny – 17mm x 7mm
They also sell lots of other wooden needle lace and embroidery tools, so they are well worth a visit, even if you’re not looking for half cone sticks just now. Their range of hedebo sticks is wide, and they also sell stilettos and thread palettes.
Postage needs to be added to the prices of all these products, for all companies listed above, depending on the total value of your order. I don’t get any commission for recommending these products and websites, I just think they should be more widely known about 🙂
EDIT 26 July 2012: Thanks to Elmsley Rose for alerting me to this extra supplier, in Australia – Alison Cole Embroidery sells a set of two half cone sticks and a hedebo stick for AUS$25.
I didn’t take any ‘ in progress’ photos while I was actually stitching the lining into my bride’s bag, as I found that if I let go of it for even a second, it all slid about and went wrong! Not the easiest of stages to complete, but I’m pleased with how it’s come out, and it covers the messy back of the embroidery, and all of the binding, really well.
I attached the lining in the same way that I had with the embroidered side – using a few dressmaking pins to hold the lining onto the binding, and then slip stitching the lining in place. The instructions said to cover the binding completely, so that I was really slip stitching the lining to the embroidered fabric, rather than the binding. But it makes for a very neat finish, even if it did take ages!
So….here it is, finally completed!
I’d like to thank Shirley Holdaway for designing such a lovely project. If you’d like to make one, the design is in the book ‘Festive Elizabethan Creations’, published by Georgeson Publications Ltd, of New Zealand, although it’s available in the UK at the moment (was out of print a while back, but not now).
I have been very inspired by doing this project. Partly due to the supportive comments I’ve had on this blog, and elsewhere, I’m going to start designing my own range of surface embroidery/stumpwork embroidery kits, to run alongside the miniature needlepoint kits that I already sell. See my website for details – I’ll have a newsletter sign-up form on there soon, so that as soon as some kits are ready, you’ll be the first to know!
I’ve been attaching the embroidery for the bride’s bag to the metal purse frame, and I’m actually pleased with how it’s turning out, now.
The instructions said to stitch a seam half inch in from the edge, using a sewing machine. But even with a zipper foot, I wasn’t convinced that that would be successful, as there is beading and couched gold thread right up to the very edge of the bag, so I backstitched the seam by hand, from the point each side where the purse frame’s hinges will come to. I did the same to the gold satin lining, too. This photo shows the back of the ‘strawberry side’ stitching. Make the most of it – I don’t usually let people see the back of my work!
I clipped the seam allowance every half inch or so, to make turning easier. In this picture, you can see that I’ve trimmed the underlining cotton fabric that I used while stitching the embroidery, right up to the stitching, to reduce bulk.
Once the bag had been turned right side out, I checked the width of the top edge against the purse frame, then turned in the top and side seam allowances, and tacked them in place.
This picture looks really complicated, but it was actually quite easy to stitch the bag to the frame. Starting at one hinge side, I slip stitched with tiny stitches up the frame, along the top and down the other side. I’d used three or four dressmaking pins to hold the bag to the wrapped binding, to make sure the bag didn’t slip out of place at I attached it, which I found was very necessary. At the beginning of the top straight edge on each half, I inserted the strap, and slip stitched from both sides of the strap to the binding and the embroidery, to make sure the strap was tightly attached, checking to make sure it was the correct length before stitching down the second end.
But doesn’t the inside of the bag need tidying up?! Can’t face doing it tonight…I’d only do it wrong if I do it when I’m tired…