I’m hooked on stitching bellpulls now……

I spent some time a few days ago making up materials packs for the three Mary Hickmott cross stitch bellpulls that follow on from the fabulous ‘Height of Summer’ one which I made a few years ago. The Autumn, Spring and Winter bellpulls are one step closer to actually being made, now!


While I was hunting through my stash of charts, I came across another couple of Mary Hickmott’s bellpull designs, and I’ve decided (mad as it may seem) that I just have to kit these up as well, and one day make them too, as I’m hooked on stitching bellpulls now.

This first one is a gorgeous design of sweet peas in pink and purple shades, and is called ‘Sweet Pea Pastels’.


The chart pack suggests stitching it on pure white 28 count evenweave, but I think that might look a bit harsh against the wall where I would hang it, so I am going to stitch it on Zweigart Cashel linen ‘Ivory’ instead, which is a soft cream. The pinks and purple threads still look lovely against this fabric. I’m using Anchor stranded cotton again – look at all these beautiful colours!!


The brass bellpull end is one given to me by my friend Karen Dixon, who sells these on her Millennia Designs website, in case you want one yourself (she has many other designs, too).

This final bellpull design from my chart stash is called ‘Fabulous Fuchsias’, and it’s a smaller design than the others designed by Mary Hickmott – it’s only 32 inches long when finished, as opposed to the 40 inches of the other ones. Its also a bit narrower. So, it wouldn’t take as long to stitch, so I’m tempted to start my marathon bellpull-fest with this one!


The fabric recommended on the chart pack for this one is Zweigart 28 count Cashel linen in Vintage blue – it’s a really pretty, softly marbled-looking fabric.  I bought a piece of it from Sew and So, 27 x 39 inches cut size, and it should be plenty.fuchsias-2

The wooden bellpull ends are also from Sew and So, and are manufactured by Framecraft. As this bellpull is a smaller design, I felt that heavy brass bellpull ends would be too overpowering.

Both chart packs are available from Mary Hickmott’s website Stitch Direct – the Sweet pea pastels one from here, and the Fabulous Fuchsias one from here.

So, that little lot should keep me busy for, ooh, several years, I should think  🙂


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.


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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:


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.



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:


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  🙂


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.


Here’s my materials, ready to start:


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


And the materials ready to stitch this one:


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.


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.


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The lull after a big project is finished…..

If you’ve been following my journey through embroidering the ‘Home Sweet Home’ workbox, you’ll be very aware that it has taken me well over a year to make it! Now that that project is finished, I am in that strange phase of ‘not having anything to stitch’.

Well, that’s not exactly true, as any stitcher will tell you  🙂   I always have more than one project on the go – either one of my own doll’s house needlepoint designs that is being stitched up prior to being launched as a kit on my website, or something smallish that I may be making as a gift for someone else. But more likely, it’s one (or more) of the many items from my stash that I am gradually working through. Although it’s not actually ‘work’!

As soon as I finish one project, though (and I mean literally minutes after finishing) I have an urge to start something else, even if I have several other projects on the go already. This means that I am never completely ‘projectless’. I liken it to people who smoke – they just have to have something to hold, to ‘prop them up’ in some way. I do it with stitching. I hate the thought of not having something that I can just pick up and immediately stitch. And I love starting new things.

At this ‘in between’ time, though, when I’ve just finished a large project and not yet started another large one, I often wind down by doing simple cross stitch projects for a while, to get back to a place where I can really decide on something I can get my teeth into. I’ve got shelves of embroidery magazines and books, as well as vintage kits (I’m a sucker for those!), plus lots of bits of fabric that I could design something unique for…

So, here’s a quick run through of what’s in progress at the moment and what I’ve got in mind to stitch next:

I’m gradually working my way though the Lavender and Lace Celtic Ladies designs. I’ve done the Celtic Autumn one so far, and was really pleased with how that turned out (with the adaptation of the leaves falling from her hands):

LL - 26 Celtic Autumn framed

This is the one I’m now doing – this actual one was stitched by someone else (found on Pinterest):

I'd rather be stitchin blog1

This is how far I have got with mine. The fabric is actually a lot more green than in the photo:

Spring 2

I’m also working through this lovely Autumn Quakers sampler, from Rosewood Manor. It’s a good project to work on in short bursts, and still feel as if you’re getting somewhere, as each motif only takes a short amount of time:


I bought this next chart pack when I must have been completely off my head! It’s a ‘Heaven and Earth Designs‘ chart pack, called ‘A Stitch in Time’. It’s absolutely beautiful. It’s huge – about two feet by three feet when finished, on 25 count evenweave, stitched over one. I reckon it will take me seven years to stitch, if I did a hundred stitches a day. And I often don’t stitch a hundred stitches a day, so…….maybe in my next lifetime it’ll be finished? I’ve managed most of the first page from the chart pack so far. Out of 84 pages.


I’ve kitted up for this next one, but not yet started it. It’s the Tudor Rose etui set from a recent Inspirations magazine. I’d seen the pale pink version online a few years ago, but now there’s a bright red version, and I just have to make this. It’s an etui set. And it’s red. Can’t get better than that!

Tudor 2

And then there’s this (the image is from the Victoria Sampler website). I’m slowly adding to my Victoria Sampler Gingerbread Village. I love doing these, as they are more than just cross stitch – there’s beading, hardanger, and  other counted thread stitches in the designs as well. I try to make one building each autumn, finishing them in time to display the buildings under my tree at Christmas. I’m aiming to make the Gingerbread Church this time, then maybe the tree next year. Or perhaps the other way around. Haven’t quite decided yet. I love all of them.

GingerbreadVillage2012 on Strawberry Sampler site

And finally, on my wishlist of likely projects, there’s the four seasons bellpulls by Mary Hickmott, of New Stitches magazine fame. I made the ‘Height of Summer’ bellpull years ago:

Summer 500jpg

…..but never got around to making the other three for a complete set. Then a friend of mine, who is also an embroidery designer, gave me three heavy brass bellpull end sets as a gift, so that I can complete my set of four. So, I’ve got no excuse now, have I? I’m planning to start on this one first – it’s called ‘Height of Winter’, and I think I’ll stitch it on 28 count Cashel linen, so it will end up being about 36 inches long.

Height of Autumn

That little lot should stop me being bored for a while!


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Finished embroidery: tiny needlepoint in a gorgeous Regency doll’s house

Today, one of my customers, called Margaret, sent me these images of her beautiful doll’s house. She has made up several of my miniature needlepoint kits, and sent the photos to show me how great they look in situ in her house.

This first picture shows the design ‘Summer Roses’ featured on a teacosy, footstool, and tea tray cloth.

This second picture shows a ‘Sophie’ footstool, and a ‘Tabriz’ bellpull. The bellpull is a new design – only out a few weeks – so Margaret must obviously be a keen stitcher, to have finished it already!

This picture shows a bolster cushion, bellpull and footstool all using items from the ‘Judith’ range. I think I like this picture the best, as it’s such an elegant room.

All the stitching kits are in stock, and are available from my website.


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