Where Stitchers Gather etui by Victoria Sampler: 2 – starting to stitch the design of the etui

This is my progress on the ‘Where Stitchers Gather‘ etui pocket and smalls, by Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler in Canada.

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

Thea’s instructions in the chart booklet are really clear – the rows of the design are numbered, and there are lots of written instructions for each section, plus diagrams.

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

What I like about Thea’s designs is that they are not simply cross stitch – she is always challenging you with new stitches to learn! Look at this panel, for instance – the background is plain green crosses, but then the flowers in pink are each a different stitch!

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

And then, if you look closely in the bottom right hand corner, there’s the date I started this written in cross stitch in one strand over one thread, too (upside down, on purpose, but the reason for that will become clearer later).

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Where Stitchers Gather etui by Victoria Sampler: 1 – getting started

Here’s the progress I’ve been making on one of my favourite types of stitching project – a sewing set, or etui. This one is called ‘Where Stitchers Gather‘, and is another design by a really talented designer, Thea Dueck of Victoria Sampler in Canada. This lovely pocket is made to contain a scissor fob, a needlebook and a scissor case. It’s mainly cross stitch, with some drawn thread work, some specialty stitches, and some scary hardanger! (Hardanger is not my best technique, as I find cutting fabric threads after I’ve spent ages embroidering around them kind of scary!)

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

I’m going to use the suggested fabric, which is 28ct evenweave Zweigart ‘Raw Linen’ shade, along with burgundy  dupion silk for the lining, and thin wadding to give it a bit of body.

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

I also bought the materials pack when I bought the chart booklet from Victoria Sampler, as, although my stash is huge, and I could probably have found similar threads somewhere, I’ve found that it’s much more pleasant to just get the materials pack and be done with it. That way, I know it’s going to come out just like in the photos, and I won’t get any nasty surprises later.

When I started to stitch this etui pocket, I was in the middle of a solo retreat in a little cottage in the Peak District, in the English countryside (a few months back, now, before lockdown was imposed!!). This was where I set up my floor frame, to start stitching. The view of the garden was lovely!

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

This picture didn’t come out too clearly, as I took it at night, but it’s the first row of cross stitch on the pocket.

Where stitchers gather etui by Victoria Sampler

As I was on retreat, I planned to get a lot of stitching done….

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Little House Needleworks ABC Samplers – 3 – finishing the other 8 pincushions in the series

These little cross stitch pincushion ‘smalls’ from Little House Needleworks are so sweet, and were really fun to do! They are a great project for when I’m travelling about, as each one is small and portable, and I can stitch them using just an eight inch hoop to put the fabric in, rather than a rectangular frame. There’s nine in the series, covering the whole alphabet.

ABC samplers - Little House Needleworks pincushions

This is the first one that I completed a couple of months ago. It’s four inches square, when finished.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I’ve been stitching these in a hoop, using cotton sheeting to make the fabric piece large enough to hoop up, without wasting the 32 count linen fabric.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I think I like these three designs the best:

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

When they were all stitched, I raided my patchwork fabric stash to choose cotton for the back of each pincushion, and co-ordinated mini pom pom trim that I bought from xJudesign on Etsy.

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

Once they were all finished, I decided to display them in this little wicker basket with a cotton lining, that I found in a charity shop:

ABC samplers Little House Needleworks pincushion

I love stitching little houses, so this was kind of ‘binge overload’ – I need to stitch something completely different, now, I think!

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Book review: Embroidered Country Gardens by Lorna Bateman

Lorna Bateman has been selling surface embroidery kits for years now, but this is her first book, called ‘Embroidered Country Gardens’, and it is really lovely.

If you love surface embroidery, then this book is going to make your fingers itch to get stitching! I saw this last autumn, when it was first published, and immediately put it on my wishlist for Christmas!

The sub-title is  ‘Create beautiful hand-stitched floral designs inspired by nature’, and that’s a really good description of what this book covers.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Lorna has taken one kind of motif – that of an English country garden – and designed a whole set of embroidered bags, pockets, and holders for embroidery tools of various kinds. The designs make a coherent collection, but are different enough to not be boring if you choose to stitch them all – there’s a lot of variety here, both in types of designs, and difficulty level.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Here’s the contents page:

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

There are twelve different projects to make, plus lots of explanations about how to stitch each type of plant featured, so if you wanted to make your own designs using this book, it would be very useful for that too. In fact, one of the sections covered is ‘how to make your own’. Lorna is obviously a very good gardener, and that comes across in her writing.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

This is my favourite project in the whole book – it’s a tote bag with a  crinoline lady design on one side, and lettering spelling out ‘In my country garden’ on the other side.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

One cop-out, though, which isn’t unique to this book (I’ve seen other designers, both in books and magazines, do this lately) is that Lorna doesn’t give the actual design for this lettering. She just says ‘you could look up a nice font, and do your own’. Hmm, don’t think so, actually. Most people, if they like a design they’ve seen enough to want to make it, want EXACTLY what they’ve seen – so they expect to have THAT font and THAT exact wording presented in the book as a design to follow. It seems bizarre to me to have such a lovely book of designs for almost everything, and then skimp on this bit.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

Anyway, another idea in this book that I absolutely love is these randomly embroidered buttons. Aren’t they pretty? And the bigger the better! You could practice doing little flowers all over a small piece of fabric, and then use a metal cover button to make one of these, and use it as a brooch, or a fridge magnet, or make several for use on clothing.

Lorna Bateman Embroidered Country Gardens embroidery book

The book has 160 pages, and a pocket at the back with a pull-out sheet of templates for the various projects. Little line drawings are given for each project, so you get an indication of what to stitch where, but a lot of the choices are up to you. The photography is gorgeous, and the explanations are clear. At times, I did feel that Lorna struggled a bit to write enough text, as it got a bit repetitive, but I suspect that might have been due to the publishers saying ‘you need to write xx thousands of words!!’ when really, a book like this just needs lovely photos, which this book has in bucketloads.

Lorna is a really good designer – if you want to try some surface embroidery for a change, then get a copy of this book and give it a go. You can’t hope for a better teacher of this style of embroidery.

Title: Embroidered Country Gardens

Author: Lorna Bateman

Publisher: Search Press

Price: £17.99 in 2020

ISBN: 978 1 78221 578 3

 

 

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