Tag Archives: Hand 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.

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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  🙂

Book review: Stumpwork embroidery designs and projects by Jane Nicholas

I have owned this book, ‘Stumpwork Embroidery: designs and projects’ by Jane Nicholas, ever since it first came out in 1998, and it is one of my all-time favourite embroidery books. It is the book that got me started on doing stumpwork embroidery.  So, although it’s definitely not a new book, it most certainly is a classic, so I thought I’d do a review of it.

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Jane Nicholas is a stickler for detail. Her stitching is so neat, it’s unbelievable. I should think the back of her stitching is as neat as the front, but she’d never let you see, I bet!

This book covers instructions for 26 different projects – from single pansy flowers, to drawstrings bags, needlebooks and more complex pictures. The photography is very clear and detailed, and there are hundreds of diagrams to show you exactly how to achieve the results that Jane describes so eloquently in her text.

The book is a large (8 1/2 x 11 inch) hardback book, with 192 pages. Each project is carefully explained, with lists of materials required, the order of work, and the patterns needed, all together (rather than having to turn to the back of the book for the pattern templates, for instance, which is common in other books). There is a stitch glossary and index at the back, and also thread conversion information. This is a useful section, as Jane realises that although she loves to use the more unusual/expensive threads such as Soie d’Alger, many people do not have access to these, so the thread conversion page gives alternatives for Soie d’Alger, Madeira Silk, Cifonda and Minnamurra thread to DMC equivalents. Very helpful! There is also a good bibliography too.

Jane’s take on Elizabethan stumpwork, updated for today, is just wonderful. Take this, for example:

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Or these roundels, stitched on black and white silk:

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My favourite project in the book is this drawstring bag etui set, with woodland animals and plants embroidered on the pieces:

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I made the hedgehog pipkin from it a few years back.

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And I have used the squirrel needlebook assembly process (but not the squirrel motif) to make a needlebook (although the design on the front is still by Jane Nicholas – but this one appeared in Inspirations magazine, as a motif for a sweet bag!).

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It is not always available in the UK, but Amazon.co.uk has it at the moment.  Maybe it’s on it’s way to being out of print, so if you’re interested, I’d track down a copy sooner rather than later. Embroidery books as good as this one are few and far between!

Stumpwork Embroidery: designs and projects by Jane Nicholas.

Milner Craft Series

192 pages

ISBN 186351 208 X (Hardback)

£19.99 / US$24.95

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!