Book review: A Passion for Needlework 3

If you have managed to buy the previous two volumes in this series, you’ll know that the book ‘A Passion for Needlework 3’ is going to be good even before you’ve opened it! I put this book on my wishlist for Christmas as soon as I found out it was being published, late last autumn. I haven’t been disappointed!

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

Like the other two volumes in the series, this one is beautifully produced, and contains a dozen projects that will make your fingers itch to start stitching. The book itself is large, and heavy. It’s printed on good quality paper, and could almost be described as a ‘coffee table book’, as the images alone make it worth having.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

But the projects are what you’ll want to get this book for. I think, personally, that this book is the best one so far in the series. It has projects using several different embroidery techniques, and not just for things that could be ‘pictures’ – there are some lovely 3D projects in this book, which I particularly like to do. This etui set is designed by Carolyn Pearce, one of my favourite designers:

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

The styleshots in the book are dramatic, but there are many detail images too, so you can really see the stitching up close. The projects are featured at the beginning of the book, and then the instructions and stitch diagrams are all at the back.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston CreameryThis book, being published by the same people who publish Inspirations magazine in Australia, have their signature ‘pullout sheets’ with the patterns for the projects on, so that you can transfer the design lines to your chosen fabric. There are also materials packs available from the publishers (but I find these really expensive, and that’s before I’ve paid for shipping from Australia to the UK!)My stash of threads and fabric is huge, so I can stitch some of these lovely designs by using up what I already have in my stash, hopefully.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

My favourite project in the whole book is this amazing photo frame border, designed by Susan O’Connor. I love anything she designs!! This is just so wonderful, and I think I’m going to have to put several current projects on hold while I make this. Isn’t it lovely?! It’s stitched using about 40 Au Ver a Soie colours, so it’s not going to be cheap, if I use the called-for threads, but I just love it.

Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery
Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery
Passion for Needlework 3 - Blakiston Creamery

This book would make a great addition to any stitcher’s library. It’s just gorgeous. If there is anything that could be said to be a negative with it, it would be that some of the style shots are a bit ‘sparse’, with the embroidery being quite small in the whole photo’s space, but that’s just me – I like pictures to be busy, with the embroidery itself taking centre stage. But the projects themselves are simply wonderful, so if you like interesting surface embroidery projects, go and get this book!

Title: A Passion for Needlework 3: Blakiston Creamery

Editor: Susan O’Connor

Publisher: Inspirations Studios Corporation Pty Ltd

ISBN: 978 0 6482873 9 1

Price: £23.99

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My dollhouse needlepoint kit and chart pack sale starts today!

My usual January Sale of doll’s house needlepoint kits and charts starts today – check out my website to see everything that’s in the sale, and grab yourself a bargain to give you something to stitch during the coldest time of the year!

Kits are available for the following miniature needlepoint items for 1:12 scale dollhouses, and they’re all in the sale! There are almost 300 kits to choose from altogether.

Carpets  ~~~ Staircarpets ~~~ Cushions ~~~ Bellpulls ~~~ Samplers

Wallhangings ~~~ Dining chairs ~~~ Needlework stands

Rectangular footstools ~~~ Firescreens ~~~ Christmas stockings

 Teacosies ~~~ Clutch  bags ~~~ Tray cloths ~~~ Handbags ~~~ Pole screens

Round footstools ~~~ Christmas tree mats ~~~ Bolster cushions

Table runners ~~~ Placemats

 

As well as all the dollhouse needlepoint kits and charts, there are also these cute little needle minders – great gadgets that mean you need never lose your needle down the side of the sofa again! These are also in the sale – there are six designs to choose from. They make fantastic little gifts for stitching friends, or just a treat for yourself  🙂

Cross stitch needle minders

So take a look now, and treat yourself to something tempting to stitch…..

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Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring 4: add beading to the cross stitch, and it’s finished!

I’ve reached the point now with the ‘Celtic Spring’ design from Lavender and Lace where I only need to add beading to the cross stitch, and it’s finished! This one has taken me about 80 hours of cross stitching, so far, I reckon. It has a much larger area of cross stitch than the Celtic Autumn that I made a few years back, so either I am getting quicker at stitching, or I have mis-counted the hours this has taken me, as the ‘Celtic Autumn’ one took me about 90 hours altogether, I think.

This is ‘Celtic Spring’ with all the cross stitch finished. Nice, but definitely ‘missing something’.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

So, I spent seven hours adding all the beads! I used a polyester cotton sewing thread to attach the beads, in a similar shade to the fabric – a light greeny-beige. This is so that I don’t have to keep changing my thread colour when I add different colours of beads – I can do the whole lot with one type of thread. You can hardly see the thread when all the beads are attached, anyway. I don’t use a beading needle, as they drive me mad when I’m trying to thread them, so I use a number 10 ‘betweens’ needle (for quilting, usually) – one of the John James ‘big eye’ ones.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

There’s a good mix of shiny to matte beads in this design, which gives it a special quality.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

The top of the panel, in particular, is heavily beaded.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

I had been keeping this white plaster-effect frame for several years, just for this project. I bought it in Wilkinsons, for just £8!! I think it really sets off the purples. I mounted the stitching over the backing board supplied with the frame, but didn’t use the glass that came with it, or it would have squashed the beads. I used a layer of 2 ounce wadding under the fabric, to pad it a bit, and laced the fabric over the board with Perle 12 thread.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

Here are my Celtic Autumn and Celtic Spring designs together, finally.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Autumn and Celtic Spring cross stitch

I don’t plan to display them like this, usually, though. My long-term plan is to have all five of the Celtic Ladies stitched (one for each season, plus Christmas), and display the relevant one for part of each year. That might take a while to get them all done, though, so for now, each one will be displayed for six months each.

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Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring 3: completion of the cross stitch

I’ve been going into overdrive on this ‘Celtic Spring’ design from Lavender and Lace for the past couple of weeks – and this week I’ve reached the point of the completion of the cross stitch (there’s still hours of beading to do, though!).

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

I can’t seem to capture the correct colour of the fabric in my images – it’s Prairie Grain 28 count linen, and it’s really quite a greenish shade, but it keeps coming out beige in my pictures! But it does make a very good contrast to the purples in the design in real life (I’m using the called for fabric).

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

For the back half of the skirt, I decided to stitch all the purple first, and then fill in with the gold thread. This took me ages, but was quite therapeutic to do.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

Then, with the front half of the skirt, I stitched all the gold thread first, to see if that would make it easier to count out the design. Half way through, I decided that it didn’t help doing it that way, but I was stuck with it by then  😦

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

But when both halves were stitched, they did look lovely!

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

I then went back over the design and did the small amount of backstitch – mainly around the face and hands.

Lavender and Lace Celtic Spring cross stitch

Now I’ve just got the beading to do, which should really make this design pop!

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