My fascination with Beatrix Potter embroidery kits through the years

When I was a teenager, back in the 1970s, I used to spend my pocket money on embroidery kits featuring Beatrix Potter characters. I used to travel into London from Essex, and visit the lovely (and long since closed) ‘Needlewoman Shop’ at 146 Regent Street to buy the needlepainting kits and cross stitch kits that were available then. Beatrix Potter images seem to be timeless – the first of her books appeared over a hundred years ago, now, but the images of all those cute animals in ‘human clothes’ don’t seem to date.

Recently, I was surfing on Etsy, as you do, and I came across this:

Beatrix 1

I clicked ‘Buy Now’ in an instant. This was a kit I’d had my eye on for years (it came out around the late eighties, I think), but originally it had been quite expensive, as it is large, with lots of threads included. But now it’s classed as old, so it was nice and cheap! The design chart is printed on one huge sheet of paper, and the threads looped onto two thread sorters. They had never even been out of the packet. Wonderful!

Beatrix 2

I try to buy up Beatrix Potter kits or charts if I see them on Ebay, but I’m not prepared to pay silly prices. These two booklets were about £5 each:

Beatrix 3

This Chrismas-themed booklet is one which always seems to be described as ‘rare’, and can be difficult to track down – eventually, I got lucky, and paid about £7 for this one. I’ve seen it sell for £28 before now. The designs in it are nice, but the charts are hand drawn, which makes it a bit hard to follow at times.

Beatrix 4

Different manufacturers have brought out their own version of Beatrix Potter’s images at various times. More recently, Anchor has produced this one, which I couldn’t resist, although I do find it a bit odd that there are *two* Mrs Tiggywinkles in the same picture. When I get around to stitching it, I think I’m going to have to adapt it somehow  – maybe by eliminating the left-hand Mrs T and moving the lettering over to fill her space, and then stitching her on a separate piece of fabric.

Beatrix 5

In the 1970s, JEM Patchwork used to produce these gorgeous threadpainting kits of characters from Beatrix Potter. Anyone remember these? I clearly remember standing at a display of the kits in a needlework shop, adding up my small change to see if I really could afford one of them with my pocket money – after all, they were almost four pounds each!! The kits included a cheap plastic frame (not anything to write home about, but how many kits these days include a frame?), the printed fabric, the threads, and a kind of  ‘colour by numbers’ printed design sheet to work from. I loved doing these, so when I came across some on Ebay, I jumped at the chance to buy them. I must be going soft in the head, as I bought designs I’ve already made once – although that’s going back almost 40 years now, and I don’t have the originals any more. I’ve now re-bought Tom Kitten, Peter Rabbit and Benjamin Bunny.

Beatrix 6

Aren’t they sweet? This Peter Rabbit kit must have been just a bit too much for the person who first bought it – they’ve only stitched half of one of his ears, and then put him back in the packet. Oh dear!

Beatrix 7

This Benjamin Bunny kit has never even been out of its plastic wrapping, and it only cost me £3 on Ebay!

Beatrix 8

I’m still looking for my other favourites from this range to stitch, so if anyone particularly has Cousin Ribby (the cat), the Tailor of Gloucester sitting on his cotton reel, or Squirrel Nutkin, PLEASE let me know by emailing me at, and I’ll gladly buy them off you!


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