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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Update on the new embroidery scissors from Hemline

Last week, I blogged about the editorial in New Stitches that mentions my new firescreen kits for doll’s houses, and also about the new embroidery scissors that featured on the same page in the magazine. At that time, I said I was having difficulty getting in touch with the manufacturers, Hemline, to find out where the scissors could be bought.

New Stitches editorial firescreens June 13

If only I’d known what I had started….

I have been having an email ‘conversation’ with Hemline ever since, as I tried to get out of them *where* these scissors can be bought. At first, it took ages to get any reply at all. Then I was asked to supply the product codes, so they could check which items I meant. Well, the editorial feature doesn’t give product codes, but surely, if it’s new products that they have bothered to advertise this month, it shouldn’t be that difficult to track down? Apparently it is. Anyway, then I was told that they are available on Amazon.co.uk.  But only if you type in ‘Hemline’ and the product code in the search box. Otherwise, if you put something more general like ’embroidery scissors’, the results list is so huge, you’ll never find them. But even keying in ‘Hemline’ and the product code only found two of the styles in stock (one *pair* of each available to buy), and the other style didn’t show up at all.

So, back to Hemline. They then said that Sewandso.co.uk stock them. Now we were getting somewhere – Sew and So are my favourite online needlework website, and they do have a huge range, so I thought it was good that they’d stock them – so I had a look….and they weren’t there. Back to Hemline again. ‘Yes, they definitely did buy some from us. Give them a ring’. Now, is it just me, or do you also think it’s daft to have to phone an online retailer to see if they have something in stock? I expect to see it on their site, not to have to ring them.

Anyway, I emailed SewandSo’s customer service department, and explained that all I wanted was to find a real stockist, so I could mention them on my blog, so that people could buy them….you know? A FREE ADVERT!!!!!

They checked, and emailed back to say they hadn’t placed an order yet for these new styles (so, what were Hemline doing, telling me they had?!), but that they’d placed an order with Hemline that morning, and stock would arrive in a few days.

So, if you want these lovely scissors, go to sewandso.co.uk , click on Accessories / Scissors / Other scissors. I’m not guaranteeing they will be there yet, but give them a little while, and, you never know…….

There, that was easy, wasn’t it?! I’m going for a lie down, now  🙂


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New doll’s house firescreens…and new scissors

This month, I have my new doll’s house firescreen kits being featured in New Stitches magazine (Issue 243, on sale from today), on the ‘Stitcher’s Notebook’ pages. They mention all the relevant info, and a nice BIG picture of the firescreens themselves. These are stitched on 32 count silk gauze, and are 2 1/2 inches high when finished. You can buy them from my website.

New Stitches editorial firescreens cover June 13

New Stitches editorial staff are very good when they are going to feature my work – they always send me a copy of the page first, so that I can check that all the information is correct (I wish all the other magazines would do this!!).  So, although the magazine is only on sale from today, I saw this a couple of weeks back.

New Stitches editorial firescreens June 13

And when I did, I was also interested in the other items that are featured on the same page as my firescreens – the three pairs of embroidery scissors. Aren’t they lovely? Each pair is 4 1/2 inches long, and they cost £11.50 each. So, they’re not quite what I would call  ‘budget’ scissors, but not too pricey, either. And the designs are lovely. I really like the ones in the centre.

I love making etui sets, which usually contain a pair of scissors, so I don’t just own one pair. But I like to buy different designs each time, and these beautiful new designs will definitely go on my wish list.

I tried emailing the company, Hemline, to try to find out where I could buy these from – the email address is printed in the article. I emailed them twice, a week apart. No reply. Hmm, not very encouraging. I checked to make sure I had the email address correct, and I did. So, try emailing them yourself and see if they reply to you! The email address is  crafts@stockistenquiries.co.uk .


(EDIT 27 June 2013: These should be available from Sewandso in a few days, hopefully!)



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How long does it take to frame a piece of cross stitching?

Answer: 21 years.

I’m not kidding, honestly.

When I first met my husband, in the early nineties, I was mainly doing cross stitch pictures from kits. Occasionally, I did surface embroidery from kits (you could still buy some really good ones, then). I remember sitting in our new house, and stitching these two pictures, and really enjoying doing them:

A surface embroidery picture from a kit, made over 20 years ago (can’t remember who it’s by, now!)

A cross stitch nursery sampler from Mary Hickmott, of New Stitches magazine. This design first appeared in the magazine, and then as a separate kit.

But, as anyone who knows me would tell you, patience isn’t my strong point. In fact, recently, I did one of those online ‘personality test’ things, and the area I got the lowest score for was ‘patience’. Once a piece of embroidery is finished (I mean the stitching part), then I have to really force myself to complete the assembly/framing/blocking, or whatever it is….I just want to get on to the next project. Even if I can make myself finish something completely, I have to be very careful not to rush it, and make a mess of what might have taken me dozens of hours to actually stitch – all because I want to save a few minutes right at the end of the process.

So, as you can see from the two images above, these two pictures are now framed. Eventually. And the reason they’ve finally been finished is because a friend of mine mentioned that she’d like to have an example of my stitching, and she said she’d always wanted a sampler-style one. That’s when I remembered the two pieces of fabric rolled up in the drawer under my bed – stitched, but not framed. Not displayed for over 20 years. Bit of  a waste, really, isn’t it? So, having the excuse that they were now wanted by someone, I dug them out, blocked them, ironed them, framed them, and gave them to her a couple of weeks ago. And now they’re up on her wall, being seen. Which was the reason I stitched them in the first place, really. Only it took a while to get round to doing the last bit  🙂


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