Victorian pincushion on spindle stand: 3 – assembling the pincushion

I’m currently stitching this gorgeous pincushion on a wooden base from a Victoria Sampler chart booklet in my stash. I’m up to the part where I need to assemble the stitching to make the actual pincushion.

Victorian pincushion embroidery by Victoria Sampler

This is my completed pincushion stitching, before I started to make it into the pincushion.

Victoria Sampler ribbon embroidery beaded pincushion

To make the pincushion pad, I rolled a strip of 2 ounce wadding into a ‘cinnamon bun’ shape, and stitched a few tacking stitches over the end of the  strip to stop it from unravelling. I made a stiff card base for the pincushion, a little bit smaller than the diameter of the wooden circular base, and made a hole in the centre of the card.

Victorian pincushion by Victoria Sampler

Then I trimmed the fabric to within an inch of the embroidery, and made a line of running stitches round the edge, 1cm in, with strong quilting thread. I placed the wadding shape on the card, and then the embroidery on top, and pulled up the running stitched line to gather the fabric onto the dome of wadding.

Then I laced back and forth across the card circle’s base, to pull the fabric tightly to the circular shape.

Next, I used the Perle 12 mauve thread and, following the tacked lines on the circle, I pulled the thread up through the centre hole of the card, wadding and embroidery in the centre, and down over the edge of the shape, six times, to make the divisions on the pincushion, finally tying off securely underneath. Then I removed the tacking stitches.

Lastly, I stuck the pincushion to the wooden circular base, making sure it was centred.

Victorian pincushion by Victoria Sampler

To make the edge look neat where the pincushion joins the wooden base, I made a thick cord using lots of the Perle 12 mauve thread. Tilting the pincushion so that I could see what I was doing, I stuck the cord around the edge, a little at a time, using tacky PVA glue, tucking in the last bit to make it look like one continuous cord (I glued the very end bit first, before trimming, so that it didn’t suddenly unravel when cut!).

Victorian pincushion by Victoria Sampler

Ta-da!! One very successful pincushion on a spindle base!! I used vintage cotton reels from a sewing box that I bought in an antique shop to fill the spindles around the base, using shades picked from the embroidery colours I’d used.

Victorian pincushion by Victoria Sampler

Lovely, isn’t it? Now I need to make the strawberry emery and needlebook that go with this.

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Victorian pincushion on spindle stand by Victoria Sampler: 1 – getting started

I’m just starting the next embroidery project that I want to stitch, and I knew right off that it would be one of Thea Dueck’s lovely designs. I’ve got so many of her Victoria Sampler chart booklets in my stash, and several are already kitted up, so it shouldn’t take long to decide which one to get going on, right? Wrong!

This is the one I had planned to do – it’s the Victorian Purse – a beautiful shaped bag and stitching accessories set. I’ve had this in my stash for about 8 years already.

Victorian purse embroidery by Victoria Sampler

I bought the thread pack are the same time that I got the chart booklet. These seem pricey at first, until you work out that if you had to source all those speciality threads from scratch, it would cost way more! Plus, I love getting the little packets in the post  🙂

I chose some 28 count evenweave in pink and beige from my stash to stitch them on (originally bought from Sew and So, I think, but they are closed now).

Victorian purse embroidery by Victoria Sampler

So, there I was, mentally getting ready to stitch all that, when I saw THIS:

Victorian pincushion embroidery by Victoria Sampler

It’s a co-ordinating pincushion, strawberry and needlebook, to match with the Victorian Purse designs! Oh, how lovely! The wooden spindle had to be ordered as well, and at first it was out of stock, so I had to wait, but eventually it arrived from Canada, so I had no excuse not to start. The Victorian Purse will have to go back in the stash cupboard for later.

This project has a lot of ribbon embroidery in it. I love the look of ribbon embroidery, but I’ve not done much before, so I looked at Thea’s YouTube videos to see exactly how to do the stitches. They are actually quite simple to do, and the project grows quickly.

I found, more by luck than judgment, that it really helped with the placement of the embroidery stitches for the flowers to EXACTLY  copy the position of the tacking stitches from the chart. What I mean is, if the central vertical tacking stitch line, for instance, goes over four threads each time, then reproduce that – don’t do six threads, then four threads, then five threads, etc., as if it doesn’t matter, because it will make counting out from a tacking stitch line to the starting point of a flower more difficult if your stitches vary in length from the chart. I think it will also be crucial when I stitch the little beaded flowers around the border.

Victorian pincushion embroidery by Victoria Sampler

It only took me a couple of longish stitching sessions to get this far, so I’m hoping this might be quite a quick project, and I might even have time to get the Victorian Purse done as well.

What do you think of it so far?

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Book review: A Sea to Stitch by Elizabetta Sforza

If you love surface embroidery, you’re in for a special treat! This latest book by Elisabetta Sforza, called ‘A Sea to Stitch’, is a very special journey through an alphabet of shells and seaweed, starfish and seagulls!

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

Elisabetta is an embroiderer from Verona, Italy, who has published a couple of books already (‘A Flower Alphabet’, and ‘In a Wheat Field’) – both are beautiful books for inspiration, with gorgeous photos, but I think this one is my favourite, as it is so unusual. There are lots of books using floral themes, but not so many using marine themes. And with this book, Elisabetta has really created some wonderful designs to use with an alphabet, and in other shaped designs (such as hearts and swags).

The book is soft backed, and has 88 pages. As Elisabetta is Italian, but she wants to reach the English-speaking market with her work, the book has dual language text. There are dozens of photos, showing a full alphabet of designs in both 9cm high and 14 cm high versions.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

The colour keys list six different colourways, so you can choose whichever one suits your decor best.

As I got this book so that I can stitch something for the coastal-themed bathroom that I am doing in my house at the moment, I think this is my favourite colourway, as it co-ordinates with the paintwork I’ll be using:

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

But they are all lovely!

Elisabetta clearly explains how to work all the stitches featured in the book, and there is a tutorial at the end on how to create words out of the individual letters shown.

At the end of the book there are pages of line drawings for you to trace off and then transfer to your fabric.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

It’s a beautifully put together book, as were Elisabetta’s two previous books. Your fingers will be itching to get going! I can see these individual letters being used for drawstring bags or box lids, as well as simply being framed.

A Sea to Stitch Elisabetta Sforza

When I do book reviews, if there is anything that is a ‘downside’, I try to be honest and mention it, but with this book I really can’t fault it!

The book is available either direct from Elisabetta from her blog  (which is in both Italian and English), or from designated stockists in various countries. If you are in the UK, you can get it from the website of Jenny Adin-Christie (who also has the most amazing embroidery kits of her own designs – well worth a look!). In the UK, it’s £27.50. Jenny also stocks Elisabetta’s other two books.

Title: A Sea to Stitch

Author: Elisabetta Sforza

ISBN: 978 88 943526 27

Price: £27.50

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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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