Flowers in Needlework / Burn Incident

I know no-one who doesn’t love flowers, the colours the smell so little wonder, flowers have been a favourite subject with artists and embroiderers throughout the ages.
In Elizabethan times, the English, well known for their love of gardening, have used flowers often in a naturalistic style than most other countries – vegetables and fruitwere almost as popular.The larger pieces were often planned and sometimes worked by professional men but these too frequently hade flowers and foliage as part of the design. My favourite reference books The Needleworker’s Dictionary’- Pamela Clabburn ‘The Embroiderer’s Flowers – Thomasina Beck.

In Victorian times, with the increased leisure time among the middle classes, embroidery and watercolour painting were practiced and flowers particularly popular.Berlin wool work designs printed, hand coloured in the early days were worked with a special wool and sometimes beads –illustration.

The example here is from my own collection, the design worked entirely wit…

An exciting new look at needlepoint.

When searching for a title that both described a growing trend in needlepoint design and encouraged you to read it, ‘new’ was not perfect as ideas and techniques continue to grow and have always done so.From my own designs you will see antique tiles, Tudor embroidery and Victorian Ladies journals have inspired me.

My first designs that took the colour of the canvas as part of the design many years ago was a range, the Gazebo collection, stitches worked in white and ecru on antique (brown) canvas, the individual stitches – including Skip Tent – allowing the deep shade of canvas to offset the design.Nowadays the exciting range of coloured canvases would lend themselves beautifully to this simple idea – oh for the time to play.
Next came two Patchwork designs, the canvas painted in a crazy
patchwork of colours.Each area has stitches, often old favourites in threads to compliment the painted area below.Either the stitches had space in between rows, an element of the traditional stitch left …

Loose Ends

A very Happy New year to every one; let’s hope that we all enjoy good health and success in 2018

Having just had a lovely family Christmas with my daughter in France (freezing and cold outside but log fires and warming food in) I have taken stock of projects, ideas and goals that have, for whatever reason not been done in 2017.Not that I wasn’t stitching when even possible but there was no telephone, doorbell or email essential to respond to. A response we had from a recent article was from an American now living in London whose step-grandmother worked the most amazing three fold screen during the Second World War.The theme was Alice in Wonderland and one can see from these illustrations the Mad Hatters’ Tea Party, Alice and the Queen with the Jam Tarts.Fortunately the stitcher’s initials and the date 1944 are visible.The lady was obviously a proficient stitcher as among the photographs I was also sent a French style Berger chair and a round cushion with flowers and a humming bird.I bel…

Golden Rules for perfect needlepoint

The many helpful tips one picks up on class, swapping ideas with groups of fellow stitchers or from the many excellent books on the subject cover a great deal; starting and finishing a thread, clean and dirty holes, using the right ply after stripping it to mention just a few.
 I could go on all day however I realised recently that there are some ‘rules’ that are applicable to all needlepoint, Florentine, Stitchery, Shadow stitching and even pieces worked entirely in Basket weave tent stitch. So to share my ‘golden rules’ with you Choose your design with care because you love it because it has good quality materials, even weave canvas, interesting threads and where necessary clear instructions .  because It doesn’t work the design in ‘half cross stitch' which will distort the canvas and not give good weave.   Similarly, should you work areas with basket weave (diagonal tent) there will not be sufficient thread. because, even though you love the design you don’t like the colour schemes …

Practical and Decorative Needlepoint

I love sayings and one by William Morris has always been one of my favourites ’Have nothing in your house that you do not know to be useful or believe to be beautiful’.
Another l saw and adapted was ‘Stitching makes a house into a home’ With the start of Autumn, leaves falling, the clock going back at the end of the month (at least in the UK) now is the time to think of needlepoint projects for the winter evenings. For many years I was a consultant decorator mainly working with private clients on their homes so I am very aware that your stitchery should enhance, add character and work best for you.We all know that beautiful stitchery takes time and when done deserves the best possible making up. Before suggesting an idea I always research a reliable maker up;Please do the same – I can and do have pieces returned from both the US and European countries but having a finisher that you can discuss ideas with is best. So to go back to William Morris’s quote I have listed (and in most cases ill…


I believe that the vast majority of needle pointers have an ever growing stash of threads; at least that is what I am told by all my students. Sometimes it is small quantities left over from a project, sometimes it is a thread that inspired them to buy it but they have never found a place to use it.

For this reason I have designed a number of projects where these threads can be used to great advantage.Just the other day one of my students told me that she was working the painted rug, The Scented Garden (34 x 46 inches) without buying a single thread.
One point I should make is the background, on a large project such as this it is important to have sufficient thread of the same dye lot to complete the work – this stitcher has calculated that she does have sufficient.
So, what are the other projects that lend themselves to this halo burnishing exercise?
There are really small projects such as spec cases, one kit we do is Kaleidoscope.Lots have been made as good traveling/holiday projects an…

Our Italian Adventure 2017

Our trip to Tuscany was fabulous, just as much fun stitching as our previous visit and interest in wonderful places that they had organised for us to go.
However, before I tell you, and hopefully tempt you to join us next year (we are working on dates around the end of April 2018) I must refer back to my last blog with tips for travel and mention some important items I forgot –
When taking a floor frame (the Lowery is my favourite) do take the Allen key to help re-assemble it on arrival.Before leaving home it is also a good moment to put a little Vaseline on all the screws; (this is recommended and makes swivelling to get to the back for finishing off much easier)
When taking any magnification be sure to have some cover for the lens.Some models have a ‘bag’ or metal disc but these strong magnifiers can easily cause a fire – even for short periods like a quick lunch!
So, I do hope you found all these tips useful and I am sure that you have some of your own – please do share them with us, I…