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R for Rohan … Monogrammed Hankies

Cotton Men’s Handkerchiefs, single strands of AVAS Soie Paris in double running stitch and a little split stitch for the second one. I used the Paris silk instead of a cotton thread because Rohan loves very bright complementary colours and I couldn’t go past the colours I had in the Paris in the box right next to me – just perfect.

The letters are from “Fantastic Letters” from Dover.

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I began and ended the threads with 3 or 4 secure stitches – stupidly tiny given the double running stitches were so small themselves.

I had a pencil mark still showing on one of the hankies after I’d finished but Sard Wonder Soap brought it out beautifully. I think Sard is purely an Australian brand.

I’ve finished the Lattice piece and onto the Trinket Box top panel. If you remember, I’ve already done the front panel for the Trinket Box, which is part of the Thistle Thread Casket course – that grotto surrounded by rocks in different threads.  So the last blog post on the lattice piece is next, and meanwhile I’m tent stitching on that panel.

Category: Embroidery  7 Comments

A Tree from Bayeux Broiderie

Firstly, everyone has seen the rather cool animation of the Bayeux Tapestry at Youtube, haven’t they?

Chris B visited the Bayeux Broderie shop in France (described by Kathy of the Unbroken Thread blog) earlier this year.  She brought this kit home for me as a rather lovely gift……Tree with Three Curves

Here’s the kit, made up into a cushion -

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I really enjoyed doing it. I did it a few months ago, in the depths of the Australian winter when I had a horrible chest infection, wasn’t blogging much, and didn’t feel like challenging myself with my stitching. I found Bayeux stitch to be very relaxing and forgiving, especially being used to working with high count linen and flat silk thread as I have been doing for ages.  Rather like using crayons rather than fine tip pens.

What I couldn’t believe was that so much colour interest was obtained with only the 3 colours (blue, maroon, yellow) supplied with the kit. There was just a little navy blue supplied for a couple of curls on each side at the top and bottom and a line running through the tree. Those designers of the original Bayeaux Tapestry knew what they were doing!

I’ve got a good bit of wool left – about 1/4 of the total amount supplied. It’s about half the diameter of the Renaissance Wool that I’m using at the moment (so, really thin compared to Appletons), also single ply, but much more tightly woven.  Ren Wools do have a lot more light and movement due to tiny variations in the threads, due to the particular dyeing process used for them, I assume.

First Layer of Stitching

First Layer of Stitching

This image is from Regia Anglorum which provides some explanation of how to do Bayeux stitch. There is a more complete stitch explanation to be found in Madame Chantel/Bayeux Broderie’s kit instructions.

What I found in addition to the instructions I’ve seen is, while not getting silly about it, the laid stitches for this step needed to be packed in rather thoroughly to cover the ground. More than the side by side stitches shown in the diagram above (which is a pretty standard Bayeux stitch diagram) would imply,  to ensure the ground isn’t exposed when the additional layers of stitching are added and pull the mass of threads back and forth.

Second Layer of stitching, image also from Regia Anglorum

Second Layer of stitching, image also from Regia Anglorum

The second layer required the most attention, needing to be laid at nice even intervals.

Third and final layer of stitching, image also from Regina Anglorum

Third and final layer of stitching, image also from Regina Anglorum


These little stitches that couch down the laid stitches of the second layer force the laid stitches of the first layer apart a little, so again generosity in laying that first layer of laid stitches counts.

I did the curves by dividing each into segments of the longest straight lines possible to fit within the curve, to use for that first layer of stitch.

I did notice that on the sheet provided to indicate where the various colours were to be used, there were a few mistakes compared to the colour picture provided and in terms of fitting in with the rest of the design.

I backed the cushion in some green cotton fabric that toned well with the wools, and trimmed it in some navy blue cord to bring out that little bit of navy blue wool.

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I like Bayeaux Stitch. I’d like to do some of the creatures that run along the edge of the piece sometime in the future.

Thankyou Chris!

Lattice Jumble Sampler #4

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I said at the end of the last post that I was going to outline the motif in the middle (the hook with the blue outline) in twisted chain stitch.  Twisted chain didn’t work too well – going around the motif was way too 4 wheel drive. Over the battlement couching motif edge,  then edging up alongside the border stitches on each side. Twisted chain stitch goes to the side just a little, so it didn’t provide the stitch density that I wanted and fit into the available space.

I went with ordinary chain stitch, and interlaced the top side to make it thicker. This gives the hook a bit of an illusion that it’s emerging from behind the wibbly-wobbly motif on the left. I then did the wibbly-wobbly in chain stitch in brown – I needed something basic to avoid having those almost-touching points end up touching each other and blurring the lovely shape.

Woven Wheel

Woven Wheel

Here, the woven wheel in shown in the distance. I had tried doing this circle in turkey stitch (which didn’t work at all) and as a woven wheel in other colours. I like this version.  I packed in the woven stitches to make the outer edges of the wheel pile up to add dimensionality. I ‘d already done the whipped wheel (which loops the thread over each spoke of the wheel) in purple and yellow. I thought doing a woven wheel (either over or under each alternating spoke) on the same piece would be a handy study example.

There’s a new lattice.  It’s “Squared Lattice #3″ according to Erica Wilson (I certainly have gotten value from that book for this exercise) but I like to call it “the scribble lattice”. She suggests to fill each square entirely in satin stitch – I did just 3 stitches, medium, long, medium, so each fill looks like a little pen scribble.

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4 tiny stitches over each lattice intersection resulted in an eyelet sort of effect.

Here are the long ribbons interior to the design – the first in double herringbone stitch :

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And the second in bokhara couching, with just one couching stitch in order to contrast with the centipede stitch on the nearby border :Jumbler 002


So here’s the complete piece as it stands at the moment -

JumblerOrBayeaux 007

I’ve taken out the griffin lattice to the top right – it was in a pale grey-tan which I ended up using for only that lattice. I’m going to re-do it in brown.

Chris B presented me with some purple Appleton wool to help me with my cat-couch-purple related problem.  I’ve used the dark purple to outline the design to add depth to the entire piece. The Appleton may come in a million shades and be *The* Crewel Wool, but it’s a bit annoying with how it goes thick and thin (it broke a couple of times and I had to go back over a few stitches because they hardly showed the wool was so thin) compared to the Rennaissance Wool I’ve used in the majority of the piece.  On the other hand, Ren Wools, while wonderfully consistent in diameter, (1 ply in contrast to Appleton 2 ply) are limited in shades.  I’ve also found that some of the shades from different colour families  (eg the browns and the non-woad blues I’m using in this piece) are so similar as to be really hard to tell apart. There is plenty of differentiation in the woad blue sets, which I just love and in general the vegetable dyed colours of Ren Wools are just incredible. I imagine getting a consist range of shades through vegetable dyeing would be a nightmare, if not outright impossible.

Meanwhile, my Ren purples should arrive from France in a week, and then I’ll have a heap of outlining motifs to do and I’ll be  picking off the few remaining lattice motifs to fill…..I’ve decided to do that hook in the middle of the piece in purple battlement couching. I do love battlement couching.

Lattice Jumble Sampler #3

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As you can see, the photo posted in my last update (#2) from only a couple a days ago was actually quite old – lots done since.

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Three Tears at the top of the piece

The “tears” up the top of the piece are my favourite part. A distinct 70′s feel (rather like Tanya B’s Lollipop Tree ) with the brown/orange colours to the fore.

The leftmost tear is a plain lattice (trellis) fill over laid stitch, as shown in Mary Corbet’s Lattice Work tutorial. The lattice is in orange thread couched with yellow. I swear the orange thread is actually variegated red and orange, caused by the reflections of light on the combined colours, rather like I was getting reflections on the Griffin Stitch lattice fill (described in post #1)

The alternating squares in the middle tear are filled with 3 vertical stitches covered with 3 horizontal stitches (effectively satin stitch with thread padding). I started with just the vertical stitches but they looked a bit flat and ragged, looking much better with the extra layer of stitching. I can’t find where I got this fill from.

The idea for the rightmost tear came from an Anna Scott piece (the left motif). They look like little puffy buttons.

The edging is stem stitch edged in a mixture of coral stitch and scroll stitch.

This is where I ran out of purple. I’m waiting on re-supply, so meanwhile the rest of the piece is missing it’s purple bits. (There’s a story, involving Tommy and thread down the back of an immovable couch  - don’t ask).

I was looking at the black and white photo of the Squared Fillings in Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book, where I got the idea for the orange laced filling  (the motif in the middle) which I’d mentioned in the first post on this piece. The photo showed the lacing done in both directions, not just the one as I’d done, so here’s the updated version :

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Corrected Squared Filling #2, Erica Wilson

I didn’t do well at all at trying to lace the partial squares at the top of the motif, but I do really like the hexagonal shape given by the double lacing. The filling looks a lot more finished and effective this way. Perhaps leaving those partial squares unlaced would have been a better solution?

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I got the idea for the motif on the left here from another Anna Scott piece. Those are blue French Knots over the orange crosses over the lattice, where the intersections are couched over 3 times in the brown. Very dimensional!

The right motif is simply two horizontal stitches then two vertical stitches over alternating squares. Because the actual lattice is dark brown, there is a feeling of depth and shadows.

If you pop back up to the main photo, you’ll see I gave the Battlement Couched motif with the fat tummy a simple lattice top in brown. I’ve also got a woven wheel in the middle (in contrast to the whipped wheel on the left of the piece in purple and yellow) that is awaiting some purple to finish it off.

I’ve got lots of edging of motifs to do. I’m just starting to edge the right motif in twisted chain stitch in light lilac and blue. Today’s photos are a little washed out – because it’s lovely and sunny today! :-)



Lattice Jumble Sampler #2

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I’ve chosen to fill the entire background with a wide plain green lattice.  I filled the horn on the top left with a slightly smaller green lattice to give the impression that it’s further away.

I’ve found that I love battlement couching  - the figure with the fat tummy in the middle. It is so very rich in colour and dimension. I did stuff up on the number of threads required. I thought 4, looking at the thread coverage on the whipped line at the bottom and when I had almost finished the couching and found that I really needed 5 threads, I had no lighter shades to use so I have gaps showing the ground. Oh well.  I otherwise really love it. If I’m ever to do battlement couching on a piece tho, I’m sure going to trial it first! I did have a play on another motif with the darkest colour at the front, lightest colour at the back and thought it didn’t look anywhere near as good, and frogged it. The darkest colour at the back gives the impression that the tiny squares recede into the ground.

On the left, I’ve done a whipped wheel in purple and yellow. The outline is a line of “centipede” or “knotted loop” stitch (from Yvette Stanton’s Left Handed Enclycopaedia) in heathered tan and blue. As the stitch got narrower at the top, I did only one side of the stitch which was normal buttonhole stitch. This was edged in some heavy chain stitch in a dark blue woad, and some stem in purple. I’m edging all motifs and outside edges in purple to pull the piece together.

Lattice Jumble Sampler

For a bit of a change,  I’m working on Mary Corbet’s Lattice Jumble but doing it with my own touches. The  Jumble consists of a number of  lattice fills edged by surface stitching that Mary worked up from a series of doodles in her Stitch Fun series.  I’m extending the number of fills sampled, and picking a lot of my own surface stitches, mostly referencing Yvette Stanton’s Left Handed Stitch Encyclopaedia. I haven’t done many surface stitches – I learnt plaited braid stitch before I learnt stem stitch, which is definitely the hard way to go about things!

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The ground is cotton twill, gifted to me by Chris B. It’s a “stone” colour – headed towards yellow/grey.

I’m using Rennaissance Dying Crewel Wools which are a 1 ply, medium-> tightly twisted 1 ply vegetable dyed wool thread, with a bit of an emphasis on the Woad colours, coz I love those. All of the colours are truly gorgeous, and a couple of dollars for 25 metres, with surprisingly inexpensive postage from France. I just bought another 12 skeins and was charged about $5 postage to Australia.

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1 : Large square lattice. I’m going to use this as a general background (you’ll see what I mean in the next post). I’m doing all of the lattices in 1 thread, and all of the edges in 2 threads.

2 : As per Mary’s instructions, a square lattice with french knots. It’s edged with Hungarian Braided Stitch which is a chain stitch variation and a stitch I’ve fallen in love with. Quick to work up and it creates a lovely solid braid. Then a line of stem stitch.

3 : This lattice has a version of lacing – “Squared Filling #2″ from Erica Wilson’s Embroidery Book (in the Crewel/Filling Stitches section).  I cheated – where the squares where incomplete because they were at the edge of the wave shape, I pierced the ground to enable me to weave the orange wool around the partial square.  I’ve edged the wave in stem stitch.

4 : Griffin Stitch (2 square lattices, one orientated to an angle to the second) – Mary says to weave the multi-threaded intersections with spider webs. I didn’t.  I noticed, after I’d couched the intersections of the large squares of the lattice in red but before I got to the spiders, that the light brown-grey wool of the lattice was picking up reflections of orange and blue from the surrounding shapes. I didn’t want to interfere with that – I think it’s rather cool! That wave is edged in coral stitch with just 1 thread of wool.

5 : Laced Chain Stitch

6 : Buttonhole stitch, with 3 lines of whipping.

7 : Well, this is either upside down Raised Stem Stitch, or a line (rather than a circle) of Whipped Spider. I wanted lots of texture to balance the raised work of the lattices. This is edged in a line of purple stem stitch.

This is fun!

Grotto for the 17thC

The major and final kit for the first 18 months of the Thistle Thread Stumpwork Casket course is shown at - a small trinket box that uses various of the techniques we’ve learnt.

The front panel is a grotto – a traditional motif in 17thC stumpwork.  Here’s mine :


Here’s a bigger version of the pic, but it gets cut off on the right hand side…..


The techniques include 2 versions of velvet stitch (a 17thC stitch), french knots, couched gimp, silk wrapped purl in loops and chips and long and short stitch. The water is created from gilt sylke twist, silk wrapped purl and gimp. The coral is made from flat silk over thread padding.

Things I learnt :

- to couch gimp from the outside in, in order to maintain the funny bulgy shape required by the rocks. Yes, that final line of gimp will fit in with a little tweezer persuasion

- I don’t like chipped s-w purl so much. I’m a real ‘shade’ person and it’s too blocky for me. I also cut most of my chips too long.

- In the historical pieces, the s-w loops are very evenly laid both vertically and horizontally. I like what I did on the left looped rock – a lot of random placement. I think it looks more natural, but that’s my personal preference, not really the correct thing to do.

- With the water, it was easy to couch everything (with care not to crush the s-w purl with the side of my hand), but hard to persuade the gimp close enough to the other threads to hide the ground.  Some of it disappeared a bit under the s-w purl.

The piece is laced onto a piece of cardboard to maintain the tension until it’s Finished onto the small wooden box we’ve been provided. I have another 4 sides to complete before I get up to Finishing, tho.

We’ve hit the 18th lesson of the Course this month. The Stumpwork component will start in March next year.  I’m really glad that there is a bit of a break because there were 1700 odd pages and who knows how many links to relevant historical pieces on the Web in the 18 lessons of Part 1 and I need more time to study all of it.

Here’s some pics of some grottos from historical pieces :

From a mirror at


The rocks here look to be made from stretched silk wrapped purl. Perhaps with some french knots or drizzle stitch in a ring of browns around the edge near the water there? I need better magnification to see better. Or better eyes. The fish in padded and detached needlelace (the kind of thing we’ll be doing in Part 2 of the course).  For the water – there looks to be some colour on the ground between the two fish tails in green/blue/cream – perhaps satin or long and short stitch?

It’s typical to have fish/es and/or a mermaid occupying a 17thC stumpwork grotto. In the case of the trinket box grotto, the use of silk wrapped purl for the water makes adding a creature a more advanced technique!

Remember the fish towards the rear of the water- you’ll be seeing him again.

From the mirror featured in


Rocks and water in long and short stitch – and the coral done in what may possible be couched silver thread that’s gone black?

And from, a grotto which is more like the one we’re doing for the trinket box :


I can see looped gimp, couched gimp, drizzle stitch and velvet stitch in the rocks here.

My New Needlework Stand

I was recently able to get a custom (!!) needlework stand built for me through a local disability organisation. I’m in love.  It’s  less painful to stitch and I feel the quality of my work has improved to show that :-). It has a long leg that sits behind the couch against the wall, with a further leg on the floor for stability.

***--- The Stand --- ***

***— The Stand — ***

I got the clamp made with the prongs to fit between slate frame lacing

I got the clamp made with the prongs to fit between slate frame lacing


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I do have to get Geoff to put some rubber against the two screws that tighten the clamp – they are eating into the wood.  He’s working on it now.

Frame flipped to the back

Frame flipped to the back

Some stand adjustability

Some stand adjustability


The 'sleeping stand'

The ‘sleeping stand’

Is there anything you can think of that I should get changed, while Geoff is making final adjustments?

I can’t say how happy I am!


Category: Embroidery  18 Comments

First Batch of Line Drawings

I’ve been working on converting images to line drawings. I’ve done the tree on the right and the large strawberry and the sun on the top part of the mirror, working anti-clockwise around the design. This is a bit clearer, isn’t it!

Line Drawing 1


The blank space under the strawberry will be hillock. I have to work on the flow of the hillocks from the top of the mirror to the hillock the tree stands on on the right hand side – probably by adding a second, background hillock behind the tree which is at the same height as the top hillocks.

I’m basing my tree on the one shown in the panel at Metropolitan Museum 1974.28.200. I love how the smaller branch, done in tent stitch, gives the appearance of being further back from the main trunk, which is detached needlelace done over padding. The leaves on the rightmost branch of the main trunk are also done in tent stitch, also making them appear further back. The detached leaves on the main trunk  (most accompanied by ‘shadow’ surface stitch copies of themselves) add another dimension. The moss, created by drizzle stitch, adds texture. Zooming in on the image at the Met shows that the trunks are done in several shades of brown, and the moss is done in lots of different shades as well. I can’t wait to (attempt to) re-create it.

Metropolitan Museum 1974.28.200

Metropolitan Museum 1974.28.200

I used 5 pages of tracing paper to create my design for the tree.  On the first page, I drew just the two tree trunks and the owl. The second had the surface stitched leaves – so placing the second paper over the first, I could see the full design created so far, but still retain separate physical copies of these different stages of the tree ‘build’.  The next layer was the detached leaves. The final layer was the flower and the snail (space fillers under the tree). The drawing shown here is the ‘full’ tracing, showing all 5 layers, with the detached leaves marked in a gold pen on the outline. I made some of the leaves ‘fall over’ the edge of the mirror, to soften the mirror edge, as I want my piece to be organic in feel.

The snail falls off the edge of the mirror. I’m not sure whether I like this or not. It gives a sense of continuity of ‘life beyond the mirror’ – but given that the outer 1cm of the mirror will be covered in silver tape, there won’t be much snail to see! Perhaps a smaller motif, a bit closer to the tree.

I hope that you like my winking owl.

I do believe Email Subscription is working!

I swopped to a different WP plugin – shown near the top of the left right side there – and subscribed myself. I got a notification for a test post I wrote! Yay!

This does mean that anyone that wants to subscribe by email will have to re-subscribe. I’m sorry for the trouble.

I’m trying to reach the readers that will only know to re-subscribe if they check this blog manually so I’m sending out psychic signals to them to read this post!

Please tell me if there are any troubles.

Category: Embroidery  2 Comments