Sunday, May 30, 2021

A Tisket, A Tasket.....

 A ___ for a Casket???

What could the new ornament for this year be??? Can you see it peeking out just there?  Yes, it is finished and most certainly fits inside my little casket shown above...

I have had this little treasure bouncing around inside my brain for a few years now, and I can honestly say I am very happy with how it came out and very excited to share it with you all soon!

So...have you any guess as to what it is???

Tuesday, May 25, 2021

What do You think???

 So Many Possibilities!

 I love both silver and gold on my embroidery... but somehow the gilt always seems to win out over silver. I was just looking at the trim on this year's ornament and thinking how beautiful it would look done in silver. What do you think? Are you a silver person, or a gold person???

Saturday, May 22, 2021

I Stitch

...for Me

I love my embroidery.  I have literally an endless amount of ideas in my head at all times. The hardest thing for me is deciding on which one to try and make. I love the sound of the needle and thread pulling through the fabric in the quiet. Stitching makes me happy. 

Of coarse is great if other folks like it...but what if they dont?  If you read the comments on my last post my Mother commented that she didnt like some of my leaves and thought they looked sloppy.  I wont lie, I was a bit surprised.  For a moment I questioned the stitches I used and asked myself if I should take them out...were they really that bad?  

They are the large two tone leaves to the center in the panel above. A 17th c technique known as Flecking used two different threads in the needle. Usually a light colour thread was wrapped round a darker one. The effect is quite striking with long and short stitch, and can be appreciated fully on this embroidered jacket at the V&A.  I was using that in my brain for inspiration to combine two colours of untwisted flat filament silk for a more random effect that looks like a different colour from afar on my leaves.  

I kept going back and looking at the finished leaves and asked myself if I should take them out and redo them...but my answer was always the same, 'But I like them.'  Which brings me to my point I'm trying to make. My stitching is for me. If I am in a room of 100 folks and I'm the only one that likes it, well thats just fine, because I like it and it makes my heart happy. There will always be folks who may not like what you are stitching...or the fabric you choose for a quilt...or the colours you chose to paint that flower. As long as you like it, thats all that matters!

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

2021 Ornament Progress....

  Getting There...

A couple more days stitching, maybe one or two and then it will be on to the assembly~ woo!  I have changed my mind several times on certain aspects of the embroidery...shown is the third configuration of crenelated gilt plates on this panel. I stitch it up and then let it sit for a few, ponder it for a while and decide I dont like it and rip it out.
The special ornament for this year is inspired by some of my favorite 17th Flemish embroideries, and I'm pretty excited myself to see it finished! What else is there to do in the pouring rain?

Friday, May 14, 2021


 Tea & Stitches~

Its such a pleasant morning this morning. Its sunny, but not blazing. No wind. My lilacs are blooming. There are so many birds out, ones we dont usually see here in southern Colorado. They sound so pretty...the red wing blackbirds are my favorite ones to listen to. Its just a perfect time to sit and have a pot of tea (I never have just a cup). In my pot today is Morroccan Sahara from TWG. Its one of my favorite teas ~I bought this particular can at Harrods in London a few years ago so only have it on special days when Im not stressing out or in a hurry. This morning is a tea drinking day. Me and Punkin just sitting watching the birds out the window.

And what else goes perfectly with quiet and tea????...stitching of coarse! One of my dear friends and customers sent me an email this week sharing her finished stumpwork embroidery panel for the top of her Harmony Casket.

There are two versions of Harmony available to stitch for the Thistle Threads class. One holds a lute, one sits and is stitching at a slate frame, and I have drawn a third of a Ladye sitting making bobbin lace on a pillow.  H purchased one of my Lute Ladye figures and what an honor for me to have one of my girls be the center of her beautiful skilled embroidery. Do click the picture to make it larger.
It was common for 17th c stumpwork embroidery to have figures made from carved wood or ivory as an alternative for those who did not wish to stitch them out of silk. I can sculpt any figure to the pattern for a perfect fit for your embroidery. Figures for certain popular patterns can be purchased in my ETSY store. I can also make custom figures for your own unique embroidery pattern. If interested just shoot me an email to or send me a convo on ETSY. I sculpt each of my figures from papier mache one at a time, so no two are ever alike.  I am so proud of H~ she has carefully set her girls hands up against her lute so perfectly, one can nearly hear the sound of it as she plucks the strings.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Not Quite 'Blush & Bashful'...but close

Pretty In Pink 

  Some of my favorite early 17th c caskets have very light pink interiors~ not that they were super faded...but they always were a very light shade of pink right from their start. I have searched and searched for just the right shade of pink~ makes me think of Steel Magnolias when she says her two wedding colours are "Blush & Bashful".  I super love how this interior came out

The paper I chose for this one is a beautiful faded blue. It goes so well with the pink. Of coarse I have my signature secret compartments all over the place, and hiding under the tufted pad within the mirrored octagon is a beautiful 17th c engraving.

What have you been working on? I hope that whatever it is, makes your heart happy~

if not....just WHAT are you waiting for????


Wednesday, May 05, 2021

How Times Change...

 A Real Treat!

Do you know what these are? Chances are you may know of them ...but have you actually seen any before? I have been wanting to share these little gems with you for some while, but honestly its been very hard for me navigating around my post covid headaches....not a minuscule bit of how bad my headaches were when I was sick, but when I get one I just cant seem to do anything by sit and stare out a window.

I am tired of being a veg and am making myself get back to my old routines, and that means blogging~ so I have decided I will be blogging and sharing every few days no matter how I feel...coherent or not. I don't know exactly what my purpose here on earth is, all I know is that I love sharing what I love with others~ and I know you will love these little pins. They really are gems, every last one.

It is hard to believe that a small straight pin we take for granted today and pretty much only use for sewing, was a huge and important industry as recent as the 18th c. Empires were made from making and selling these little pins~ its true! Not only were pins used mainly for the fastening of every day clothing on the body, but they were also commonly used for fastening papers together. Jane Austen used pins to fasten her manuscripts together...she also used pins to attach new paper over markout areas that she wanted to rewrite. There were no paperclips or staples back then. Straight pins were a very important part of everyday it is easy to question that for something so important, why are there not scads of them extant in all sorts of collections?  Just think of what you use every day, that is so common to you, that you would never think to save it. Why would you need to, you use it every day.

Up until the first quarter 19th c pins were made by hand. Quite a laborious system. There were up to 18 different steps in making a single one. Every point was sharpened by hand with help of a Pinner's Bone~ it was usually a scrap of bone with a groove in it that held the pin while the end was being sharpened. If you are a fan of mudlarking these are often found along the shores of the Themes in London...along with pins themselves.  Pins came in all different sizes, and there were names for the different sizes. (If you would like to see some really thick Middling, or Long White size pins in an 18th c pincushion just click here!)

The heads were made separately of a similar diameter wire as the shaft, and was coiled around it. Depending on the time period, some were coiled, some were coiled and crimped...and still some were coiled and soldered on with flux. The fluxing was a particularly stinky and toxic process. The heads of the pins could be sharp themselves and often snagged the clothing they were place into, as well as scratching the user.

I am blessed to have not one but two papers of 18th c Lillikin Pins in the collection here. This size is diminutive, a bit under 1/2" long and were used for fastening clothes.  These came to me from London, and are in immaculate condition. They have never been used, and aside from a little fading from a ribbon bundling them together, look as fresh as the day they were made.

It was not until the late 18th c, around the 1780s, that pins started to be packaged in papers, as seen here.  Before that they were sold by weight loose in boxes. It was not uncommon for there to be bad quality pins in with good ones...or wire that were not pins at all~ fraud has been around for forever. The pins were so expensive that it was easier to sell in papers like this, so that the customer could see all the pins they were buying easily, could see there were none missing and the quality of each before buying them. 

 Packing the pins in their papers was done by women and children. They would use a comb like tool that would pick up the pins by their heads, and then they would run this over the crimped paper to insert the pins.

I left the photos large so that you can click on them to appreciate that each and every pin has been hand made~ they really are little tiny works of art. There is alot of skill that went in to making one. Notice here too the length of the two are the same!

It is easy to see why customers preferred the new paper packaging over a box full of loose pins. At a glance one can see if there are any rogue fellows in there....

It is truly a treat to be able to study these pins in their original packaging. I have never seen an original paper pack in any other collections~ if you know of any, please do let me know in the comments!