Summer Making Up

Today’s eagerly awaited Cushion (and Stocking) Making – ready to go back to stitchers; One Off Black Hens, Cat’s Whiskers and a Red Stocking plus an Ehrman Klimt tapestry.

The Black Hens will be collected this afternoon and the rest will all be carefully packed up and posted.
We are happy to make up tapestries from other designers they are priced according to size exactly as our own designs.
This is the perfect time of year to send your tapestries in to our Making Service. There can be quite a rush in the lead up to Christmas so to be sure you won’t be disappointed, remember that November 1st is the last date for sending in to be sure we can return your finished items to you before then.  There is no time like the present!

My Two Best Tapestry (Needlepoint) Stitches

Within the space of a week, two customers emailed asking if it would all right to use continental stitch for their tapestries.  In both cases they were worried that there would not be enough wool in the kit.

Indeed one customer thought there was a difference between Continental stitch and Tent stitch.
I don’t think there is, but she may have been thinking of Half Cross stitch which looks like Tent stitch on the front, but puts very little wool on the back, which means less wear. (It is also much more difficult to start and finish off your yarn because there is nowhere to slide the needle into on the back of the tapestry.)

In my kits I recommend two stitches:

Continental tent stitch

This is the one that is stitched in rows from side to side or up and down.  It is easy to learn and is the one used by most tapestry stitchers.


Basketweave tent stitch

This looks more complicated than it is!  You simply stitch up and down the diagonals, fitting each stitch into the obvious next space.  Once you get started, you will see what I mean.
It is ideal for larger areas and backgrounds, but I use it absolutely everywhere and highly recommend it! (Left handed stitching here)
In my opinion Basketweave is the best because the result is smoother and  it causes far less distortion of the tapestry as you stitch. Some distortion is inevitable but if you use this stitch and a tapestry frame, that distortion will be minimal. 

One Off Needlework kits have plenty of wool for either of these stitches. However, some other designers and kit manufacturers recommend Half Cross stitch so do check the instructions and follow the stitch guidance, otherwise you could possibly run out of wool.


Union Jack Bunting

I know it should really be called Union Flag Bunting unless on a ship, but the Union Jack is a much nicer name.

For High Days and Holidays, Bank Holidays and Birthdays  let’s join in the fun and put up some bunting. And if you are a stitcher, what could be nicer than making your own in needlepoint? It looks fabulous up, because it is weightier than fabric bunting and doesn’t flap too wildly in the breeze.
Once the Union Jack Bunting appeared, I began to get enquiries from the United States so soon I will be offering Stars and Stripes bunting as well. I just need to stitch some to make sure everything works.



Stretching enormous tapestries

A customer recently asked me if I could stretch a tapestry just over a metre long by half a metre wide – far too big for the stretching frames I have.  So my first thought was ‘No, I could not’– swiftly followed by my second thought which was ‘Why not?’   I have stretched a big tapestry before.
In the 1990s I copied a section of William Morris’s Forest Tapestry from blown up photographs after attaching the canvas to a weaving loom that I just happened to have!
It needed stretching when finished, but it was awfully big and It was my 80 year old mother who had the answer.  We put down carpets of towels, pinned it to my bedroom wall and sprayed it thoroughly – wondering all the time what could possibly go wrong!
Well nothing did.  Eventually it dried, perfectly straight and now hangs in my living room.

However, my bedroom has been decorated since then and I am not inclined to repeat the exercise.
So for this new tapestry, I bought a big board, a lot of little nails, found some old towels and stretched the tapestry on the board with the added advantage of being able to take the board outside into the sunshine to speed up the drying.
The edges went slightly wavy where the nails had pulled, because there was so little spare canvas at the sides – but the whole thing was back to square.  Off it went to my customer and in no time she sent me this picture.  All the wavy edges are hidden away in the seams underneath!

She told me later that she had made up the pattern as she went along.  You don’t always realise what extremely gifted stitchers you are working for!

Stella McCartney and me!

A bit of a fuss has been going on about the Team GB Olympic kit designed by Stella McCartney. It features the union flag in shades of blue & white rather than red, white and blue. It was announced on Facebook and users have been quick to slam the design – something I recently experienced myself and lost at least one sale that I know of, for my Diamond Jubilee design.  Diamond Jubilee Tapestry In two of the corners, I have blue & white Union flags.  And one customer who had asked me to put a kit aside for her rang me up to say she didn’t want it because there was no red on the flag. (Red would look horrible in this design and I think she agreed with that, but she wasn’t budging!)
It isn’t an earth shattering idea;  designers have successfully produced images of the flag in all colours of the rainbow and they look fabulous.
I’m rather pleased with Stella though.  I wanted to have at least some sort of nod to the Olympics in the 2012 Jubilee design, but the rules are so watertight that it is impossible without paying a lot for the privilege.  Now I seem to have got it with a subtle reflection of the Team GB kit.  That must be okay surely?  My design was published first!



Hearts and Home

"Home Patch and Mosaic Hearts"

Home Patch and Mosaic Hearts.  Very excited about the two fabulous new tapestries we launched recently, both full of rich colour and gorgeousness! Both tapestries are on 10 count canvas – easy to see and a pleasure to stitch.

Home Patch has a patchworky, applique, slightly vintage style with a touch of lace.  There’s fun to be had with it too, by filling in the ‘O’ with a chosen flag if you are feeling patriotic.  The printed canvas does not have the flag, but there are charts for the UK, US and Australian flags, or you could easily devise your own, particularly if it has nice and easy stripes!  It needn’t be the whole flag – just enough.

Then there’s the stunning Mosaic Hearts.  Great fun to stitch, and difficult to put down. The hearts seem to be jostling for attention and the zingy colours make sure this tapestry won’t go unnoticed!