The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 1
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 2
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 3
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 4
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 5


Leven’s Hall Pillow – Finished!

The pillow designed by Phillipa Turnbull called the Leven’s Hall Pillow has been one of my favourite pieces to stitch. A big part of that is the color scheme. The rich reds, deep blues and creamy golds are simply beautiful.

DSCF5729 500x375 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

Whenever I get to the end of a project like this – a large project – and I’ve finished the last large area, or large group of motifs to be stitched, I always think to myself  “I’m almost done! not long now!” and then, I begin to stitch…and I stitch… and I stitch… and I stitch… Well, you get the idea! Those little finishing bits always take so much longer to embroider than I think they will take!

The large stem was the last big area I needed to complete and embroidering that in Romanian couching was really fun! I’d only done that stitch once before and I really enjoy the rhythm of Romanian couching. The stitch creates a spine down the middle of the stem and I find that particularly pretty.

DSCF5734 500x375 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

Then the only thing left to do were the tendrils of stems stitch and the outline of the whole piece. ‘This will be quick’ I thought. Ha! However, when it was all done, the stem stitch tendrils really finished the piece beautifully.

DSCF5739 500x375 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

In the instructions it says to outline the piece using a long line of laid double threads couched down every 2 or 3 centimetres. I had fallen in love with the Reversed Chain stitch so I chose to embroider the outline using that stitch.

DSCF5759 500x375 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

It makes a nice border and I love the texture of the Reverse Chain stitch.

DSCF5752 500x375 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

Below is a photo I took while the piece was still on the frame, on the evening I finished it.

DSCF5746 500x310 Levens Hall Pillow   Finished!

Aren’t the colors stunning! I am definitely going to make this up into a pillow with tassel fringe. I’ve even found a supplier in the UK that sells fringe I think will work. They’re called George Spencer and the fringe is on this page.  I’m thinking the 413 range or the 707 range of colors. The 707 looks like it’s made of a wool similar to Appleton’s Wool in texture so that could be an especially good match.

If you have an opinion please let me know!



Anna Scott’s Sweet Honeysuckle

A while ago I began a new project from Anna Scott called Sweet Honeysuckle. I purchased the last kit she had in stock about a year ago. However, the great news is that you can purchase the complete instructions from her Etsy shop for this project! On the shop page she lists all the materials you will need and none of them are difficult to find – in fact, you may even have most of them in your stash.

DSCF5664 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

All of Anna’s kits are beautifully packaged and include everything you will need to complete the piece. I have another of her raised embroidery kits waiting for when I feel more confident of the techniques involved in embroidering a raised work piece. (Brother Rabbit, which you can see here. Isn’t is wonderful?!)

I find that often a good way to learn a new kind of embroidery or a completely new technique is to work from a kit. I know not all embroidery kits are equally good, but the ones I’ve used from Anna Scott, Jenny Adin-Christie, Nicola Jarvis and Phillipa Turnbull have been first class. In this case, Anna’s instruction from start to finish are crystal clear and she includes diagrams that are easy to understand.

DSCF5669 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

Anna has introduced me to a different way of transferring the design to the fabric. She shows how to use tracing paper, a pencil and tacking stitches to transfer the design. It works a treat and didn’t involved a light box.

DSCF5674 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

The area of the design is outlined in tacking stitches. The design is drawn on the reverse side of the tracing paper. The  tracing paper is then turned over onto the fabric with the pencil lines on the fabric. When the design is redrawn on the other side of the tracing paper (the side you haven’t yet drawn on) the pressure of the pencil transfers the first drawing onto the fabric. Clever!

DSCF5685 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

The first part to be embroidered are the stems of the flowers. A line of stitching is embroidered first, then wrapped with silk, which gives the stem a bit of thickness.

DSCF5701 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

The next step is to wrap the stem with gold thread, which gives the stem some sparkle. I love sparkel!

DSCF5711 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

The leaves are worked next. First the leaves are outlines. Then straight padding stitches are embroidered inside each leaf, first horizontally and then vertically. Lastly the satin stitches are put in over all the outline and padding.

DSCF5775 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

The leaves have a pretty, slightly raised appearance when they are complete.

DSCF5778 500x375 Anna Scotts Sweet Honeysuckle

This is my first foray into raised embroidery and so far I like it and feel like I’ll be able to do it to a reasonable standard. There are many, many people doing raised work or stump work right now in the embroidery world and honestly, I was a bit nervous about trying it and, frankly, I don’t like all of it very much. Anna’s pieces are lovely and that motivated me to give raised work a go

Leven’s Hall Long and Short Flowers

The Leven’s Hall Pillowe is coming along nicely, thank you! What I’ve just finished are all the long and short shaded flowers. Since I’ll be taking the final component of my Royal School of Needlework Certificate course beginning in late January, I figure the more experience I get doing long and short shading of any kind is a good thing!

DSCF5686 500x375 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

My shading skills are improving and I feel more and more confident with every flower. This flower is shaded using three different golden, yellow threads. As I mentioned before when writing about the long and short shading on Nicola’s Blue Bird, the most important thing I must remember is to keep my stitches relaxed. I tend to pull too tightly and then there isn’t a pillow of thread for the later colors to sink into.

DSCF5703 500x375 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

These two little red flowers use only two shades of rose which is exactly why they are so charming. I just love the colors used in this piece!

DSCF5721 500x466 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

Below is a photo of a flower worked in long and short shading with the center edged in stem stitch and little stitches in the center of blue. The colors of the two golden yellows are very close so the shading is quite delicate. The leaf next to the flower uses the same two golden yellow colors and the combination is lovely.

DSCF5726 500x375 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

This is a photo of the progress thus far. The large areas are finished and it looks as if there isn’t much left but, in reality, it’s the little fiddly bits that seem to take forever!

DSCF5722 500x375 Levens Hall Long and Short Flowers

The branch, the stems, the tendrils, the little flower buds, the inside of the red flowers, a few leaves and the outline…whew!