Away from Home Sweet Home

When you travel to an embroidery workshop or course, what do you take with you? Which of your things are absolutely necessary to have, that you wouldn’t borrow or buy new if you left them at Home Sweet Home?

Scissors, believe it or not, are not on this list.  if I forget my scissors, I’ll still be comfortable using a friend’s pair or picking up a new pair – knowing that another pair will come in handy some day.

Needles I’m more particular about. There are two kinds of needles that I’ve learned to love: Bohin and Pym. They both are sharp and have smooth holes so the thread doesn’t catch. I can use other needles but I wouldn’t be as comfortable stitching with them.

My needle book will be going with me


My laying/scootching tool is another absolute necessity. It’s become almost an extension of my hand. I use it to smooth out thread, to push stitches aside when I’m working, to point out things to my dear husband, among other things I can’t recall right now.

My indispensable laying/scootching tool

My scissors block is something else I try not to forget. It holds whatever pair or pairs of scissors I’m using and I’ve finally gotten into the habit of putting my scissors back into the block so they are always there, every time I need them. I really get frustrated when I have to stop working and look for lost scissors. Grrr…

Lastly, my magnifying lamp. I can’t see well enough to stitch anything detailed without both the magnification and the daylight bulb shining on my work. Fortunately, I had the foresight to save the box in which it came so I can repack it every time we travel. The box isn’t very large and, if pressed, I could put it in my suitcase. I could also carry it in a small bag as carry on. Of course when we drive someplace, then I can take whatever I need – what a luxury!

When we go to England on Friday – yes Friday!!!!,  I’ll also be taking a slate frame and my Needle Needs stand so I can work at home over the weekend on my goldwork piece. I already know I’ll need to do homework to get the piece finished and to the standard I hope to achieve.

I’ll also be taking my goldwork course text books (more about that next time), my gold cutting box, the silk I’ll be stitching on and the Trevelyon’s Cap project on the frame and the silk threads. (Just in case I have some time to work on it before the course begins.)

As much as I love traveling and am so excited about the course, my favorite place to stitch is my studio space in our loft at home. Yes…Home Sweet Home is the best place to work. Everything is there somewhere (even if one has to look for a while to find it!) the chair is just right, the lighting is perfect and I can make a cup of tea only steps away in the kitchen.

Which brings me to a give-a-way!

The very generous publisher, Country Bumpkin, sent me two copies of their new project book, Home Sweet Home. The book is full of ideas for gifts – both large and small. If you’re ambitious, you could stitch everything in the book and have a wonderful stitching box that you could take when you travel. It holds just about everything you need! Imagine pulling it out at a stitching workshop or class – the ‘oohhs’ and ‘aahhs’ would be so rewarding to hear!

To enter the draw for one of two copies of the book Home Sweet Home, you must leave a comment on today’s post by midnight, GMT, Saturday, June 23, 2012. Answers sent in an email directly to me will not enter you in the drawing for one of the two books to be given away.

Your comment must answer the questions I asked at the beginning of the article:

“When you travel to an embroidery workshop or course, what do you take with you? Which of your things are absolutely necessary to have, that you wouldn’t borrow or buy new if you left them at Home Sweet Home?

The winners will be announcer on Sunday, June 24. Winners must contact me with their mailing address by July 1, 2012.

It will be fun to see what people choose to take with them! Best of luck!




38 thoughts on “Away from Home Sweet Home

  1. Kathy,
    I’ve been looking for just such a magnifying light. What make/brand is yours and have you a source for it?
    When I travel anywhere (even to jury duty recently), I always take portable needlework in a resealable plastic bag, both to keep everything together and to keep it all clean. My little bag isn’t nearly as pretty as Country Bumpkin’s project, of course, but it’s functional.
    “Oh, to be in England …” — keep us up on your accomplishments while you’re there. Enjoy!!

    • Hi Debbie,

      Here’s a link to the post about the light. I know that Sew and So no longer carries this light. Here’s a link to the article on Mary Corbet’s site where she’s talking about a light similar to this one that she got in the USA. And here’s a link to the Daylight USA site. This lamp looks like the one I have except it’s black.

      If you’re not in the USA, look in the top right corner of the home page and there is a drop down menu with a list of countries where their products are available. I’m very happy with mine.

      Liebe Grusse,

    • Hello!
      I love your work, btw….I would have to have my magnifying glass, which fits over my head and rests on my chest, my scissors, and also my trusted lamp. All are very portable. Depending on what I will be working on, a hoop or frame, and the proper needles. I would also bring my sense of humor, the anticipation of making new friends, and my camera!!!!
      Thank you so much. Happy Stitching.

  2. Thank you for such a generous give-away. The workbox looks fantastic and I’d love to have a go at making it!

    If you’d asked me before Christmas, I would have said my embroidery floor standing frame …. if only because my work is on it and if I don’t take it, I haven’t got my work! No, really it’s because I don’t feel comfortable without having my work in a frame.

    However, my Mum bought me a magnifier light exactly like yours for Christmas and it was then I realised how bad my eyesight was getting for close work (and I say this as a short-sighted glasses wearer whose had glasses since I was 14!).

    I’ve never been on an embroidery course but the frame and now this light will be going with me when we go on holiday; I always like to do a lot of embroidery when we’re away.

  3. If I’m going on holiday, I take a small project that doesn’t need a hoop, needles and scissors, because of course there are never usable scissors anywhere that there isn’t another stitcher.
    If I am going on a course, it depends on where, and what the tutor says will be needed. I don’t think there is anything I would mind buying a duplicate of if I forgot it!

    • No scissors? You might be able to take one of those button shaped thread cutters? My mom even has one for her crochet when she is not allowed to have scissors, like jury duty or airplanes.

      I also have a drawer full of duplicate tools in case one breaks or gets lost etc. They have been there for a number of years because I am very careful, however, you never can know. 🙂

  4. What I take depends on where I am going to travel. I have a needleroll that I got as a gift at a seminar a long time ago. It stays packed with a needlebook, scissors, hand quilting thread, beading thread, tekobari, and a few other things. I always take the hand quilting thread since I use it for basting. It is waxed, so it does not split if I choose to stitch over it. I usually take a portable light. And MagEyes.

    If I am going to travel but not to a class, I usually take a small kit that has the thread already in it.

    The book you are giving away looks lovely.

  5. I would have to say my Dovo scissors. Since I brought them last year, they have been my go to scissor. They go everywhere with me, along with their fob and point protector.

  6. Hello,
    Thank you for your give-away. This is a really nice workbox that i will do this summer, when i will be on holidays.
    What do I NEVER forget to go on holidays ?…. My needle-case…
    I think i could embroider with every threads in everything, so my answer is just needles !

    Florence from FRANCE

  7. I can’t seem to settle to sew without my own thimble. I’ve had it for over twenty years, it’s no longer round but squished into an oval that exactly fits my finger,doesn’t fall off and helps me find the exact place to insert my needle from below the framed fabric. This is what I always take with me.

  8. Hello, the book looks really interesting and I love making needlework items to give as presents to my stitching friends, so this would be a really useful pattern resource to have.
    I always have to take my glasses to class with me. They are a stronger prescription than my reading glasses and I cannot see to stitch properly without them. Also, a stitching kit which I keep in a zippered case. It is one that I have made up specifically for travelling and, so long as I remember to pick it up, I know I will have everything I need.
    Best wishes

  9. To be honest with you, Kathy, I’m no longer able to afford workshops or courses and never was in the RSN financial bracket (for both of which I suspect I’m far from alone these days), but thinking back to when I did a City & Guilds class, I always took pretty much everything with me as we were expected to.

    I liked to use my own things anyway, but I can’t really say that I couldn’t manage fine without them. As long as I have all I need to hand, I would be content. Having said that, if I were to, say, travel to a day course where you were buying materials there, I’d take my own needlecase and scissors as well as any hoops etc I thought would be needed. I wouldn’t mind borrowing them, but buying new would be wasteful as I already have so much.=)

    Sorry that isn’t very interesting, but it’s more or less outside my experience.=( I would love to be able to work that house though….

    Gruß, E

  10. It depends on where I’m going. I take my Ergo floor stand if I’ll have room to use it, if not I have a K’s Creations lap stand. I also have a blue 4″x4″x8″ organizer that holds nearly every gadget I could possibly need: many varieties of Bohin needles, beading and curved needles, a pair of Ginghers, a colored pencil to mark my chart, an emery board for when my fingers are rough, post-it notes to mark anything that needs marking, my name tag, a Purple Thang, a dololly, retractable measuring tape and a boo-boo stick.

    I may also take my portable Ott light and an extension cord.

  11. Kathy, when I go away from home, the first thing I pack is always my needle book. That way I will always have the right needle for what ever I will be working on. Next is my (embroidered) pencil case which has various ‘bits’ in it which I may need – tweezers, a few select pencils and pens which may be needed and two little rulers, one metal, the other having both inches and centimeters. Then my scissors. I have a special soft clear topped, small case for travelling with my needlework and everything fits nicely into it. As well as my needlework and a hoop, I have learned to ALWAYS include a piece of fabric for doodling on!

  12. My folding OTT light because I’m so used to good lighting – and the second thing would be the fabric on which I plan to stitch.

    I can most definitely understand what you mean about stitching at home! My recliner and the lighting and the end table – comfort and within reach of all my goodies.

    Whether stitching or knitting or crocheting – Home Sweet Home is beautiful to me.

  13. I have to take magnification. I can always find needles or a pair of scissors, and I’ve used a toothpick in a pinch as a laying tool–but if I don’t have magnification, I can’t stitch. I have an incredibly ugly thing that fits on my head and suspends the lens in front of my face and gives me hat hair–but it’s the first thing I make sure I pack before going anywhere to stitch.

  14. My Ott light first and foremost most places don’t have the best light so my battery powered Ott light is needed. Other than that I could find a substitute if needed I wouldn’t like it and I would kick myself but I would get over it.

  15. Kathy,I’ve never gone for a hand embroidery course,but I’d attended a machine embroidery class and other art workshops.
    If I’m going for a course/workshop I’d take whatever the tutor expects me to bring for her class.I’d take my needles and notebook for sure,without my notebook to take notes I won’t be comfortable in a class.
    I can’t buy/borrow a notebook because I’d have written many small details in my book which will be helpful when I’m in class and I don’t like borrowing needles may be I’d buy if I forgot.

  16. Hehe, the last lesson I had was in 4th grade when my teacher taught us with yarn (yes, the fat stuff for making afghans and sweaters with)and rice sack canvas. She got the rice sack canvas (now they use plastic stuff for those big bags)free whenever she (or her family and neighbors) bought bags of rice. The canvas was light brown, and not the best, but when you are talking about teaching thirty-five 10 year olds, and most of the boys (and many girls) will not even finish the project, there is no reason to buy premium materials on a teachers craft budget. I still have the huge plastic needle and plastic thimble she gave me.

    I tend to be a “do things my way” sort of embroiderer so I really don’t do kits or courses. I think teaching myself is one thing that makes me like embroidery.

    As for things I cannot do without, though I do not do classes etc, I have all my tools in the compartments of my grab and go basket. I really, really hate to have to buy something I forgot to bring.

    I am not interested in winning the box or book, I am only answering your question. 🙂

  17. I never travel with embroidery, but when I travel to attend an embroidery course I always take two pairs of glasses (magnifiers) and two English antique silver thimbles. I have a number of silver thimbles old and new, but only two fit my small fingers perfectly. I could not live without them and have been using them for years. I always take a few pairs of scissors and a pair of embroidery tweezers which I ordered from the United States. The tweezers are fabulous to unpick or to pick up beads with very pointed tips.

  18. When you travel to an embroidery workshop or course, what do you take with you? My hands free embroidery hoop, my current notebook, camera and my little sharp scissors.

    Which of your things are absolutely necessary to have, that you wouldn’t borrow or buy new if you left them at Home Sweet Home? Needles, and thread.

    Love this little set, would love to win the book.


  19. When I travel, I take needlework roll that was given to me by a friend several years ago. It came fully stocked with a wide variety of needles, pins, safety pins, thimble, tape measure and pencil. Last but not least, it came with a pair of gingher scissors which have become my favourite pair.

  20. When I go to a needlework class, I too wouldn’t feel secure without my needlebook. It contains my embroidery scissors, several different needles, usually threaded, and a few pins in case I forget my pin box. Also, I must have my Ott light with the magnifier with me so that I can clearly see what I’m working on.
    I’d love to win this book as I have two other Carolyn Pearce books and know how special they are.

  21. Hello – thx for hosting this lovely giveaway and thx to Country Bumpkin for providing the Home Sweet Home books!

    When I take a project to workshop, I like to have q-snaps with me. They can be pulled apart + assembled when needed. Also, I have a small battery operated flip light (ott) – which clips to a bag, book, etc. Both very easy to pack + portable. (extra AAA batteries)

    I like to have a fob on my scissors – there are so many on a table at a workshop, I like to be able to identify my own pair.

    In addition to scissors and needles — I take along a nametag, ort container, post it notes, star d tailor (for finishing those tails on the back), magnet for parking needle, and a project bag to store everything. (sometimes add tape measure and tweezers)

    I try to bring something in a smaller count linen, ie 28count which is easier to manage than a 32-40 count project. Fibers in a flat fold – so they can lay nicely and not get tangled. Maybe an extra thread ring or two for fiber pieces.

    Enjoy the week-end, stitch well ; )

  22. I have to have my MagEyes and now a portable Ott Light. I’ve been looking at the magnifying lamps though. I also have my favorite sit on hoop. Phillipa taught me to do Crewel in a class I took, so now I’ve always done it in hoop and I’ve gotten used to it that way.

  23. When I go away the thing I want most with me is my light/magnifier. I would find it hard to borrow one or to try and shop for one at a workshop. I just came back from the Embroidery Association of Canada seminar in Victoria and was happy to have my own light/magnifier with me. Thanks for having such a wonderful give away as I can imagine it would be fun to open such a wonderful accessory kit.

  24. Hi Kathy –

    If I know I’m going to stay in one place for awhile on my travels, I will take a project bag containing a smallish project, my lamp/magnifier (much like yours), my Dovo scissors, laying tool, tweezers, Bohin needles.
    If I’m going to be on the move a lot, a take my knitting (with circular needle).

  25. I’ve just been thinking this over as I’ll be doing some travelling this summer. I’d take almost everything – scissors – clipper – needles (beading and sewing) – pins – hoop – threader – but the thing I would be sure to have would be my clipper. I use it more than scissors. And my hoop, because all my hoops are all already prepared with fabric and that would be hard to borrow.

    Great giveaway!

  26. I enjoyed reading the answers! I always have my little Ott light with fresh batteries and the round thread cutter. But, because I am a great project starter, I have a to go bag that is ready and fully loaded, so no matter where I am headed I can use my own things.

  27. It depends on my mode of transportation and the purpose of the excursion. Last summer I traveled to a class with the whole back of my SUV filled with supplies. On jury duty, I had a little bag of paper pieced hexagons to stitch. Visiting with friends last week I took a painted needlepoint canvas because I could talk and stitch at the same time. Indispensable items are scissors, needles (I have half a dozen needlebooks) threads and fabric. Everything else is variable.

  28. I have never attended an emboidery course or workshop. On a holiday I don’t take embroidery with me. So I don’t really have to think about that 😉

  29. Thanks for hosting this cool giveaway! Stitching items I would absolutely need to take to a workshop are: Q-snap or scroll frame (don’t like hoops), needles in my needlecase, needle threader, small rubber needle grabber, scissors, magnification and Ott lite (depending on the count of fabric I’m working with). I try not to forget anything because some things you can’t borrow (frames and magnification are constantly in use) and not everyone brings rubber needle grabbers!

  30. Hi Kathy,
    Things I always take with me beyond whatever the teacher specifies are:
    1. Dazor Magnifier (flexible arm) + extra full spectrum bulb + extension cord
    2. Lowery floor stand (have lots of others but this is the most flexible in class and hotel rooms)plus the light attachment.
    3. 3 pairs of scissors : Embr. (used to be my Dovo ones but have now resorted to ‘no name’ ones after the last trip when TSA made an issue of my great Dovo and Jap.emb. scissors), metallic
    ones and general use ones.
    4. Needles, pins, tacks (if needed), white/ black/ecru all purpose thread, needlefelt
    5. Tekobari & awl
    6. My thimbles
    7. Pencils (mechanical & colored) & p. sharpener, 4 color pen, few paper clips, paper/folder, tracing/tissue paper, Ziploc type bags in assorted sizes, small pieces (12″squares) of bubble wrap, white square of cotton fabric to cover my work
    8. Tape measure, ruler & triangles
    9. Frame (stretcher bars or japanese frame etc.)with the tools needed (T tool etc.)
    10. Bandaids (asst. sizes), Neosporin, Excedrin,
    Alcohol wipes/moist towel packs, a small bag of assorted almonds,walnuts and cashew nuts, water bottle (thermos kind)

  31. HI Kathy,

    I find I have to take my tekobari, no mater what type of stitching the class is doing. Though that tool is essential for japanese, I have found it incredibly handy in every other type of stitching I do. I also always have a little kit with scissors, and a small project. I am excited to see this book in person, if I get to!

  32. The only scissors I’m precious about are my Hardanger scissors. If I were doing cross stitch, I’d also need my gold needles, but the only really important thing I would HAVE to take would be one of my Qsnap frames. I absolutely love them.

  33. Hi Kathy,
    I always take my sharp embroidery scissors, a variety of good needles, my needle threader is a must, my mellor, my laying tool and stiletto, tape measure, six inch ruler, a couple of hoop frames, my prescription magnifying glasses and practice linen or other fabric.

    I hope you have a wonderful time at the RSN gold work course. I certainly did when I took it three years ago at Hampton Court with Helen McCook.

  34. I’ve never been on an embroidery course and would probably hesitate to take them along with me (especially not to the RSN, they seem very traditional), but I really need my rolls of masking tape. I have regular tape (scoth blue) that I use in many ways:
    keep couched threads taut and in position;
    keep threads that need to be worked later out of the way;
    pick up bits of thread and fluff off my person and my work;
    hang up the bag that holds all disposed bits of thread and fluff;
    stick small pieces on my finger so I won’t have to use a thimble (hate them);
    stabilize the edges of silk organza so it won’t tear when stretched in a frame;
    etc. etc.

    I also have a roll of ‘safe-release’ painter’s masking tape, which is actually fairly useless for painting purposes (doesn’t stick very well to most surfaces), but
    will hold even the finest of goldwork threads and release them gently without distortion. I fold strips of tape, sticky side out, around bits of card and arrange my cut bits on them. Can’t imagine doing goldwork without it (but as I said, this is probably frowned upon by the professionals).

    (Just as an extra, I just to fasten my children’s nappies with masking tape – no worries about sticking safety pins into them. Worked beautifully.)

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