A new Trevelyon project – and a special offer!

Any of you who have been reading my blog for a long time will know that I love the designs of a man named Thomas Trevelyon. He compiled what’s called his Miscellany  in 1608.  His miscellany contains handwritten notes and drawings (many hand-colored) on historical, religious, social and practical topics. If you want more information, go to this link to see digital images of the pages of his book.

Years ago I wrote to the Folger Library asking permission to use one of the designs to create my Trevelyon’s Cap. They gave me permission to use it for myself and for teaching. Now I’m going to be using another design, which I’ve modified, to make a miniature letter case.

Letter cases were prevalent during 17th, 18th and 19th centuries. One of the largest online collections to study is at the Cooper Hewitt Museum in New York City. Below is a photo of one with colours I particularly like: rusty reds, greens, deep teal with ivory and gold. I haven’t decided which colour of silk I’ll use as the embroidery fabric. I have decided I’ll have a bit of goldwork on the case.

Letter case from the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

The Tassen Museum in Amsterdam also has a collection of letter cases. Here is an explanation of how they were used from the web site of the Tassen Museum, Amsterdam. “From the 17th century, letter cases were used for keeping valued (love) letters, securities and bills of exchange. These letter cases showed great variation: materials such as leather, silk, glass beads and straw were used and many were embroidered with silk or metal thread and decorated with petals and foil. Letter cases were often presented as gifts at engagements and weddings or as keepsakes. The imagery and patterns on letter cases often referred to love and constancy: cupids, flaming hearts, Venus – the goddess of love – and anchors.”

I think mine will contain a love letter…certainly not a bill of exchange!


Above is a photograph of the printed pattern from Trevelyon’s book. I’ve reduced it in size so the size of the letter case is in proportion to the size of the cap. Most caps were between 25 and 28 cm wide according to measurement I’ve found on multiple museum sites. Most letter cases are between 13.5 and 19 cm in width. The letter case is roughly 75% as wide at the caps.

Letter case from the collection of the Cooper Hewitt Museum.

The colours on the case, above, also appeal to me, although they are lighter in tone than the first one I showed you. And then there’s my favourite and it comes from the Bayerische Museum in Munich.

These colours are not dissimilar to the ones used in the cap and, if I wanted to display the two objects side by side, this colour combination would look very pretty with the cap.

These are the kinds of decision I love to ponder! And any suggestions you have I will gladly listen to!

Now, for something completely different…

If you read other embroidery or needlework blogs, you’ll have undoubtedly heard about a give-away that Mark Harris of Mythic Crafts is running this weekend. I would be remiss if I didn’t share it here to support this relatively new and already highly valued member of the greater embroidery community.

Below is his email to me announcing the give-a-way. And here is a link to his web site where you can look at everything he has on offer.

I’m going to be running a promotion on Friday which your readers might be interested in. I’ve been playing with different strength magnets in my needle minders, and opinions seem to differ greatly from everyone who has tried them, so I’d like to get more data (engineers love data!) Therefore, on Friday the 8th of Sept I’ll be giving everyone who orders (regardless of order value!) 3 free needle minders ($60 value). This will give them a needle minder in each strength, and I’m hoping they’ll let me know which strength they prefer for the style of embroidery they are working on.
This should allow me to offer the different strengths of needle minder on the website along with a chart for which works best for each stitching style (assuming one strength is greatly preferred over others.)
I’m happy for them to request specific needle minder styles in their order comments, otherwise, I’ll just throw in a random selection of the styles I like the most (including unreleased ones!)
If a person hangs around on a page for a bit, they’ll get a popup where they can claim a 10% off coupon for subscribing to my (non spammy) mailing list, or liking my page on facebook. I have no problems with people grabbing the 10% off and the free needle minders at the same time.

4 thoughts on “A new Trevelyon project – and a special offer!

  1. Hi Kathy,

    I’m in total agreement; love the letter case from the Bayerische Museum. I look forward to reading about your development of a replica and am putting my vote in for a letter case class in the future.

    Cheers, Sarah

  2. All the letter cases are beautiful, and I really like your design for one. But . . . the one from the Bayerische Museum is heart breaker. I hope you set that one for all of us to make a replica of that one.

    And, by the way, I tend to keep picking up needle holders searching for the ideal one.

  3. All the letter cases are beautiful and yes please a letter case class would be great…… after the Bayeaux Tapestry class.Gail

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