Trevelyon’s Needlecase at the EGA Gateway to Stitching 2019

Shortly after I moved back to Iowa from Berlin, I applied to teach at the EGA National Conference “Gateway to Stitching” in St. Louis in November 2019. I’m pleased to say that I was chosen to teach a mini class in St. Louis on the Tuesday evening!

The piece I’ll be teaching is Trevelyon’s Needlecase. It’s one of the things I’ve been working on the past month but couldn’t write about it until after this year’s conference when all the new pieces were introduced to this year’s attendees. You can see it here on their web site along with all the other classes being offered during the conference.

The design is from Thomas Trevelyon’s Common place Book of 1608 – the very book I wrote about in this post.  

I used many of the same colors I used in both Trevelyon’s Cap and Trevelyon’s Pocket. They look so fresh and elegant! For this project I chose to use stranded cotton, although the needle case could be worked in silk as well, it would just be a more expensive and less durable thread. Since a needle case is to be used frequently I decided cotton would be the better choice.

My initial design for the rose had light pink shading with a yellow center. However, when I finished it, the pink looked very drab and dull. So, I took it out and reworked the area in white. It was a bit tricky to take out the pink threads since I’d already done all the French knots in the middle but, thanks to my magnifying lamp and a great little pair of scissors (and a HUGE amount of luck!), I was able to get all the threads out with damaging the red satin stitch. I do NOT recommend this method!

You can see the white is much brighter and it’s the same color combination that’s on the cap which makes me happy.

The needle case had to be completed for the EGA Conference so I had to find fabric for the lining and felt for the pages. I am very fortunate to live in a town where there is an amazing quilt shop called Quilting Connection. The woman who owns it and her staff are always happy to help me find fabric to complete an embroidery project and they helped me again this time. I found a tiny blue and white print that’s simply charming for the lining of the cover and I am using white felt for the pages.

If you’re going to the EGA Conference in St. Louis I would love to see you in my class. The classes offered at the conference look wonderful and I’ve already chosen the ones I hope to be able to take. I’d love to see you in St. Louis!


Trevelyon’s Miscellany

Every once in a while the universe or my guardian angel leads me to something wonderful (what appears to be) completely by  accident.

About 4 weeks ago I had finished a piece using one of Trevelyon’s designs and wanted to find another pattern from Thomas Trevelyon’s Miscellany of 1608 to embroider. I always type into my search engine “Trevelyon’s Miscellany” and the search engine always pops up the link to the Folger library.

Except this time.

At the top of the list this time was a link to a book store in Delaware that had the book for sale. Usually, I ignore these links because the book is REALLY expensive. Eye wateringly expensive, especially because it’s been a while since the Folger Library released it. The price prevented me from buying the book for years.

But on this day a month ago, with the universe or my guardian angel or book fairy or whatever watching over me, the price was half price at the book store in Delaware that popped up during my search. Half of the original price of the book. I ordered it. 

I couldn’t believe my luck the miracle that had happened. In fact, the next day, I called the book shop to make sure that my order went through – that I was really going to get book I’d been longing to have since I first discovered Trevelyon’s Miscellany on the Folger Library website years ago. The owner of the shop told me, yes, it was available and would be sent to me the next day. Deep breaths.


Five days later a huge box arrived on my doorstep. I’d read in the description how large the book was (10.75″ x 17″ with 596 pages) but didn’t think about the packing that would go around such a special volume. My husband had to carry it into the house. The photo above is the book in it’s box that was inside the box it came in.

This book is what’s called a facsimile edition, hence it’s high price. Here’s an explanation of a facsimile edition from a website

“A facsimile edition is an exact reproduction of the entire contents of a book. Usually published in limited quantities, facsimile editions are a terrific option for collectors who can’t afford an original, or in situations where the original is so rare, there’s virtually no chance of obtaining it. Libraries may also produce or rely on facsimiles as research tools, particularly when the original volume is particularly fragile or susceptible to damage during handling. ”

The Trevelyon Miscellany of 1608, published by the Folger Library, is a facsimile edition of the hand written book that Thomas Trevelyon finished when he was 60 years old, in 1608. It’s as close to owning the real thing that anyone can get. Honestly, I wouldn’t want the responsibility of owning the real thing!

Here you can see how large it is. I was going to show you photos of the book when it occurred to me that the photos in the book are copyrighted material. So, no complete page photos. Sorry. But here are three heavily cropped images so you can see the size of the patterns in the book and how a facsimile shows the damage to the real book. To see image from the book online go to the Folger Library.

Below is my hand pointing to a section of the design of Trevelyon’s Gold Cap – the one I stitched. It’s one of many designs for caps in the book. And the patterns in the book appear to be full sized. I haven’t measured, but they look about right.

Next is a photo showing where the original book got damaged and the ink from the opposite side of the page leaked through. It isn’t bad printing or a mistake- it’s a facsimile. Everything is reproduced, even damage.

There are a few small motifs that I’m looking forward to embroidering and sharing with you all on my blog. Little things that can be taught in a post or two. Below are a few examples from the book.

You can imagine how excited I am to have this book to look at, to read and to cherish. It’s full of embroidery designs but it’s also filled with drawings, histories, solar system charts, almanacs, distance to and from major towns and cities in the UK and moral advice. It’s all here, fresh from 1608!





Biscornu – in three dimensions

Not long after I wrote my post about the biscornu I’ve been working on, I finished it! There are loads of great tutorials online about how to put a biscornu together so it wasn’t very difficult – thank goodness for the internet, right? It takes eagle eyes and patience, but I managed assemble it without any mis-stitches. The trick is to whip stitch the back stitches around the outside of both the front and the back together, never missing one stitch. I had to use my trusty magnifying daylight lamp to see what I was doing and my new reading glasses; I couldn’t have assembled the biscornu without them.

I watched two different videos so I would have more than one set of instructions about how to do it. When I was a teacher (and a student) I always found that more than one explanation was helpful. The two videos I watched are here and here.

If anyone has a video they think is fabulous, please leave comment below with the link to share it.

Assemblying a biscornu is a geometric puzzle that, once you understand how it’s done, is not difficult. It’s a little like being shown how to do a magic trick! Once the stitching that holds the top and bottom together was almost finished I filled my biscornu with flax seeds and lavender. I like to use something heavier than finer fill so the biscornu has weight and, because of the design, I wanted to use a little dried lavender so it would smell nice.

Now that it’s finished and I can see and hold it…I think I’ll be making another one! It’s likely I’ll do the same design again since I “know how it goes.”  A bit like playing a piano piece you know well for the joy of being able to play it without making mistakes – well, I can hope, right?! Who knows, maybe stitching one of Amy Mitten’s samplers isn’t such an unrealistic goal after all!