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!




Trevelyon’s Pocket Finished!

This post is a bit premature since I haven’t written about how I finished Trevelyon’s Pocket yet…but I’m so excited to share the finished piece with all of you, so, I’ve decided not to wait!

It’s been a longer than usual project, being interrupted with a move from Berlin, Germany to Ames, Iowa and home remodelling in the middle. All told the process, including research, design, set up, embroidery, and assembly, took over 300 hours and I loved every single minute!

The finished size is a tiny 5 x 2 ¾ inches. The embroidery is done with Au ver à soie silk on white shot silk fabric backed with muslin/calico. The gold is chip work embroidered with gold check thread. The clasp is a small imitation pearl from an old bracelet and the loop I made myself with ivory embroidery silk. It’s lined with emerald green silk.

I hope you enjoy looking at this little bit of reproduced elegance from the the 17th century.

An announcement about the Trevelyon’s Pocket course will be coming in the next few weeks. If you’ve signed up for notifications about upcoming courses on With Threaded Needle you will receive an email about this course.  If you want to be notified, please send  an email to:  kathy “at” with threaded needle “dot” com and I will put you on the list. Watch for an announcement on this blog and via Facebook as well.








My first Biscornu – in cross stitch!

Years ago, I was a cross stitcher. I have Christmas stockings that I made which are used yearly.  Then life got busier and I moved away from needlework. When I came back to it, I did surface embroidery, including goldwork and canvas work. I didn’t attempt any cross stitch and now I know why.

I can’t count. I spend more time counting than stitching on this project and I simply don’t have the patience for it any more. Nor do I have the eyes or the concentration! My admiration for those of you who can cross stitch is enormous. I love the pretty orderliness of a beautifully cross stitched piece. I love samplers – especially ones designed by Amy Mitten – that use different counted techniques. Sadly, I think they are not, nor will they ever be, something I can accomplish without a great deal of frustration.

For the past two weeks I’ve been working on my first Biscornu for an exchange my EGA chapter is having with a chapter in New Zealand. I signed up thinking “I can do this much cross stitch. It isn’t much. How difficult can it be?”

It was difficult, confusing and frustrating in turns. I got lost, counted wrong, pulled stitches out, put them back and pulled them out again.However, I persevered and finally finished the front and back today.


You cannot imagine how relieved and happy I feel. Firstly, it’s finished! Secondly, I did it! There are some mistakes where the threads aren’t perfectly taut but I can fix that with a few gentle tugs at the back.

The pattern is from Etsy. You can find it here.   The design is charming and I chose it because I knew I would keep stitching to see it finished. All of the designs from Rainburst Embroidery are pretty and I wish I could whip them all up in a few days. Not weeks.

Having received no “training” in cross stitch, I know there must be tips and tricks to learn to make a piece that’s perfect and cleanly stitched. Some of the members of my EGA chapter do amazing work and I admire them all the more now that I’ve cross stitched my own biscornu!

Next, I need to assemble it and find a darling button for the top. Then I’ll bring it along to my meeting where it will be boxed up with all the others and sent off to New Zealand. I hope the recipient is happy with it and I can’t wait to see the one that will be sent to me! I only hope whomever stitched it had a less frustrating time than I did!