all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann


Further exploration of embroidery.

Tina Francis pincushion kit

The interest started to 2020 when SewBrum included an online demonstration of bargello from local lady, Tina Francis. I watched the demo, but didn’t buy the kit. I finally bought the kit from Tina at the Knitting and Stitching Show at Alexander Palace in 2022. It took me about 3 hours to make the pin cushion, and it immediately struck me that i could have some fun with this craft. I was further encouraged at the Kaffe Fassett exhibition at the Fashion and Textile Museum, where after viewing lots of quilts (i’ll be surprised if you see me quilting….) there was a collection of needlepoint cushions. ‘I can do that’, i thought.

I bought the book. It’s full of inspiration, even if it is primarily a stitch guide.

Within moments i had stitched another pin cushion based on an idea in ‘the book’.

My own design

Then i started to play around with some of the stitches and patterns, making bookmarks, intended for the girls with whom i visited both Knitting and Stitching, and the Fashion and Textile Museum.

I had a quick chat with Tina at Sewing for Pleasure the other week, and she agreed that ‘playing around’ is a good idea. I also checked with her where is the best place to get tapestry wool, as it doesn’t seem to be widely available. I had already found WoolWarehouse, and she recommended this family run business in Leamington Spa without prompting. The problem is that it is only online, and as we all know, matching colours online is fraught with unreliability. I have now created an inventory of dye numbers to assist with future matching.

They also sell the canvas. Now that’s another challenge not yet fully explored. Like cross stitch canvas, it comes in a variety of hole sizes (count), and these need to be matched to the thread type to achieve a particular coverage. The DMC tapestry thread and 12 count canvas work well. Some of my samples are stitched with a narrower wool, which might be better with 14 count canvas.

The leaf design is probably the first that i stitched, using the narrower wool. It’s got a couple of errors, but that is what early ‘play’ is about. To its left, the bookmark is made from leftovers from Tina’s pincushion. It was after that that i had to source more wool of a similar quality and brightness! My expanding colour range is demonstrated in the 3 unfinished bookmarks at the top. To finish the bookmarks i simply tidied up any straying ends, stuck some felt onto the back and then cut out the bookmark when the glue had dried.

What to do with other early pieces? Turn them into a lavender bag for the bedroom. The 3 colours were then plaited into a hanger and hand stitched in place with ordinary sewing thread. This is the narrower wool on 12 ct, and probably needs greater coverage for a future version.

The craft is really quick to grow, genuinely portable (i took some on a recent holiday), requires some, but not great concentration, and can easily be done in quite short time slots. The price and service from Wool Warehouse has been very good, and hopefully i now have the matter of colour matching under control. It’s going to be a great craft for creating little gifts, some of which might even be useful!

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