Recently I have purchased a few books. Firstly I was directed to Hazel Blomkamp’s  books by Mary Corbet. While I had seen her books on Crewel work, these two caught my eye & I think I can use many ideas in them.

Both books are of exceptional value when it comes to quantity of content and indeed quality. Clear instructions are in both although the needle weaving book also has photos of the worked technique. At this point, and I have really only flicked through them, they seem exceptional value for money.

Next up is a book I asked a friend to purchase for me, as payment for some work I did for him. It only arrived today and already I am in love!

Firstly this book is beautiful. The images are magic, bright, interesting, stunning. Then the information inside is phenomenal. Before getting my hands on this I thought I knew a bit about goldwork… I know nothing. I feel like John Snow. Yet it does not make me feel like a beginner or incompetent, more like the small window into goldwork that was my knowledge has expanded to French doors, opening onto a goldwork balcony. Oh, and I’ve barely started it.

In other news, I have completed 3 classes with my penguin Hussif & have taught 6 ladies. I also have sold a few of my heart kits, some of my Hardanger kits & have put in my funding application to be able to teach the Knight Hussif to some local school children. Fingers crossed.

Recently I have found delight in helping fellow stitchers with queries. No question too silly. One of favourite things about embroidery is that there is always something to learn.


Where am I? 

I’m Wow! Since my last post, only just after Xmas, although I now realise that was almost a month ago, I have been busy busy busy!

Firstly Xmas and New Year holiday stitching…. I made a dress for my daughter, several little “goodie bags”, started and finished the second cushion cover and started a Ukrainian white work piece. Pictures?

Sorry, none of the dress, or my friends cushion cover,  but here are my bags… Well some of them.

As cute as they are, I sold 4… Two of them were sold to family members, my daughter set the price at $5 per bag.

The Ukrainian piece I started as my travel embroidery piece, on the ferry to Wellington. We took the whole family, driving from Oamaru, stayed the night at Leithfield beach, and then on to the ferry at Picton. We stayed in Raumati Beach at my friend’s house, so I could give her the cushion covers.

While in Wellington we went to the Gallipoli exhibitions at Te Papa and the National War Museum. Both were excellent, and well worth seeing. We visited friends in Palmerston North and I got to spend a morning with my embroiderers guild and reunite with many friends. Then we were back off south again, this time staying just north of Christchurch, in Waipara at what I like to call a medieval camp. It’s actually called Cantherbury Faire, and it is amazing! My daughter spends the whole week there, but the rest of us only stayed a couple of days. There I had the opportunity to teach 14 children my Knight Hussif and I had a table at my first market. I sold a few kits, including both of the golden hearts, and I was approached by the head of their embroidery guild.

I also bought the best pair of scissors and a small sharpening stone. (The skittles are just there for scale, and cause they are yummy). These scissors are great for cutting out felt!

We got back to Oamaru last Sunday with a mountain of washing and rain! Rain and more rain! Finally it cleared on Thursday and we got the washing done!

This morning I taught my original penguin Hussif as part of the Waitaki sustainable school. The two ladies I had enjoyed it and nearly finished their Penguins in the three hours we had. I am teaching this class next Saturday as well and have one person signed up for it 😀 also the Otago Daily Times man came and took some pictures of us 😀 so we will be in the paper!

Now, I have done up more heart kits and am trying to decide on the right picture for the cover.

Happy Holidays!

I love our summer Christmas, but that is probably because it’s what I’m used to.

Our day started peacefully with just myself & my man preparing, no rush. At 12:30pm the first of our family arrived, and in an hour we were a party of 11, all in our back yard, enjoying drinks and a barbecue lunch. Heaps of food as per normal. Between courses we opened presents, here is a pashmina my MIL gave me.

By 7pm we had peace restored and I was in bed by 8:30pm!

Boxing Day consisted of more great weather and a trip to the shops so our girls could spend their Xmas money. I nabbed this book :

And am now 50 pages into it. Fantastic amount of information on NZ stitching. Having such a short history, means the chances of sourcing existing work a bit easier compared to other countries. I loved finding out that Captain James Cook’s wife stitched NZ on a map before any European woman set foot here.

And I finished the first of two cushion covers for my friend.

Today is another glorious sunny day, which I will hopefully spend doing a little reading, a little sewing, and a little tidying of my craft room.

Busy busy

Starting with my unfinished piece from my last post, the cushion cover for my friend is coming together, only a few more threads to go.

Of course, I am nearly useless at only working on one project at a time, and so I have finished my frugal golden heart.

Why frugal? I want to create a design that people could have a go at the techniques of goldwork, without the huge price tag. So, I used PVC instead of leather, braid instead of purl purl, and cotton a broder instead of silk. I priced this up today and I can sell the first 10 of these kits for only $15 (NZ)!

Also for some Christmas cheer I made these

A mini goldwork kit stitched

This week I have stitched the moon goldwork design I had. The final kit will be a bit different. To keep costs down I will only have one highlight gold option and I might make the “stars” around the moon in the smaller check.

This one I have turned into a little bag & filled with sweets for the person who gave me the goldwork supplies. I think I will include a second piece of velvet in kits for those who want to make it a bag. It’s ok, but I think it is looking a little squished as a bag on its own. 

  I had some trouble with finishing. Sigh.

In other news I have done a bit on my friends cushion…

I might be about a quarter of the way round (possibly a bit optimistic), but it’s coming together & no finishing on these babies! Yah!

Also, today I did some sewing… With a machine, gah! I hate dress making! It is for my daughter & fortunately she is now old enough to do the more boring parts – cutting out the pattern, pinning it, cutting it out and zigzagging all the edges.  Still, I need to buy a zip before we can go any further on that medieval wonder!

I really should plan my blog

I’d like to be posting at least once a week, and I don’t know why I don’t! I need a plan. I’ll try to get to that tomorrow. In the meantime, here is what I’ve been doing.

Firstly the piece I made for the Mana Embroiderers Guild:

  An out door pic, here is is shown with the guild’s emblem.


And the final cover, on my needle book for modelling.  It’s current resting place is with the exiting president of the guild, which, like the other guild members, I think is fantastic and suitable. I’m looking forward to seeing them again in early January.
I have also finished the Pulled thread sampler, which was one of the 4 classes I took in March, unfortunately it is one I cannot post pics of. But I am glad to have finished 2 of the 4 classes, and have now recieved my needs list for the book binding class next March.

Over the last few weeks I have been flat out with a amateur theatre show ‘Alice the Panto’ where I got to play the Queen. It was a lot of fun, but sucked up all my time. Then on Monday I turned 40, took the week off work and had a friend stay from Wellington. We went to Fleetwood Mac, and had a great time. I also got a bit of shopping done in the big smoke of Dunedin. There they have Spotlight, which can be very touch and go in regard to embroidery supplies, but I picked up a few bargains from their clearance table including a couple of cushion covers to embroider, (for my friend whose birthday is today) these were marked wayyyyyy down from $70!  

Ok, it is meant to be all French knots with some satin stitched round areas, but I thought I’d mix it up a littl with the chain stitches, and she might also get some gold highlights too… Will see how it goes.

Oh, and the little mouse magnet? Gift from my mum, along with an A3 sized light box! Awesome mum! I wish I had something I need it for RIGHT NOW, but it will have to wait a bit.

Today I also started on the stitching side of a couple of small gold work designs. I’m going to try to just have a couple of techniques in each, to keep costs of kits down, and confidence up. I have put together some bookmark kits, and while doing so, created a business card! My friend is in the print game and she gave me a whole stack for my birthday! The next run of them will have a website too,  but first I need to create enough designs and kits to warrant a site of my own. Or should I stick with etsy? 

Completed works

In my infinite lack of wisdom, I have not been showing you the finished, finished projects. Sorry!

It seems, that this year, has been a year of bags. Funny how that kind of creeps up on you.

so, here are my bags:

Dragon Bag

this Dragon bag, was started in January and worked mostly during work lunch times. (I only a half hour) it was fun to do and a great use of the fabric I had lying around and some cheap variegated #8 perle thread I acquired at some point.

Ribbon Bag

This was a little Ribbon embroidery kit from Sophie Long in the UK. I’ve signed up to one of her monthly subscription mystery bags. it is so very sweet, didn’t take long, and ended up a bag after my partner wanted me to test out my sewing machine after he serviced it, and then I wanted a little bag to take chocolates to work in.

Elixabethan bag

My Elizabethan work bag. no current purpose, but I am happy with it,

Gold bag complete

My Golden Tree bag. I have worked out the costing of kitting this bag would be approx $50, so am now working on eiher a cheaper version or small other goldwork projects, which can be starters and cheaper to encourage more people to take it up. I am fairly sure I will sell this bag.


I also did this wee butterfly, on organza with wire and silk thread. and here are the beads I sorted out – they came from an old necklace I picked up at a second hand shop.


Wet Casalguidi

Hurrah! I have finished one project from the four classes I took in March! 

Calalguidi bag is done 🙂 I don’t know why I hesitated on the insertion stitches along the edge for so long, as they wee not as scary as I thought it would be, whipped along very nicely 

 Then I attached the loops for the cord, and joined it all up. While doing all this, it did get a little grubby, and then cause I needed my mans brute strength, it also got a little sauce on it…. Sard to the rescue! So now it is drying… All complete minus a press.


I have also completed my piece for the Mana Embroiderers Guild 25th anniversary, which I’ll show you all after they have seen it. Next stop in the Miniture Whitework class from Alison Snepp… Sadly I can’t share pics though. 

Gold work design is complete

It’s awesome when you have a design in your brain that you have to get out and as it something I love I get it done reasonably quickly. I might have to start dating things better, but love that the last post was only 8 days ago and I have prepped the outline. Now it is complete. (Btw I have a full time job, a family and am having to attend amateur theatre rehearsals 3 times a week – also I like to be in bed by 9:30pm)

It was a good process, there were several changes as required, sometimes the thread speaks for itself, and often, less is more.

Here is my original sketch:

And here is the end result:  
The process also broke my lap frame. Oops, but my amazing man made me a replacement piece, stronger than ever!

I got to play with some threads I hadn’t used before including the kid leather and the rococco wire

A very wordy post

it seems I stitch hard out! so hard I broke my lap frame last night! Luckily, it was just after I finished stitching for the night, and I didn’t damage my work, also fortunate, I have a very handy man who will no doubt fix it for me or make me a new part.

Apparently I am rough and have my butterfly nut too tight.

Also I have loads of other frames I can use in the meantime 🙂

I had hoped to post some pics online, of broken piece, updated work and my very impressive felt lined tin lid, but my cell phone was flat and I ran out of time before work.

Recently (being the last 4 days) I am making use of the magnets I received from Sophie Long – the does a monthly mystery embroidery parcel from the UK, and these magnets are very good at holding my needles while I work. I have a felt lined CD case, but after reading Mary Corbett’s Needle n Thread I decided I wanted a tin lid (metal, with a lip, but shallow) when doing my cut work and beading, to stick to the magnet to while working.

I love the piece of adhesive felt I picked up at Pete’s Emporium when I lived in Wellington – brilliant! On the back is paper – similar to the book cover seal, where I just draw around the tin lid (this one is a circle) and then cut it out, peel off back and stick inside. easy as pie!

At the moment I am instagraming a lot more, my username is qweenkaren if you want to check that out.

This weekend I am off to a little stitch-in at Timaru (1 hour drive north) with my mum and other embroidery ladies.