Sunday, 9 January 2022

Smithsonian Institution Window Crewel Pillow by Mazaltov's


Happy New Year 2022 to you all ! I hope you are all well and had a lovely Christmas .

The weather has been very stormy here . One big lightening strike took out our power and caused much  misery . We are back on again now , thanks to a good electrician .

Yes , it has been so gloomy . I,d love to see a bit of snow to brighten the place up , but snow rarely happens here . 

I have got a nice log fire going in the wood burning stove , to cheer us all . I sit and watch the flames from my comfy armchair . Deep in thought . I try to steer my mind from so much worry and depressing news on both the t.v and the internet .

Got to keep cheerful ! My embroidery comforts me  . I'm still working away on the Smithsonian Institution Window Crewel Pillow by Mazaltov's .  Such a long name I know ! That's what it says on the kit ! 

It is a 1970's vintage kit , but in the style of an 18th century embroidered pillow . It had not been started , but did have some of the wool missing . The colours are nothing like on the coloured picture on the front of the kit and the instructions would be very confusing if I didn't already know how to do some of the embroidery stitches.  It is very pretty and I think it would look nice on my kitchen chair .

I had thought that it would be fairly easy to do , but there are so many teeny tiny elements to stitch . I am finding it can take me an hour to stitch just one or two small flowers or a leaf . I do usually like to stitch slowly , but now I find myself trying to go faster as I had rather thought that I,d have finished this by now ! 

I try to do a couple of flowers  in bed , before switching off the light and it helps me to get off to sleep .

I have finished all the red and green areas  and am putting in all the lemon yellow flowers .

I'm saving the delicious orange flowers until last . They will be my reward for all the tedious red and green ! 

I ran out of the red crewel wool . Back in the 70's I could have contacted the company and they would have sent me some more wool ....anyway ... I  managed to match it up with some red wool from my crewel wool hoard in the cupboard !

Matching up the small piece that I had left , was very tricky and I think I must have spent a couple of hours trying to get the correct shade .

So what did Santa bring you ? I have a couple of new dolls to show you in up coming posts . So watch this space ! 

Saturday, 25 December 2021

Nadelik Lowen !


                                 Wishing all my followers Peace this Christmas Morning .

Wednesday, 8 December 2021

The reason why !


Yep !  I hurt my hand whilst gardening , cutting back bushes in the hedgerow without proper gardening gloves on . 


I got some of them out myself but the remaining two needed hospital attention , one with infection  yuck . Lovely nurse sorted me out and gently chided me about not wearing gardening gloves .

 Very sore , but it's the good , healing now kind of sore . 

Tuesday, 28 September 2021

Luna Lapin wants a Bag


            .......and so the bag was made !

 .....from scraps of silk and golden threads .

With couching stitch  ,  the magic word !

Luna says she loves purple .

She's been shopping already .  Now she wants a rain coat   !  ( I paid for a taxi  ! )

Saturday, 25 September 2021

Luna Lapin for my Mum - shoes done


After all the hard work in the garden yesterday , I decided to have a more restful weekend . 

I thought I'd crack on and make Luna's shoes . I found some nice scraps of felt in two tones of turquoise and  just enough for a pair of little shoes .

When I put in my order from Coolcrafting  for Luna's body felt , eye and arm joint buttons , I completely forgot to add a couple of Luna Shoe Buckles . So I had a look through my buttons and beads and found a couple of cheerful smiley beads  that I thought might go well with her dress .

I also found a sweet little dolphin . Not sure what I 'll do with him yet , but I like him and have put him to one side for the time being .

I made the shoe with the pattern in the Making Luna Lapin book , but then stitched it slightly differently . I added another strap which I only stitched down on one side of the shoe  so it would just stick out a little bit at the sides . I top stitched all around the shoe straps and along the edges on the upper most parts of the shoes .
 I used tiny embroidery blanket stitch around the soles of the shoes .
 Then sewed on the pink smiley button/beads , one on the side of each shoe , as buckles .

I found some elastic and threaded it through the casing of Luna's French Knickers . A couple of little stitches to close the casing and they were finished .

Then the big moment , to try them on and see if they fit . 
Hooray ! They fit ! 

I stitched another fluffy bob-tail onto the back of Luna's dress . She does have another one stitched on under her clothes .... her real one . 

                          Luna is very proud of her fluffy bobtail .
Luna says that she loves her new shoes .

I really wanted to have this finished soon , as I have other things that I want to do ....but Luna now says she needs a cross-body bag  ..... sigh ..... o.k. maybe tomorrow !  :)

Thursday, 23 September 2021

Luna Lapin no 2 - pink - for my Mum


Mum's birthday fast approaching , I decided to make her a Luna Lapin .  I haven't even finished my first one yet . So now I'm working on two sets of lovely Luna dresses . 

As you can see , we ran out of elastic !

I'm making the Polka Dot Dress from the " Making Luna Lapin " book by Sarah Peel .

It is the Polka Dot Dress pattern - page 50 in the book .

O.K So it's not Polka Dot fabric but .....

I was given a big bundle of lovely vintage sewing things from a sweet friend and lots of beautiful fabric remnants and found this gorgeous Liberty of London Cotton Tana Lawn - Tresco in amongst it all .  It seemed perfect for a Cornish Luna Lapin !

I found the collar very fiddly and found it easier to sew  it by hand . Tricky going round those curves on the sewing  machine . The rest was fairly straight forward to sew on the sewing machine .

                                     Next I will attempt to make her some shoes .

Wednesday, 11 August 2021

The Steeple Aston Cope


This is my Angel Embroidery .  The design taken from the 14th century Steeple Aston Cope .
 Opus Anglicanum means English Work , English embroidery of the church .   
The Steeple Aston Cope , it is thought , was made between 1310 and 1340 .
A beautifully embroidered , long semi-circular cape that is worn by bishop or priest , maybe in procession or during a ceremony . For a Holy Mass or Feast day . 
Here is a link to a brilliant video made by the V+A Mueseum of a virtual reconstruction of  how it originally would have looked as a Cope .
Threads of linen and fine silk don't last forever . Beetles , woodworm , moths and mould .
 Seven hundred years of history . Wars , plagues , fire and floods , upheaval of the church and Cromwell's rampaging and plundering .

This precious treasure has been kept safe in the Church of St Peter and St Paul , in Steeple Aston for seven hundred years , either on the Altar or folded away in the Sacristy cupboard drawers .  
At some point in time , someone thought to make better use of it and cut it up to make an Altar Frontal and it must have been beautiful up on the Altar during mass .
  So for some time , it was left on display up on the Altar , but , it is said that the Vicar became aware that people were coming in and trying to snip off pieces from it . Shocking ! So he arranged for it to be kept safely , and sent it ,on loan , to the Victoria and Albert Museum in London .
  It was on display there quite recently in an Exhibition on medieval Opus Anglicanum  and now put away into safe storage . Good to know that it is being  kept safe for future generations to study and appreciate .

                                                    An Angel on horseback , playing a lute .

All of these pictures are of my embroidery interpretation of it and  my embroidery doesn't come anywhere near the excellence of the real thing .

 Opus Anglicanum was at it's very best during this period . Then came plague times and sadly these fine embroidery techniques were not passed down . 

           Look at the sweet expression on the horse's face !  I fell in love !
......and on a small scrap of upholstery fabric I drew it on with my pencil and embroidered him with cotton and silk threads , a few gold threads and seed beads .

 I began to stitch and as I stitched , I found myself meeting the minds and thoughts of the medieval hands that originally drew and embroidered it .

 I looked forward to any odd minute that I could grab to sit and embroider it .

I didn't think I would do so much of it , or I would have used a larger piece of material .

I enjoyed making the tiny tassels on the horse bridle and across his chest I stitched a kind of braid, weaving it as I stitched .
 The halo around the Angel's head I stitched with gold threads .
The lute has playable strings !

                In both embroidery and illumination , I love the medieval sense of humour !
 This kind of English Ecclesiastical embroidery is known as Opus Anglicanum .

  I am uncomfortable about putting it in a frame.  I don't think it would look right somehow .
 I don't think medieval textiles were ever made to be displayed the way we do today , hung in a frame covered with glass . 
 Wall hangings were hung just as they were and Church vestments , albs, copes and altar cloths were worn and then stored carefully away in oak coffers in the Sacristy of the Church or Cathedral .

 I ,m thinking of working on it some more , out onto the green fabric and maybe make a devotional piece of some kind .
I hope you have enjoyed seeing  some of my needlework  . 

 Update - here is a link to the V+A Museum's page all about the Steeple Aston Cope - enjoy !

I love the V+A !

Just in case you were wondering.......

 I embroidered this about twenty years ago and I originally posted it onto my other blog which is mostly about gardening and other more general things .You may have seen it there . I am now gradually moving all my embroidery posts over , to this , my Cornish Needlework Basket journal  .                
                                Debbie x

Monday, 9 August 2021

The Smithsonian Institution Window Crewel Pillow by Mazaltov's

 O.K. I,m back ! I have been flitting about from one project to another , not being able to settle on any one thing . The pandemic has really unsettled me and unlike other people who have taken up new hobbies and learnt new skills during the lockdowns .....I have just found myself ..well ....frozen !

I have a more serious project being prepared in the background , I am still gathering everything I need for that and I need time alone ,solitude , in absolute peace and quiet . It has been very hard to find , peace and quiet and solitude .

So anyway , in the meantime I have found a vintage kit that I can carry with me on our travels , doing a little here and there , now and then . Nice and easy , not worry about it too much .

I,m sorry I don't seem to have taken a picture of the kit in it's packet , I,ll have to take one and  add it later ,  but it is the Smithsonion Institution Window Crewel Pillow by Mazaltov's . A complete unstarted kit , probably dating from the 1970's I should think .

                                                   It turned out to be a right pain ! 

I began stitching it and it seemed to me that the colours were just not right somehow .

I carried on with it according to the instructions . There are only two shades of blue and two shades of green so I thought it must be correct ?

I embroidered the whole of this border in very fiddly whipped stem stich  .

I was thinking to myself " do I stitch this according to the instructions or how it looks on the picture ?

I decided to do it - as it looks on the picture . After all , the picture of the completed design was the reason I chose the kit !

I worked out in my mind that it very much looked to me as if whoever had bought this kit originally , they maybe took one look at the scary instructions and gave up without even starting it ....then maybe they used some of the wool for something else and then when they decided to re-sell the kit , replaced the missing wool with  the wrong colour shades . The wool was all unravelled and I really did need to sort it all out and make each colour into nice tidy twisted skeins .

I cant believe that the manufacturer would have put the wrong wool shades into the kit .

      So , I sorted out the correct looking shades from my hoard .

Unpicked most of it , that pale yellowy green really offended the eye ! I might leave the fiddly Whipped stem stitch , it took me so long to do !

                                          ......   and started again ! 

Monday, 31 May 2021

Luna Lapin - so the thing is ....


I have been really busy in the garden . I haven't stopped stitching , but I haven't had time to upload my photos .

The Lettuces are coming along nicely now that we,ve had some rain . It's a very busy time in the vegetable garden .

                      I have made good progress with my first ever Luna !

She is very shy and would not be seen without her best undies on ! The pattern for these pretty French Knickers is in the Luna Lapin book .

The lace is a bit fiddly to stitch , but I took my time and I am delighted with them !


                                     I might even make myself a pair !


                                 Luna is also delighted with them !

                        .........and here she is ! Her name is Meadowsweet .

So now I am making one for my lovely mum . This one will be even more special for her , in lovely pink felt . Then when they are both done , I will be pulling out my sewing machine and begin making lovely Luna dresses . I am already sorting out some pretty Liberty floral fabrics .

The last time I used my sewing machine smoke came out of it ! I did take it to be fixed  but not used it since then . I am little bit nervous of using it again .

 I have also followed the instructions in the Luna Lapin Book most precicely and have had no problems at all . 

I am stitching both of these Luna's bodys by hand .

The book recommends that the clothes are machine stitched ,which on one hand means it should go faster but on the other hand can't be slipped into my handbag and done so easily on my travels . So maybe I will make some things by hand stitching after all .