Of Deer and Horned Gods…


I experimented wth using crewel wool for this stag head motif, still using split stitch. I have to say I was suprised how much more difficult it was to work – although thinking about it, it is fairly obvious that the smooth silk would be better behaved than the scratchy, fluffy, wirey wool. But it does give a more rustic, vintage type feel to it which is nice for a change.

I also did this little leaping deer in silk, which is quite sweet. I’ll show you tomorrow.

Death Cap

Death Cap

So much learnt!

Here’s a brief summary:

  1. Dyed the Salamanca fabric in tea and backed it with cotton

  2. Raised stem stitch band in cotton (twice)

  3. Bullion knots in cotton

  4. Needlelace (Single Brussels stitch) in cotton

  5. Padded felt slip in wool viscose and cotton padding

  6. Brick stitch in Crewel wool

  7. Detached woven picot in cotton

  8. Couching in cotton

  9. French knots in cotton

  10. Lettering in backstitch and skull in padded satin stitch in cotton.

The afterglow of successful creation. I’m basking right now.

In which I do some fluffy stuff

In which I do some fluffy stuff

According to the field guide, this is the ‘bag-like volva’ part. 

Anyway. You know how when you touch a dry mushroom, parts of it feels a bit soft and velvety? I wanted to convey that kind of texture to this portion, and decided to use Crewel wool and techniques to achieve this.

Using a Crewel needle, I used one strand of Appleton Bros worsted wool in three shades of mushroomy. I used Brick stitch for this, a satisfyingly regimented kind of long and short stitch, worked in horizontal bands, lovely for trying to convey the way that the Death Cap sort of bursts forth from it’s, well, it’s bag-like volva really.

My Needlework Heritage

My Needlework Heritage


I really need to get better at taking photos, I know, I know.

These are all on one piece (top photo) of freestyle hand embroidered insects, by my Mum.

This is the piece my Mum is most proud of. It’s counted cross stitch from a pattern (I don’t know who by) on black Aida of a stone bust of the Virgin Mary.

Super kitsch classic counted cross stitch. This was in my bedroom when I was little and I still love it now. A doll’s house. My 9th birthday present.

This was one of those work-in-progress pieces that took my Mum years to complete basically because I think she found it so hard on her eyes with the size and all the different shades. It’s on evenweave with linen threads I think.

My Great Aunty Kora’s crewel work fire screen that she did when she was in her mid to late 30s, so about 1957ish? Apparently it was for a competition run by the Blackpool Evening Gazette and she came 2nd.

Mum has also given me a whole bag full of amazing 1930s-1950s white cotton tablecloths and doilies and things with hand embroidery and crocheted edging, and reams of hand lace and tatting too! Call me sacrilegious but these were rotting in a drawer anyway so I’ve dyed half of them to velvet black to go on my stall at the next Reetsweet event on 5th December (and you can read a sweet interview with me about my jewellery on their blog here). The rest were really too pretty or plain or too small but will all, I’m sure be upcycled and embroidered on soon.

She also finished my pillow for me. It looks so good!

In other news…I’ve been a bit lax lately posting, I’m sorry. Just. So. Busy!

But expect a flurry of posts coming this way over the next few days as I have a week of free evenings next week. A whole week! When I say ‘free’ obviously I mean I will still be working on various projects, but I am taking December off from doing my Aromatherapy case studies, so no after-work massages, and lots of sofa-craft time.

Plus I’m going to the Harrogate Knitting and Stitching exhibition on Sunday so you know they’ll be loads of pics of my haul.