A Blackwork Christmas Ornament Biscornu

If you read this blog regularly, you will know that I love miniature stitching especially biscornu, and that I also love blackwork and beads. So what better way to indulge my passion than to design something that combines all three? The rest of the world may not want to be thinking about Christmas yet, but we crafters need to get ahead, so I thought I would design a biscornu with a Christmas theme, that could be used as a hanging ornament or just as a Christmas decoration.

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Another biscornu

At last my latest biscornu is ready to be shared! It’s another of my ‘Visual meditation’ series that I wrote about in my post ‘A Visual meditation on the theme of Stillness‘, so if you want to know my thinking behind this series, do take a look.

The theme of this biscornu is ‘Fearfully and wonderfully made’, inspired by Psalm 139 verses 14 – 15: ‘I praise you, for I am fearfully and wonderfully made’. It’s a reminder that each one of us is unique and special to God, and that God knew us from the moment we were conceived. It celebrates the wonder of the human body and the design is based on the DNA strand. Of course, you may find it reminds you of something completely different. The symbolism is not necessarily Christian; it could relate to any aspect of spirituality, or you may just like the design. It does look a little Celtic, rather like Celtic knotwork.

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Christmas biscornu

Having arrived back in The Gambia this week, I’m beginning to get my breath back and turn my attention to crafty things again. I’m still beavering away at the tatting, but of course, I’m beginning to think about Christmas as well! For a Brit, the idea of Christmas when the temperature is in the 30s is a bit strange, and although Christmas is celebrated here, it’s not a huge festival. And there is nothing like the commercial frenzy that you get in the UK, and I daresay in other countries too. Last year I came back to Gambia in early December, and it was a huge relief to get away from the craziness (although I did make, wrap and deliver presents before I left).

However, last year I decided to open my Etsy shop, and at the moment I am focusing on selling cross-stitch patterns, which can be downloaded. Naturally, trying to post physical items would be impossible from The Gambia. I designed some little Christmas biscornu last year, and I’ve just reactivated the listings ready for this year. I love the quirkiness of biscornu, which are surprisingly simple to make, and don’t take too long either. They are perfect for little gifts, but they could be made into tree ornaments very simply by adding a length of ribbon.

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80th birthday biscornu

Over the years I have given quite a lot of hand-made presents to may family, but an 80th birthday is rather special! Earlier this year my mother celebrated her 80th birthday, so I wanted to design something rather special for her as a memento. So I set to work creating a biscornu worthy of the occasion, and after a few false starts, this was the finished result…

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I was really pleased with how it turned out. I used a combination of stitches, including some cross stitch, needlepoint and hardanger. I also used crystal white seed beads and bugle beads for some added sparkle. The finishing touch was a tiny ‘Hand-made with love’ charm which I stitched to the  front.

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I always enjoy making gifts for my family, but I was especially pleased with this biscornu.

Knot Garden Blackwork Biscornu

Knot Garden Blackwork Biscornu

This little biscornu was inspired by the design of Tudor knot gardens. I have always loved blackwork; I really enjoy trying out different filling patterns to experiment with the effect.

I stitched this biscornu very traditionally using black thread on a white background. I used antique gold beads, and an ‘aged’ gold button to add to the historical effect.

Blackwork is believed to have been introduced to the UK by Catherine of Aragon, Henry VIII’s first wife, and was very popular on clothing at the time – some of Holbein’s portraits show clothes stitched with blackwork.

If you’d like to have a go at stitching this, the pattern is available here in my Etsy shop ‘Stitches ‘N’ Dreams’.

I would love to hear about your projects, especially if you enjoy blackwork.