Another Blackwork Knot Garden Biscornu

In my Etsy shop (also called Stitches ‘N’ Dreams), I sell charts of the biscornu that I design. I have always loved crafting, and ever since I took up stitching about 25 years ago, I’ve never been without at least one project one the go. So I thought I would have a go at selling my designs on Etsy. I’ve had a few sales, which is lovely, but even if I didn’t sell anything, I would still be stitching, and especially stitching biscornu!

However, I have been keeping an eye on which designs people seem to like the best, and there’s no doubt that my Knot Garden Biscornu is definitely the favourite. Regular readers will know that I love blackwork and beads, so I really didn’t need any more incentive to get designing another biscornu, also based on the formal outlines of a Tudor knot garden

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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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Spring is in the air

Welcome to ‘Stitches ‘N’ Dreams’! Thank you for hopping here from Handmade by Hannah, and I hope you enjoy my post, as well as all the others in this ‘Happy Spring 2014 Blog Hop. If you just arrived here and didn’t know about the blog hop, you can start at the beginning on ‘Pretty Little Things in a Box’. The blog hop is due to start on 19 April.

I love the spring! I am not a winter person, and as soon as Christmas is over I am looking for the first snowdrops poking their heads through the soil, and the first spring lambs in the fields. I love the spring bulbs with their vibrant colours, and I always get excited when I see the first baby leaves popping out.

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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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With a little bit of this and a little bit of that…

This I’ve tried to make a little time every afternoon for stitching, as I tend to try and get work each morning on the ‘day’ job. One of the loveliest things about being in The Gambia is the beautiful weather, with temperatures around 30 degrees and a cooling sea breeze, so sitting under the trees with my stitching, whilst visitors drop in for a chat and my husband brews ‘ataya’ (green mint tea) is sheer pleasure.

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A visual meditation on the theme of ‘Stillness’.

At last I’ve managed to finish the project I have been working on over the last couple of weeks, and I can now explain all about it.

In summer 2013 I visited a flower festival at my local Parish church, and whilst wandering around the beautiful historic church, I entered a small chapel where there were many candles burning. There was a small notice explaining that although lighting a candle in itself was not necessarily significant, it acted as a ‘visual prayer’ – a reminder of prayer.

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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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Ndebele inspired biscornu

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This week has been a very busy week. I have had to spend a lot of time on the day job (freelance writing), and I’ve spent most of the rest of the time watching Wimbledon tennis through my fingers! So I haven’t managed to upload any new posts. However, this evening I finished a project I’ve been working on for quite a while, and I am delighted with it.

The Ndebele tribe in southern Africa are renowned for their amazing geometric artwork, which they use to decorate their houses, artefacts and sometimes even cars! If you want to know more, and see some examples, take a look here and here.

I have always found it inspirational, and for some time I’ve wanted to have a go at designing a biscornu with an Ndebele-inspired pattern. And this is the result. It took me quite a long time to chart the design, and even longer to stitch, as it’s actually quite detailed, which is why it’s taken me a while to get it finished. Usually I stitch two identical designs for the top and bottom of a biscornu, but I knew it would take a long time, so I decided to stitch a border square instead. If you take a close look, you can see where I cheated a bit…

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I’ve uploaded the pattern to my Etsy shop, so if you are interested, you can find it here.

I’m thinking about designing some more biscornu based on art from different cultures, so watch this space. 🙂

I hope you are all enjoying your projects.

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.