A Blackwork Christmas Ornament

I’ve been on a bit of a blackwork fest recently. I have always loved blackwork – I once started stitching the Six Wives of Henry VIII in blackwork and I even managed to complete three! I still have the frames to frame the others so maybe I will actually get round to stitching them one day! I’ve made a few blackwork biscornu lately so I thought I would have a go at making a blackwork Christmas Ornament instead. I always try to make at least one new ornament each year – last year I made some tatted snowflakes, but this year I had a bit of a yearning to do some more blackwork.

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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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Snow in The Gambia?

As this post combines my life in The Gambia with some crafting things, I’m posting on both my blogs, as it seems to be relevant to both!

It does seem strange to be celebrating Christmas in temperatures of 30 degrees and (mainly) sunshine! I suppose my memories of Christmas things are always surrounded by the chill of a British winter, and even though a white Christmas is a rarity, it doesn’t seem quite right to be thinking of carols, snow and robins when it feels more like summer.

Although Gambia is mainly Muslim, Christmas is celebrated here, and Christians will prepare special food, get together with family, and generally have a good time. However, it’s much more low key than in the UK, and there’s no decorating of houses or giving presents – most people have little money to spend on extras like that. There are Christmas carols on the radio from time to time, and I remember last year listening to a children’s nativity on the radio, when youngsters read out relevant Bible passages and carols were sung, which was lovely.

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My very first tatting pattern

Firstly I should apologise for not posting for such a long time. If you follow this blog you will know that I share my time between the UK and The Gambia, and at the moment I am in Africa. This means that I’m reliant on solar power to keep my laptop charged up. Now, you may think that Gambia has unbroken sunshine, but that’s not the case at this time of year. Technically it’s winter here, and the days are often hazy or cloudy, which makes it hard to keep our solar battery charged up. As I use my laptop for my day job as a freelance, writer, and I also keep a blog about my life in Gambia (www.lifeinthegambia.wordpress.com), I often find that by the time I’ve done all that, plus emailed family and friends, there isn’t much power left to do other things. I also only have limited internet access via a stick.

However, I am hoping that I will be able to post a bit more regularly from now on. You may know that I decided to teach myself to tat earlier in the year. I have always loved the look of tatting, and had a few attempts over the years to master it, but this time I managed to find lots of useful resources on the internet, including video, which made it much easier.

I have been beavering away at my tatting whilst I am here in Gambia (much to the bemusement of our many visitors who are always fascinated by what I’m doing), and I have been making some snowflakes for Christmas decorations which I will share with you another time.

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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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