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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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 trio of counted thread bookmarks

I’ve been on a bit of a counted thread spree recently. I love counted thread, and I haven’t done any for a while, but I decided to add some stitches into my last biscornu, and that gave me the inspiration to try doing some more.

Victoria Sampler has a wonderful collection of free patterns. I often turn to them when I want something small but beautiful to stitch, and I was really delighted with this ‘Friends Count‘ bookmark. In the end, I stitched three of them – each slightly different (although there I did make one ‘deliberate’ mistake!).

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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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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.

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.