Willing Hands Needlework Design

"She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands"
Proverbs 31:13

Welcome to my blog! I created this blog to keep you updated on my teaching schedule, designs, new designs, kit availability,
works in progress and other stitching related activities. From time to time I'll also be adding extra info about goings-on in my life.

To see my current teaching schedule, teaching pieces and retired designs, click on "older posts" at the bottom of each page.

Thank you for visiting!

Thursday, August 26, 2010

New Design

The photo above is of my newest design, which I did as an experiment using silk threads from the "Society of Soie Surfine". The society is actually a group of stitchers who are trying out a new super-fine silk thread made available through several well known needlework shops in the US and Canada. You can find out more about it by contacting The Attic, Needle in a Haystack, and Traditional Stitches. There are more shops involved in the society but I can't recall them just now.

The threads are being dyed by Gloriana Threads. When you sign up for a 6 month series of threads, you receive one skein of 100 yards in a pre-determined color each month for the first five months and in the sixth month you receive a good sized piece of your choice of 40 or 45 count hand dyed linen. The first series is now complete.

I used all five colors and the 40 count linen to make this design and worked it in cross stitch over one with a single ply of thread in the needle. It is my take-off on a "Berry Pins" container. Berry Pins were commercially made tubular containers of glass head sewing pins which were marketed in the late 19th and early 20th centuries . The tube was made of cardboard and filled with padding into which the pins were inserted. Most of the Berry Pins I've seen had black headed pins which, when all of them are inserted in the container, resemble a blackberry sitting on top of the tube. I'm assuming that this is where the item gets its name, but I don't know for certain.

My container is formed around the plastic spool which is found inside a ball of Cordonnet thread. I lined it with silk fabric, attached the stitched linen to the outside, sewed on a bottom panel for the tube and then filled the tube with a rolled up tapered strip of wool felt. Finally, I embellished the container with ribbon lacing up the back seam, ending in a bow. The ribbon is 4mm "Bluegrass" from Gloriana and it is a wonderful match for the threads. The finished design is about 1 3/4 inches high and 1 1/8 inches in diameter.

Since the supplies I used are not readily available, I doubt that I will be marketing this design, unless I come up with a variation of it using more common threads and fabric. It was a little hard on my eyes stitching something so tiny, but I enjoyed doing it - hope that you enjoy the photo!

New Header

If you've been to this blog before, you'll notice that I've changed the header photograph. The new photo is of a stitched version of my business logo. The name of the business, Willing Hands, comes from the Bible and is found at Psalms 31:13. It is part of the psalm about the virtuous woman and reads, "She seeketh wool and flax and worketh willingly with her hands".

The logo incorporates the wool ( sheep ), the flax ( blue flowering plants ) and the willing hands, in the lower area. Between the hands is a woven cross stitch which I like to call a Celtic cross stitch because it reminds me of a simple Celtic knot. I use the woven cross stitch frequently in my designs, usually as an edging stitch worked in pearl cotton.

Thursday, July 15, 2010

A new design experiment

I just completed this new design yesterday. It was really just playing with a fun color of linen ( Witch's Brew ) and an idea for an envelope shaped mini etui. It worked but not as well as I wanted it to and so I'm chalking it up as a learning experience. The envelope points need to overlap more - now I know. I have plans to use this shape with a sampler inspired theme and am sketching on it now.

The third photo shows the 'back' side of the envelope tied closed. The second photo shows the outside of the entire envelope, unfolded and the first photo shows the inside of the envelope, opened up. The folded up size is 3 x 3 inches. I used several overdyed flosses from Gloriana, one of which, "Harvest Grape", provided the color theme. Eventually I may make this available as a chart and instructions but have no plans to teach of kit it.

Thursday, July 8, 2010

Another toy!

Even though I swore that the jack in the box was the last toy I would design for the Toy Chest Etui, here's another one. The idea came from Diane Dotsko in New Jersey. I stayed with her in her gorgeous home when I taught for the Samplermakers last month. As frequently happens during Toy Chest classes, a discussion began on possible new toys. Almost always I think about the ideas but don't pursue them. Diane's was so good that I had to run with it, especially since I have horses and have loved them since childhood. This toy is a hobby horse. The pole is an awl and the horse head is a protective cover for the pointed tip of the awl. If I can work out the logistics, eventually this will be a kit available to anyone who has taken the Toy Chest Etui workshop.

By the way, the idea for the jack in the box pictured below under "New Designs" came from my dear friend Marianne Adler of Seattle.

Friday, July 2, 2010

New Designs

Jack in the Box Emery
Christmas in Virginia Needle Book
Springtime Needle Book

Above are photos of three new designs. Two are needle books - one with an Easter theme and one with a Christmas theme. The third is an additional toy for the Toy Chest Etui. It's a jack in the box emery. The 'jack' is an emery which looks like a sunflower and it actually pops up on a spring when the box is opened.

Thursday, July 1, 2010


The photos below show some of my current workshop designs. You can email me for further information on these designs and on workshops in general.

Hope that you enjoy the photos!

Current Workshop Designs

Toy Chest Etui
Exact Change Etui
Gustav's Graffiti
Helix Etui
This One's for Betty Etui
Pauline's Heart Etui

All Year Square