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!


  1. It's a lovely design. Maybe you could release it as a chart, so that we could stitch it in our favourite count fabric, then assemble using larger rolls of cardboard from kitchen rolls or toilet rolls.

  2. Great design -- and love the header too!

  3. Interesting idea, Sandra, but you'd have to find some really big pins!

  4. Betsy,

    I love that you are recycling the innards of a ball of thread--I know we did that with a toy box accessory too. Great idea!!


  5. Your Berry Pins container is beautiful, and I love the historical "Berry Pins" information too!

  6. Hi Betsy!
    So lovely things you design!
    The little Berry Pins Canister would be wonderful to stitch with the Society Of Surfine silks.Also I have those fantastic silks now as a Society-collector, and am saving them for something really special.
    Currently I am stitching your Tiny Treasures set, and soooo love it!:)

  7. Hi Betsy,

    I bet a good number of ladies who have the first set of threads would love to buy this pattern from you. I know I would and the shops who did the collection would probably love to have it for sale also!

    Just a thought!

    Connie Poole

  8. Just wonderfull!!!