Whitework finished and a New Adventure

I have just realised that I have not shown the finished Whitework sampler – so here it is – it was actually finished back in July. The four sides have been hemmed and then it has been “sewn” to some mount board to give it some protection and to also allow me to carry it around easily. The finished piece is about the size of an A2 sheet of paper.










First the Saxophone, then the Whitework  sampler –  what am I going to do next?

The answer is that from 12th September I am going to be very busy learning lots of new techniques for the next three years. A couple of months ago I heard that I had been accepted onto the Future Tutor course run by the Royal School of Needlework at Hampton Court.  I am very excited about the opportunity I have been given and know I am very lucky to be taught so many techniques by some of the best embroiderers around, and at the end to be able to pass this knowledge onto others. My time table for the first term has me learning seven different embroidery techniques!!

What does this mean for Needlework by Nikki? There are unlikely to be any new designs while I am studying – I think I might be a bit busy with other stitching!! But my existing designs will still be available for sale via my website and wherever possible I will continue to take my “shop” to the local Lace Fairs that I have attended previously.

I will try to keep you all updated on my new adventure and when possible post some pictures of my work.

Whitework – update 2

The needleweaving progressed quite quickly, but used a lot of thread. I am now well into the third ball of DMC perle 12 thread since I started stitching this Whitework piece.

Two sides complete two sides 2









Then it was onto the final two wide borders – first up was the longer of the two sides.

Third side complete








And by the end of June I was well on the way to completing the final side.

End of June 1Side 4 -nearly there








Two weeks later and all the borders were finished and as predicted previously there were an awful lot of coral knots.

All borders complete 1







Now there is just the hems to sort out.

Whitework update

By the end of April I had all the threads withdrawn for the borders and the hems done on six of the borders. I managed to find 9 different methods of heming the narrow borders that form two sides of the design.

April 27th 2016 pt1








There are over 400 coral knots in the longer border – and this is only a narrow border.  I don’t want to think about how many I may have to do on the wider borders!

April 27th 2016 pt2








Next up is some needleweaving.


There is a new addition to the Little Ones series – Pente has arrived. This makes a total of six designs in the series and seven different colourways.

pente  web

The instructions are available from my website – on the Little Ones page.


Having finished my Saxophone it was time to start a new project on my monthly workshops with Shelley Cox. I decided to have a go at a new technique and settled on Pulled and Drawn work. I am working a sampler to include as many stitches as possible from the two techniques. My first attempt at working out a grid meant that there were going to be 99 different pulled thread techniques – a quick trip back to the drawing board cut this down to 63! Despite most of my needlework involving counting threads – it took several attempts to get the first few squares right. I kept “losing” the canvas threads when the were pulled together by my stitches.

I started this piece back in September and by March I had completed just over half of the 63 squares.

Whitework 1 - March 1st

Whitework 1 – March 1st

Whitework 2- March 1st

Whitework 2- March 1st










I then picked up speed and managed to finish the rest of the squares in only 2 weeks.

Pulled work completed

Pulled work completed









This meant that on my next visit to Shelley I was able to start pulling out the threads for the Drawn work borders. This took longer than expected as I needed to keep the withdrawn canvas threads in a good enough state to be able to weave them back in at the end of the borders. By my next visit to Shelley I had managed to pull out most of the necessary threads and had started to group the remaining threads together.

Whitework 4

Whitework – April 9th








Southwark – another new colour

Southwark now has a new colourway available – meaning there are now a total of 5 versions. This new version is at the request of Lesley P. – one of my regular customers. She asked  me to arrange a list of threads replacing the Sea Blue with the Jade colour which was used to stitch one of the Zephyr designs. Here is the result of her work.

Jade and Sand - Lesley stitch










If you have previously bought the instructions for Southwark and would like the details of the threads used in this version, then get in touch with me via the contact page on my website.

Lesley has also stitched the Magic Carpet design replacing the dark peach thread with a brown thread. The two photos below show the difference that can be achieved by changing just one thread. My version is on the left and Lesley’s on the right.

Magic carpet Lesley's colour


At last!!

The instructions for Zephyr are now ready and available for sale. Included in the instructions are the lists of the threads needed to stitch it in four different colourways.

Peaches and Cream

Zephyr Peaches and Cream










Black and White

Zephyr Black and White










It can also be stitched in Bronze/Green and Jade/Grey. Here are pictures of Storm at Sea stitched in these two colourways to give an impression of what Zephyr might look like.

green bronze jade grey

Purple Box

Last year’s stitching included a purple “box” I completed as an entry into a competition held in memory of a member of our branch of EG. As this member was the person who encouraged me to join the branch, I decided to stitch a piece of work that would show many of the techniques that I had been introduced to through workshops run by the branch.

Purple Box 1










The outside of the box was four panels of crewelwork with a ribbon embroidery lid. Most of the designs were my own but the crewelwork images were parts of designs from some of my books which I resized and altered the colours and some of the stitches – as I was running out of time – lunch breaks at work were not long enough!!

Purple Box - Lid 1









When the lid was removed the box opened up to reveal four labelled needle cases which held each of the style of needle I had used and a second box. The sides of this inner box were different styles of canvaswork – beading, thread couching and bargello. The final side was one of the blocks from my Southwark design.

Purple Box 2








The lid to this inner box was decorated with goldwork.

Purple Box - Lid 2










When this second lid was removed the box opened up again to reveal a place for storing stitching tools and a cross stitched scissor case. I was lucky enough to find purple handled scissors and a purple seam-ripper, tape measure and thimble to go into this inner area. The construction of the box was definitely a challenge – it was eventually finished 2 hours before the meeting started!! If I do this again I need to think and research more carefully the construction details before doing the stitching or find a workshop!!

Purple Box 3







PS. I came second – so I was very pleased with my first competition entry.

Catch up 1

This will be the first of several catch up posts, as I realised I have completed quite a lot over the last year that I have not told you about.

The first “finish” to tell you about is the Saxophone. I finally finished it exactly two years after it was started. This has to be the longest length of time between starting a project and getting it finished and on the wall.










This first photo shows it finished and stretched – the stretching was a test in itself! This was the first piece of work I had stretched that could not be layed flat upside down. It had to rest on its little ring of bubble wrap whilst I was tugging away at the back. I ended up with a blister on my little finger, where I was using it to brace my hand whilst do in the lacing.

Saxophone framed 2









The above photo of it framed is not very clear as I had difficulties taking the photo and trying to avoid reflections in the glass. It took Paul and myself quite a while to pick out the mount colours and frame that we wanted but I think Adrian at Wealden Framing Service in Hawkshurst has done a wonderful job building up the mounts to make a box frame for the Saxophone. The whole piece is now up on the wall in our lounge.

Long Time – No Posts!!

Yes it has been a long time since the last message, but I thought not a lot had happened to be reported on. But on looking back at the last few months I realized that I had managed to stitch more than I thought.

Firstly the reason for not much happening. As in my last post I reported that I was taking a long time to recover from the procedure on my back, to the extent that in December I was referred to a different specialist who requested another MRI scan to see what, if anything, had happened since the last scan had been taken two procedures earlier. The result was – nothing!! So this led to me having to have an operation on my back at the end of March to remove most of the disc that was causing the problem. So another two months off work to recuperate. At least I was just about able to attend the Weald Lace Fair a few days before the operation. It was hard work, but lovely to meet up with some old friends that I hadn’t been able to see for nearly a year. However, although the operation was successful in that the disc is no longer pressing on the nerve, I still have a lot of pain because of the inflammation caused on the nerve over the last couple of years, and it has now been decided that I need to rest my back as much as possible and avoid all the movements that trigger an increase in pain. This basically means no pharmacy for several more months (standing for any length of time is a major pain trigger!!) and having a slightly (sometimes this is an understatement) “foggy” head due to the pain killers. It also means that I should not sit in one position for any length of time so I have to limit my stitching.  I am sometimes frustrated with my limitations, but try to manage to keep a smile on my face.

Another issue that came to my notice in April was problems with my website. My website hosting company made changes to their website designs to make them more suitable to the many platforms we use to view the internet these days. I had the impression that the changes would not cause me any problems as I only had a very basic shop package. Wishful thinking on my part!!

Firstly my site disappeared for some people. If you are one of those then make sure that the address you have saved in your bookmarks is http://www.needleworkbynikki.co.uk.  There were other addresses that lead to the site but these no longer work.

Next I discovered that many of the photos had been reassigned to the wrong products and that the multiple colours for each design had disappeared. The photos have hopefully all been attached back to the proper designs now, but I still have not worked out how to attach multiple images. This is a problem I am working on.

Finally I discovered that the hosting company in their wisdom decided that my site was a wedding list site – I can’t think why!! This does mean that the contact button has disappeared and been replaced with a sign in button.

Please bear with me while I try to resolve these problems. I am having to redesign the website with a new design package from my hosting company and this is not easy when I have a pain-killer induced “foggy” brain and am not supposed to sit in the same position for a long length of time. I will get there as I keep telling myself!!

If you want to order any designs then rather than use the website direct you can send me an email requesting a design and giving your postal address (please no payment details in the email) and I will send you a PayPal invoice for payment.

Now a couple of photos of one of the projects I have finished since I last posted.

Nova - last November

Nova – last November

Nova has now been finished – a fabric mount made for it which was lightly embroidered. I had to use a curved needle as I decided the mount needed something added after I had finished all the stretching. The final size of the stitched area is 14cm by 17.5cm – if it had been stitched as designed on 18 count mono canvas it would have been 30.5cm by 37cm. The colours of a few blocks were changed when I had completed the design as they did not appear quite right. This was because I was only using one strand of floss throughout and Genny Morrow had a variable number of strands depending on the block design, therefore certain stitches (especially couching stitches) were more dominant in my piece and had to be replaced by a more subdued colour so as to not over-power the other colours in a block. So here we are 396 blocks later:-

Nova finished

I really enjoyed working on this scale and can already see me stitching other “large” designs in this way.

More complete projects will follow soon, but now I must move chairs!!