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!!

Apology number 2!!

All I seem to do at the moment is apologise, but I must do it again!

Due to a very slow recovery after a recent procedure on my back I am unable to attend  the Lacemakers and Needlecraft Fair at the Havant Leisure Centre on Saturday 21st November. I am sorry that I will not be here to meet up with all of you who have become “stitching friends” over the years, but I am doing my best to be back to normal as soon as possible.

I am finding that doing any one thing, whether sitting or standing, for any length of time causes me problems, so at the moment I am flitting between different things and basically getting nowhere fast!! I do think things are getting better slowly. My husband is proving to be a very good taxi service as I am still unable to drive.

In the meantime I have been able to do a little bit of sewing. I have completed some of the background music on my Goldwork Saxophone.

saxophone oct









Those of you who can read music should now be able to work out the etching on the bell of the Saxophone.

I have also completed another colourway of Southwark – this time it is in Peach and Cream threads on cream Mono canvas. Hopefully an alternative for those of you that do not like stitching on black canvas.

Peaches and cream










This now means that Southwark is available in four colourways – two stitched on black canvas and two on a light canvas.

For my next project I have gone completely mad!! I have wanted to stitch Nova, a design by Genny Morrow, for several years, but have always taken it out of the “to do” pile, had a look at the thread list and size and then put it back in the pile for another day. The design uses nearly 120 colours of stranded floss and is made up of 396 different squares – a big project. I recently had the oportunity to do some minature stitching with my Goldwork tutor Shelley and thought – Why don’t I stitch Nova in minature?

So —— Nova is being stitched on 40 count silk gauze instead of the 18 count listed in the design, with one strand of floss instead of four, and using a ball-point beading needle (the only one that will go through the gauze). It is fun and, surprisingly, I am not finding it too difficult to work on such a small scale. Sometimes you have to complete the stitches in an unusual order, especially when couching threads – the holes in the canvas are difficult to find when the thread to be couched has been put in place, but on the other hand I do not have to lay multiple strands in place. I also have to think again when the instruction ask for two different colours of floss to be blended in the needle – not exactly possible if you are only using one strand to start with! To get some idea of the size, each square in the photo below is about 0.25 inches wide!! I find that on a good night I can complete between 3 and 4 squares.

Nova 1







Hi Everyone

For those of you hoping to see me at the Tonbridge Lace Fair on Sunday 19th October – I must offer my apologies. Unforunately have had to inform the organisers of this lace fair that I will not be able to attend this year. I know this is short notice but some of you will be aware that I have been having problems with my back throught the year, which has now meant I need an operation on it. I have just been informed that this operation should take place this next week and will mean that I am unable to drive or stand for any length of time for at least a couple of weeks afterwards. Hopefully sitting and stitching will be allowed!!

I hope to back to my usual self soon.



New Years resolutions

Why the title of New Years Resolutions in July? Well I decided several years ago that instead of having a New Years resolution to stop doing something, that instead I would try to be positive and try something new every year. I do not have to decide on New Years Day what that something will be, but by the end of the year I have to learn a new technique and have a completed piece to show for it by the end of the year. Since I have started on this I must admit that all my new techniques have involved a needle in some way and I can see this continuing for a few more years. They  have ranged from box making – I made the box to show off one of my designs – Astral Minor, through beadweaving (a bracelet was completed) to quilting. The latter was supposed to be a simple Jelly Roll design, but ended up being double-bed sized! I did get a new sewing machine out of that project as my old one which was over 25 years old could not cope!!












Most of my favorite projects have involved learning a traditional embroidery techniques – over the last few years I have had a go a ribbon embroidery, Mountmellick work and last year was Goldwork – the Art Nouveau Lily being my introduction to that technique. I can’t think of one of my new techniques that I have not enjoyed learning and most I can see myself revisiting once I have more time – my things to do in the future pile is getting larger!!  Some techniques I have enjoyed so much that I have started another piece virtually straight away as in the case of the Goldwork Saxophone.

However I don’t think I have finished a new project quite as quickly as this years technique. I had the opportunity to attend a one-day workshop that Shelley (my Saxophone tutor) was running on a Sunday back in June. We were given the choice of two designs to work on as well as two different colourways. I decided to be different and came up with my own colours!

Shelleys designs

Shelleys designs









By the end of the day I had learnt some new stitches but still had a lot of work to do.

End of workshop

End of workshop












As I had enjoyed the day so much I decided to buy the instructions and fabric to complete the second design as well.  Both designs were completed within 4 weeks!! This is definitely a technique that will be repeated again soon. I am already thinking about a large design that I can work on once the Saxophone is finished.

Canterbury BelleSherwood Rose


Hi again – this should be the last time today!! I am now going to do some stitching.

There is a new design to be added to the Little Ones series. This is in response to a request by a lady called Barbara at the Havant show last November. She asked if I could work out the threads to do one of the Little Ones but in peach. Hopefully I have gone one better and come up with a new design as well – this one is called Pente. The instructions are not quite ready yet but if any one wants the thread list to use for one of the other Little One designs they have already bought then get in touch with me via the contact button on my website. There are now seven different colourways for this series.












The goldwork Saxophone is progressing very slowly, mainly due to a problem I have developed with my back for which I am having treatment. I does mean I have had difficulty working on the large slate frame that it is being stitched on. I should be getting my new trestles to support the frame properly for stitching sometime in the next couple of weeks – a birthday present from Paul my husband.