My Dearest Deer (plush of the month)

I made another plush from NazFX Studios, just in time before the next project is looming around the corner (yay for holidays).

This one is a cute little fawn, with true Bambi vibes.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved

I changed my deer a bit from the original version. I used tan instead of white, left off the antlers, and moved the ears to a more natural position. Isn’t she cute? And I’m never going to make another one. Really. You’d have to pay me serious money, but this won’t become a “you remember it’s my birthday” pattern. It’s a good pattern, and it’s a lovely plush, but it’s also a hell lot of work. But I’m glad I finished her and she’s already been adopted by the other plushies.


The Art of …

… needle lace, by Hungarian artist Ágnes Herczeg

Born in the town of Kecskemét, Agnes Herczeg is a talented Hungarian textile artist. She graduated from the Hungarian University of Fine Arts in 1997. While studying, she has learned many traditional handicraft techniques, from embroidery and lace-making to macramé, and weaving. Creating her works, Agnes uses only with natural materials – tree branches, roots, fruits, seeds, yarns, threads, textiles, which supplement in a single composition. They seem imbued with rays of light, their stories are unusual, the embodiment of elegance and harmony. Combining innovative techniques with traditional handicraft, Agnes has created one-of-a-kind art gallery. In particular, combining lace with various materials – ceramic, wood, and coconut shell. According to Agnes, lace-making is an extremely time consuming occupation. For example, it takes Agnes several days just to complete a small piece. – source Art Kaleidoscope

I encourage you to check out either of the above links to see more of this artist’s work. I’m amazed at the amount of fine detail and emotion that Herczeg is able to capture in such small pieces of art.

The Garden, Agnes Herczeg. Image from


Lace Art by Agnes Herczeg. mage from Fubiz Media

The Bath by Agnes Herczeg. Image from

Grasshopper by Agnes Herczeg. Image from the artist’s website.


Why Grow up When you Can Be an Axolotl Instead?

Axolotls aren’t just every cool animals, they are also extremely cute, so when the author Seanan McGuire posted the current project of a Patreon creator whose monthly pattern was an axolotl, I couldn’t resist. Also, 7,50 each month for a sewing pattern including machine embroidery files is dirt cheap. I know I’ve paid three times that money for some. I also like the idea of having a new small project every month. So please meet Seanan, named after the lady whose fault it is.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

©Giliell, all rights reserved Bulbasaur approves!

I’ll have to make a second one for my sister, but not in black, because tracing a pattern on black minky is a job for people who murdered mother and father. If your sewing fingers are itching, give NazFX Studios a try.

Corona Crisis Crafting XIV: More Masks

With the kids back to school, me and Mr back to work, more masks are needed. After all, neither me nor Mr. have any intention of washing a handful of masks each night. The following are the most exciting. Usually for the patterned fabric there’s 2 or three more without any embellishments. Thanks to our panda for modelling. She doesn’t need any masks of her own but thinks they look cool.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

More under the fold.

[Read more…]

Corona Crisis Crafting XII: Revenge of the Sewing Machine

Making all those masks required that I somewhat clean up my sewing area and it reminded me of how much I love sewing and embroidery,and also Lidl had plain clothing on sale. So here’s a few nice things that I now own.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

More masks. I wanted some that match my clothing. I also changes the pattern a bit. The original pattern was made by an Asian woman and while differences on average are small, nobody ever accused my nose of being average. It’s more like something you’d find on a Greek statue if such prominent features didn’t have the tendency to break off. It’s also bigger, which makes it a lot more comfortable to wear, as there’s more room in front of nose and mouth.

Cute T-shirts:

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As you can see, my dear Marie Antoinette goes back to a time when there was a lot less fabric needed to cover my ass. Bright flowers on dark fabrics are just my thing.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

As are unicorns. The pattern sits a bit low, but not quite as low as on Marie Antoinette, as my tits fill up some space.

And a dress. With pockets!

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Please excuse the chaos in the background. I did not clean all of it… The next pic will show the difference between a dress sitting on a mannequin and a dress sitting on a fat lady. I tried to take a selfie, which is not that easy if you want to show your dress. You can also see one of my masks. It says “Wash your hands, no seriously”.

©Giliell, all rights reserved

Oh, and I made another pest doctor mask:

©Giliell, all rights reserved

This time a bit more sinister. I think it’s something I could wear to a ren fair, should we ever get one again.

And just for the fun of it: TARDIS keyrings

©Giliell, all rights reserved

The Art of Book design: Fancy Work for Pleasure and Profit

Today’s book was sent in by Anne, Cranky Cat Lady and it comes from her own library. It’s a beautiful old book that’s chock full of bright needlework patterns along with the directions for making them.

Adelaide E. Heron. Fancy Work for Pleasure and Profit. Chicago, Thompson & Thomas, 1905

Adelaide E. Heron. Fancy Work for Pleasure and Profit. Chicago, Thompson & Thomas, 1905

Adelaide E. Heron. Fancy Work for Pleasure and Profit. Chicago, Thompson & Thomas, 1905


The Book is available to read at The Internet Archive


The Art of Book Design: The Miroir

This week I’ll be featuring books with art that Caine would enjoy. This first book is in homage to Caine’s mastery and love of needlework.

The Miroir or Glasse of the Synneful Soul, copied in her own hand by Princess Elizabeth when just 11 years old (1544) and Presented to her stepmother Katherine Parr. Featured in English Embroidered Book-bindings (1899) – source


via:The Public Domain Review

The Art of Book Design: Robinson Crusoe

Daniel Dafoe. Robinson Crusoe. Embroidered front cover of a 1791 edition of Robinson Crusoe, from the Newberry Library — Source.

Daniel Dafoe. Robinson Crusoe. Embroidered back cover of a 1791 edition of Robinson Crusoe, from the Newberry Library — Source.

This book cover is one of a kind. It was fashionable for ladies of this time period to hand embroider covers for books and this gorgeous piece of needlework has survived beautifully and is kept in the Newberry Library in Chicago. The Public Domain Review featured an article about this art form (it’s at the link below) and I’ll be posting a few other examples down the road. I keep thinking that in 1791 when this book was published it was considered an item of luxury. It was so valuable that the person who designed and made this cover spent hour upon hour with needle and thread to embellish it. It’s exquisite.


Via: Public Domain Review

Chinese Fabric Art

Opus has sent us a special treat… a few pictures taken while he was visiting China. The photos are full of energy and bright, bold colour and I can’t help but think that it must have been very special to see this art with people who understand its true value. Thanks so much for sharing, Opus.

 Pictures from Lijiang in southern China.  I visited with a couple of fabric artists who wanted to see the work done by local women. We were not disappointed!  The woman with the elaborately embroidered headwear is Naxi, best I can remember.  Lijiang is on an ancient trade route, the Tea-Horse road, which was used to trade tea from southern China for Tibetan horses.

©Opus, all rights reserved

©Opus, all rights reserved

©Opus, all rights reserved


I received another care package, full of wonderful, from Giliell. I love everything, and I am so very thankful. I have the best friends on the planet. The bookmark was put to use immediately, and shortly after that, the bag filled with all the essentials, and I can’t say how much I appreciate that one! I love the embroidery and the fabric, but it’s especially nice because it holds all the important stuff, and I don’t have to haul a purse around everywhere. I used the creme right away too, it’s lovely, and the scent is fine. Thank you so much, Giliell!

A gorgeous bookmark, a sleep mask, small bag, cream, and my very own Cookie Corn. :D

A gorgeous bookmark, a sleep mask, small bag, cream, and my very own Cookie Corn. :D

Packed with the essentials, ready to go.

Packed with the essentials, ready to go.

Stitching Medieval Manuscripts.

I have a deep and abiding love of Medieval Manuscripts, there’s always more to discover and wonder over, and here’s a new and delightful discovery to me, the early repairs of manuscripts, where beautiful embroidery was utilised to repair flaws in the parchment.

A plain-colored stitch incorporated into a drawing. Gerald Raab/ Courtesy Staatsbibliothek Bamberg.

A plain-colored stitch incorporated into a drawing. Gerald Raab/ Courtesy Staatsbibliothek Bamberg.

In the Cantonal and University Library in the ancient city of Fribourg, Switzerland, is a 14th-century manuscript with some gloriously beautiful defects. Scattered throughout the text are small tears and holes. And many of them have been carefully, intricately stitched together with colorful thread.


Holes in the parchment weren’t always dealt with, but when they were, any repairs needed to be done before it could be written on. This might include both patching over holes and evening out edges, explains Sciacca. The repair method could be crude or rudimentary—“Frankenstein” repairs, as Sciacca jokingly calls them—but, as writer Paul Cooper recently highlighted, sometimes they could be quite beautiful.

In that same 14th-century text in Fribourg, a single page is elegantly adorned with two sets of thin stitches, one pink, one green. Elsewhere in the same manuscript there are rainbow-hued repairs of different shapes and sizes. In a text held at the Engelberg Abbey library in Switzerland, stitches at the edge of the page create a “rope”, as Sciacca refers to it, to fill in the edge of the parchment. And from the same library, the missing side of one page has been patched with an additional square of parchment.

A series of repairs made in James of Voragine’s 14th-century Golden Legend. Courtesy Cantonal and University Library Fribourg, Switzerland, Ms. L 34.

A series of repairs made in James of Voragine’s 14th-century Golden Legend. Courtesy Cantonal and University Library Fribourg, Switzerland, Ms. L 34.

As medieval book historian Erik Kwakkel points out, these repairs must have been common in certain monasteries. “Where I was finding a lot of these embellishments were in manuscripts that came from either nunneries, or from what they call in Germany, double cloisters,” Sciacca says. “So you have this paired male and female monastic community. They live separately, but they’re allied with each other, and they’re physically located next to each other. So it seems that this may be part of what was, in fact, women’s training, what was nuns’ training, which was to practice embroidery. And they were doing it not just on textiles, but also actually in manuscripts.”

Stitching wasn’t the only way to make the best of flawed parchment. There are instances of holes being incorporated into illustrations, or used to reveal an illustration on the following page. The stitches themselves could even be embellished. In a text in Germany’s Bamberg State Library, a curve of plain-colored stitching is surrounded with the drawing of a man so that the thread resembles his skeleton.

You can read much more, with lots of links, and see much more at Atlas Obscura. Fascinating!

The Quilts of War.

Army Uniform Quilt from the Napoleonic Era by an unidentified artist (Region unknown, possibly Prussia, late 18th/early 19th century), wool, probably from military uniforms; Silesian pieced (photo by the author for Hyperallergic).

Artist unidentified, Soldier’s Hexagon Quilt (Crimea or United Kingdom, late 19th century), wool from military uniforms, 85 x 64 in (courtesy the Annette Gero Collection, photo by Tim Connolly, Shoot Studios).

…These wartime quilts are incredibly rare, and Gero states in the release that “there are fewer than one hundred of these quilts in the world, and no two are alike.” War and Pieced highlights their diversity, whether in the distinctive beadwork on quilts made by soldiers stationed in India in the 19th century, or the motifs of African shields and spears embroidered on a late 19th-century quilt, likely made in tribute to those killed in the Anglo-Zulu War. A quilt made in India between 1860 and 1870 has its beads connected to small circles of fabric, the discs probably left over from punching buttonholes into uniforms. Although the conflict may be unnamed on the quilt, the patterns, needlework, and, above all, uniform materials, can place these fabric works in time.

They’re moving relics of the bloody battles that stretched across the globe in the mid-18th to 19th centuries, from the Prussian and Napoleonic wars, when elaborate intarsia quilts featured pictorial inlays of soldiers, to the Crimean War with its dense geometries. One from that mid-19th-century engagement has a checkerboard at its center, an example of the boards made from scraps of military uniforms to fend off boredom. The spare fabric that formed the checkerboard may have been from uniforms of the dead or wounded, thus adding a somber memorial to an otherwise vibrant wool quilt.

Although there is a vision of hope in making something beautiful out of horror, there’s an eerie echo of the suturing of wounds in each stitch of the quilt. The intense labor of some of those made in convalescence — one from 1890 involves 25,000 blocks, hexagons, and diamonds — represents the incredible amount of time these men spent recovering. Viewed together, the quilts in War and Pieced are haunting reminders of the lives given and maimed in the British Empire’s global conquest, and those that continue to be lost to war.

Following the exhibition’s run in New York, it will travel to the Nebraska museum and open May 25, 2018.  You can see and read much more at Hyperallergic.

These amazing works remind me of Ernest Thesiger’s effort, after World War I, to help disabled soldiers to make a living with embroidery.

You can read about that here. (Yes, that Ernest Thesiger, aka Dr. Pretorius.)