Blackwork embroidery designs

Blackwork doesnt have to be black!



Wrapping a Willow Frame

We’ve oodles of willows down by the creek and I thought I’d give a try to making a willow frame for one of my blackwork pieces. So on a warm sunny winter day off we trekked, the dogs and I, to gather willows.

gathering willows

Once the willows had warmed up to room temperature and were bendy again, the Corgi’s helped me wrap willows to make a roundish-shaped frame.

taz & Finn help make a willow frame

wrapping willows with Whiskey.jpg

They chewed twigs, and supervised and generally wore themselves out.

worn out corgi helpers

I had in mind to lace the stitched piece onto the frame and wanted a border of fabric to attach the lacing thread to. I started with an octagon shape, and sewed strips of pretty green fabric onto each side.

sewing border on castle

I ended up with a not-octagon-shape. Hmmm. Well, I will do better next time!

bordered castle

I laced the blackwork to the willow frame…

backing the castle.jpg

and voila! A pretty country-style frame for my blackwork castle (find the pattern here.)

willow framed castle.jpg

There’s still oodles of willows, so I will definitely be refining the procedure and making more willow frames 🙂




A Little Roundup

Happy New Year! To close out the old year and ring in the new, here is a little roundup of my crafty doings over the last while.

Coffee or tea as you read? You can put your cup and a cookie on these mug rugs. I made some for me…


And some as a gift.

moms mug rugs in progress.jpg

The fabrics are from my stash of fat quarters – I pick up a couple – or five or six – every time I’m in the local quilt shop. I matched floss to the fabric, only need two colours so that’s easy and a great use of the stash of floss and fabric.


I decided to make something pretty to protect the top of my vintage sewing machine, which still works but is doing duty as decorative plant stand these days. Hmmm, need to re-pot that African Violet, I think.

table runner on sewing machine.jpg

A friend bought a new house, which got me thinking about housewarming gifts, which led to a new blackwork design – Home Sweet Castle. The towers are covered in pink trumpet vines – castle, trumpets – see what I did there? 😉

castle image.jpg


More sewing! It’s becoming a habit 😉  I’m sewing a quilt from a kit that was given to me for Christmas – lucky girl I am! It will be a twin size when the last two rows are added. I’d like it to be king size though, so will be buying more material and adding some rows. I don’t think my machine will handle the quilting, but I’ll try it to see and if not, then I’ll take it to a local quilter for finishing. That feels like cheating though!

Quilt in progress.JPG

And last but definitely not least, the cross stitch project that I’m working on is Pretty Little Sydney, by Satsuma Street. I love her designs. As I’m stitching, I’m remembering riding in a little boat across the Sydney Harbour to the Opera House, bringing smiles and happy thoughts.

Pretty Little Sydney.jpg

Til next time, happy stitching everyone 🙂




A Zenful Zentangle Quilted Pouch

My Blackwork Zentangle was patiently waiting to be finished into Something Useful. I have a box of stitched items, also waiting patiently and I didn’t want to add the Zentangle to that stash!

A pouch for my tablet would be most handy, especially when travelling. While strolling through the airport waiting for boarding to start, I’ve juggled my tablet, purse, carry-on, and a coffee, trying to not drop the important stuff – tablet and coffee.

So, project decided and I started to cut fabric into strips and squares and sew them together – the start of  making the zentangle into Something Useful.




I used a piece of an old sheet for the back. The quilting is stitch-in-the-ditch, which is one of the easiest quilting patterns to sew…  but I wobbled out of the ditch several times.


And with only a few hours cutting, ironing and sewing, I now have a handy pouch for my tablet, and the zentangle did not get tossed in a box.

I have since sewed together some strips and attached a strap to the pouch – now for sure there’s a free hand for my coffee! 🙂



Beaded Blackwork Ornament

This pretty blackwork ornament is for Canada Stitches‘ ornament drive; they are fundraising for Ladybird Animal Sanctuary and Annex Cat Rescue. The designs are from Box of Delights by Elizabeth Almond and the floss is American Snow Cone by Fiberlicious.

Beaded Blackwork Ornament - side one
Beaded Blackwork Ornament – side one
Beaded Blackwork Ornament - side two
Beaded Blackwork Ornament – side two

To make the ornament a little cushy, I attached a piece of felt onto the backs with iron-on fusing.

Ornament felt back and fusing
Ornament felt back and fusing

The ornament front and backs are whip-stitched together, just under the stitches but not through the material.

I added a bead every other stitch for a pretty edge, a loop of beads for a hanger, and a beaded fringe to finish.

Adding beads to the edge
Adding beads to the edge
Sewing the ornaments sides together
Sewing the ornaments sides together


Yin Yang Peace Love and Harmony

The Yin Yang represents balance and is a universal symbol of Peace, Love and Harmony. This Yin Yang is stitched in blackwork hearts and peace symbols.

Yin Yang
Yin Yang

A Speedy Little Stitch, the design is 54 x 54 stitches. On 18 count that’s 3 inches by 3 inches, on 14 count it’s 3.8 inches by 3.8 inches.

You can find this new design in my Etsy Shop.

Happy Stitching! 🙂




Stitching slows down in the summer as the weeds grow faster, but I did finish a new design and I stitched a few chocolates from the Box of Delights SAL too.

In the summer I’m busy outside, taking advantage of the sunshine to walk and play with the dogs and visit with the horses. I’ve flower beds and a small orchard of  Haskap Berry, (or Honeyberry) bushes to tend. We have a short growing season, and the weeds grow fast and furious to make best use of it. I’m kept busy digging encroaching grass, dandelions and pig-weed; I don’t use chemicals for weed control.

The Haskap bushes are 3 years old, not yet mature, but I’ve picked enough berries for a couple of pies and there are still a few more ripening on the bushes.  I’ve picked a few too soon, before they were quite ripe and they are very tangy, almost sour. The ripe berries are yummy,  juicy and sweet and they remind me of a Saskatoon – but without the seeds!

Haskap Berries - Yum!
Haskap Berries – Yum!

I’m stitching a little bit in the mornings while it’s still cool. I couldn’t pass up using some of my new Fiberlicious flosses, so instead of continuing to stitch Box of Delights with this colour scheme:

Box of Delights SAL by Blackwork Journey
Box of Delights SAL by Blackwork Journey

I stitched some of the chocolates from blocks 3 and 4 with Fiberlicious’ “Court Jester” and “Hawaiian Sunset”. The roses and lavender in my flower garden smell so sweet, and I thought it would be nice to dry some for sachets. I attached a small piece of material to the back of my stitching, with iron-on fusible web so that the dried flowers stay in the sachet. Then sewed a piece of fabric to the back of my stitching to create a little sachet. I’ve left an opening so I can pour in the flowers when they finish drying.

Making  Sachets
Making Sachets
Rose petals and Lavender
Rose petals and Lavender

My newest blackwork design is an Inuksuk, for Canada Day. Inuksuit are created by the people of the Arctic to mark a place of importance. In Canada, Inuksuit are found in the northern Territories of Yukon and Nunavut and have come to represent Friendship and Welcome.

This Inuksuk is surrounded by maple leaves, the iconic symbol of Canada, and shining suns representing the land of the midnight sun. He is stitched in warm autumn colours – Flamboyant Fall and Apple Harvest – with glimmers of Arctic gold. The pattern is 50 x 59 stitches – on 18ct that’s 2.75 x 3.25 inches, a nice size for a small hoop, or a card.


And now I’m off to enjoy some more country air and sunshine… and maybe pull a couple of more weeds!

Happy Canada Day! 🙂

Misty Kites and a Box of Delights

I dug one of my favorite wips out of my workbasket and resumed stitching this week. Misty by Seba Designs has been neglected for over a year because I poached the floss for another project and then had to wait for a mail order to come in. By then I was on to other projects. I love the colours in this fabulous design. I’ve used Janie’s Christmas #148 (Dinky Dyes) for the blackwork and and a variegated green (dmc) for the cross stitch.

Misty by Seba Designs
Misty by Seba Designs

Box of Delights part 2 was released this month, and I thought I had better hurry up and show you because part 3 is coming out in about a day, give or take a time-zone or two. I took out the french knots that I stitched in part one, and replaced them with pretty gold beads. I’m just knot a fan of french knots!

Box of Delights SAL by Blackwork Journey
Box of Delights SAL by Blackwork Journey

In my last bit of stitchy news, I’ve revamped my popular blackwork kites bookmark pattern and made the design more versatile. These blackwork kites with a whimsical kite-tail border, can be made into a card, a box top, a needle-book cover, or pop it into a small hoop to decorate any wall.

Blackwork Kites
Blackwork Kites

When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left

When Nothing Goes Right, Go Left is a quick and easy Blackwork embroidery pattern. Head to my new Free Patterns page to download the design. 🙂

Go Left
When nothing goes Right, go Left

Spring Mandela

The snow is melting, the ducks and geese are flying and there is a little lake in our hay field that the dogs adore. Yay! Spring is here! 🙂

Ducks on our lake
Ducks on our lake
Dogs in our lake
Dogs in our lake

I’ve been working on a few stitchy projects as I’ve waited for the snow to melt.

The three window scenes of Seba Design’s Lovely Windows set are all completed and waiting to be finished in some fashion or another:

Seba Designs Lovely Windows

Cats and Quilts February has been added to the stash bound for Canada Stitches and Pause 2 Help Paws:

Cats and Quilts Feb

I’ve two new patterns in the Shop. A cute little blackwork horse that makes a perfect card:

Celtic Horse Card 3

To welcome Spring, I’ve created a bright & cheerful Sun Flower Mandela:

Sun Flower photo

I think that the best celebration of spring is to get outside and enjoy it, and so that is what I am off to do! Enjoy your day 🙂

Sal Dentelles Filigree Band

A simple blackwork stitch turned the seventh band of our Sal Dentelles sampler into a delicate lacy filigree.

Dentelles seventh band


I think this is my favorite part of the sampler 🙂 But there are two more bands to stitch, so I have time to change my mind!

You can see a gallery of the other works in progress, at Brodeuse Bressane’s Blogspot.

Sal Dentelles Seventh Band
Sal Dentelles Seventh Band

WIPS in my Workbasket

Wips in my workbasket & Whiskey

I like to have more than one project on the go at the same time. I don’t have a schedule for stitching, I just work on whatever strikes my fancy, although I try to keep up with the stitch-alongs. These are the works-in-progress currently hanging out in my workbasket.

WIPS in my workbasket

You can see two new bands added to the Dentelles / Lacework sampler. The fifth band has a space where we could add our initials or a date if we wished. Don’t forget to pop over to Broduese Bressane’s Blogspot to check out the rest of the group’s progress in the stitch-along.

Lacework part 6

I have NOT kept up with the Save the Stitches Stitch-along, but I will finish it eventually 🙂 It’s a gorgeous design of blackwork fill patterns. You can see a photo gallery on Liz Almond’s webpage, Blackwork Journey. She has a new blackwork stitch-along starting next month, that I’m looking forward to starting – Box of Delights.

save the stitches

Soon to be added to my workbasket is my new design which features a dog or two 🙂  It’s still in the graphing stage, but I hope to start stitching soon.

I’m definitely happiest when my workbasket is full of WIPS – what about you? Do you like to stitch one pattern at a time, or do you have several going at once?

Cats & Quilts for Charity

Yay! I’ve finally finished the first of the “Cats and Quilts” patterns by Kitty and Me Designs!

Cats & Quilts January - Kitty & Me Designs
Cats & Quilts January – Kitty & Me Designs

I started this pattern last year, but then it got buried in my workbasket as I got busy with a totally awesome trip to Australia and New Zealand, which included a wedding:

Ring Pillow
Ring Pillow

The kitty and quilt stitching has been added to the stash that is destined for Pause 2 Help Pawsa group of crafters that donates hand-stitched items to raise funds to aid animal shelters.

Pause 2 Help Paws Stash

If you’d like to stitch a little something for charity, don’t forget Canada Stitches – an international group of crafty volunteers that stitch premature infant quilts and cuddle cushions to be donated to children’s hospitals. Canada Stitches is hosting a Small Square Challenge – submit a small, 3 to 4 inch stitched square and be entered in their prize draw. The squares will be made into pillows, wall hangings and lap quilts to brighten someone’s day 🙂

One Heart Leads to Another

Where one heart leads to another!  When I designed Hearts Galore, one of the hearts was cuter than the others.

So I made more flowery hearts! Stitch this bookmark for your valentine, or as a lovely mother’s day gift for your mom.

Flowery Hearts
Flowery Hearts

Design size:

98 x 34 stitches

18ct: 5.5 x 1.8 inches
14ct: 7 x 2.4 inches

You can find the pattern in my shop: Flowery Hearts

Brickwork Blackwork Window

I’ve stitched the second window in the collection from Seba Designs that I started for my New Year’s embroidery project.  This lovely window features cute wrought iron planters which were fun to stitch.

window 2 framed

As I stitched the brickwork around the window, I was reminded of a brick house I lived in many years ago. The house was built sometime in the late 1800’s, and though it had a lot of character, it was drafty and cold. It had been modernized with indoor plumbing, but there wasn’t any central heating. You could place your palm on the kitchen wall and push, and the entire brick wall would move because there was a crack through the mortar that ran from the top of the wall to the bottom. The best thing about the house was a gorgeous row of lilac trees all along the back fence; in the spring the air would fill with their sweet scent, and then I wouldn’t mind so much that the walls weren’t exactly solid.

One more window to stitch in this collection; I’ll be starting it soon. 🙂

Hearts Galore!

Blackwork hearts galore for Valentines Day!  This sampler-style blackwork pattern is small; a quick weekend project.

Blackwork Hearts for Valentine's Day
Blackwork Hearts for Valentine’s Day

I stitched the pattern on 18 count Aida with Threadworx #1089, aptly named Bleeding Hearts.

The design is 86 x 82 stitches – about 4.75 x 4.5 inches on 18 count; that would be a little more than 6 x 6 on 14 count.

You can find the pattern in my shop, Storm’s Stitches 

Spring Kaleidoscope

With a blanket of snow covering everything outside, I am dreaming of spring! So I created a spring kaleidoscope in blackwork embroidery: pretty flowers and leaves, circled by stylized suns.

Spring Kaleidoscope framed

This is a small, quick to stitch pattern, a nice weekend project.

The design size is 64 x 64 stitches. On 18ct aida that is 3 1/2 inches square, and on 14ct it’s 4 5/8 inches.

I stitched the model with Dinky Dyes #23 Amethyst, Threadworx #11611 Tropical, DMC #4200 Wildfire, and DMC #4124 Bonfire.

Available in my shop: Spring Kaleidoscope

Blackwork Christmas Ornaments

Cute and quick to stitch, these blackwork ornaments will add festive cheer to your tree!

Christmas Ornaments

The designs are small, on 18 count Aida they are 1 3/4 inches by 2 inches, and 2 inches square – a perfect size to pop into a Christmas card, or to stitch as gift tag.

Christmas ornaments size

I stitched the models with variegated Threadworx floss, Red, Green and Gold.

The pattern is available in my shop: 2D Christmas Ornaments

Christmas Bells Are Ringing!

I think you will want one of these on your tree this Christmas!

Christmas Bell by Seba Designs

New from Seba Designs, these cute Christmas Bells are the most adorable ornaments I’ve seen. They stitch up very quickly, a nice week-end project, and it’s so easy to sew them up. The hardest part is deciding on which pattern to stitch, as there are ten to choose from.

I did finally make a decision and stitch a top and a bottom for my Christmas Bell.

squares for the Christmas Bell

I added an edging of beads, and threaded a ribbon through for a hanger. I think my next Christmas Bell will have beads hanging in the center. Definitely have to stitch more than one!

inside the bell

The bell could be a tree ornament, or if you are decorating your horse for a Christmas parade, several bells tied into his mane would look fabulously festive 🙂

Eddy with a Christmas Bell

Choose Your Own Designs Christmas Ornament

Design your own Christmas ornament— choose from seven blackwork fill patterns to complete this 3-sided ornament.

.  tri-sided christmas ornaments

This sparkly Christmas ornament features a trio of blackwork designs stitched in Christmas colours of red, green and blue with Kreinik metallic braid. The gleaming gold ribbon framing each ornament shimmers with glints of blue, green, red and yellow in the braid, for a very festive touch.

Fill 1 Fill 2 Fill 3 Fill 6Fill 4 Fill 5Fill 7

The finished ornament is small, measuring about 3 1/2 inches tall by 2 inches wide.

3.5 x 2 inches

The ornament is quick to stitch – a nice weekend project –  and it is as easy to finish as a biscornu, just whip-stitch the edges together.

Sewing ornament seams together

3D Christmas Ornament


You can find the pattern in my Etsy shop. Happy stitching!

Kia Ora, New Zealand

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