Petit Point. What Is It?

You are always a student, never a master

My knowledge of Petit Point is not built on googling the terms from different sources on-line, especially those that do not relate to needlework at all. My knowledge is based on researching, reading old needlework, embroidery books, visiting the museums, observing the items, studying the stitches, collecting antique and vintage textile.

Holding a degree in Linguistics, proper terminology is essential for me. I think it is important to learn to talk clearly when it comes to any terminology, needlework is not an exception. Let us say simpler:  different terminology means different things.

You might ask me WHY?

Undoubtedly, proper terminology helps to fully understand specific topics.

It helps people to communicate more efficiently.

It increases clarity of the topic of conversation.

It stops from bringing false statements about a subject of discussion.

For a long time, since the 16th century, Petit Point has been identified as a separate type of Needlework. Many historic needlework pieces are done in Petit Point.

I do not know any other types of needlework that has so many controversial opinions than Petit Point.

People are giving different definitions to Petit Point, its stitches, ground fabric and use.

The art of Petit Point is sometimes wrongly referred to as Needlepoint. Someone calls it Embroidery, someone says that Petit Point is Needlepoint, someone simply refer Petit Point to small stitches of needlepoint. Another opinion is that Petit Point could be done only on silk gauze and it is another wrong statement; or that Petit Point is used only for stitching miniature pillows, carpets, etc. for a doll house. Petit Point is not a name of a stitch either, as many are confused.

So, what is Petit Point?

Petit Point is one of the types of counted needlework.

THIS IS HOW SIMPLE IT IS

Needlework term covers counted thread (needlepoint, petit point, cross stitch, black work, etc.), and surface embroidery techniques (for instance, stumpwork, ribbon work, bead work, crewelwork, needle painting, etc.). 

Then what is the difference between Needlepoint and Petit Point?, you will ask me.

Let me tell you it is not a type of canvas that determines a type of needlework.

It is the stitches and techniques that tell us what type of work it is.

The difference between Needlepoint and Petit Point lays in stitches that are used in these 2 related to each other but different types of needlework.

Needlepoint is the common name for the technique of covering a canvas ground with counted or decorative stitches. Therefore, there is a counted needlepoint and needlepoint on canvas.

The counted technique is also used in Petit Point. However, historically correct to say that Petit Point is done with Tent Continental stitch, a stitch that belongs to the family of Tent stitches (Basketweave, also called Tent Diagonal; Tent Continental; and Half Cross Stitch), stitches that are used in Needlepoint as well.

All confusion arises when it comes to the family of Tent stitches now.

The family of Tent stitches are:

Basketweave stitch (also referred to as Tent Diagonal)

Tent Continental stitch

Half Cross Stitch

All 3 stitches look the same on the surface ground,

but due to the different techniques they are executed, the backside of a stitched piece with a different stitch from the Family of Tent stitches does look different.

Now let us go back to terminology. Why is the group of these stitches called “Tent”?

It derives its name from the old word “tenture”, or “tenter”, the frame on which the material was stretched.

Why is Basketweave stitch called so?

Basketweave stitch is called so, because due to its technique and a stitch executed diagonally, the backside of a stitched piece with basketweave stitch resembles a woven basket.

Why is a Tent stitch for Petit Point given Continental name? Based on entomology of an old French word continent (adj.) the word “continental” referring to a needlework stitch means “holding together, continuous” due to the technique of a Tent Continental stitch when a stitch is taken across the intersection of each warp and weft thread on canvas (that is different from executing a half cross stitch). In this way of laying the stitches the closest rows of small stitches thus formed conceal completely material and produce short slanted stitches on the surface and long slanted stitches on the back side.

Happy petit pointing!

Natalia

I Don’t Do Mondays…

How many times through my life I have heard this expression! Today like never before I feel the true meaning of it. Today I am completely lost. I have not touched a needle, I have not opened a book, I have not been outside… I can blame it on over stitching last week, on the weather that brings humidity that makes hard to enjoy being outside, on the fact that I am out of my favorite coffee! I am glad this unproductive day is almost over…

Sitting comfortably in my chair, I am going through “the pages” of the very talented stitchers on the www.gmna.org.uk/meet_members.html. Some of these people are not with us anymore and it is a wonderful way to remember them and their little masterpieces. Just look at this miniature Gold work (Daphne’s quilt) by Daphne Turner.

King Charles Spaniel by Juliet Blake, original design from a Staffordshire pottery stitched on 140 count silk gauze. The dog measures just 2cm (13/16″) high. I have 136 count silk gauze and have never heard or seen of anything higher than that.

Floral design on a red circle ground by Eric Burke, stitched on 112 count silk gauze, actual size: 3.2cm (1 1/4″) diam.

Quilt by Dora Lockyer, Hexagonal patchwork quilt

1/8th. inch hexagons, 1/12th scale

I find their work very inspiring and on this note I will end my Monday today.

I wish a wonderful and creative the rest of week to everyone!

Natalia

Manage your Attention, not your Time

or, my new organizational strategy.

I admire people who are strong enough to stick to one project till it is finished. It is different in my little world of consciousness. I must try each idea that comes across my mind RIGHT NOW! This is how I do accumulate the projects that are screaming at me due to me missing a color and waiting for it to arrive, giving attention, and spending more time on a new design, or being busy with real life issues. 

Due to some personal reasons, I took time off to regain the energy for my obsession with Petit Point and other needlework. It is a fact that I have a lot of projects have been started and have not been finished. Particularly there are about 20 framed projects that need my attention. They include Petit Point, Cross Stitch, Goldwork. I have put a lot of thoughts into organizing all stitching projects giving a priority to the most important. I have searched on Google different ideas other stitchers are sharing on how to catch up with all UFO’s and concluded that none of them are working for me to reach my goal.

The expression “Manage your attention, not your time” makes more sense for me. Know your priorities, right?

I put on the list 16 prioritized designs that need my urgent attention and must be finished within a year. You can see them all below

Four of them, marked in red, are the ones that I am planning to work daily on, excluding the weekends.

Another four in green are smaller works and I am thinking about devoting an hour to each daily.

Those on the list in blue color are on a “waiting list” and each of them will be merged to the list above in green as soon as any project on the green list will be finished.

It means that each week this ladder will be changed with finished projects moving out of the list. I am exceptionally good at planning than at following the plan. However, at the end of the month, I will gladly report about how productive I will be and if this system works for me.

Happy new creative week to you!

Natalia

House on the Rocks, WI Part 2

The display model of Buckingham Palace was created by a British architect for the coronation of Queen Elizabeth 2 in February 1952.

The tour of the House on the Rock took more than 3 hours. It was worth to see the World’s largest Carousel in history. It contains over 20,000 lights, 182 chandeliers, 269 animals on the carousel. The carousel is 80 feet wide, 35 feet tall, weights 36 tons and was premiered on Easter 1981, and there is NOT one horse on the carousel. The carousel was moving and it was impossible to take a nice static picture, :).

Full size sleighs, it is one of them

There was another carousel-display with hundreds of dolls.

In 1979 President Jimmy Carter and his family cruised on the upper Mississippi aboard the steamboat Delta Queen. They travelled south from St. Paul, Minnesota so St. Louis stopping along the way to greet the crowds who lined the banks. While in Dubuque, Iowa the President signed this model of the Delta Queen.

There is still much more to show left, but I encourage you to visit this place if you are in the area.

House on the Rocks, WI Part 1

Visiting the House on the Rocks, Wisconsin was an amazing, one of a kind and at the same time overwhelming experience.

It all began in 1940s when Alex Jordan returned to Deer Shelter Rock where he had picnicked with his family years before. Over the years, he dreamed of creating a wonderful house, an artist’s refuge where he could pursue his interests in music, literature, and sculpture. What took shape on and around the Deer Shelter Rock is a truly remarkable achievement.

He couldn’t keep his retreat secret for long and in 1960 he gave in to public demand and opened the House to visitors. Soon this man-made wonder became the most popular attraction.

The House has a massive collection of music boxes, the World’s Largest Carousel, The Secrets of Yesterday (a recreation of a 19th century American street), the mysterious Organ room, guns, armor, lamps… and of course, dollhouses.

In the late 1970’s Alex Jordan bought his first collectible dollhouse.

After he realized that buying a few dollhouses was not going to be enough if he wanted to build a world-class collection. He hired a staff headed by Virginia Reynolds for this project and soon dollhouses of every shape and description were being created in the workshop.

Alex visited the workshop every day and took a special interest in the design, building, and installation of each house. The houses are designed to represent early American style through the first part of the 20th century. The collection also includes a series of small shops and even a gas station in miniature. The work lasted years and filled the workshop to the rafters. The Jordan’s dollhouse collection contains more than 250 structures. To my huge regret it was not possible to see the interior of each house due to how they are displayed, also the pictures do not make justice because of the lack of lighting. Enjoy it!

This house is a replica of the Grunow Estate Lake Geneva Home. It is made to 1/12th scale and is 4,5 feet high, 12,5 feet long and 5 feet wide. The house weighs more than 800 pounds and took more than a year to complete.

meet an artist annelies de kort

Today in the series MEET AN ARTIST I would like to introduce Annelies De Kort to you.

Meet an Artist. Annelies de Kort

– What are you specializing in?

My specialization is bobbin lace, knitting and embroidery. But I also do crochet, macramé, sewing, etc.

– What made you decide to focus on Needlework in miniature? Did you know instantaneously that this was what you wanted to do (and do extraordinarily well), or did it develop over time?

As long as I can remember I did needlework and all kind of other crafts. And I always was attracted by little things and tried to make everything as small as I could. Not because I wanted them in a dolls house but just for fun.

– Creating miniatures is a very niche form of art. How did you get started designing and creating your own patterns/miniatures?

I started as a bobbin lace maker. There are a lot of different kind of laces. I studied most of them and always made my own patterns. Making patterns is what I love to do. One day I thought: I made so many patterns, what will I do with them? Then I started to make them as small as I could. I did that for 2 years, every day about 5 hours. And because of all the practice I managed to do it smaller and smaller. I used old linen thread I had bought in Bruges (Belgium). It was as fine as Egyptian cotton # 450. As thin as a hair. After I made a lot of lace, I wanted to put it in a shop like I had seen in Bruges. A friend of mine said: “You’d better make it in 1/12 scale”. That is the dollhouse scale. That seemed to me a good advice and that is what I did. And after that I discovered the miniature fairs and shops and so on. I did not know it existed beforehand.

– What is the process of creating a new pattern or product? How much research goes into a pattern, and what inspires you to create a new one?

Sometimes I just have an idea and make it. Sometimes I make things in miniature I once made full size (like the jumpers of my children). But if I make a Norwegian or a Fair Isle jumper or cardigan then I start to look in books and magazines etc., because I like to make them as authentic as I can. The same as I make something from a certain period. Then I start with looking in my costume books first.
Or when I am in a museum and see a piece I love to make in miniature. Then I make lots of pictures. I did that when I made embroidery patterns. I have made a cabinet with embroidered doors and sides from the 17th century. I saw them in The Rijksmuseum in Amsterdam. And I made 2 wall hangings after the full-size wall hangings I saw in the Burrell collection in Glasgow.

 – What other forms (i.e., different fabrics, materials, needles, etc.) do you work with?

I did needlework and crafts as long as I can remember. I have so many materials and fabrics. I like to use them all. I like to work with wood too. I am not so good at it, but I love doing it.

And I loved to make films. Here on you tube you can see what I made: 

http://www.studio.youtube.com/channel/UCjie_MsP1wqivlJv4b4WznA/videos/upload?filter=%5B%5D&sort=%7B%22columnType%22%3A%22date%22%2C%22sortOrder%22%3A%22DESCENDING%22%7D

– Do you feature your work at specific festivals or shows, competitions? What are those experiences like?

My work has been in several museums in The Netherlands. The little lace shop with over 200 pieces of handmade bobbin lace has been in museums in The Netherlands, Belgium, Germany, Spain and France.

I go to fairs in The Netherlands, Germany ( Rheda) and England (Kensington). In 2020 I entered my work in PIMA for the first time.

– How are you preparing for the shows?

I knit a lot of miniatures, I have all my patterns and pattern books, and most of the time all my yarns and materials (but not in Kensington).

– Can we see your studio? 

No, not really. But there are a few times a year when I hold workshops in our house. Then the students can see my work.

– If someone is just starting out with Needlework in miniature and thinking about creating miniatures, how and what would you advise them?

I would advise to start with an easy pattern, especially when they start miniature knitting.

– What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

My needlework teacher at school always looked at the back of my work first. I hated that. She always said: “You are so creative; I know the front looks good. But what about the back?”

– What advice would you give to your younger self?

Be proud of what you make. Don’t take your talent for granted.

– Who/What are your biggest influences?

I love to go to a museum. Museums and architecture inspire me a lot.

– How have other artists/designers/miniaturists or art genres have influenced your sense of creativity?

I love the Arts and Crafts and I love folk art. In periods I love the Middle ages, The twenties and the sixties of the last century.

– What keeps you up at night?

All my ideas. I have more than I will ever be able to make.

– How would you describe your current project to someone at a dinner party that is never heard of you and your work?

That is so difficult. I normally do not talk about it.

– What does your Artwork represent? Does your Artwork represent something about you?

I cannot tell. There are so many things I like to do. I made miniature books as well with my own stories. I love to write fantasy stories. For years I made patterns for the Dutch miniature magazine.

– What/How did you have to develop, try, or learn to create your Artwork?

 Most things I learned by experience. And by throwing away and start again before I am satisfied.

– What does your Art mean to you? 

I could not live without it because my head keeps given me ideas. It never stops.

What gives you the most joy?

When a pattern which took me a long time to make, turns out to be as beautiful as I hoped it would.

– Is there anything you dislike about your Artwork? 

Things I don’t like I never show to anyone.

– Professionally, what is your goal?

To go on as long as I can.

– What is/are your weakness/es?

I am very disorganised. My room is a mess and I spend lot of time looking for things. And I do not always reply my emails, especially when I am in the middle of creating new patterns.

– What is one thing you are not getting credit for that you absolutely should? Is there such thing? 

Most of the people do not realize that I design all my patterns. When they buy a jumper, they often think it is from a book. They do not realize it is unique.

– What is the best thing about being an artist?

That you have no boundaries or restrictions in your designs.

– What is your strongest memory of your childhood?

 I had a great childhood.

– What is your favorite dish/recipe/food?

I love baking, cakes, and biscuits. I make my own bread.

– What superpower would you have and why?

I don’t know. I don’t think I like to have superpower.

– Who/What does challenge you? What is challenge for you?

I love challenges. Making an entry for PIMA was a challenge for me.

– What is your dream project? 

The things I do because I can do whatever I like. During COVID I made an Animal Home. I wanted to do that for many years but never found the time to do it. During Covid I suddenly had time and I loved it. I even made a whole story about it and its inhabitants.

– Favorite or most inspirational place? 

I loved Florence in Italy.

– Do you listen to music when you are working on a project? If yes, what are you listening to? 

When designing I often listen to an opera.

– What are you most proud of to date? 

My Bobbin Lace shop is of museum quality. I often think it is a pity that it is here in my room and not in a museum or in a place where more people can enjoy it.

– If you were completely start over again, what would you do differently? 

I regret that I have not became an IGMA artisan. I always was so busy making and designing miniatures that I did not take the time to do so. Now that I am 70 years old, I think I should have done that.

My new web shop is : https://miniaturenannelies.nl
My website is: www.anneliesdekort.nl   This website works the best in Explorer.
Facebook: Annelies de Kort-Miniaturen

April Installment SAL 2021

Here is my stitching progress on Stitch-A-Long 2021 Colorful Amalgam. The pattern for an April Installment (as other installments as well) could be found HERE.

I am using 48 count silk gauze and stitching this rug with over dyed Gloriana silk floss. I am spending minimum an hour daily on this carpet since I have other projects on my hands that requires more time.

I think that these squares stitched separately could make nice pillows, especially if stitched on 56 count silk gauze. Being stitched on 48 count the size of each square measures 1 1/2″ and on 56 count as pillows they will look even better. I would use Tudor Gloriana silk floss for the pillows. Hopefully, I’ll have enough time and desire to finish these 9 pillows (there will be 9 squares in the carpet).

Happy stitching!

Natalia Frank

Reproduction of an Antique Sampler by May Nicholls, 1894

Working on reproduction of this antique sampler was a delight!

Late 19th century antique sampler by May Nicholls aged 10 is worked in wool and cotton on even weave gauze. This sampler is completely charming with neat stitch work throughout.

The gauze has overall discoloration consistent with its age. There is also some stitch loss to the outer red chevron border and the odd stitch elsewhere.

I chose to stitch a reproduction of May Nicholls’s sampler, that was finished in September 1894, and comes from my personal collection, on 40 linen using 1 strand of new over dyed colors from DMC one over one. That is why my sampler looks much smaller than the original. The size of May’s sampler is 11″ x 13″, and the reproduction is 2 1/2″ x 3″. I used the same stitches as May did: a tent continental and cross stitch mixed.

The upper section of the sampler is stitched with rows of alphabet letters, numbers and border patterns, all underlined with a Greek key style border.

The lower section of the sampler is stitched with the words “The Lord is my Shepherd”, underlined with a zigzag border which has row of trees and cups and saucers below. There is a central fruit basket below which has a tree and a cross to each side, the date September 1894 above and May’s name and age below. The whole piece is then surrounded by a narrow red chevron border.

I added my initials NF and a year the sampler was finished 2020 on each side of the fruit basket.

The pattern of a reproduction of an Antique Sampler by May Nicholls, 1894 is available at www.dollhouseneedlepoint.com

March Installment

I finished February installment. I am actually so happy I managed to do it since I have several projects on my frames at the same time. I promised myself to devote minimum an hour daily for the February square to stitch and be able to finish it at the end of the month. It took me 12 hours to do it. Now I know that I can finish this rug at the end of this year if I stick to my plan. I chose 48 count of silk gauze and my favorite over dyed Gloriana silk floss.

March has arrived and it is time for a new installment of the Stitch-A-Long Colorful Amalgam 2021. If you click on the image it will take you to the website to download the file for March 2021. Guess what I am going to do today? I am going to play with Gloriana silk to chose colors for this part of the pattern! It always excites me! Happy stitching!

Meet an artist Nicola Mascall

I would like to introduce an interview series ‘MEET THE ARTIST’ for you to get to know more about the talented people who share their work with all of us. The purpose of this series is to acquaint to different artists and designers who work in different media of the miniature needlework in scale. The series is written in the form of an interview that allows to get to know the artist, their background, some tips, tricks, and advices.

Do you find it difficult to introduce yourself as an artist? If yes, you’re not alone.

“I’m an artist” doesn’t seem to roll off the tongue easily. There isn’t an official institution that confers the title of artist on anyone.  You don’t have to pass any licensing boards or get certified to start calling yourself an artist. After all, what we all do in miniature needlework scale is so cool, so magical, and so creative.

Introducing… Nicola Mascall

– What are you specializing in?

I don’t really specialize in any one thing, but I do have a preference for Aubusson carpets, and I love designing and stitching early pictorial wall hangings.

– What made you decide to focus on Petit Point? Did you know instantaneously that this was what you wanted to do (and do extraordinarily well), or did it develop over time?

I began making miniature samplers back in 1992 but quickly progressed to pillows, footstools, etc.

– Creating miniatures is a very niche form of art. How did you get started designing and creating your own patterns/miniatures?

I have a degree in Art and design which led on to illustration. I think my tapestries are an extension of this.  It was not until I got my first computer and gained some skills on it, that I was able to create the carpets, wall hangings etc., I make today.

– What is the process of creating a new pattern or product? How much research goes into a pattern, and what inspires you to create a new one?

Whatever takes my eye. Maybe I will spot something online or in a book, museum, historical building.  I also take on commissions and the customer usually provides me with pictorial reference.  The process can be long in creating the design/pattern.  When charting a carpet (for example) and using my, invaluable cross-stitch design software, I will first work out how many stitches I need for the size required.  Then, I roughly map out the design.  Gradually, I build the design up until I am happy with it.  Once stitching is underway, I make changes to the design along the way, if necessary.  I use a slightly different process when stitching a more pictorial scene such as a wall hanging.  I make a rough chart to begin.  I try to create a pattern for the main elements in the design, such as figures foreground foliage etc., but much of the design gets left to ‘free-hand’ stitching!

 

– What other forms (i.e., different fabrics, materials, needles, etc.) do you work with?

I do not really find time to branch away from Petit Point.  Sometimes, I do a little knitting in the evening but like to stick to simple stuff as by then I am through with concentration!

– Do you feature your work at specific festivals or shows, competitions? What are those experiences like?

The last few years I have only been participating in the London Dollhouse festival, which this year has gone on-line for obvious reasons.  I have entered the associated PIMA competition several times and have been incredibly grateful to have won a first and a second place.  It is quite a stressful experience entering that competition as the standard is exceedingly high.  It requires a lot of valuable time to, not only make something special but also to decide what to make.  If you feel you have put your heart and soul into a project, it can come as quite a blow if your efforts are not rewarded with a top place or commendation.

– How are you preparing for the shows?

My prep for the online shows has been quite different from an actual show as I have concentrated on making items to sell in my Etsy shop.  My stock of kits has greatly depleted because there is no pressure to have full stock at an actual fair. 

– If someone is just starting out with Petit Point in miniature and thinking about creating miniatures, how and what would you advise them?

My first recommendation would be to research the competition and find your unique style.  Ask yourself, what could you offer that others perhaps don’t.   Do your research on possible materials.   If at first, you don’t succeed… persevere!  Ignore the doom merchants.  Don’t expect to get rich quick (if ever).  Follow your passion!

– What is the best piece of advice you’ve been given?

Silk gauze!!

– Who/What are your biggest influences?

My mum, she was a brilliant seamstress.  Daphne Turner, who died in 2005 was a huge influence.  She produced the finest, most detailed, inspirational pieces and was the first and one of the very few artists to work on an incredible 112 count silk gauze.  She offered tremendous encouragement to me when I first started out.

– What keeps you up at night?  

What happens when I am too old or blind to see?

– How would you describe your current project to someone at a dinner party that is never heard of you and your work?

I would say that I am designing and micro stitching a 12th scale copy of an antique carpet for a wealthy, collector’s doll’s house.

– Where do you get an inspiration for your ideas from?

 Ideas can come out of the blue but mostly from the internet, books, and historical houses.

– What does your Artwork represent? Does your Artwork represent something about you?

Yes, probably. I love attention to detail, I have a great sense of colour, I can be impatient (hence, not always finishing a chart, before I start stitching), and a bit untidy!  (my backs are never perfect!)

– What/How did you have to develop, try, or learn to create your Artwork?

My work has progressed naturally as I have gained confidence in my abilities and received praise from my contemporaries. I always strive to improve.

– What does your Art mean to you?

Life would be very dull without it. 

– What gives you the most joy?

Starting a new, exciting commission and positive feedback from happy customers.

– Professionally, what is your goal?

My goal would be to continue my enjoyment of this unique profession with the passion I have always had for it.

 

– What is/are your weakness/es?

I am a bit of a workaholic.  I wish I had an army of elves to help with the housework!

– What is the best thing about being an artist?

The best thing is to be able to combine your passion with your full-time job and not feel as though your talents are being wasted.

– What is your strongest memory of your childhood?

Holiday with my Granny and making things!

– What is your favorite dish/recipe/food?

I love Indian, Thai, and Italian food.  I have a penchant for shellfish.  But, most of all, a good British roast dinner with lashings of gravy!

– What superpower would you have and why?

I would love to have more hours in the day and ten pairs of arms and perhaps supersonic eyesight!

– Who/What does challenge you? What is challenge for you?

I would like to try stitching finer than 83 count, but I haven’t yet found suitable means of magnification.

– What is your dream project?

 I am not sure what it would be, but I have certainly had some dream projects in the past, one being the commissions for Ham House.

  

– Favorite or most inspirational place?

I love wandering around the grounds of Longleat House, local to me. On a day when it isn’t crowded with tourists, it can be a most tranquil, beautiful place.   Waddesdon Manor, in Buckinghamshire is another favorite and a source of inspiration, filled with beautiful carpets, tapestry upholstered chairs etc.  Rome and Vatican City for its architecture.   Best of all, the Greek Islands for complete relaxation.  Too many to mention.

– Do you listen to music when you are working on a project? If yes, what are you listening to?

Being a musician, I find music too distracting when I am working and prefer to have Radio 4 in the background.

– Where does your support come from when you “hit a wall”?

Never really ‘Hit the wall’ but I get great support from immediate family and close friends.

– What are you most proud of to date?

Probably my winning 2019 Pima entry.

– If you were completely start over again, what would you do differently?

Nothing.

You can find Nicola’s work at

www.nicolamascallminiatures.co.uk

www.etsy.com/shop/nicolamascall

All images and information are published with the artist’s permission and all copyrights are reserved.