Elizabeth Charlotte Cotton 1753

I have just uploaded a new flosstube video that showcases the reproduction of Elizabeth Charlotte Cotton 1753 on behalf of Miss Jean Lea and The Attic Needleworks. The model has been exquisitely stitched by Bhooma Aravamudan . I also discuss lacing and framing samplers. Storage systems and colour selection. The original When Thou Art Rich is featured. I hope you enjoy my ramblings.



Woad and MH 1656

I posted this photo on the weekend which shows the vibrant blue found on the original sampler. It is quite amazing that the colour is so strong centuries (1656 !!) after it was dyed.

The dye most probably used was woad.

Since ancient times, woad was an important source of blue dye and was cultivated throughout Europe, especially in Western and Southern Europe. 

Woad was one of the three staples of the European dyeing industry, along with weld (yellow) and madder (red

Woad has a long association with East Anglia, the land of the Iceni tribe and of its famous leader Boudicca. The plant whose deep blue pigment was used as a warpaint by the ancient Britons to frighten their enemies

Woad was not used only for textile dyes and, for example the illustrators of the Lindisfarne Gospels (late 7th/early 8th century) used a woad-based pigment for the blue.

In medieval times there were important woad-growing regions in England, Germany and France. Towns such as Toulouse became prosperous from the woad trade. 

The blue threads in the Bayeux Tapestry were dyed using woad and the blue in the tapestry is the only colour not to have faded in more than 900 years. 

In England woad cultivation became strictly regulated in the late 1500s in a period of food shortage leading up to the famine of 1586 and concerns that too much land was being devoted to woad rather than to cereals. Queen Elizabeth I issued a “Proclamation against the sowing of woade” on 14 October 1585

The dye chemical extracted from woad is indigo, the same dye extracted from “true indigo”, Indigofera tinctoria, but in a lower concentration. 

When woad leaves are harvested, in July and September, they are washed and heated in hot water for several minutes. The blueish water is then mixed with chalk and left to settle. A blue paste is left after the water is poured off and this, when dry, can be ground into a fine powder to be used in paints, dyes and ink-making.

Clothes dyed with woad indigo at first appear yellow, but as they dry they turn green, then turquoise then finally deep blue.

Although woad has not been grown in the UK commercially since the 16th century, it was produced in Lincolnshire during the 1920s and 1930s to provide dye for Royal Air Force uniforms, before the adoption of synthetic colourings.

Finishing stitches – MH 1656 My Beloved’s Gift – The Stitch-a-Long Video 2

Finishing stitches where there is no laid stitch to hide them AND a BONUS clip at the very end. A sneak peak of a gorgeous and vibrant antique sampler that HATS will be reproducing.

PLEASE NOTE: there is a difference in visibility between the two pin stitches. The one that the needle has split the laid stitch on the front is a much better finish. The other one has pushed the laid stitch to the side. Practice and play around with how your manipulate your needle. This is nit picking but there is a slight difference that I feel is worth going the extra to achieve. 

Please click HERE


MH 1656 ~ My Beloved’s Gift – The Stitch-a-Long – Stitch Path Row 1

Yesterday evening we had a discussion in the Facebook group about the stitch path for the first row. You need three separate passes. You can work them from right to left or left to right.

You CANNOT carry your thread on all three passes. With certain combinations you can carry your thread once. This is due to how you need to finish the stitches at the beginning and end of the row to replicate MH’s stitching.

The dotted grey line represents the stitches automatically laid on the reverse as you lay the stitches on the front.

The second diagram shows the back if you turned you work over horizontally rather than vertically.

I found starting and ending with a minute pin stitch the easiest using 100/3.


A Stitch-A-Long for MH 1656 ~ My Beloved’s Gift


We have set up a closed Facebook Group for stitchers to share their journey as they travel with needle and thread through the numerous and beautiful reversible bands of MH 1656 ~ My Beloved’s Gift.

Starting November 1st 2018 and at monthly intervals thereafter Nicola will post photographs of the bands of the sampler as she has stitched them. Whilst not a workshop Nicola will share some tips and tricks along the way. There will not be detailed stitching notes as the graph in the HATS booklet is detailed and well annotated.

However, if a member has a question or needs help Nicola will try her best to assist. Questions can be raised in the group or Nicola can be privately messaged.

To join the group please click HERE