Lady’s Magazine Stitch-Off – A Modern Adventure

Sketched Medallion

Sketched Medallion

I have a matchless talent for complicating my life. In my defence, I can say that this will be practice for future projects, but oh, my…

I have always had in mind to try a full-on-modern, Jane-would-never-have-done-this, take on one of the Stitch-Off designs. This is going to be that project.

I’ve been intending to do something with this blanket for quite some time, and I’ve also been intending to have a serious play (as it were) with my embellisher. Not the least of the challenges will be in managing a full size, pure wool blanket – nearly six foot square, and heavy.

First Thoughts

First Thoughts

I’ve sketched out the central medallion from the design for the child’s cap by eye.  From now on, it’s a venture into the unknown…

I began by cutting leaf shapes in two colours out of two different types of felt, and alternating them around the circle. My wavy stem line wasn’t quite even, so I’ve tried to even up the spacing by eye, and attached the leaves roughly.

I’m expecting to build up this pattern in layers, and fine-tune the felting as I go, so the first stage here is just to make sure nothing moves too much..

Originally needle-felting was an industrial process for making a non-woven fabric. It dates back to about the 1860s, and these days is used for things like geotextiles and insulation. A quick rummage online told me that among the applications are tiles on the Space Shuttle and tennis court surfaces. The application to craft and art is much more recent, but it uses exactly the same needles – just not as many of them!

Blending Fibres

An Experiment in Blending Fibres

However, because of this background, an embellisher is a great way to use wool fibre as well as fabric in a project, and that in turn means an opportunity to play with colours. One of the strongest memories I have of my childhood introduction to the textile industry is visiting a woollen mill in Totnes in Devon, which made upholstery fabrics. The manufacturing process began with bales of alarmingly bright colours of wook fibre being thrown into a carding machine, and ended with wonderfully subtle, lively colours of fabric coming off the looms. I’m going to see what I can do to emulate this intimate blending of colour using my little hand cards.


  1. Alex Hall says:

    I have absolutely no doubt that you will wrangle that huge blanket successfully and end up with another triumph!! By the way, love the spiral trellis stitch in the lest post – it has such a rustic baskety feel.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    I like your choice of colours very much. Good luck with this big project – I suspect that you will need it!

  3. Dima says:

    I saw the pictures on instagram and was wondering what you were doing. I love the colors you picked.

  4. jenclair says:

    Tiles for the space shuttle! Well, I never would have thought of that. Eagerly awaiting your process reports. 🙂

  5. I will watch this develop with interest… I have often thought of getting an embellisher myself! 🙂
    Good luck!

  6. It’s a while since I played with my embellisher, but you have inspired me to get it out and create something!

  7. Penny Baugh says:

    Oh my, the size and weight of the woolen blanket itself would be way too much for me. I admire you. Each time you introduce a new design or project that you’re working on I just can’t wait to follow it through. Thanks for all the adventures you’ve introduced us to.

  8. Carolyn says:

    Oh work on blankets just seem to take over. I always so I’m only going to do just a little embroidery but the blanket keeps saying “oh no, I need more”. Good Luck.

  9. cathy daniel says:

    Looking forward to seeing progress on this one! You’re obviously quite excited about it, and a little over-complication adds spice to life, no? If all goes awry, you can just donate to the space project for their tiles! Have fun. xCathy p.s. good to catch up on IG, too!

  10. Terrie says:

    Wow, it related to space shuttle. How wonderful.

  11. Lady Fi says:

    What fun you are having.

  12. Susan says:

    Wonderful! I’m glad I found the beginning explanation for this. I found myself wondering what the back of your blanket looks like. Does all this embellishing/felting on top go through the white wool, too?