Holiday Traycloth – second installment

Making Tea

Making Tea

Now this is very “Swallows and Amazons“, isn’t it!

There’s a woven spiders web wheel for the top of the picnic basket, the little girl’s red hair is worked in coral stitch and her older sister’s is satin stitch. It’s barely visible in the photo, but the satin stitch is angled this way and that to create something that looks a little like a Marcel wave – a very grown up style on a relatively young girl!

As in the first installment, the cuffs and flounces are in blanket stitch. The spots are French knots, and the lilac dress is worked as a pattern of back stitches.



This motif, “Reading” shows particularly clearly how skilled the designer was in making the best possible use of simple shapes and simple line. Much of the design uses straight stitches – for the leaves, the bark, and the stems of the leaves.

The pattern on the skirt alternates back stitches with tiny satin stitch blocks, and the hair is stem stitch. The book and the shoes are satin stitch, the flowers are French Knots, and anything else is in back stitch.

It couldn’t be simpler to do, but doesn’t it look good!



This is the point where – after nobly containing my experimental impulses for quite some time! – I indulged in a few wanderings from the path laid down. The shorts are actually woven! It must have been tricky to get right, but it’s worked really well – they look slightly tweedy, but in any case the sort of heavy fabric that any sensible mother would clothe her child in for scrambling around rocks and beaches.

The little gold fish is worked in Vandyke stitch, which is tricky to keep even but creates a strong line down the side of the fish to contrast with the net in the background.


  1. Penny says:

    These are wonderful! Such detail. What are the sizes? They look to be quite small. I especially like the boy at the beach.

  2. Yup, #1: Susan and Bridget (Vicky) from the ‘Swallows and Amazons’ series, #2 Jo Bettany of ‘The Chalet School’ and #3 Nancy Blackett, Amazon pirate!!=)

  3. karen says:

    so much detail….the little girls dress in the top image is delightful.

  4. Carolyn says:

    That is just beautiful. I am very taken with that 1930’s style and now you have me looking for that book.

  5. Terrie says:

    Very very pretty embroidery. That’s other than the floral or other patterns embroidery I’ve ever seen. Very fairy and looks like telling a story.

  6. Jules says:

    It does indeed look good! I really like this, it’s like looking at a bit of social history ( in a very stylised way!) as well as an attractive embroidery. I love the little red haired tot in blue!

  7. MeganH says:

    Love the shorts!

  8. ladyfi says:

    What simple and yet totally charming designs!

  9. Catching up after a hectic week! The embroidery is wonderful, and the scenes remind me of childhood books.

  10. Anita says:

    All the patterns are simple and beautiful.I enjoyed looking at all the cute details in each pattern.I like the basket,little girl’s frock ,straight stitch leaves and fish.Thanks for sharing Rachel.

  11. It makes me want to get outside. Only not today, what with the rain… 🙂

  12. […] number seven is Coral Stitch (remember I used it for the little girl’s hair in the Holiday Traycloth?). I used another overdyed pearl cotton – one of my favourite threads, because it brings […]