The Stones of Venice

Moth Eaten Footstool

Moth Eaten Footstool

This rather sad specimen of a footstool – covered in now very moth-eaten Welsh tapestry fabric – was a constant part of my childhood. I can’t remember where it lived or what we used it for, but it’s always been somewhere around. When I realised that all my current stitching projects are very detailed and started casting around for something a bit chunkier, I thought that working a new cover for it would do nicely. Furthermore, if I chose threads I already had, it would make a good stash-buster.

Easier said than done.  It took the combined efforts of my mother, my father, and myself to find a colour scheme. Even though I have a drawer full of wools, finding enough to meet the needs of the patterns we liked the look of required a great deal of swapping and changing. In the end, however, we picked a Bargello pattern shown in one of the craft books I inherited from my grandmother, “The Book of Creative Crafts”. The book was published in 1978, so the colour choices in the examples are sometimes a little unappealing to modern eyes, and there is also the fact that the top of the footstool is quite small – only 10 inches by 7.5. A couple of patterns that we liked, we felt were on rather too large a scale for the footstool.

Starting Stones Of Venice

Starting Stones Of Venice

In the end, we chose a pattern called “Stones of Venice”, which is inspired by the brickwork of the Doge’s Palace. One of these days I must go to Venice, and see what I think of their version of it! Only three colours are involved, but as they are heathered, that allows me to extend my bundes of yarn, by using one strand each of two shades of each colour in my needle.

I’m using a roller frame with plastic extending sides which came to me in a bundle of stuff from a lady who was emptying her late mother’s house, and finding it a bit tricky to use. It seems to sag quite easily, and I’m unwilling to tighten the nuts any more in case they break the struts. It is the right size for the project, but other than that it is proving less than straightforward to use. Fortunately I suspect it won’t take long too work this piece!


  1. Janice says:

    I’m at the wrong computer, and there is a plumber barring my way to the right computer… But I’ve been to Venice several times and I think I may have some photos that show the brickwork at the front of the Doge’s Palace. I’ll see if I can dig them out and send one to you. Venice is delightful – you must try to go there!

    It’s always nice to have a big chunky project on the go alongside all the highly detailed work, and especially nice when it’s something fairly quick to do, that will give you the satisfaction of completing it.

  2. Penny B says:

    Love the old stool! You will bring it back to pebbly liveliness! Enjoy. There is nothing like bringing back to life something like that so full,of memories.

  3. Penny says:

    Its going to be wonderful under your creative hands. Its always lovely to bring something ‘back to life’ and stash busting (love those words) is always a plus.

  4. Alex says:

    Lovely colours already! Hope this one will be a nice quick stitch with the added pleasure of being able to bring your much loved stool back into commission.

  5. Great idea! Seems a shame not to revamp a beloved, old object.=)

  6. Jules says:

    I love a happy ending. Looking forward to seeing your old friend resplendent in Venetian style!

  7. Carolyn says:

    I have an old stool that I restored. Even finished the tapestry to go on the top and there the project stopped. I just am not sure how to attach that tapestry. So get stitching and posting so I can see how it is done. (Love your idea for the pattern.)

  8. karen says:

    looking good already!! Somewhere wonderful to rest your weary feet….how lovely!

  9. Cynthia says:

    It’s so nice to bring something back to being pretty and useful, especially since you are using materials you already own. What count of canvas are you using? I’m a real novice when it comes to needlepoint.

  10. What a wonderful old stool (Malcolm liked it too, as a maker of traditional style stools!). I’m looking forward to seeing the transformed stool!

  11. Lady Fi says:

    It will be lovely when it’s finished.

  12. Megan Hodges says:

    Great travel project! And yay, heathering.

  13. I have a couple of upholstery projects that I want to attempt – not even with embroidery, just re-covering some chairs, but I haven’t been brave enough to make a start yet!