A Hug for A Handbag

Rose Hug

Rose Hug

Gorse Hug

Gorse Hug

Sometimes there is nothing you can do for people but give them a hug; sometimes even that is rendered difficult, or even impossible, by distance. For those occasions, I’ve created a Hug For a Handbag. It’s a small square of snuggly cashmere blanketing, embroidered with the word “Hug” and with a small embroidered motif on the top. I have backed these with another layer of cashmere, to make them even snugglier.

Rose In Profile

Rose In Profile

The rose on the Rose Hug is worked in bullion knots, which were not among my favourite stitches, but I’ve warmed to them because the rose seems to have worked so well. The inner knots are shorter, and worked using a single thread, while the outer ones are not only long enough to have involved a great deal of wrangling to get them to settle nicely, but worked using a double thread.

The leaves are worked in nested fly stitches, and the stems in stem stitch (of course!), with tiny thorns of straight stitch alternating with the leaves.

Gorse In Close Up

Gorse In Close Up

You can tell that I have warmed to bullion knots, because I used them for some of the flowers of the gorse on the Gorse Hug. The buds are French knots, and the thorns and sprigs are worked in fly stitches, using single threads instead of the double thread used for the stems.

This is a wonderful use for some gorgeous woollen threads I bought somewhere in Pembrokeshire ten years or so ago (unlabelled, but they are so soft and lovely I wonder whether they came from Renaissance Dyeing) and some more, bought in Australia, which come from Gumnut Yarns). They have been a sheer delight to use. There’s a lovely misty blue in among them, too, so I am thinking of another design, of Lavender, to make up to have ready next time I need a Hug to send out.

But on the other hand, I rather like stitching a Hug with the recipient in mind. Maybe they’ll feel the hugs I was thinking when they receive the gift.


  1. Lady Fi says:

    Gorgeous hugs indeed!

  2. wendy says:

    what a lovely idea and thanks for sharing. I’ve never done a bullion knot, it doesn’t look like I’d enjoy it!

  3. Janice says:

    How sweet! I love bullion knots – so versatile. I’ve used them for roses as you have here, and they are great for lavender. I know what you mean about making with the person in mind. I do think it makes a difference.

  4. CarolR says:

    These are a great idea! I have a couple of faraway friends who could use a hug.

  5. Jules says:

    Oh Rachel! That’s adorable. What a fab idea – and I love the bullion knots.

  6. coral-seas says:

    This is such a nice idea, a Hug in a Handbag. Just the name is enough to make me smile.

  7. What a wonderful idea!

  8. Penny says:

    A beautiful idea! Sometimes they might be ‘given’ to perfect strangers who are kind or might need a hug. I love the idea and have printed off the instructions! A perfect give away to friends, loved ones and perfect strangers.

  9. Erica Marsden says:

    What a lovely idea Rachel – I have a friend who could do with one of those right now – except I will embroider a pohutakawa flower!

  10. cathy daniel says:

    What a lovely idea – I do know someone who I would like to send one of these to and the idea that they notice it each time they poke about in their handbag is really good – a constant reminder that they are loved, even if they are too far away for the real thing. I am now getting all teary-eyed so I’ll shut up! xCathy. Exquisite work as usual though!

  11. Carolyn says:

    What a beautiful thought. There are so many applications for this and so many friends I would like to give them to.

  12. Cynthia says:

    So sweet, you could make them into lavender sachets for a fragrant hug.

  13. Andy LW says:

    Rachel – the “Hug for a handbag” are really delightful. I sometimes see a homeless girl on the streets of Bath selling the Big Issue and I am sure that these would cheer her up no end. Thank you so much.

  14. Anita says:

    Cute idea! Beautiful bullion roses. I haven’t come across even one person who doesn’t like hugs so far:) am sure the recipient will feel the love .

  15. deanna7trees says:

    oh great idea. i bet some of my friends would love one. thanks.

  16. Ann says:

    What a beautiful idea–such a special remembrance. Thank you for sharing.

  17. karen says:

    such a wonderful idea….sending a soft hug in this manner….

  18. Terrie says:

    Simply but great idea for someone.