The Georgette Heyer ReadAlong on Twitter was one of the few truly delightful offspring of lockdown. Through it, I met a host of funny, feisty, warm, and loving women, intelligent and well-read, but not inclined to take that as a sole criterion for worth. Their take on almost everything is worth reading, they combine charity of heart with a refusal to take any nonsense, and they have improved everything about my experience of Twitter ever since.

We ended up with an entire sub-language of hashtags and references, and when the readalong came to an end, we embroidered some of them and one of us collaged them together as a gift for the lady who started it all. These are my contribution.

“Hatboxes” appear frequently in adventures, being small and portable containers that someone too young to have luggage might be able to pack with a few necessities. Mine turned into a positive sampler of stitches. The lid of the pink one is Hungarian Braided Chain, there is Trellis Couching, Herringbone Stitch, Burden Stitch, Blanket Stitch, Stem Stitch and Back Stitch.

“Fainting In The Pavillion” refers to an incident in one of the books when the heroine, overcome with heat and repugnance, faints in one of the rooms of Brighton Pavilion, greatly embarrassing her host, the Prince Regent (he had it coming, waste no sympathy!). This one includes Cretan Stitch, Open Chain (looking neat and delicate for once), Fly Stitches, Stem, Chain, and Blanket Stitch.

“Dashed Havey-Cavey” refers to suspicious and underhand circumstances, so rather than trying to illustrate it with a picture, I simply chose a dark and moody thread and put on my most pernickety mode of Reverse Chain Stitch.

The whole thing was enormous fun, both to take part in, and to stitch about afterwards!

After which delight, it seems rather unfortunate that the latest video in SlowTV Stitchery, Episode 77, should be a sad one, full of struggle, and as yet not crowned by success..


  1. Carolyn Foley says:

    Goodness, I remember reading everyone of Georgette Heyers novels back in my 20’s. I loved everyone of them but then found I had had enough and haven’t looked at them since. But memory tells me I did enjoy them. It might have been better if I could have had someone to discuss them with?
    Love the stitching.

  2. Sue Jones says:

    What a good idea! Not a GH fan (I have read and enjoyed a handful, but not sufficiently to buy more) and not a Twitter user, but I love the idea of using hashtags as inspiration. And those are fun. I can see Hatboxes as a design for a greeting card, in particular.

  3. I really must return to Georgette Heyer one of these days. They were, apparently, my husband’s father’s favourites, which he read through repeatedly from start to finish. I find that rather odd for a man who, by all accounts, was a master of gloomy, irascible grumpiness, but perhaps he hid his light under a Heyer shaped bushel!
    I really sympathise with your struggles with Amarna, and felt every stitch you did with those wretched curved needles, (and was very admiring of the total lack of expletives and growling!) There’s no doubt they are useful, but such a fiddle to use, I still haven’t mastered them despite Sarah Homfray’s good advice on handling. With box making I use ladder stitch as it means you’re not trying to slip the needle through both layers at the same time so there’s less twisting about. You can get finer ones at a couple of online places (Restore Products and Sarah Homfray), but I’m not sure that would help with what you are doing. I think your second thought, in framing in the gold fabric might work, There was too much of a contrast between the goldwork and the dark velvet which made it pop too much, and look a little isolated in that big field of blue. I kept hoping you were going to try a red organza as a second layer, to warm the gold satin up a bit and link with the red in the or nue, but it might be that the combination of recording and then looking on screen was distorting the colours slightly. You have an idea in your head about how you want it to feel – I seem to recall “rich and strange” might have been mentioned in a video at some stage? Hope you are feeling happier about it now. If not perhaps you need to turn it to the wall again for a bit longer and work on some of the other pieces, so you have a wider context for it as part of the whole? Will send calming thoughts 🙂

  4. Curved needles are very tricky to use. I attempted using one when making a box. I think I’ve also used one when making a book.