Awesome Modern Take on Casalguidi Stitch

Hi again

The last couple of weeks have been super busy and I haven’t had as much time to post. So hopefully over the next week I’ll get a few extra posts written.

This one is few words and some wonderful embroidery for you.

When I was researching the Casalguidi post I talked to Pat Bootland about her teaching sample and the use of casalguidi stitch. Not long after she brought in a bag and said ‘I’ve got another example of casalguidi stitch to show you.’………and pulled out this beauty….

Casalguidi Garden Avenue in frame by Pat Bootland

It’s an absolutely exquisite piece of textured embroidery and all her own design. If you’d like a closer look just click on the photo to enlarge it.

The pergola is all worked in casalguidi stitch:

Garden Avenue without frame by Pat Bootland

The climbing rose in the foreground has needlelace flowers and needleweaving for the leaves:

Needlelace Flowers by Pat Bootland

The climber behind (is it wisteria?) is all bullions and french knots:

Bullions and French Knots by Pat Bootland

….and then there are the ferns around the base of the pillars:

Needleweaving by Pat Bootland

…..and look at how she’s created the paving stones – it’s padded satin stitch surrounded by french knots. So simple and yet so effective!

Paving stones Pat Bootland

I’m never sure how much detail you’d like about the embroideries so I really really need your input:

Would you like to know what threads Pat used for the various elements in the design?

How she achieved the three dimensional effect in the design?

How to draw the design right from the beginning?

Would some tutorials on creating plants and greenery using needleweaving be useful?

What about a tutorial on stitching the paving stones?

I’d really love to hear what you think if you’ve got the time to leave a comment.




Royal History in Cross Stitch 3

Hi everyone

Welcome to the final post in our series on the Kings and Queens of England since 1066. I’ve really enjoyed writing this quirky series and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and looking at Barbara’s clever stitching up close.

From Queen Anne to Queen Elizabeth II

This period of royal history covers over 300 years to the present day. During this time there is a decisive shift of political power from the monarchy to the parliament, the growth and decline of the British Empire, and the union of Scotland and England to create the United Kingdom. Not to mention World Wars I & II…

Rows 5 and 6 of Barbara Bailey X stitch


We left this sampler with the reign of William and Mary of Orange. They had no heirs and so the throne passed to Anne the daughter of James II and his Protestant first wife.

Anne to George II Barbara Bailey X stitch

Anne (r. 1702-1714)

Her reign was characterised by prosperity and stabilty. Despite suffering from ill health (severe gout) for most of the period she was an active participant in political life. She attended more Cabinet meetings than any other monarch and astutely managed the conflicts in government that came with the rise of the two party system. The union of England and Scotland into the United Kingdom happened during her reign. She had 17 children but all died before their 12th birthday.

George I (r. 1714-1727)

George I was the first of the Hanoverian Kings. He was German, had a poor grasp of the English language, a whole swag of greedy mistresses and a badly treated wife. Needless to say he wasn’t popular! The image of him here with a key in his hand probably references the fact that he locked up his wife for long periods of time.

George II (r. 1727-1760)

George II reigned in a period which saw the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, a rapid rise in population, the growth of English economic and military power and the expansion of the empire. He had to deal with Bonnie Prince Charlie who landed in Scotland and was defeated at the Battle of Culloden. He was passionate about the invention of the marine chronometer (the first sea going clock) and that’s probably why he’s got a clock in his hand here.

George III to William IV

George III to William IV Barbara Bailey X stitch

George III (r. 1760-1820)

George III is a much maligned figure and is often presented as a caricature with the focus being on his loss of the American colonies and his bouts of insanity. In fact he was for long periods an able and cultured monarch who founded the Royal Academy of Arts. This was the Regency period and during this time the colony of N.S.W. was established and the  policy of transportation of convicts implemented. The Civil List to meet the expenses of the Royal Family was set up. Historians attribute his periods of insanity to Porphyria – a disease of the liver.

George IV (r. 1820-1830)

George IV was an extravagant collector and builder who liked the good life. He allegedly spent his wedding night in a drunken stupor on the floor. He liked pageantry and this became the basis for the ceremonial side of Royal events.

William IV (r. 1830-1837)

William IV never expected to become king as he was the third son of George III. At 13 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman which is why he’s shown here in naval uniform. He made it his mission to live long enough that Victoria would come of age and inherit the throne – there were other claimants to the throne hanging about.

Victoria (r. 1837-1901)

Victoria Barbara Bailey X stitch

Victoria is regarded as one of the great monarchs of England and needs no introduction. Her long reign is associated with the grandeur and power of the British empire. At the same time political power moved decisively away from the Crown to the Parliament. New forms of transport such as the train made it possible for her to travel and this made the monarchy more accessible. One of her last formal acts was to sign the Constitution of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Edward VII & George V

Ed VII and George VI Barbara Bailey X stitch

 Edward VII (r. 1901-1910)

Edward was the oldest son of Victoria and Albert and a bit of a wild child with lots of mistresses (presumably why we see him here with no pants!!). He injected a bit of fun back into Britain after Victoria’s long and sometimes dour reign. He’s reputed to have eaten 5 meals of ten courses or more every day. As a result he had a waistline of 122 cm or 48 inches when he was middle aged! Mary Poppins is set in his reign and you might remember that Mr Banks goes round singing:  ‘It’s grand to be an Englishman in 1910! King Edward’s on the throne, it’s the age of men!’ Meanwhile Mrs Banks is busy being a suffragette!

George V (r. 1910-1936)

George V began his naval career as a cadet at the age of 12. As Duke of York he opened the first Parliament of Australia in 1901. During WWI he made over 400 visits to troops and hospitals. In 1917 because of anti-German feeling he renamed the royal family the House of Windsor after the castle. He was earnest, traditional, hard working and a passionate stamp collector. The present Queen used to call him ‘Grandpa England’ when she was a child. As Prince of Wales he opened the Royal School of Needlework as we know it today and the RSN made his Coronation robes.

Edward VIII & George VI

EdVIII and George VI Barbara Bailey X stitch

 Edward VIII (r. Jan – Dec 1936)

Not much to be said here except that he’s shown saying goodbye after his abdication so that he could marry Mrs Simpson.

George VI (r. 1936-1952)

He grew up as Prince Albert the younger son of George V. He was shy and stuttered badly. As king he was reserved, courageous, deeply religious and dedicated. His reserve was balanced by the bubbly, out-going nature of his wife Elizabeth. During a State visit in 1936 he became the first British monarch to enter the US. He served in the Navy in WWI and as a result made numerous visits to his troops in many war zones during WWII.

Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – )

Elisabeth II Barbara Bailey X Stitch

Mmmmm the Queen here looks more like Camilla than herself. What do you think? Given that she’s the reigning monarch and we’ve just been through all the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee and Coronation I’m not sure there’s much left to say……..except that she’s a remarkable person and monarch by any measure….maybe only to add that the RSN made her Coronation Robe of State.

Bye for now!

Royal History in Cross Stitch 2

Hi everyone

This post was meant to be written about 5 days ago but then the cockies (Sulphur-crested Cockatoos) chewed through the telephone line to our house and we’ve been without the Internet while a new line was connected. The fact that the very plump local brushtail possums also use the telephone line as an aerial highway probably doesn’t help either!

Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in an extra post over the coming week.

Now back to the second instalment of the royal history in Barbara’s cross stitch. Here are the rows of kings and queens we’ll be looking at in this post:

From Edward IV to William & Mary

This period of royal history covers the end of the War of the Roses and then the turbulent  and complex couple of centuries of tensions between Protestants and Catholics and Parliaments and monarchs about which faith would prevail as the  established state religion of England.


Rows 3 and 4 of Barbara Baileys Xstitch of Kings and Queens of England


Just to recap where we left off last time – it was with Henry VI the last of the Lancastrian Kings. He and Edward IV fought a series of battles in the War of the Roses. Henry VI was defeated in 1461 and confined to the Tower of London but re-instated briefly in 1470 when nobles loyal to him rebelled against Edward IV who was forced to flee. Edward IV returned and defeated the forces loyal to Henry VI in 1471:

Barbara Baileys Xstitch Ed IV to Richard III

Edward IV (r. 1461-1470 & 1471-1483 ) is regarded as a military and administrative genius. He was a popular king who restored the royal finances through tough management of royal revenues and shrewd investments including wool trading. His Court is described in records of the time as the most splendid in Europe. He spent a lot on expensive status symbols to demonstrate his wealth and power. The way he’s shown here probably refers to the fact that in the last few years of his reign he became rather stout.

Edward V (r. April-June 1483) was one of the Princes in the Tower. He became king at the age of 12. His uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was made Lord Protector of the realm. He had Edward V declared illegitimate and confined to the Tower of London (then a royal residence) with his younger brother. The young princes were never seen again.

Richard III (r. 1483-85) usurped the throne from his nephew Edward V. He had a strong power base in the north of England and this caused growing resentment in the south. He died in the Battle of Bosworth Field fighting Henry Tudor. Richard III was the last English king to die in battle.

Barbara Bailey Xstitch Tudor Kings

Henry VII to Edward VI

Henry VII (r. 1485-1509) was the first Tudor monarch. In the latter part of his reign he imposed heavy taxation and his greed made him unpopular. He’s shown in this design carrying a chest of money.

Henry VIII (r. 1509-1547) is one of the best known and flamboyant kings of England. He was a larger than life figure and a talented linguist, musician, composer and writer and great patron of the arts. He established the Church of England and was married 6 times.

Edward VI (r. 1547-1553) became king at the age of 9. He was a devout Protestant and the Book of Common Prayer was introduced in 1549. Edward was physically frail and when his health was failing he accepted Lady Jane Grey (one of Henry VIII’s great nieces) as his heir.

Lady Jane Grey & Mary I

Barbara Bailey xstitch Mary Queen of Scots

 Lady Jane Grey (r. 10-19 July 1553) was a pawn in a broader political play. She was only 16 when she became heir to the throne. Unfortunately for her the country rebelled and rallied behind Mary the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. She was executed not long after.

Mary I (r. 1553-1558) was the first Queen to rule in her own right. She was a devout Catholic and over 300 Protestant heretics were burned at the stake and many more imprisoned.

Elizabeth I & James I

Barbara Baileys xstitch Elisabeth 1 and James 1

 Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603) is regarded as one of the great monarchs of England. During her reign there was a Renaissance in the arts and fashion. Embroidery and lace were used to embellish sumptuous costumes. Imported reticello and other laces were used to create lavish cuffs, collars and ruffs (ornate, high collars). As Europe was going through a mini Ice Age during this period there was a demand for warm materials and many costumes were made of wool or wool blends. Elizabethan embroidery was used to add decorative elements to an otherwise plain fabric.

James I (r. 1603-1625) was the first Stuart king. He had been King of Scotland for 36 years when he became King of England. He commissioned the King James Version of the Bible which is why he’s shown here with a bible.

Charles I – James II

Barbara Baileys X- stitch Stuart Kings

Charles I (r. 1625-1649) is not regarded by historians as a successful ruler. His whole reign was one of conflict with Parliament and controversy. This led to his execution in 1649.

Charles II (r. 1660-1685) became king when the monarchy was restored in 1660. He had to deal with the Plague and the Great Fire of London. He was the patron of the architect Sir Christopher Wren in the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral. But we’re going to focus on the lighter side – he loved to play tennis. He had special tennis outfits made of Holland (a Dutch linen regarded as one of the finest linens ever produced) along with special tennis shoes. Research by Professor Maria Hayward of the University of Southampton has established that the frames of the tennis racquets that he used were bordered with luxurious lace.

James II (r. 1685-1688) became king when Charles II died without heirs. He attempted to promote the Roman Catholic cause and this made him unpopular with  Parliament and the people. When William of Orange invaded and was supported by the English military he was forced to flee to France.

William and Mary of Orange

Barbara Bailey X stitch Wiliam and Mary

William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-1694) 

Mary is recorded as being very attractive in contrast to her husband William III who was reported as being short and stout. She died of smallpox in 1694. William died from complications following a fall from his horse Sorrel which had stumbled into a mole’s burrow.

The more I research the royal history in this design the more I appreciate the thought and wit that’s gone into it. The designer has managed to pull off a balance between the often harsh reality of history and the more light hearted moments.

Hope you have a great week!


Pat’s Whimsical Etui

Pat B is one of the Guild’s very accomplished embroiderers and she loves to make decorative boxes.

An etui is a small ornamental box for holding needles, thimbles etc.

We have been photographing a series of her boxes for the Members Gallery and I couldn’t resist sharing this etui that Pat designed with you. If you’d like to look at the detail just click on any photo to enlarge it.

Black and White Etui by Pat Bootland

…..and here’s a view of the other side…..

View 2 Black and White Etui by Pat Bootland

Pat has created an etui in the style that opens up flat once the box is opened:

Unfolded Etui by Pat Bootland

Would you like a closer look at the inside of the etui?

Well here’s the side with the comfy armchair and lamp:

Inside Wall with armchair of Etui by Pat Bootland

This one has a warm fireplace with a striking portrait above it:

Inside wall with fireplace and portrait in Etui by Pat Bootland

….this wall is full of crafty things:

Inside wall with two pictures of Etui by Pat Bootland

…..and this one has a relaxing view through the window..

Inside wall with window of etui by Pat Bootland

And guess who’s enjoying all this?

Creature in Etui by Pat Bootland

Pat says that this little creature gets very upset if it’s mistaken for a cat or a dog…….it is its own whimsical self!