A sample of my work...

...or the need for a sharp needle, sharp sight and sharp focus.

At the last Arnhem Dollshouse Show I bought a sampler kit by Mary van der Stel of Miniworks. I had done some full size embroidery in a distant past, but must admit I have never actually finished any of the projects I started. Miniature embroidery was new to me. I started off with an embroidery needle but just could not get it into the right holes. When I tried a regular sharp sewing needle I found it was much easier for me to work with.

Although I needed very good lighting, glasses and magnification to see what I was doing, I really enjoyed it and even started thinking of all the other things I want to embroider. This sampler is embroidered on 40 count linen with regular DMC embroidery floss and by no means perfect, but I'm already thinking of what I could do with silk weaves and beautiful silk embroidery floss... I must be mad.

When trying to photograph my sampler I found that the focus on my camera is off. I managed to get a sharp(ish) photo by setting the focus about an inch in front of the sampler. You should have seen me trying to take these photos! My tripod is too short to get to the top floors of my dolls house, so I had it sitting on top of a bale of hay (don't ask!)and I was perched on a stepladder to check the focus before I took the picture. The first photo is much sharper in my computer files, only when I uploaded it to Photobucket it has become somewhat off focus. Has this ever happened to any of your photos?


  1. The sampler is just lovely - well done on your patience!

  2. Josie, it's so beautiful, I love the colours and I'm sure it's perfect.
    To stitch on line you can use a regular needle but make certain to blunt the tip with a bit of fine sandpaper. To stitch on silk I use very thin Japanese needles n°12 size. I'm still looking for a gold needle that thin, gold is the best, always sharp and smooth but I haven't found it yet.
    Best wishes, Rosanna

  3. Thank you Irene!

    Hey Rosanna! How was Rome?
    It is a lovely sampler isn't it? Compliments to Mary who designed it of course. The linen is hand woven by her too!
    You're very sweet Rosanna, but my stitching is far from perfect. I managed to cut a hole in the linen(!!!) when snipping off a strand of floss. I had to reconstruct it using old fashioned darning techniques. Although hardly visible on the front of the piece, the back is a big mess.

    I did blunt the needle with some sandpaper an it worked perfectly! When I buy my silks I'll try and find the needles you're recommending. A golden needle? Must take care not to loose it then ;) Never heard that before, but then I don't know much about embroidery other than that I like the look of it. Can't a goldsmith make you a needle like that? Why not ask Jens Torp if he'll make you one! (or two or three...) I'm sure there are more people who'd be interested.

  4. Hi Josie,Roma is always fabulous and thank you for the suggestion.
    I shall write to Jens Torp, I suppose that there is his email address on his web site.
    I'm still working a your chair (shame on me) but I begun three different works. I cannot make up my mind :o(
    Have a nice day, Rosanna

  5. Its beautiful Josje, there are more of us crazy people out there that do this than you might think. I belong to a wonderful Yahoo group that makes petit point for our dollhouses, really worth it to join them as they are one of the friendliest groups around and very willing to share advice and knowledge. http://groups.yahoo.com/group/Petitpointers/

  6. Rosanna, the chair will be finished one day and it will be stunning!!

    Elga, I saw your little night table with the embroidered top, such beautiful work! I will go and have a nose around at your Yahoo group. I don't think I have a Yahoo account, but I suppose I could create one. Thanks for the tip!

  7. Hello Josie,the sampler is a beautiful work,I like the colours !And I'm totally in love with your peonies,they look so real,arranged in a wonderful vase !The whole setting is absolutely perfect!!!Hugs,Jeannette

  8. A lovely vignette, Josje. And quite honestly, my eyes are now crossed over from straining to look closely at the lovely sampler! I am lacking the patience to do anything that takes too long, so I really admire anyone who can.

    I too balance on strange things when taking photos (never a bale of hay though! My mind goes for a hayride wondering what on earth it could have been for...interesting???) and I find especially that with a lot of white, the camera does not know where to focus. No pun intended when I say that taking the photos is my 'focus' when it comes to miniatures.

  9. Thank you Jeanette. I love the colours too, I changed the colours a tiny bit from the original.
    Thanks for your comment on the peonies, that means a lot coming from you!

  10. Hi Lize, I didn't think I would have the patience either, but actually found it quite relaxing and I had it finished fairly quickly.

    Yes the hay bale...if you think that it was in my work room it becomes even more interesting, lol! Alas, nothing exiting I'm afraid, just quickly needed to get the bale inside out of the rain and my workroom was closest (is that a word?). Then it became something I could set up my tripod on.
    Your photos are always wonderful. As you love photography, you should know that the hay bale is THE new photograpy gadget of 2011. Will be available in my new online store soon. Multiple usage. Reasonable prices. Shipping costs will vary.

  11. The sampler is just wonderful. You must have very good eyesight and lots of patience. Congratulations.

  12. Your sampler is lovely! I also think the colors are beautiful! It looks so nice in your house.
    You might like to look at this site
    http://www.ministitches.com/gallery/2.html She also sells kits. I bought one from her last year.
    As for Jens making you a gold needle... I think he will have to say no. Gold needles are not alloyed the same way as gold that is used for jewelry. It would be too soft. Plus he would then have to drill a hole and shape it into an eye. Despite his considerable skill, I doubt it would be possible for a needle as fine as what you need for this work.

  13. Te felicito por las cositas tan preciosas que tienes,es todo un capricho.Besos. Mª Luisa.

  14. lovely work... first mini sampler I've seen!
    hugs Karin

  15. Hoi Josje,

    Wat een prachtig werkje is het geworden!
    Ik geloof niet dat ik het geduld heb voor zo'n priegel borduurwerkje ;)

    Groetjes Jollie

  16. Josje, simply marvellous, congratulations for your sharp sight, your shsrp focus your sharp needle... and your sharp bale of hay :-)

  17. I love this chair and also the colours and the whole arrangement.
    Very great.

  18. Heel mooi geworden, Josje!
    Leuk is het om te borduren in het mini he?!
    Ik kreeg afgelopen zomer ook de smaak te pakken en zag ook al heel wat mogelijkheden om te maken, soms wou ik dat er 48 uur in een etmaal zaten...
    Volgens mij kom ik dan nog tijd te kort.

    Liefs Sylvia

  19. Congratulations! You did a wonderful job, the sampler is beautiful and has this antique look, perfect in your room.

  20. Je hebt een prachtige sampler geborduurd Josje. De kleuren zijn prachtig. Rosanna heeft het over een gouden naald, maar ik borduur vaak met een applicatienaald met gouden oog. Ze zijn heel dun, iets langer maar heeft wel een vlijmscherpe punt.

    groet Heleni

  21. I adore your sampler Josje....it looks wonderful and like Catherine I like the colours that you used. I think we get a little obsessed with trying to get everything 'perfect'.....but it does look 'perfect' to me....lol!
    I enjoyed the conversational comments....to hear what others thought and the immediate feed back, just like sitting there with you all.

    I thank you so much Josje, as yesterday my "prize" arrived in the mail...it is fabulous, and the little 'extra' gift also a delight....I love them both!!!

    Thank you once again!

    Linda x

  22. It looks very nice in the room and I think you stitched it beautifully! I love to crosstitch in miniature but want to learn more about petit point. Up to now I have invented patterns with more or less success, but I recently bought a book a a library sale and plan to study it more and start from the beginning. :)

  23. The sampler is wonderful, a great addition!

  24. The sampler is great but you did ask about camera and focus and I have some suggestions to help you.

    Each camera model is unique in its lenses. Somewhere in the documentation it should state what the distance for a macro shot is. For instance my Nikon says it is 3.9" minimum. I can get a good macro shot between that distance and about 6 inches.

    I have found I get much better and more realistic results by not using the macro. You should have a digital camera that is more than 6 megapixels, the higher the number it can shoot the better this method works. Take you photo at a normal auto focus setting at a normal distance of a foot or two away with the image brackets focused on exactly what you want to show. Next using photo editing software to crop the photo size to show only the item you want to see.

    When posting images on a blog one does not need to have a big image at high resolution. At exact size that fits the blog 75dpi is enough. If you want it to become larger when clicked on to show even finer details the size the image to use about 150 to 300 dpi.

  25. Oh yes, about the photobucket image quality problem. Because you probably submitted a large sized file they will have reduced the number of pixels to save on file storage space. The free photo storage websites do that as server space cost money. You get what you pay for!

  26. Another lovely photo, the setting is gorgeous and I just love your embroidery, makes me want to try one too!

  27. Drora, my eyesight is actually not that good, but with glasses, magnification and good light I can see what I am doing.

    Catherine, I know Annelle's website. Isn't her work wonderful? I met her at the Guild School in Castine a few years ago and saw her miniature embroidered casket which was up for auction. That was such a gorgeous, fabulous piece! I would love to have bought that, but it went for a few thousand more than I could afford ;)
    As for the gold needle, lets give Jens a bit of a challenge haha! No seriously, as this is your line of work, of course you know these things. I find it odd though that if a golden needle is the best thing to use, why are they so hard to come by? Of course this is not a question directed to you per se Catherine ;)

  28. Thanks everyone for such kind comments.

    Sylvia, ik vond jouw open borduurwerk erg mooi. Ik ben altijd stomverbaasd bij jou met wat een tempo jij werkt. En dat borduurwerk maken terwijl je ogen niet goed zijn... 'the mind boggles', zoals de fransen zeggen ;)

    Heleni, een applicatienaald? Ook nooit van gehoord. Ik mag me wel schamen met mijn textiel achtergrond, haha! Ik ga de volgende keer in de stad eens op zoek naar deze naalden. Wat ik handig vond aan de scherpe punt is dat je de draden van de stof ermee opzij kunt schuiven als het ware.

  29. Linda, I was trying to explain the workings of internet to my 87 year old mother in law recently and showed her my weblog. She loved the fact that everyone, all over the world (provided they have a computer with internet connection) could read it and communicate almost instantly with eachother. It was lovely to see that and think about it for a moment, -yes it is a fantastic way of communicating!

    I am so glad you're happy with your gifts! The only envelope still to arrive is the one that went to Italy, but we know from Rosanna how long that takes sometimes...

  30. Karin, thank you for your input on my focus issues. I am actually already doing most of what you suggested. I use a Canon SRL camera with a Sigma lens which usually does the job perfectly. It needs a distance of approx. 20 cm (according to the manual, but closer works as well) to get a sharp focus and even in low light levels I used to get sharp photos. I don't use my flash for dollshouse photos as I don't like the sharp shadows. I mainly shoot in Av mode, I never use the macro button in lower light levels as it will flash automatically and although I have searched and searched, I can't find how to turn the d**n thing off.
    The problem I have been having recently is that the focus is about an inch or so off. So if I focus an inch in front of the object I want to have in focus, then it is fine. It is a bit difficult though, trying to guess where to set the focus to. I think there is something wrong with the lens, I will have to get it looked at.

    As for the Photobucket issue, yes, you are quite right, you get what you pay for. And yes, I am using the free service. I did however crop and reduce the photo in size to 152 kb before I uploaded it so that should be fine. Well as long as this doesn't happen too often I will use the free service I suppose.

  31. Margaret, yes try to do some embroidery! It is something you can do in a lazy chair while watching some TV ;) Pick it up and do a few stitches whenver you have a few minutes. I found it quite relaxing.

  32. it's so lovely!!

    Your sampler is so beautiful!!

    The flowers are amazing they are so delicate are so preatty!!


  33. Es un rincon maravilloso, con ese aire de vivido.
    Me encantan esas fotografias.
    Feliz fin de semana
    besitos ascension

  34. Ha Josje,ook al aan het borduren geslagen? Welkom bij de PPers! Ik hoop dat je nog lang en gezellig bij ons blijft borduren! Leuke merklap!
    Enne, ga maar eens zijdegaas proberen, je weet niet wat voor genoegen dat is!


  35. Wonderful jobs!! I love your style!!
    ciao ciao

  36. I love this! I too enjoy miniature needlework, but 40 count would leave me blind. I think I am doing well at 22 count at the moment!! At the end of the week I hope to venture into 32 count.....but 40!!!! No way!

    Your work is beautiful. You must be really proud. Best wishes, Carol :)

  37. Prachtig werk een lust om naar te kijken, en de slaapkamer...een droom.

  38. Hey Josje,

    Je merklap is erg mooi!! Heb je nu de smaak te pakken? Probeer eens iets op zijdegaas, is heel anders borduren, maar wordt ook erg mooi. Je moet alleen je hele werkje vullen met steekjes. Ik ben helemaal weg van zijdegaas met silk garen.

  39. Hi Josje, prachtig lapje borduurwerk is het geworden....ik heb precies dezelfde 3 jaar geleden gekocht. Mijn zus zou het wel voor mij borduren....ik wacht er nog steeds op,lol!


  40. I just met your blog. I enjoy watching your work. Is very beautiful. Congratulations! Kisses from Spain (sorry, but my english is very bad)

  41. greetings from amsterdam from http://the-mouse-mansion.blogspot.com

  42. You have a good eye girl!!!*grin* Please don't ever be afraid to speak your heart and mind. I am always afraid to make to big of hands as I see that in few sculptress artist and I don't like it. I always try to me a little smaller ,if possible , but you are right, his hands could have been a little bigger!!! Smiles,


Post a Comment