Stitching in the sunshine

embroidery and tatting

Ok, I take it back about yellow. At the end of my last post I said that if you buy yellow thread you’re hardly ever likely to use it. This post disproves all that I guess. Also, I really love that golden sunshine yellow, purely because it reminds me of sunny days, so lord knows what I was thinking. Sorry about that.

I had a little adventure last weekend. A friend and I rented a cottage for a couple of days. I arrived with a sewing machine, cutting board, various yarns, half a monkey’s head and wine. She arrived with weaving, fabric, different yarns –  and scones and clotted cream. To be frank, I’m not sure its possible to arrive armed with anything better! We had a lovely weekend where she conquered (I think) her fear of sewing machines, and I made myself do some embroidery – and finish the monkey. This is our little front room – and on the sofa you’ll spot a blanket beautifully crocheted by my friend’s mum, which came along for the ride. (I can see where my friend gets her super-neat and even stitches from.)


I decided to fill the middle of the wreath (pattern link) I’d tatted with french knots. The joy of a cottage in the country complete with wi-fi means a quick look on You Tube and you’re off in no time. Then I kind of carried on – and actually I think, got carried away. I added the pink on a whim – the skeins of yellow and pink looked so good (and clashy) next to each other that I thought it would be alright. I think it’s a bit too much in reality, perhaps sticking with the yellow and blue alone would’ve been better? I dunno.

Embroider & tatting

It’s all pretty messy, but I quite like the mix of embroidery and tatting, so I’ll try it again I think. This is the size 50 tatting thread. I think it works well for this kind of thing. I usually tat with size 80, but I think that could be too small. We’ll soon find out as I’m halfway through another version of this wreath.

This was the other option incidentally. I crocheted this rose ages ago, I think with DMC Perlé thread and found it in a jar! Good colour match, but I thought it really was Time To Tackle Embroidery. (That said, it looks rather tasteful by comparison. Oh well.)


The monkey in question arrived as a head and left as a fully formed monkey. It was him that took most of the time, to be honest – it’s amazing how long thy really take VS how long you *think* they take. I couldn’t get his mouth right AT ALL. This is probably the 4th or 5th mouth. In the end I used some linen thread, which was a bit random, but I’d tried embroidery thread and wool and both of them looked awful. Now he’s done, I think he’s quite sweet:


He looks kind of hopeful I think. I’ve said it before, and will no doubt say it again, but the placement of the mouth and eyes is everything when it comes to toys. Get that right and I swear it’s half the battle. And that’s a knitted scarf! The first ever scarf I’ve knitted for one of my toys. This monkey is a gift for my friend’s daughter who is one year old this week. She’s the one I crocheted a blanket for a year ago. I mentioned that it might be an idea for him to sit on the shelf for a bit, as I’m not sure how he’ll take to being chewed, but we’ll see 🙂

Yellow Monkey

Right. Better get on with the weekend. Enjoy yours!

32 thoughts on “Stitching in the sunshine

  1. I love monkey’s knitted scarf (and obviously monkey too), and I’m sure he’ll be much loved as either shelf-dweller or chew toy 🙂

    And I love the colours in the tatting. In the photos it doesn’t look like it’s too much at all. I like the combination of the two elements – embroidery and tatting – too, it’ll be interesting to see where you take it next. I’m sure it’ll be beautiful whatever you do.

    Also, I demand you use sentences that include “half a monkey’s head and wine” in them more often. Conjures up such wonderful imagery 🙂

    • Well, more weekends beget more sentences! Glad you like the tatting colours. I trust your judgement, and I think we’re quite similar with that kind of thing, so if it’s ok with you, I’ll take your word for it 😉

    • Your monkey is brilliant! They’d look pretty cheerful side by side, all bright yellow and orange 🙂 I must admit, I can’t wait for spring – I can’t believe how much it’s showing in the things I make.

  2. Sounds like you both had a lot of fun 🙂 The monkey is brilliant! I know I will make one some day for my little great niece who is also one year old. I love the tatting as usual and the embroidery adds an extra dimension. Very neat 😀 Avis x

  3. I’m sure the monkey will be well loved. The embroidery is gorgeous, really adds another dimension to the tatting. The crocheted rose is very pretty too.

  4. Your filled colourful wreath is just so pretty. I also love the plain color with the rose (very bridal and gorgeous). What o you turn these little jewels into? I’m fascinated to see.


    • Hmm… I’m fascinated to see too 😉 not quite sure at the moment. I quite like the mix of tatting and embroidery though, so perhaps I’ll work something out when I’ve tried a few more. If you think of anything, let me know!

  5. What a cute monkey! So far I have resisted the pull of amigurumi, but I’m not sure how much longer I will succeed! The combination of embroidery and tatting is quite lovely as well. I think the colors all work well together – it’s such a happy sunny piece! A long time ago I remember seeing a combination of tatting and silk ribbon embroidery. It was very cute! Unfortunately I no longer recall where I saw it, not that it really matters since I don’t do silk ribbon embroidery.

    • Thanks! amigurumi are quite nice to make – small bits, which are very pick-up and put-downable (good for a TV project), which you then sew together. Also, there’s a billion patterns and tutorials online, and they make good presents. If you can crochet in a circle, they’re really not that hard and they are fun.
      I’m not sure you should take up ribbon embroidery – if there’s one person who already has a *lot* of other things on the go, I think it could be you 🙂

  6. I’m so glad you posted the photo of the monkey. When I first read the post I was pretty worried about what you meant by “half a monkey’s head.” I was much relieved to see the photo.

  7. Hi, I’ve just been making this again (your version) and was wondering how you’d done the centre rings… it’s not a SCMR is it? Yet you have the shape as if you did…

  8. Hi, do you mean the rings in the middle of the motif (with the blue embroidery)? They’re just standard rings.

    The flowers around the outside of the motif are all just rings too – there isn’t a central ring holding them together, it’s just 5 rings one after the other. It’s exactly as per the pattern, but missing the stitch in between each ring, which would’ve carried the second thread with it. So when you move on to the chain, you’re forced to squash them all up to continue.

    Does that make sense? There’s nothing clever, basically!

    • Thank you, I mean the rings in the centre (the 6-4-6 ones). If I make them as per the pattern, you get a chain with a ring thrown off… which does not give the same shape as what you have… I know this must be simple but I can’t figure it out! It’s like you reversed work but your chains still face the same way as mine…

      • Hmm. Looking at this previous post, where there are two versions, I’m trying to remember now if I used two shuttles for this or just a ball and shuttle.

        You can see that the coloured one has more curved chains in the centre, where I obviously used two shuttles. The ecru one comes a bit more to a point. I wonder if it’s that? Maybe I switched shuttles on one, but couldn’t on the other? This is also thicker thread than I usually use.

        Whatever it is, it’s likely to be incorrect and uncomplicated. I only really tat on crowded trains, so I try and memorise patterns before I leave the house – hence the mistakes! If it’s more of a pointed shape you’re after, then I think adding a few more stitches on that chain might help too.

      • Yes, that makes it more clear. Your two-coloured motif looks like mine at the inside rings (a chain with a ring thrown off) whereas your ecru one has a different shape. You must have used a ball and shuttle and had to flip the work over and carry the thread to carry on with the chain. That’s the only way I can picture it. And in fact, that’s just what I was in the middle of making to see if I got the same shape without making a SCMR. Thanks for your replies!

      • Actually I think what I’ve done is a less nice version of the inside section of your Stellar pattern. Your stitches there are in the one direction which then switches when you make the ring. Mine don’t switch, and it’s not as neat, and doesn’t lie as flat. It’s basically that – whatever you did there, do here!

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