It looks a lot like a cupcake, or maybe a petit four, but ceci n’est pas un cupcake. It’s actually a useful little stitching aid called Stitcher’s Beeswax. When you’re hand-sewing, run your length of thread through this beforehand and you’ll find it won’t be so prone to knotting, twisting or fraying.
Ceci n'est pas un cupcake
You can buy more utilitarian lumps of beeswax which will do the job fine. But I wanted to sex them up a bit. And what, now, could be more sexy than a cupcake? So, I formed these 100% beeswax amuses-mains in little chocolate moulds. Both beautiful and practical – what a joy!
In my compulsion to recycle everything, I made the first ones from used candle ends (really!) which happened to be green. But most of them are actually natural beeswax colour, as I’ve made the majority from new beeswax. You could probably eat them without much harm, but I’d recommend reserving them for their intended function. I think they’d make a cracking little stocking filler for a favourite stitcher. As with all my items, they’ll be on sale at It’s Darling! this weekend. The excitement is mounting, and the fair has even been recommended by BBC Homes & Antiques Magazine as one of the 5 great festive shopping treats nationwide. Woot! Hope to see you there.
Vintage bell-shaped knitting gauges
These bell-shaped knitting needle gauges originated in the Victorian era: 1847 to be precise. Bell gauges were specifically mentioned in some Victorian knitting patterns and are useful if you’re working from pre-1920s British knitting patterns as needle sizes were a little different then.
However, bell gauges also make lovely Christmas tree decorations, especially for the haberdashery-obsessed. The oldest gauges run to size 28, a very fine needle indeed, but most go no further than size 24: perfect to mark the days of Advent.
The ones pictured are Abel Morrall’s, Walker and Jager brands, dating from the early-to-mid twentieth century. I’ll be selling them at my Christmas fairs but only have a handful, so catch them while you can.
Abel Morrall's Walker and Jager brands
It’s Frantic Friday and I’m wishing I had several pairs of hands. I’ve been taking pictures and putting some buttons on cards today, but longing to get back to some sewing.
Just time to show you some of my lucky tomato pincushions which I’m taking to my Christmas fairs. They’re a complete exercise in thrift, from scrap material my late mother-in-law had (and she’s been gone two decades!) and old embroidery thread. Even the stuffing is reclaimed. I’ve called them lucky because legend has it that a tomato on a mantelpiece brings the house’s inhabitants prosperity and good fortune. Well, it’s worth a shot.
The sun shone so beautifully while I took these pictures that I got quite mesmerised by the shadows of the pins. Hope you like.
PS These are now available to purchase from the comfort of your own home on Etsy.
Lucky tomato pincushions
I’ve been minding a lot of beeswax lately, mostly my own. It began with some gorgeous beeswax candles which were a gift from my sister; they were green sheets of hexagonally imprinted beeswax (presumably made by green bees) rolled around a wick. When burned they left these honey-smelling trails of silky wax. Of course, I couldn’t throw them away (nor the candle ends) before thinking hard about a potential re-use. After all, if bees are in short supply, we should be careful to conserve all their precious beeswax too, right?
Several experiments later and I came up with this: stitcher’s beeswax in various cupcakey shapes. Well, more petit-fours shapes, really. Aren’t they pretty? They look good enough to eat – though please don’t! Instead, run your thread along the edge of one before hand-sewing and your thread will be more robust, last longer and not twist.
Well, I’m giving away one of these little beauties with every purchase over £10 on my stall at the It’s Darling! fair on 17th July. I’ll also be selling them in my forthcoming Etsy shop.
Little cupcakes of repurposed beeswax stitcherly goodness