New kits from French General

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A month or two ago Kaari from California based French General sent me her new embroidery kit and floss. I was thrilled as I think it's something my customers will love. Simple, printed embroidery kits are extremely hard to find and transferring designs to fabric can sometimes be an ordeal. I posted them on the site last week, and have had questions from a lot of you about how to do the kits.

There are five or so designs in this series. You can use your own threads or select a palette from the French General flosses. Their palettes are all coordinated so there are no wrong choices.

Then, just have at it. There are a few stitches explained but no "this stitch here" kind of instructions. Stitch whatever stitch wherever you feel like it. You can get many different effects as I attempt to show with the two featured photos of the same floss and the same palette.

So, everyone ends up with their own unique piece. Sweet.

Share your final designs with us, would love to see other interpretations of the kits! Bonne chance!




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So I realize I am a really lucky duck. I first saw images of the glorious "Four Winds" gardens floating  around Pinterest and could not believe they were from a garden in La Malbaie, Quebec province right where we were planning on spending a week.  Then I read that they were only open a few days a year, but one of the days was during our trip.  Then I went to make a reservation and was told it was booked a year in advance. I decided to go anyway and beg at the gate. Yep, beg at the gate.


I mentioned my plan to the hotel concierge who made a call for me... And through a series of mysterious e-mails and secret handshakes, they managed to get me in on the last day of my trip. And oh, did I mind, "there were no tours that day?" Just me and the garden. Heaven. I was an hour and half into my walk before I even saw another human.

Armed with my rain hat and a brioche au caramel in my tummy I had the sublime pleasure of a solo wander through the most gorgeous gardens I have ever seen. These are private gardens, built by American Francis Cabot who died a few years ago. (That's all I know because I missed the tour.)


I have a  ridiculous fixation on water in gardens and I have never seen so much, done so well. So please, do yourself a favor and  get up to Quebec Province  to the Jardin des Quatre Vents, and start planning now !



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Needlework Trip to Paris...?

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Hello fellow stitchers! 

As mentioned in my most recent newsletter, we're getting a group together for a little needlework tour of Paris in May 2016.  (maximun ten people !)

We are tentatively planning for the last week of May 2016.

The trip will be focused on all things needlework !  We will have workshops at Lesage, the renowned source of couture stitching, visits to the Toile de Jouy museum near Versailles, private needlework collection tours and more.

To see the full trip itinerary, please visit the tour's dedicated website.



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Share your lovelies... and win a prize !

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For a while I have thought it would be fun to have a spot to share projects from the French Needle in a photo forum.  After all we are a pretty appreciative audience !

To get the ball rolling we have a little prize basket of silks and notions. Here are the rules, I promise this is simpler than it sounds. The French Needle panel will pick a winner on May 15.


1) Follow The French Needle on Pinterest.

2) Sign up so you will be eligible to win here.

3) By May 15th, 5pm EST, post a picture of a finished project from anything we offer on our website to Pinterest on your own board.

4) Include the hashtag #FrenchNeedleMayContest in the description of your image.

That's it. The picture can be any kit, project from a book or chart you have finished or nearly finished. I suggest daylight to take the picture to see the colors at their best. Multiple entries welcome.

We will contact the winner via email on the evening of May 15th.


The winner of the competition will receive an assortment of French Needle products, a few of which are limited editions and not available online through us or elsewhere.

- House of Embroidery (South Africa) Raw Silk Floss in hand dyed spring colors (12 colors)
- Small Pocket Knife / Scissor from Maison Sajou
- One pair of small decorative embroidery scissors
- One set of sewing themed pins from Butterfly Couture
- 3 hole bird thread holder
- Tiny wooden pin cushion from Maison Sajou
- Decorative Needle Book containing 40 needles of various sizes, made in France also from Maison Sajou

Bonne chance !





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zen stitching...

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I am not a particularly talented needlewoman... I knit and crochet in rectangles  or squares only. Most of my blankets end up with the "Comfort for Critters"  charity which gives blankets to displaced dogs and cats. I'm thinking my handiwork will keep them warm, especially the cashmere and alpaca ones. And the dogs don't judge.

When my husband asks for a button to be re-attached and I give him an indignant deer-in-the-headlights look, he actually should be grateful I won't do it, it would be a hot mess.

My embroidery skills are only maginally better. I do not cross stitch large geometric patterns because there is virtually no chance they will come out even.  I do smaller things and I do love traditional printed embroidery, but I  rely heavily on a good press at the end to make the whole thing look ok.

But who needs quality when there is QUANTITY ? I love doing all these things, just keeping my hands busy while I am on the phone or listening to uncounted hours of audible books.  It is just what I do to stay "zen."

Witness my latest project, table runners, photos below. I bought a cotton fabric with an even pattern so I could bag any measuring or marking (no surprises there). Then I took a handful of Sashiko thread and started stitching lines. And lines and lines. Traditional Japanese Sashiko patterns and the wonderful Indian Kantha designs were my inspiration.

So, I am happy as a clam, no matter how elementary it is.  I still get to use lovely materials and colors and there is little chance I will mess up.

Tell me what you think, do you ever make yourself just "busy" projects?



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