The Avid Embroiderer Presents – Mountmellick/Montmellick Embroidery and a freebie for Mother's Day

While I was researching Mountmellick Embroidery, I found this book at Amazon.  You may want to rush to buy this one. . .  The cost was $291.84 and was (from their top 100 books list) #5,988,838 best seller rank . . .

Just the same, this is really beautiful embroidery. In many ways, it is very similar to the machine embroidery that we do today. Mountmellick embroidery was created by Johanna Carter, in the little town of Montmellick, in Queen's County, Ireland.

The stitches are “padded” (underlay) to create the third dimension of this needle point craft. I found that most of the stitches appeared to be made in very heavy thread, almost cording.

My blog today is based on an article I saw in the “Trove” a newspaper in Australia. It was from Saturday, 28 Jul, 1894. (Isn’t the Internet great!!)  I even read some more of that days’ newspaper and was delighted with what I read on the Ladies Page. This reminded me of when the Advertisement for Jobs were listed as “Help Wanted, Men” and “Help Wanted, Women.” 

Back to the blog, I saw almost exclusively white on white embroidery work and very interesting types of stitches. I was so impressed by them that I wondered if I could simulate some of the stitches working with what I have available. I do wish I could digitize but that is one of those ‘want to do some day’ things in my world.

I hope you can see the numbers in the lower left corner.

1.       Overcast stitch is a ‘firm’ stitch and used for stems.

2.       Cording stitch is a variation of the chain stitch, you can see the up take thread is to the left rather than in the original hole.

3.       Is called the Cable stitch and indeed, I think the extra small stitch makes it a really outstanding design.

4.       Is the Wheat ear which, according to the article was used for grasses.

5.       Is called a Feather Vein.

6.       Is named Double Feather and can be use it in the triple form, not shown.

7.       The Double Bullion takes its name from the hollow bullion used in gold and silver embroidery. It is also called the ‘worm.’

8.       Is the Saw-tooth button-hole used in finishing or borders.


9.       Is a fill in stitch and is an application of ‘couching’ and appears to be a brick motif.

10.    Is also a variation of the button hole but including a French Knot. This photo may be upside down as the notes said French Knots at the top. (But, I am delighted we have photos at all!)


11.   Is a leaf worked in the Trellis stitch. There are detailed instructions in the article, click on the link above called “Trove.” To me, #11 seems like something you could possibly do with a thin ribbon as an accent on a machine design.



12.   This Pansy is done with a button hole stitch and has the Honeycomb stitch as a filler. I feel like I can see some underlay on the bottom petal at the 5:30 position.


13.   Raised satin on the leaf (left side). Some sewers used cotton under the stitching. It was not a good method since during washing, the cotton would likely clump. I believe that is an incomplete leaf that clearly shows the underlay.

14.   Number 14 is on the right of that same photo. It is a fringe that is great on larger items where the fringe would be an accent rather than a smaller item because it would overwhelm the project.

Ladies (and gentlemen) – if you have some warm mutton suet laying around, there is a great tip for using it in the “Household Hints” section just below the above article. Again, use the link at the top “Trove” to see a great story on the ladies requesting that women be hired for the police force – nearly 122 years ago, they were quite progressive. Those ads are quite interesting as well.

With Mother's Day just around the corner, here is your freebie:

super (180.3KB)

Comments (2) -

True works of art!

I too love the look and I honestly think that this might be replicated by a machine if someone digitizes the layout.  Even the fringe, on a small scale, could be done.

Pat, The Avid Embroiderer

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Create special Christmas Treasures with our 9 Santas Quik Quilt Book and CD!

Create special Christmas Treasures with our 9 Santas Quik Quilt Book and CD!

We have found that by making our cross stitch designs the centerpiece of a quick-to-quilt piece, a lovely finished result is achieved. Many embroiderers also love to quilt, so combining the two “media” seemed like a natural! QQ Book

Cross Stitch designs, especially the small ones, can be used in many ways in lots of projects. Their rich detail and color make them perfect to be the focus of small patchwork projects like those we created for our 9 Santas Quik Quilt Book (click the link to view the product, 10% off this week for readers of this post - use Promotion Code 9santasbook).

One of the great things about small designs is the many uses they can be put to. To begin with our 9 Santas designs can be made as simple ornaments. They can also be combined with "frames" of quilted patchwork, as shown in our book. These projects do not require huge amounts of fabrics. You can usually find all of the pieces you will need in your stash. We have also included a Holly Border and Holly Motifs in this collection that can be used to spice up some of your Christmas stitching.

We have taken our 9 Santas ornaments and used them in different ways for several lovely Christmas projects. Our Quik Quilt Book includes the printed 9 Santas charts (for hand cross stitch if desired), full-sized pattern pieces and layouts and instructions for each project in this book.

BagsOne of the quickest little projects in the book is our Treasure Bags. They stitch up in a snap into some delightful gift bags. You can use these bags for tiny gifts or even Gift Cards. All you will need is some bits of fabrics, a little floss or twisted cord, and a couple of tiny jingle bells to complete these little favorites. You can also personalize your each bag with the year numerals included on the CD.


Another lovely project is our 3 Santas Banner. BannerThis lovely wall hanging uses 3 Santas of your choice, framed by striking quilted borders. For a specifically Christmasy feel, stitch the designs on squares of dark green fabric, and replace the dark blue quilt patches with some dark green ones. Add a heavy braided cord with tassels at the top, for hanging. This piece would also make a delightful mini table banner for the center of your table.

QuiltOur 9 Santas Quilt uses all of the Santas, each stitched on a white fabric then pieced into its own patchwork frame. The Santas could also be stitched on another fabric, depending upon your fabric choices for the quilt. A dark brown, green, or blue fabric could work nicely for a different look. We have included our Border Holly machine embroidery design which is used to decorate each side of the quilt.

detailPlease note that all of the patchwork projects in this book can also be used with any other small hoop machine embroidery designs—both for the holidays as well as everyday pieces. Just choose your designs and fabrics, using this book as a guide. The possibilities are endless!

Our projects consist of full lists of required materials for both the embroideries as well as the quilted pieces. Step-by-step instructions will lead you through the process of creating these lovely quilted projects.

Comments (5) -

jalcumbrack 10/4/2008 10:55:26 AM

Hi Donna,

Love, Love, Love this! The quilt wall hanging is Amazing! The bags, unique and would make great bags for those prized "little gifts". Great blog and always enjoy reading yours!


What a beautiful quilt. I love the bags. What great gift ideas.

cme  8^)

I am always in awe of your work, the old style Christmas is one lovely era.  Thanks!


donnagiampa 10/6/2008 10:29:27 AM

To Judy, cme, and Pat,

I'm glad you enjoyed seeing some of the neat things small cross stitch designs can become, using the designs as the focus of larger projects. Christmas is the perfect time of year for creating some special things for our friends and family, isn't it?


jalcumbrack 10/6/2008 2:08:37 PM

I could not agree more, Donna!

It is a magical time of year, where all things are possible!


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