Earlier Workshops

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Beaded Clown Embroidery by Shila Shah

Beaded Clown Embroidery by Shila Shah

Cross stitch and bead embroidery scissor keeper by Gail Langton

Cross stitch and bead embroidery scissor keeper by Gail Langton

Peacock front by Shila Shah

Peacock front by Shila Shah

Peacock back by Shila Shah

Peacock back by Shila Shah

Mary Hickmott workshop at KEG

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Mary Hickmott workshop pictures

Mary Hickmott conducting a workshop  Canvas Stitches Goldwork by Mary Hickmott

Mountmellick Counted Thread Embroidery

Koala Conventions

International Embroidery and Textile Event, 30th June  2012to 8th July In Brisbane, Australia

Chinese Embroidery - Spring BudKarahana, Gold work Japanese embroideryBlue & White Chinoiserie Plate, stitched in one ply blue and while woolsDouble Sided Goldfish in silk thread3D Poinsettia

Koala Conventions organize two to eight day Workshop Events in Brisbane and Perth, featuring classes by leading designers & tutors in Hand Embroidery, Ribbon Embroidery, Textiles, Stumpwork, Goldwork, Knitting, Crochet, Felting, Beading, Framing & much more.

Koala Conventions has been operating for 11 years. Every July over 20 tutors join them for more than 80 workshops. Read more…….

FAQ’s: How do we begin and end the embroidery thread?

As Emphasized by Gail in our last meeting…Noooooooo Knots!!!!!

So how do we begin and end the thread?

In an embroidery project lot of time and efforts are put in right from the first stitch. This very first stitch starts with a knot, but this knot cannot be a permanent fixture.  Knots make the back side of embroidery untidy, bumpy and at times can unravel with the use our laundering.

I always try to do the best work possible when putting time and effort into an embroidery project, starting with the first stitch. Thus spoiling the precious embroidered work.

There are two basic temporary knots used in embroidery. These are:

1. Away Knot

An away knot is a temporary knot used to start an embroidery thread. It can be easier to use in embroidery than a waste knot, because you don’t have to stitch over the starting end of the embroidery thread to secure it while you stitch. Instead, the starting end of the thread is left in the work away from the stitching (hence it’s off name).

Click here for a detail photo tutorial on AWAY KNOT.

2. Waste Knot

A waste knot – like its cousin, an away knot – is a temporary knot used to start an embroidery thread. The thread is secured by stitching over a tail of thread, and the knot is clipped from the fabric after the stitching has been completed.

Click here for a detail photo tutorial on WASTE KNOT.

3.Ending the embroidery thread

Take your needle to the back of the fabric and run under the few stitches. Then gently pull the needle through and snip the thread.

Click here for a detail photo tutorial on ENDING the EMBROIDERY THREAD

It is all worth to put in those little extra moments to start and end your embroidery work.

FAQ’s: What is the best needle size to use on tapestry and on cross-stitch?

Answer by Gail: The type of needle depends more upon the fabric than the technique.  Counted cross stitch should be done with a tapestry needle. Tapestry needles have blunt points and much larger eyes than sewing needles. The blunt points prevent the needles from piercing fabric threads.

Needle sizesFabric is measured in holes per inches (HPI). When using even weave fabric don’t forget you will sew over two threads so a 28 count HPI fabric will end up being stitched at a rate of 14 HPI.     If you are doing cross stitch on 14 HPI count then a tapestry needle (or “blunts” they are sometimes called) sized 26 or 24 is better.

On a fabric with a count of 18 use a size 26 – the bigger the number the smaller the size needle.  Really fine work such as 24 HPI needs a size 30 or smaller.   One traditional rule says you should use a #22 needle if the fabric is 14 count (14 threads per inch) or less, a #24 or #26 needle if the fabric count is 16-18 count, and a #26 needle if the fabric is finer than 18.

 I use a size 20 or 22 on tapestry as the fabric is usually 10 or 12 HPI.  The choice between the two comes down to wool thickness and eye of the needle. I personally use a 26 in preference to 24 when sewing on 14 HPI although it is a little harder to thread. The usual “rule” holds–find a size (or sizes) you like.

Needles In Details:

Needles come in a variety of types and sizes.   The size of a needle is given as a number.   The higher the number, the finer the needle.   Ideally, the shaft of the needle should be of a similar thickness to the thread being used.   The thread should fill the hole left by the needle when it passes through the fabric.




A   thick needle with a large eye. Similar to a tapestry needle but with a sharp   tip. This needle was originally used for tufted chenille yarns.

18 – 24

Suitable   for thick threads such as tapestry wool, crewel wool, six strands of stranded   cotton, no.3 and no. 5 perle cotton, thick silk and heavy metallic thread.   Ideal for ribbon embroidery and wool embroidery.
Crewel   (Embroidery)
A finer needle with a large, long eye. The large eye makes the needle easier   to thread. Sizes 7-9 are ideal for smocking.

9 – 10

3 – 8

Suitable   for fine embroidery using one or two strands of cotton, silk or rayon.   Unsuitable for bullion knots as the eye is too wide.Excellent general purpose needles. Use with three to six strands of stranded   cotton, silk or rayon and cotton a broder (twisted, non-divisible cotton   thread), broder medicis (fine wool thread), no.8 and no.12 perle cotton and   fine metallic thread.
A good general   purpose needle. The small, round eye provides strength for the needle and   prevents excess wear on the thread

10 – 12

7 – 9

Suitable   for fine embroidery including bullion knots. Use with one or two strands of   stranded cotton, silk or rayon. The no.12 is sometimes known as a hand   applique needle.Use with two or three strands of stranded cotton, silk or rayon. Also   suitable for bullion knots.
Straw   (Milliners)
These are fabulous   for bullions. A straw needle has tiny eye and a long, fine shaft. Because the   eye is no wider than the shaft, they are invaluable for beading and for   pulling through the wraps when stitching bullion knots. Traditionally used   for work on bonnets and hats.

9 – 11

5 – 8

1 – 4

Use   with one or two strands of stranded cotton, silk or rayon.Use with three or four strands of stranded cotton, silk or rayon.Use with four to six strands of stranded cotton, silk or rayon, no.8 and   no.12 perle cotton, cotton a border and metallic threads. Also suitable for   Brazilian embroidery using thick, twisted threads.
A medium length   needle with a thick shaft, a blunt tip and a long eye. The blunt tip parts   the fabric threads rather than splitting them.

26 – 28

18 – 24

Suitable   for decorative hem stitching on fine linens, fine counted cross stitch and   petit point.Suitable for counted thread embroidery such as cross stitch, blackwork,   pulled and drawn thread work and Hardanger. Also suitable for wool   embroidery, needleweaving and shadow work.


Needle Types

Needle Types

Needles lose their finish over time which makes them more difficult to use. Special finishes, such as gold and platinum, are available. They cost more but some find they last longer. Try different finishes until you find the one that works best for you.

Pamper yourself by mastering your hobby….

Appliqued lace along the bottom of Kate Middleton's wedding dress.

The Royal School of Needlework continues to influence and promote needlework today. For people who are passionate about stitching, who enjoy needlework and it is their hobby for them RSN offers day classes. These classes focus on specific embroidery techniques. They offer introduction courses for beginners and refreshers, specific technique classes to learn and master them, progress classes to develop further and increase stitching skills. These classes are scheduled for 1 to 6 days depending on the course.

Daycourse broucher of RSNThe beautiful broucher of RSN day classes (PDF) shows an amazing list of short classes offered this year.  Visit the RSN website for more details.

Would like to share some information of the beautiful applique work done by the RSN embroiders on The Duchess of Cambridge’s beautiful Wedding Dress. The lace bodice design was hand-made using a technique that originated in Ireland in the 1820s called  carrickmacross, which involved cutting out rose detailing (symbolising England), thistles (Scotland), daffodils (Wales), and shamrocks (Ireland) individually applying them to the ivory silk tulle.

Kate_Middelton wedding dress

Threading a needle!!

Threading a needle


Threading a needle can be quite frustrating and tedious at times especially when you are just starting needlework.  I have just recently learnt this technique from Gail, our chairperson.

In short, the technique is to fold the thread over the needle and then pushing the fold through the eye works well.

It is not advisable to lick the ends as that adds acid to the thread.  However if one has then it is advisable to have the licked end at the beginning of the work and to cut it off once the work is started so that the licked part does not go up and down through the whole work.

Step by step guide to threading a needle

threading needle1Step1:  Take one inch of thread and fold it over the needle. You are holding thread in your left hand and needle in your right hand.

threading needle2Step2: Move the thread little down, so as you are holding the thread between your index finger and thumb.

threading needle3Step3:  Pull out the needle and hold the thread tight, squeezed between thumb and index finger.

threading needle4Step4: Push the eye of the needle over the thread (the tight squeeze loop between your fingers).

threading needle5Step5: You will see some thread through the eye of the needle, release left hand and pull out the thread.

You have done it, threaded the needle.

Tip: If the thread does not “pop” through the eye of the needle, turn it over. Did you know that the eye of a needle has a deep side and a shallow side?”

This technique might look a bit cumbersome but with little practice this will be very easy and plus no strain on your eyes.

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