Alison Larkin Embroidery

Historical Embroidery in Full-size and Miniature

Newsletter: November 2020

November 13th, 2020      Alison Larkin, Embroiderer


Well, here we go again! Another full lockdown is probably the best thing right now to help keep Covid-19 under some control. It is going to be tough for us all, especially with the colder, grottier weather coming on, but we need to do this, and to think positive about it. Best things is to take time for ourselves, keep busy stitching, and try to relax. Eat cake/chocolate, drink wine, if those help – they do for me! Exercise, keep in touch with folks online, and KEEP STITCHING!  One of the best things I have seen recently was a haiku on Facebook:

“We isolate now,

So when we gather again,

No-one is missing. “

Hopefully when we get out of this, we can all be together again.


The main thing I am doing at the moment is working on developing some online courses, including one based on a sampler I worked on recently. As soon as I have more information I will be posting it all over the place, so keep watching my website and Instagram/Facebook for news.

Meantime I am working on my miniature 17C jacket and another Dragon Yoga, and trying to get techie – see below! Spending quite a lot of time on the computer….


Jane Austen Embroidery has been out of stock but they have done a reprint (wow!) so new stock should be in by now! Check with your local bookshop or online. It would make an excellent Christmas present for your stitchy friends……


I’ve been doing an online course about online courses (how’s that for navel-gazing?) run by my friend Sue Weeks of Virtuality Works ( which is teaching me loads about techie things. All sorts of info about making videos, editing stuff, lots of useful free software and all geared specifically towards textile artists. Check out her website for info: It’s definitely been worth it!

As a result I have been trying all sort of things – making little videos, editing my photos better. It’s all grist to the online course mill, and should help me make a better job of all sorts of things, not just my proposed online course.


Obviously with the new Lockdown I can’t be sure when face-to-face classes will start again. I will be reviewing things at the new year once we see how the winter and Covid are going, and whether this lockdown is working.

I’m working on an online course (or two), and also thinking about Zoom presentations, so don’t go away, folks….


BOOK REVIEW: Early-style Hardanger by Yvette Stanton

Published by Vetty Creations, 2016.  ISBN: 978-0-0757677-7-1

This book goes into considerable detail about the early history and styles of traditional Norwegian Hardanger embroidery. If you haven’t discovered this, it is a counted thread style, quite geometric, and involving slightly scary amounts of cutwork if you haven’t tried it before. However, it is not difficult to do, and by learning a few simple stitches you can produce a vast variety of designs. It looks quite lacy and fragile, but my mum had a hardanger tablecloth made by my gran which was her ‘best’ tablecloth for 30 years or more, and regularly went through the washing machine!

Yvette Stanton’s book compares the original Hardanger style with modern versions, and gives very detailed instructions for the stitches and patterns used in early Hardanger work. One special feature is that all the stitches are explained and diagrammed for both right-handed and left-handed stitchers, so if you have struggled as a ‘lefty’ you might find this of particular help. The projects are all in whitework, as coloured Hardanger is a modern feature, but they are lovely patterns, especially if like me you are into white-on-white stitching. Stitching diagrams are clearly drawn and detailed, and there are two separate pattern sheets which give full charts for the designs.

Most of the work is stitched on fine-count linen, so for anyone new to Hardanger it might be worth trying them on 22-count Hardanger fabric or a coarser count of linen first, such as 28-count, but if you have done modern Hardanger and want to develop your skills, or if like me you are a traditionalist, this is a lovely addition to your stitching library!


I hope to put a Newsletter together monthly with information and, well, news. Do keep an eye on my various social media feeds for news in the meantime.

 If you want to contact me you can DM me through the above or email, or you can reach me through my contact page on the website:

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