Alison Larkin Embroidery

Historical Embroidery in Full-size and Miniature

Why the Snail?

Long story! About 20 years ago I bought a facsimile copy of Richard Shoreleyker’s “A Scholehouse for the Needle” which is a pattern book for needlework, especially needle lace and embroidery. It was originally published in 1632, and if you are interested in historical embroidery it’s a fabulous resource. It’s full of patterns for embroidery and needlelace work.

In the book is a pattern with a wonderful pair of snails with big grins on their faces, that I fell in love with. Here they are!


After a while a friend of mine pointed out that I was putting a snail in most of my designs when I could find an excuse. Just a little one……

So when I started my full-time embroidery business I decided to make the snail my logo. I felt I ought to stitch a proper snail to use as a logo, and since turquoise and purple are my favourite colours, that’s what he became. Snail-pace seemed appropriate for the pace of my work as well, since it is all hand-stitched. So now I put a tiny snail on all my designs, on the front if possible, in a hidden corner if not. If the colours match he is turquoise and purple, if not whatever fits with the design. It’s easier than initials, and more fun. Even my historical costume reconstructions have a snail somewhere.



To add to the fun, one of my students bought me a little snail brooch, (thank you, Sharon!) so I sometimes wear that, as well as my snail name badge. Keep your eyes out for him; the logo version has go-faster stripes, so he’s getting there quite well!

I have also stitched a faster ‘Turbo’ version of my snail, at the instigation of my niece, who is also a keen crafter (bobbin lace in her case).

I’ve been debating what to call the snail(s), but when I checked online, the latin name for some snails is Cornus, and for others Helix. So my original version is now called “Cornie”, and the turbo version is “Hellix”!


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