Blackbird Cushion & Needlebook by Margaret Light

8th October 2021

A Fine Tradition by Margaret Light is a book filled with stunning projects with each and every one offering a delightful challenge to any stitcher.

Margaret’s entire career has been underscored by her prodigious talent, her eye for detail and her ability to draw inspiration from a wide variety of different sources.

The Blackbird Cushion & Needlebook are characteristic of Margaret’s style and offer the stitcher a glorious scene stitched in two very different ways.

The colourful scene adorning both the cushion and needlebook is based on the hunting and pastoral scenes that were often stitched on various home furnishings in the 16th, 17th and 18th centuries.

Rather than choosing traditional animals and birds, Margaret decided to work a scene but bring it up to date by including her own dogs, frolicking after butterflies and placing New Zealand blackbirds in the sky to ensure the scene is unique.

This modern and quirky twist on a very traditional subject is set off by the dizzying array of stitches Margaret has used to form the landscape.

Each hillock employs a different stitch, from trellis couching to herringbone, wave stitch to Florentine stitch. All of the additional features of the landscape – trees, flowers and insects – are then worked in further stitch combinations resulting in a sampler of incredible techniques, guaranteed to keep even the most experienced stitcher busy.

When Margaret first conceived this design, she sat down with her basket of silks and indulged herself, playing with colour, texture and stitches. But there was no way she was able to keep this mini masterpiece to herself. She turned it into a needlebook, but very soon, friends discovered it and insisted that she teach the design. However, the request was made to enlarge it and put it on a cushion, so Margaret had to put away her silks and get her basket of wools out instead.

The result is the same design but worked in two very different ways. Worked in crewel wool, silk and cotton, the colours of the cushion are slightly more subtle while still being vibrant enough to complement the red sawtooth fringe which surrounds it.

The needlebook is worked in a combination of silk and cotton so has a higher sheen while allowing for smaller stitches to fit with the reduced size of the design.

It is well worth stitching the pair, not just because they’ll look glorious together in your stitching room, but you’ll also have a different experience with each project due to how the different threads behave.

Naturally, the book includes full instructions on how to construct both the cushion and the needlebook, including how to lace, line and finish each one as required.

When you complete the Blackbird Cushion and Needlebook, not only will you have added a whole range of new stitches to your repertoire, you will have also added an enviable cushion to your sofa or easy chair with a matching needlebook you can be proud to take out every time you sit down to stitch. 

Make Your Own Blackbird Cushion & Needlebook

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Blackbird Cushion & Needlebook by Margaret Light from the book A Fine Tradition features a delightful pastoral scene, complete with all the colourful, naïve charm of 18th century embroideries.

Digital Patterns

A Fine Tradition

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for Blackbird Cushion & Needlebook include everything* you need to re-create these charming scenes: Fabric (unprinted), wool felts, canvas (cushion), fringe edging (cushion), zip, (cushion), template plastic (needlebook), fusible webbing, wadding (needlebook) sewing thread, embroidery threads and needles.


Blackbird Cushion – AFT Kit


Blackbird Needlebook – AFT Kit

*Please Note: To cater for flexibility of purchase, instructions are not included with our kits. For step-by-step directions on how to create this project, please refer to the book.

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