Needlefolds by Margaret Light

9th July 2021

Needlebooks, needlerolls or needlefolds are some of the most popular projects around. Perhaps this is because every one of us has a multitude of needles at any time and finding an effective and attractive way to store them is an ongoing quest. 

It might also be because there is immense pleasure to be gained from seeing the fruits of your labour every time you go to get a needle.

Needlefolds come in all shapes and sizes, and this week we’re taking a closer look at two designed by Margaret Light, both of which appear in her book ‘A Fine Tradition’.

These beautiful and unique needlefolds benefit from Margaret’s exquisite eye and both offer the stitcher pleasure and joy in the making. 

The first is the 18th Century Needlefold. The design for this lovely project originated from a court dress from the mid 1700’s that was beautifully embroidered. This costume inspired Margaret to create a twirling flow of flowers that spirals its way up the linen. With a colourful combination of pink carnations, jolly periwinkles and lovely blue forget-me-nots, when the needlefold is opened out, you get to fully appreciate the feast of floral delights.

However, it isn’t just the attractive design on one side of the needlefold which makes this project so unique.

The inside has most definitely been designed with the stitcher in mind.

Margaret created the interior, borrowing from a little book in her own collection that contained an image of an antique leather needlecase. From this she included the pincushion pillow filled with emery at one end, and ties at the other to hold it all together.

It is easy to fall in love with this project, but before you begin you are met with another wonderful choice – do you stitch it in crewel wool or in stranded cotton? There are instructions and material guides for both. If you choose the former, the result is similar to historic crewel embroideries, filled with rich colour and a strong, raised texture. However, if you opt for cotton, you’ll achieve a lighter effect with a distinct shimmer.

The second needlefold featured in A Fine Tradition is Morning Glory. This project features a slightly more modern design, constructed to open out like a book. There are hints of the Gothic Revival in the lines and the positioning of the flowers across the back.

Each panel features lush foliage and a brightly coloured bloom, including vivid blue morning glory and warm orange wallflowers. The petals are set off by the natural linen background, and the whole project is finished with a sturdy edging and a soft felt inner lining punctuated with practical pockets.

It really isn’t possible to just have one needlefold in your needlework kit is it? Even if you already have a favourite one, these two projects would make thoughtful gifts for a stitching friend or family member. Margaret’s impeccable designs, exquisite colour choices and clever interiors make these needlefolds into ‘must do’ projects.

Frankly, even if they are never used for their practical purpose, they are such gorgeous objects in their own right, they are essential projects to add to your ‘to-do-next’ list.

Make Your Own | 18th Century Needlefold

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

18th Century Needlefold by Margaret Light from the book A Fine Tradition is a stunning needlefold containing pincushion and needle pages with exquisite flowers worked in stranded cotton or crewel wool.

Digital Patterns

A Fine Tradition

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kits for 18th Century Needlefold include everything* you need to re-create this stunning needlefold: Fabric (unprinted), wool felts, waddings, linen tape, sewing thread, embroidery threads (stranded cotton or crewel wool) and needle.


18th Century Needlefold: Stranded Cotton – AFT Kit


18th Century Needlefold: Crewel Wool – AFT Kit

Make Your Own | Morning Glory Needlefold

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Morning Glory Needlefold by Margaret Light from the book A Fine Tradition is a pretty needlefold with large pockets adorned with scrolling stems of morning glory and wallflowers.

Digital Patterns

A Fine Tradition

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Morning Glory Needlefold includes everything* you need to re-create this lovely needlefold: Fabric (unprinted), wool felt, wadding, linen tape, sewing thread, embroidery threads and needles.


Morning Glory Needlefold – 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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