Spring 2024: Google ended its email subscription service in 2021. I believe I've found a replacement, but haven't had time to test it. I have been stitching a little bit here and there and have some posts ready for when the email subscription is active again. Fingers crossed, I'll have time to rouse this blog out of its dormancy sometime this year.

13 January 2020

Billions of Bullions (and a Couple of Bees)

When embroidery designer Lorna Bateman was in town recently she taught two classes: Embroidered Country Garden Scissors Keeper and Lavender and Bees Pincushion. As with the scissors keeper the pincushion is stitched with hand-dyed variegated DMC perlé by Chamleon Threads. Unlike the scissors keeper which uses many colours, the pincushion requires only two main colours: lavender and green.

Lavender and Green over-dyed variegated threads for use on a lavender pincushion

What attracted me to this class was the opportunity to stitch bullions, lot and lots of bullions! I was able to stitch bullions before the class, but I knew I could use more practice so, this was the perfect project. An added bonus was that the bullions were purple!

These are photos of Lorna's original pincushion:

Lorna Bateman's original Lavender and Bess Pincushion

Lorna Bateman's original Lavender and Bess Pincushion

Lorna encouraged us to try different stitches for the lavender buds. She suggested using cast-on and drizzle along with bullion. I stuck to bullions because that's why I was there!

I didn't take many in-progress photos because it's a very straightforward project: lots of bullions with some greenery (and a pair of bees, of course).

Embroidered lavender with bullion stitches for Lorna Bateman's Lavender and Bees Pincushion

The thread has a beautiful sheen and I enjoyed embroidering with it. It didn't take very long to finish off the sprigs of lavender.

Lavender spray showing lots of bullions

The bees are composed of (more) bullions with DMC cotton floss and some sparkly metallic thread for the wings. Once they were added the embroidery was complete.

Embroidered bullion bees for the Lavender and Bees Pincushion by Lorna Bateman

I probably ended up with more lavender bullions than is necessary, but I certainly achieved my goal for lots of bullion practice. Now to the hard part: finishing!

Completed embroidery for pincushion showing lots of bullions

I dry-fitted the embroidery on the pincushion with pins and planned on attaching it with glue. However, I just didn't feel comfortable with the idea of gluing. I found that when I gathered the fabric on the back of the pincushion I started thinking about gluing the fabric and realised that I was going to have problems controlling the fabric with the glue. I didn't know how the glue was going to behave and I didn't feel like experimenting with my finished embroidery.

Completed embroidery is fitted to the pincushion form with pins

I decided to try lacing to see how it would work. It seemed OK.

Embroidery attached to pincushion form with lacing

I attached the wooden base and here's the nearly finished pincushion:

Embroidery mounted in pincushion base after being laced to the form

By the way, the project kit included the pin cushion form and base with a choice of different woods. I chose the darkest, mahogany. It's about 3.25" (8.5 cm) in diameter.

The last step was to place a line of cord around the pincushion to cover the gap between the cushion and the wooden base. I didn't have much of a gap and could have probably skipped the cord. However, I wanted to make the cord as I had never done that before. I created the cord with thread included in the kit for that purpose. I ended up with a fairly thin cord and had planned on gluing it down, but it was so fine that I didn't have much confidence that it could be glued without the glue showing. (Can you tell that I'm not much of a glue fan?)

Cording laid around pincushion prior to attaching

So, I got out a curved beading needle, some invisible thread, and stitched the cord to the pincushion. It was not difficult to attach the cord with thread. It was very convenient having a pincushion at hand as I stitched around the pincushion!

Curved needle and invisible thread used to attach cord to the pincushion

I finished with a little bow, cut off the tails of the cord, and the pincushion was done.

The top of the Lorna Bateman Lavender and Bees pincushion from the top

The top of the Lorna Bateman Lavender and Bees pincushion from the back

The top of the Lorna Bateman Lavender and Bees pincushion from the front

Between this pincushion and the scissors keeper I certainly got my wish to practice bullions! This was a very easy and satisfying project to stitch and finish. I'm sure I will enjoying using it as much as I enjoyed making it.

  • Lorna Bateman Embroidery
    Lorna sells kits along with embroidery supplies such as threads and pincushion blanks in various sizes and finishes.


  1. A very sweet project and beautifully stitched ! :) x

    1. Thank you. I enjoyed making the pincushion.

  2. It's lovely! Attaching that little cord looks tricky.

    1. I thought it would be difficult to sew the cord on, but it was actually pretty easy with the fine curved needle. I think it would have been harder with a straight needle.

  3. This is so cute! I want one <3

    1. Go for it! It's a quick, easy, and very satisfying little project.

  4. Love the bullions... so tiny. Your Project turned out lovely.

  5. I think you have the same attitude to glue as I do!

    1. Glue does not make me happy when it's near my embroidery. :-|