The Wordsworth Harp Needlecase

(5 customer reviews)

£285.00

More kits are coming soon.  All our kits are created by hand, with love, by our small family team and require many hours to make, due to the number of components. We therefore tend to make in batches according to requirement, which is why they are often ‘out of stock’. Please let us know you are keen to purchase a kit by filling in the box below. You will then be emailed as soon as stock is ready and we aim that the batch of kits produced will fulfil current demand.  However, if you require a kit urgently, e.g. for a birthday or similar, please do feel free to email us via the contact form, and we will do our best  to help.

This piece is based on an original needlecase which is housed in the collection of the Wordsworth Museum Trust in Dove Cottage in the Lake District. In my version, the design is based on William Wordsworth’s favourite wild flower, the Lesser Celandine.

Description

This piece is based on an original needlecase by Edith May Southey, the daughter of Robert Southey, friend of William Wordsworth and the United Kingdom’s Poet Laureate from 1813 to 1843. This treasure is housed in the collection of the Wordsworth Museum Trust in Dove Cottage in the Lake District.

Her harp needlecase was handmade from silk-covered card, decorated with tiny shamrocks in applied gold foil and the strings formed from graded sizes of needles. As well as being an exquisite object in its own right, the piece is of particular note for the Wordsworth Trust, since it was the topic for his poem ‘On Seeing a Needlecase in the Form of a Harp’.

With the kind permission of the Wordsworth Trust and as a tuition project for Lady Anne’s Needlework Tours, I was allowed to create my own take on the original harp. In my version, the design is based on William Wordsworth’s favourite wild flower, the Lesser Celandine. The decorative panels are fully embroidered, using a range of beautiful silk and metal threads in a variety of surface embroidery techniques, all of which were used during the Victorian period.

In a true marriage of old and new, the project combines age-old hand skills with very modern technology. The three types of card for the construction have been created by James Cropper, master paper-maker, whose firm have been making paper since 1845. The paper is cut by laser to give highly precise shapes. The wooden finial and form which supports the harp’s soundbox have been created by my father, a master gunsmith and fishing rod builder. The 2% gold, specialist metal embroidery threads have been created by the master wyre-drawers at Benton & Johnson in Warwickshire (founded in 1685). The silk threads are from Au Ver à Soie, a Parisian family company which has been making threads since 1820. The specially selected set of gradated needles was created, with great attention to detail, by ‘Tulip’ based in Hiroshima in Japan, the home of Japanese needle-making for over 300 years.

The needles in Edith’s harp were simply pushed into the fine silk fabric but I have refined this to include a wool baize needle holder. Wool baize is a traditional fabric for storing needles and helps to protect them from deterioration. This fabric is made by A W Hainsworth and Son of Pudsey, Yorkshire, wool weavers since 1723.

You may wish to order a hand-blown glass dome with a turned wooden base to display and protect your finished harp.  The dome can be engraved with the Wordsworth poem on which the design is based, in a hand-written script in keeping with the period.

Additional information

Weight 620 g
Dimensions 31.5 × 22.5 × 3.5 cm

Kit Contents - Harp Needlecase

  • 100% silk, emerald green base fabric with design pre-printed
  • 2% gold tambour and superfine twist, made in the UK
  • 2% gold smooth purl, made in the UK
  • 2% gold pearl purl, made in the UK
  • 2% gold plate, made in the UK
  • Non-tarnish gold coloured twist
  • Japanese superfine metallic couching thread
  • Au Ver à Soie 100% silk threads
  • Superfine silk flosses
  • Stranded cotton padding threads
  • Pure silk sewing threads
  • 24ct seed beads
  • 2mm gilt spangles
  • Gold metallic flower
  • Hand-turned wooden finial, by Jenny’s father
  • All shapes required to construct the harp, pre-cut by laser using museum-quality acid-free boards
  • Pre-made wooden soundbox form, made by Jenny’s father
  • Pre-made English wool baize needle-holder, made by Jenny’s mother
  • Superfine steel pins for working decorative pattern on base of harp
  • Bespoke set of ‘Tulip’ needles to form strings of harp
  • ‘Mistyfuse’ fusible web
  • Further emerald green silk for harp construction
  • Pot of conservation quality adhesive
  • Mini beeswax
  • All needles required
  • Detailed fully-illustrated instruction manual

Extra Kit Information

Each kit is designed with your stitching joy in mind and is lovingly created for you over many hours by our tiny family team in  the UK.

Every material you could need to complete the design, however small, is included in carefully labelled packets. Some kits include over 100 components!

We use only the very best quality materials, and many are made for us by specialist craftspeople sourced by Jenny throughout her career, and hailing from around the globe. Jenny’s skilled family members are often commandeered to make various bespoke components which could never be found otherwise.

Once you purchase a design, we want to you to enjoy and finish the project and therefore are always on hand to answer queries, however small or daft you feel they may be.

The highly comprehensive instruction manuals are written and hand-illustrated by Jenny, rather than using generic stitch diagrams. These are full of the tips and tricks required to express stitches and designs at their very best.

All design shapes are pre-printed on to the various materials included in your kit, to ensure that you have accurate design shapes to work from and can progress straight on to the embroidery without having to transfer the design yourself.

We also aim to provide various items for display or construction of the finished embroidery, allowing you the satisfaction of framing the piece yourself or turning it into a more unusual item such as a bag or book.

I hope that this special design will provide you with a VIP ticket to ‘Jennyland’, an all-consuming experience which will transport you a world of stitching pleasure and imagination. Enjoy!

KIT FAQs

FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS

WHAT DOES MY KIT INCLUDE?
Your kit includes all the fabric, threads and needles required to complete the design, together with a highly comprehensive illustrated instruction manual, written and drawn by Jenny. All threads are carefully packaged and labelled to denote where they are to be used in the design. We suggest you have a look through all the components to familiarise yourself with the complete kit before starting work. Where relevant, kits also include the materials required to construct the completed embroidery.

WILL I NEED ANYTHING ELSE TO ENABLE ME TO COMPLETE MY KIT?
Yes, but only basic embroidery equipment. A list of the items required can be found in the front of your instruction manual. All items can be purchased from our website. If you have any queries about equipment, please feel free to contact us for advice.

HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE KIT?
Most of our kits are designed for embroiderers with some experience, but the instruction manuals are extremely comprehensive and will teach you all you need to know.
If you have any difficulties, or need advice on the difficulty level of a certain kit, you are welcome to contact us.

I FIND TRANSFERRING DESIGNS ON TO FABRIC DIFFICULT
Don’t worry, the designs are all pre-printed for you!

CAN I POST IMAGES OF MY KIT/WORK ON MY BLOG/SOCIAL MEDIA/WEBSITE?
We will be delighted if you wish to show images of this project on your blog/social media/website, as this often inspires others to have a go! However, as a courtesy, please do let me know if you plan to do this, and be aware that blogging of techniques, step-by-step or close-up images, either of the project in progress, the instructions, and the kit contents, is an infringement of copyright. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that those reading your blog can get in touch. Please highlight any infringements of this copyright which you observe from others.

I AM STRUGGLING WITH A SECTION OF THE DESIGN
One of the most important aspects of buying a kit from us is that you have direct contact to Jenny by email and she will be happy to assist you and provide advice. We cannot always answer within the hour but we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you are really struggling and need more help, we can arrange a lesson for you or to complete the section for you.

I AM MISSING A COMPONENT IN MY KIT OR HAVE RUN OUT OF A THREAD
We do our absolute best to ensure these situations don’t occur, but your kit is made by humans rather than machines and we do occasionally have a senior moment! Please feel free to let us know and we will be happy to supply more.

I AM NOT HAPPY WITH MY WORK AND WOULD LIKE TO RE-WORK
We totally understand this – most embroiderers incline to perfectionism! While we sadly can’t provide more materials for free, please just let us know what you require and we will be very happy to supply more.

MY DOG/HUSBAND/HOOVER/SOFA/CAT/GOLDFISH ATE MY THREAD!
It happens! Not a problem. Just let us know what you need
and whilst we can’t send these for free, we are more than
happy to supply more.

MY THREAD IS DIFFERENT TO THAT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE DESIGN
Thread colours may vary somewhat due to dyeing processes and can appear different in reality due to photographic distortion. Due to limitations posed by suppliers, we also reserve the right to substitute project materials with suitable alternatives to those illustrated if absolutely necessary.

HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT NEW DESIGNS?
Please go to Jenny’s website where you can join the mailing list to find out about all new releases. We promise only to send you relevant embroidery-related news and not to pass your details to third parties.

CAN I SUBMIT MY WORK TO A CRAFT SHOW OR COMPETITION?
We are delighted if you have enjoyed working the project and would like to submit your piece to a craft/country show competition etc. Please do let Jenny know if you are doing this as she would love to hear how you get on. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that people viewing the piece can get in touch.

CAN I TEACH THE DESIGN TO OTHERS?
If you have enjoyed working the project yourself and would like to share this with friends or wish to work the design with your students, you are welcome to contact Jenny for more kits. The kit and accompanying instructions must otherwise not be copied, reproduced or taught in any form without prior permission. This will otherwise infringe copyright. Multiple kit orders are welcome and can be supplied on a wholesale basis by arrangement. Please contact Jenny for more details.

I WOULD LIKE HELP WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OR DISPLAY OF MY FINISHED WORK
Excellent news. We hope you have enjoyed the journey and are delighted with the finished result! If you would like help with mounting or finishing the design, please feel free to get in touch. If you would like to order a frame, box or similar for displaying the finished piece, please visit the webshop.

Extra Requirements

To complete this kit, you will require the following equipment which can be purchased in the webshop by following the links below. 

PLEASE NOTE that those items marked * are ESSENTIAL, whereas the other items are beneficial but NOT essential:

5 reviews for The Wordsworth Harp Needlecase

  1. Karen

    This is the most beautiful, comprehensive and complete kit that I have received in over 50 years of stitching. It is gorgeous. The stitching will feel like the instructor is sitting at my side as I stitch. Thank you for all you do for global embroiderers.

    • Jenny-Adin-Christie

      Hello Karen
      Thank you so much for taking the time to write such lovely feedback! I am so pleased that the kit has exceeded your expectations! xx

  2. Jackie Ayres

    This is my first kit from Jenny, and I’m so thrilled. The instructions are detailed and easy to follow. The items in the kit are well packaged and labeled. I have very little experience with goldwork, only having done the RSN online class. This class is suitable for even a beginner or someone more experienced with goldwork. I can’t imagine the hours that went into creating this piece and the kits. Although I haven’t finished with the assembly yet, I can’t wait to try the Gawthorpe Needlecase.

    • Jenny-Adin-Christie

      I am so glad you are enjoying this so much Jackie and thank you so much for taking the time to write this lovely feedback xx

  3. Jill McIntyre

    Oh Jenny, I’m so pleased with my harp, it really is beautiful even if I do say so myself!! As ever, your kit was wonderful and the instructions were clear and easy to follow. I’m glad I purchased the etched dome to accompany it, the poem just provides the finishing touch to the piece! Thank you for bringing such a lovely little piece of social history – and poetry – alive!

    • Jenny-Adin-Christie

      I really am grateful for these lovely comments Jill. Thank you so much xx

  4. Janet Every

    Stitching this wonderful piece has been such a tonic during the first few, disconcerting, weeks of Covid-19 lockdown. Reading Wordsworth’s poems, seeing the Lake District in my mind’s eye and working with the luscious components of this fabulous kit – a real treat! Jenny’s kits are such a joy – everything you need in a sturdy box, right down to a selection of needles and tiny pots of glue, and all carefully labelled, referencing the very detailed instructions. It’s almost . . . . almost . . . . like having Jenny in the room!

    • Jenny-Adin-Christie

      Hello Janet. Thank you so much for writing such lovely feedback! So glad to hear that the harp provided this escape to the Lakes for you in this horrid time. xxx

  5. Caroline Dresden

    This was my first ‘Jenny’ – and first gold work, so perhaps a bit ambitious! But the finished result is absolutely beautiful, if I say so myself. It looks just like the picture. The illustrated guide was very clear, so I always knew where I was. The various kit parts fit together without any difficulties. The quality of the components is very good. The whole experience was so enjoyable I then made the Gawthorpe Needlecase case! (Which also looks fab) And now I am looking forward to a course being taught by Jenny in person…..

    • Jenny-Adin-Christie

      Thank you for the lovely comments Caroline xx

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