A big sunny hello! It’s midsummer, that time of year when we gently remind you to send in your finished tapestries for our Making up Service.

It’s a busy time of year in the garden, but it would be great if you could take a break to dig out (excuse the pun) any tapestries that you completed last winter or in the spring and send them off in the post to us, or bring them in if you’re going to be out and about in Somerset. Early arrivals will be much appreciated by our sewing team and will help us to keep things under control before the mad rush starts later in the year. As the weather’s so much better in June and July, the canvas drying time is much quicker too.

But first, attention, please! We have a heartfelt plea, a serious one. Once you’ve located your tapestry and taken it out to check that you haven’t missed any stitches, please resist any urge to ‘tidy up’ the edges of the canvas. Perhaps it’s all the frantic garden activity with the shears that makes some stitchers a bit enthusiastic with their scissors? Who knows! Attack your outdoor borders by all means, but please leave your tapestry ones as they are with canvas at the sides.

Why shouldn’t I trim the edges of my canvas? The reason’s simple. Before we make up your tapestry we need to give it a good old stretch which involves rolling it in a dampened towel and painstakingly nailing it out corner to corner, top to bottom and left to right to dry back into its original shape. We need the extra canvas to pull on.

Here you can see Jumpin’ Jack Cats, mid stretch. Note the tacks down the sides – those are the edges we need, and as wide as possible please. No tidying, thank you!

Staying with a feline theme and for those of you who are seeking inspiration for colours and fabric for your finished masterpiece, we’ve successfully herded up some recent cats, all keen to show off their smart piping and backing and to give you an idea of the options available. We’ll concentrate mainly on Jumpin’ Jack Cats, with guest appearances by other feline friends.

The top one in the picture below shows Jumpin’ Jack Cats with charcoal piping and pumpkin backing, in our wool mix fabric. The one below it is using two shades of our cotton fabric, biscuit for backing and pale yellow for piping.

For an extra special touch you can stitch the name of the recipient of your handiwork into the design, as Gwyneth did with her Jumpin’ Jack Cats, stitched for Justin:

Two Jumpin’ Jack Cats cushions with the same charcoal piping but different backings, pumpkin on the left and heron grey on the right. The different combinations each give their respective cushions a completely different look.

Trend spotting Charcoal grey woolly fabric is one of our most popular shades and it’s used on tapestries across our whole kit range from mini ones and A-Z Animals through to the larger children’s cushions. Here you see how it makes a nice dark grey edge around the predominantly green Jumpin’ Jack Cats.

Click here to see our full range of wool mix fabric. We have various shades of grey, and many other colours too.

Sticking with the velvet, these chaps have been made up in an unusual combination of old gold velvet for piping with cream backing:

Side view, very smart!

Jenny picked out two shades of cotton for her Jumpin’ Jack Cats when she visited us in the spring to pick out the fabric she’d like for her cushion. Cotton gives a clean, crisp finish to a tapestry.

Jenny chose sunflower yellow for piping and terracotta for backing. The side view shows them off really well!

Moving over to some of Jumpin’ Jack Cats feline friends, starting with Kitten Caboodle. This tapestry is a colourful patchwork of cat faces with two kittens and a lucky black cat in the centre, and there are lots of possibilities for piping and backing.

Raspberry red wool blend for piping and backing is a great choice.

Raspberry red again, but this time Renaissance Cat is modelling raspberry red velvet.

Finally, and with another idea for how to add a name onto a tapestry, Nicola’s Renaissance Cat stitched for her niece Annabel. We made up Nicola’s Renaissance Cat with maroon velvet piping and old gold velvet backing.

We have many more images on our Facebook and Pinterest pages so have a look there if you’d like more ideas, or give us a call if you’d like to request fabrics for a tapestry that you’ve finished.

Happy stitching, happy gardening, and happy midsummer!


PS Please send your finished tapestries to us as you stitch them! To avoid potential disappointment, don’t wait until the autumn as we may already be at capacity.