FAQ – Ask Kelly
Q: Are you a shop? Can we come and visit you?
A: We welcome visitors by appointment, but are not a shop as such. Our workshop is a very busy place particularly if we are packing lots of kits or customer cushions to send home.
If you’d like to come in to collect a kit, or bring in a tapestry for our making up service please give us a call first on 01460 281111. This will also avoid any wasted journeys – particularly on our Flexi Fridays!
Q: I want to stitch something for a new baby, but it’s not due for several months. What do you advise?
A: If you want to stitch a birth sampler for a baby that hasn’t been born yet, choose one that can be for both a boy and a girl and stitch as far as you can, leaving the name panel blank until you know the details.
We have birth sampler tapestries of all shapes and sizes.
Q: I am soon going on holiday to the UK. Where can I stock up on Jolly Red kits?
A: Jolly Red kits are available through many independent needlework retailers, as well as in larger stores such as Liberty, in London. If you are hoping to pick up a particular kit, do phone the stockist in advance to make sure they have it in, to avoid disappointment.
We can also send kits to your hotel so they will be there on your arrival.
Q: Do your kits contain enough wool for basket weave?
A: Our favourite stitch and the one that we use when calculating wool for our kits is ‘tent stitch’, sometimes called ‘continental stitch.’ It gives a nice long, hardwearing stitch on the reverse of your work and an all-round superior finish to ‘half cross stitch’.
We add extra wool when we calculate the quantity to include in our kits and many people find that they have enough for basketweave – however we must stress that it is not our recommended stitch, and you may run short if using basket weave particularly in background areas. For one thing, our designs are too patterny, basketweave lends itself more to large areas of one colour.
Q: Should I use half cross stitch for my tapestry?
A: Many Jolly Red stitchers finish their kits to an extremely high standard using half cross stitch and this is absolutely fantastic, but we would say is largely down to their personal skill. They should carry on exactly as they are as their good results speak for themselves!
However, for someone starting out we would recommend tent stitch because it gives better canvas coverage, is more hard wearing – and is very easy to master. It’s also easier to stop and start with tent stitch as the thicker back makes it easier to weave in and out of existing stitches. Stitch instructions are given with each Jolly Red tapestry kit.
Q: I am a complete beginner. I love the look of Jolly Red designs – but will I will be able to stitch one?
A: Yes, you will! We design kits for all levels of ability and they all use one stitch which is very easy to master. We recommend ‘tent stitch’ (sometimes called ‘continental stitch’) as this stitch gives excellent coverage. We suggest starting small for your first project, and working up from there perhaps to a cushion or Christmas stocking.
Q: Can I buy a printed tapestry canvas on its own?
A: Yes, you can. Buying a canvas on its own is a great way of using up odds and ends of wool – Jolly Hearts and Magic Circles and other patterned designs are especially well suited to this purpose as they are very patterned, with lots of small areas. Enter the code ‘canvas’ at the checkout and the kit price will be automatically halved for you.
We have recently started to add a range of designs specifically geared towards using up odds and ends. You’ll find these in the ‘Printed canvas only’ area of our website.
Q: How do you do your designs for Jolly Red? I bet you’ve got a computer programme that does it for you
A: Jolly Red’s designs all start off in sketchbooks, then get drawn up, coloured… then usually altered, discarded, re-started, ignored, forgotten… usually until too many customers call up asking such things as ‘Where’s that new chicken design?’
Once the design is looking good on paper we stitch colour samples, with more trial and error. Once we are happy with the design and colours, it is transferred to graph paper and then onto the computer so it can be printed out for stitching. It is either stitched in Somerset, or it will go to one of our lovely outworkers. Very occasionally this will be the end of the process, but usually we find that we’ve got some of the colours wrong, or the design just isn’t good enough. Quite often the whole process has to be started again. It’s a labour of love!