Welcome to Mabel's Fancies
For fresh stitching inspiration browse our ever-growing range of original Hardanger and other needlework designs.
Who is Mabel Figworthy?
The original Mabel Figworthy is a character in a Flanders & Swann song (hands up if you remember the Hippopotamus Song – all together now, "Mud, mud, glorious mud…") where she is charmingly described as "excess baggage". It is not known whether she indulged in needlework.
The Mabel Figworthy you find here is a Dutch ex-pat with a passion for needlework. She started out with cross stitch but keeps finding new materials and techniques to try, so cross stitch was embellished with beads and ribbons and joined by Assisi, blackwork and Hardanger, followed by non-counted techniques like shisha embroidery, goldwork and freestyle embroidery. She is also a sucker for speciality threads, particularly silks, and she once started a cross stitch alphabet on aida band with each letter worked in a different brand or type of silk. She got stuck at D as her own designs began to pile up waiting to be stitched.
What are Mabel's fancies?
Inspired by occasions, nature, colours, threads, fabrics, or idleness, she designs whatever takes her fancy – mostly Hardanger, but also various types of freestyle embroidery and the occasional bit of cross stitch, Assisi, blackwork and ribbon embroidery, or a combination of any of the above. Enjoy browsing the designs and see if there's anything you would fancy stitching!
Charts or kits?
Mabel has developed three Needle Book Kits especially for beginners. They contain all the materials you will need, cover the basic Hardanger stitches and come with extra detailed instructions. The Felt Bookmark Kit and Coaster Kit are similarly suitable for beginners, with different finishing techniques, decorative motifs and filling stitches. For not-quite-beginners there is the Notebook Kit with more advanced stitches and cutting but equally detailed instructions. There is also a small selection of freestyle embroidery kits. Apart from these, we have decided to offer the designs as chart packs only. Many of these designs, although originally conceived using particular colours and materials, can be stitched on different fabrics using different threads in different colours – indeed, some of them were designed in various different versions! Offering the designs as chart packs gives you the choice whether to follow the original version to the letter, or to change one or more aspects of it so that it becomes uniquely yours.
Unless stated otherwise, chart packs include a colour photograph of the finished design, a chart, a list of the materials needed to complete it (often with suggestions for alternative versions), instructions and custom-made stitch diagrams. You will receive your chart pack by email in PDF format.
If you have trouble locating a supplier for any of the materials, do let us know and we'll do our best to help you find one.