Just in case you think I have taken up gambling, let me reassure you. I am talking about Kate Bowles, bookmaker extraordinaire! I first met Kate when she stopped to chat and buy linen band at the Cross Stitch Guild stand at The Knitting & Stitching Show. I asked her what she planned to do with the three metres of eyelet ribbon, and she showed me her handmade books. It was simply a revelation that such things are possible.
Since that date, we have spent time with her, and her lovely husband Damen and I have spent a small fortune on her beautiful products. I have commissioned more embroidered books to share with you and I am just about to launch another Treasure, which includes one of her darling little books.
Some of you will be familiar with my Catherine Archer Needlebooks which Kate has made for me – they are so pretty and so cleverly hand crafted with the little pencil tucked into the spine. Kate also makes the little matchbox-style safe place to keep each book. For those of you who do not know about my Catherine Archer sampler, the original sampler was worked on ecru non-evenweave linen in one strand of red thread. The design was worked over one thread of the fabric: equivalent to 45 stitches to the inch! This is even more amazing when you consider that Catherine had no electric light or magnifier.
One of my favourite books is one Kate made me some years ago to celebrate supplying stitching kits to Liberty of London for over 25 years. She had included my hand-drawn designs of the Liberty building in Old Marlborough Street and used an old tape measure as part of the spine showing the date of the building. On the subject of Liberty, I forgot to mention that I designed a cross stitch sampler for the London store, and it was this chart that Kate chopped up for me. I had to sign an agreement that when they stopped selling the design that I was to destroy the drawings…
My new project is the Jewel Garden Sweete Bag and Notes & Needles and yet again Kate has created something special for me. I have created a little slip cover for the tiny book and added some of my famous gold needles to create a perfect project!