Saturday, August 13, 2016

Carol Costello's Fancywork and Fantasies

Someone posted on Facebook Needlepoint the other night a photo of a Carol Costello design.  Carol designed about 35-40 years ago.  The photo shown was of "Patchouli", perhaps one of her more popular designs.  I have taught it several times at Needle Nicely.  This is a photo of our shop model stitched by Trubey, over a weekend, but "in hand", rather than on a frame.  If you look closely, you can easily discern that the straight outline stitches are not quite straight because the inner stitches are distorting the canvas.  This offers another good reason to stitch on a frame!

It is stitched using a combination of medici and perle cotton.  I'm sure the look would be different using something other than medici, but maybe not.  Stitching this is like eating peanuts--you just can't stop!  I understand that there are no leaflets available, but Fleur de Paris (who seems to have the rights) is willing to sell photocopies.  This is a fun stitch and a good introduction to pattern stitching.

Eterna--My absolute favorite of Carol's designs is one that she did, I have always heard, in collaboration with Jean Hilton.  And that I really believe--the center is Jean's "mistake stitch" and everything flows like Jean's patterns.  Everything is 12s and is marvelously geometric.  One time when I taught this, I had a student who absolutely could not see the difference between 11 and 13 stitches.  To me, it just pops out.  I had to take her class piece home and stitch enough to establish her count.  Naturally, she couldn't understand why I was so concerned!  I could look at it forever!

My second favorite is Saxony, a marvel stitched on 10-mesh canvas.  It works up so quickly, you cannot believe it.  Somehow, the original ecru version has disappeared from Needle Nicely, but I still have two other models.  One is in pink to show its versatility.  The other is in tan with watercolors substituted for the perle cotton accents.  Definitely a quick stitch, and so satisfying.

Ashes of Roses is one of my least favorite of Carol's designs, primarily because it uses alternating basketweave (or Alicia's lace), which to me is tedious and doesn't give much bang for the buck.
Obviously, I didn't stitch this Needle Nicely model!

I have booklets for most of these designs.  Just give me a call.


  1. Lovely patterns, each and every one.

  2. Carol taught her designs at The Enchanted Unicorn in Redlands, CA, when I worked there. There are many other designs....I love her Hapsburg Lace series and I went on to teach a number of her designs to local guilds and the Officers' Wives Club needlework group at Norton AFB. She stopped designing way to soon.