Thursday, 10 January 2013

Elga & The Très Petit Petitpointers

Just how petit can you go? If you look at the pin in this picture - or even the size of the needle holes made in the supporting card then you will begin to appreciate that we are talking super petit now. There is a total of 5148 stitches in this tiny piece that measures 21mm wide by 18.5mm high. (less than 1" wide by about .75" high). It took Elga about 14 days to stitch, stitching for 2 hours a day. Elga is a stitcher from South Africa with a passion for miniatures - and you will see in due course that her needlework is not the only fine skill she posseses.
This is a work in progress - these will be panels for a miniature casket which is about as big as two lego bricks - and I don't mean the baby duplo ones. When complete the casket will measure 30mm wide by 36mm high(a little over 1" by 1.5"). Elga says that when she researched the caskets she was quite shocked when she looked at the actual dimensions and realized just how small they were. Elga knew then she had a big challenge on hand and decided that she needed to try and see if she could use 90 count for the stitching. Thank God I could see it, she says. Most people asks me about magnification, I am nearsighted which helps a lot, up to 75 count I am fine just using a 3 diopter lens (175% magnification), but for the 90 count I also use +3 reading glasses. Elga works with Pipers silk and it takes her about 3 hours to stitch 500 stitches. This casket is based on the one in the MET museum in New York that tells the Bible story of Joseph. Elga is trying to keep as much of the detail as possible. Here and there she is using French knots for the cuffs on the clothes and also for the hair to add some texture.
And here you can see the casket waiting for its panels. And yes, Elga crafted this too.
And it is not just one casket in the making, Elga is crafting a limited edition of 20 and 17 are already sold, so there are quite a few people who are going to stitch for them, many of them are doing Tricia Nguyen's full scale class and want to put the miniature casket with their big one.
Here you can see another example of Elga's work, combining carpentry and needlepoint. As far as possible Elga seeks to recreate antique furniture pieces in miniature that are as historically correct as she can get them to be.
She has always loved sewing and cross stitch, so it was natural, she says that she would want to make her own carpets in miniature too. The one below is a French Knot rug on 40 count silk gauze. Elga says, I just love how it drapes and isn’t stiff at all. I wasn’t too happy with the ones I first made on 32 count canvas, they just looked bulky and out of scale, oh the joy when I discovered silk gauze and fine silks. With time I progressed into the smaller counts, I feel that you can’t use 40 count gauze for upholstery if you use it for carpets, in full scale items your carpets would generally be coarser than upholstery.
Elga says, One thing that I would really appreciate, is, if you could mention the PetitPointer group, no woman is an island in the stitching world as you well know. I don’t think I would be doing what I am today without the support, encouragement and free sharing of help and techniques of the people in this group, they are always ready to welcome new comers to petit point and each level of ability is supported, no matter if you stitch on 24 count gauze or 90. And if anyone out there is interested in trying petit point, this is the group to join. Do visit Elga's blog for more petit delights - just click here.


  1. Thank you for sharing that- she is an exceptional artist!

  2. I am so glad ELga's work can be appreciated by larger scale embroiderers, she has been such a delightful secret in the miniatures world, and it is about time she get recognition for the fantastic work she has done!

  3. Elga's work is fantastic , both in needlework and woodwork . I am glad it is given wider recognition, she sure deserves it ! Thank you for featuring her in your blog .

  4. I am also a member of the Petitpointers group and feel as though I know Elga through frequent postings and watching her blog. Her talent knows no bounds! So happy to see Elga's beautiful work featured on Needleprint. Congratulations, Elga.

  5. Wow! Tiny, tiny! Such amazing work! :)

  6. When I look at Elga's work it is now wonderful to know we can export South African talent to the world too. Elga does marvelous miniatures and we are proud of her.

  7. Incredible work! I met a petit pointer last year who was making pictures for her dolls' house. She'd stitched the Girl with the Pearl Earring on 50count.
    I'll be visiting Elga's blog to see more of her lovely work. Thanks for sharing her!

  8. How lovely...and tiny tiny work! Just superb...