Nimue Creation Step by Step

A few months ago, more than a year ago, I realized that Nimue, although having an Arthurian name, had not yet created embroidery subjects from the Arturian Legend. What?
It seemed incredible that after more than 17 years of being called Nimue(The Lady of the Lake),nothing, no character, transmitted this culture that is the breeding ground of my inspiration.
An opportunity would allow me to embark on the realization of this Arthurian pantheon: an invitation to Moscow, as guest of honor of a fair art of the thread – crafts, Formula Rukodiela in February 2020.
The first cross-stitch subjects were Guinevere,then Arthur,the Royal Couple.
Now it is the turn of the beings of the Other World, the Enchanter and Enchantress: Merlin and Viviane.

The perfect embroidery equipment

What material?

With this article I answer those who ask me what material I use in my job.

I have always been passionate about tools.

The beautiful and good tools. It’s part of the inspiration.

Note that Nimuë is not a haberdashery but a designer of embroidery patterns, which is why you will find in this article links to other merchants. Only materials related to subjects created by Nimuë are available on this site.

1- The environment, I create better in a setting that makes me feel good:

A cozy place with books climbing up the walls.
  • Old tables to display materials.
  • Some original antique furniture to put a little salt and memory in the atmosphere.
  • A perspective to the outside
  • Green: branches, trees with birds chirping on their branches.
  • Cats who monitor the progress of the work (as well as the birds chirping on the branches.)
There you go!
I am also greedy for space. I like to spread out and leave in place.
For this I have 6 large tables on which I spread:
  • 2 office tables
  • 1 table to lay out the cones and trays of skips.
  • 1 table for cutting the fabric
  • 1 table to sort the threads
  • 1 table to assemble
Everyone’s dream isn’t it?

Good and Beautiful tools are part of the inspiration

The light.

There is a particular room where I work.
It is a South / East facing room with two beautiful windows, one to the East and one to the South.
This element is very important because the light has a primary impact on creation.
I am very close to the light coming from the east. It is a neutral light.
It is often said that a painter will mainly use the light coming from the north so that it does not influence his choices but the light from the East warms hearts a little more so that’s good too.
On the south side, the light is blocked by large branches of the plane tree which breaks the strong sun rays but lets in the light in a soft way.
This piece is a very good creative spot.
We now have a lovely setting and adequate light, let’s see the actual tools.

2- Here are the tools …

a-The essentials of the embroiderers:
  • Needles
  • Son
  • Canvas
  • Patron
  • Scissors
  • Glasses, Magnifier
  • Accessories: beads, charms, etc.
  • Drum, craft
  • Needle sticks
  • Lamp
  • Displays
  • Armchair
  • Table
  • Storage
  • Computer, software
  • Frames
Personally I use all of this except (or really very exceptionally):
  • drums and crafts
  • Magnifying glass

Let’s detail each element one after the other:

1- Needles
I use 3 kinds of needles.
  1. Round end embroidery needles n ° 26 on 12-thread (6 stitches / cm) or more fabrics, n ° 28 on thinner fabrics.
  2. Bead embroidery needles n ° 10. Short needles with a very fine cat.
  3. Quilting needles (short) with pointed tip for edging or special stitches on layers.
  • The n ° 26 are easy to put on,
  • bead embroidery needles are essential for fixing embroidery beads which are smaller than seed beads in jewelry,
  • quilting needles are my favorite when embroidering border stitches with metallic threads.

"As an Amazon Partner, I make a profit on eligible purchases."

2 sons

a- My work base is done with the DMC 117 mills.

It is a satin cotton yarn available in 8 meter skeins.
There are around 500 colors.
In one strand there are 6 threads. In a skein we therefore have 6 threads x 8 m = 48 meters of thread
If I opted for this brand rather than another (Madeira, Anchor, etc.) it is because:
  • the colors are deeper, more nuanced, more subtle
  • The richer shades of green and I use a lot
  • Shades for skin effects are also more relevant.
Their range is better suited to what I create.
Only quality yarns!
  • At the Silkworm. Very old French company specializing in silk threads, Algiers silk, Paris silk, but also braided or looped metallic threads of very high quality. Brand to be preferred before any other if you use metal wires.
  • Ets Toulemonde better known under the name of Fil au Chinois. Another very beautiful French house of yarn, distributed by SAJOU. Although being a very large industrial spinning mill in the North, Bruno Toulemonde is passionate about French know-how and regularly saves some of them from oblivion. This company is able to manufacture any yarn on demand. By partnering with Sajou, he gives us access to a mountain of creative possibilities. Fil au Chinois, Tonquin , Baudry cocoon, etc.
  • mohair, mohair and silk yarns. Lots of different brands of wool or wool to embroider: Wisper special brand embroidery, Debbie Bliss for mohair and silk, Lang and others for simple mohair.
  • Wool and fancy materials.

If you do not want to tear your hair to embroider particular threads such as Metallic braided or curly or mohair or silk, only use renowned threads like those mentioned above. You will not regret it. Your experience will be very different.

3-Embroidery fabrics
  • I really enjoyed embroidering on Gander linen when I started out because there was a great color scheme. Unfortunately the production stopped a few years ago.
  • I then looked for a canvas that came close to it and I opted for Zweigart . Because I like flexible and thick fabrics without too much starch, that is to say without cardboard effect. However, I sometimes buy from other suppliers if I cannot find the colors that interest me.
  • I embroider on 12-thread linen most often or on 14-thread if the subject requires precision while remaining small.
  • Sometimes I also use Murano , Zweigart 12.6 thread count cheesecloth, if I’m looking for a uniform canvas or for a question of color.
  • Aida is useful to me when the subject has a more childish design: example the Mic & Mac on linen aida .
To sum up, I prefer to embroider on linen because I like to work on a “living” material. Linen moves, changes, is irregular. I like that it’s not too stiff or straight. There is more room for creativity for me. And I love to embroider on colored canvas!
4-Pattern, grid
Grid with black & white symbols on a large A2 sheet rather than several A4s.
5- Scissors
I use 2 pairs of scissors for embroidery.
  • a small curved and very sharp end to go cutting wires in tiny spaces for precision operations
  • a small round toe for most of the time
I also have two pairs of scissors to cut the fabric:
  • one with spring so as not to tire the thumb
  • a special classic fabric
Of course I also like the beautiful decorated scissors but I have never owned very good ones so I keep these because they seem perfect for what I have to do.
  • on the left a small round-end embroidery scissor 10 cm in all!
  • on the right the same but with a pointed and curved tip for delicate operations

Classic textile scissors 25 cm for fabrics as well as wools or bundles of threads

I love this pair (26 cm blade) because it allows you to cut fabrics by really feeling the thread of the weft without tiring your thumb because the blade is activated by a spring

So much for the basics. But of course you need additional elements for comfort.


For comfort

1-Glasses, Magnifier
I use all kinds of glasses. Very expensive and magnifying glasses from bazaars.
  • A few months ago I asked my ophthalmologist for a special embroidery pair. It allows me to see from 20 cm to 80 cm: I love it, it has changed my life. If you are farsighted it is not a luxury.
  • if despite everything I have a very precise detail to realize, I take a pair at 10 € which grows a lot. And that’s what I used for embroidery before I decided to go to consult.
  • I do not use a daylight type magnifying glass, I prefer glasses that will accompany the movement.

My advice: If you see badly, if it becomes complicated with age, know that a small pair of glasses even at 10 or 15 € can allow you to continue embroidering comfortably. We must not deprive ourselves of it. If you have more means … a little trip to the optalmo is a solution.

Glasses for embroidery

Above My Glasses and how I ended up narrowing down to a pair …

Below, a few choices of inexpensive glasses to continue embroidering! Comfortable or stylish, it’s up to you. You choose the magnification and you’ll get 4 or 5 for less than $ 20.

2-Accessories, beads, charms
  • Accessories and charms : I am China . I collect , until the moment I need it. So I have to look for a supplier who will do wholesale to be able to make kits. If I don’t already have plenty of immediate possibilities to create on hand, I won’t move forward. So I collect whatever I like and one day I use it.
  • Pearls : Mill Hill, Cousines & Compagnie, Reflets de Soie, seed beads, etc. so special embroidery beads but not only.

Findings or small miscellaneous accessories, special embroidery beads from 1 to 2 mm.

3-Drum, loom
  • I stopped using a drum when I created La Clef. My linen had completely deformed from putting on and taking off the circle. I haven’t taken it back since.
  • I used a loom to embroider the braids of Nimuë Sépia . When you have a lot of material to pass through the canvas, you have no other choice than to stretch your canvas to prevent it from deforming. So I used a standing loom for this.
  • I use a turn under the thigh when I practice the Bayeux Tapestry. this allows you to have both hands free.
I maintain that we have to embroider like that makes us happy. There is therefore no deposit. Do with or without, all is well.
Essential ! or almost…
I use a large mushroom on which about forty needles are permanently stuck, the 3 types mentioned above.
In general I work with 10 or 15 needles at the same time, that is to say I leave the needles threaded. I don’t constantly change the thread of my needle. If in one area you embroider with 7 or 8 reds for example, take as many needles as there are colors. One needle per color.
It is also interesting when mixing the colors in a needle to be able to leave it on standby until the following points. It saves a lot of time.
Embroidery needle sticks

on the left my mushrooms and below some proposals

Elisabeth’s proposal left in comment:

Needle Minder : small magnet object for needles

Natural light if possible otherwise:
  • Office daylight, since I embroider sitting at my desk.
  • Daylight on flexible stand if you are embroidering in an armchair or sofa.
When I embroider in the evening I light everything! the daylight, the ceiling light, possibly a halogen, everything that makes a difference in comfort for my eyesight. I don’t have very good eyes so I pamper them.

I have been using the left model (its initial version) since 2003, without ever having to change the lamp (tube). If you have any thoughts on this, additional information to share, I feel free to put your comments at the end of the article.

I embroider exclusively on an administrative type office chair. Never an armchair or sofa.
I bought my seat 17 or 18 years ago and have never had back pain from it again. A good position allows you to embroider for hours and hours without getting tired.

Choose a chair that is height-adjustable and tilts back, with lumbar support. It is not that you will always be propped up to the bottom of the seat, but the inclination of the seat will force you to stand up straight.

A support to follow your grid step by step. An efficient system to navigate.

The one on the left has magnets that allow you to fix and follow the grid. It can also be used to magnetize the needles. The one on the right is a large A3 format (2 A4 sheets)

Elisabeth’s proposal left in comment:

Pattern Keeper : digital application to follow the progress of your works. Here is the link: https://patternkeeper.app/

It is an application to be used with a tablet or an android phone (windows). To use it on a computer you will need to install a second tool.

The developers promise us an IOS (Apple) version soon.

No French translation for the moment but here too the developers promise us that it will come!

With the armchair: the table. I like work tables. A small work table dedicated to your work allows you to display everything you need within easy reach without everything getting mixed up.

Choose what is best suited to your space: with or without storage, to put on a sofa or on a coffee table … anything is possible!

  • I logically use plastic boxes with transparent drawers of different formats as needed. Boxes with drawers make it possible to stack and optimize space and see what’s inside at a glance without having to rummage.
  • For yarns, if we don’t want to waste our skeins and throw away because we no longer know what the reference is, think about cardboard boxes and their reel.
  • If you travel, especially with the end of the year celebrations when you spend more time outdoors with the family, nomadic bags allow you to organize your business well even on the move.
10-Computer, software
I design my charts on a computer using special cross stitch software that records what I create.
I have used several for 20 years. The one I recommend today is MacStitch on Mac or its version for Window WinStitch. It is recent software which is updated with tutorials for getting started. And there is a French version!
Here is the link to Ursasoftware the publisher of this software and order if you are interested. It is really cheap, less than 50 €. Click here.
MacStitch and WinStitch cross stitch software
  • For small embroidery, take frames in standard formats if possible, which is the least expensive. You will find pretty ones in decoration stores, or type Gifi, Maisons du Monde etc.
  • For large embroidery, treat yourself to a real beautiful frame to highlight your work. I usually go to Eclat de Verre. I take my embroidery, I try my wands on my own among hundreds of choices. After a while someone from the store comes to see if I’m okay. She advises me or not if I hesitate. Sometimes I layer 2 chopsticks to really get what I want. An hour later I come out with my chopsticks assembled and some featherboard. I do the editing at home. I might do an article on coaching if you’re interested.

I rather choose frames with vintage patinas because it is what corresponds best to my works. Sometimes ovals! The one below is 25 x 20 cm

To sum up

We discussed

  • the frame, the environment in which one settles to embroider.
  • The conditions of light and even of company.
  • 5 essential tools, those without which there is no embroidery
  • 11 tools that give us comfort and pleasure, but also organization
Obviously this is not exhaustive. I stayed as close as possible to what I really use, as close as possible to my practices.


Even if it takes material to express herself, an embroiderer first and foremost creates a space of her own, in which she feels good, a refuge.
Our tools must look like us, some practical, some pretty!
In this article there are only proposals, a testimony, it’s up to you to speak and share your findings in the comments below.

Do not forget to subscribe in the insert on the right to follow all the articles

Don’t hesitate to leave your comments below!

Annaïck Chauvel

Annaïck Chauvel

Welcome to the story of Nimue’s Creations. Here I share with you the How and Why of these creations.

Table of Materials

Parade finishes, episode 2

Mysterious “less” grid As I said in the previous episode (Episode 1) I considerably re-enhanced the colors. What is subtle and charming in paper printing

Read more"


Victoria is a really important subject in the history of Nimuë. Originally I created it on a purple marbled canvas from Zweigart on Cashel or

Read more"

Why do I embroider?

Why do I embroider… When I embroider what matters to me is to feel emotions, to be in the gesture. One wonders how a gesture

Read more"
0 0 votes
Évaluation de l'article
Notify of
0 Commentaires
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Would love your thoughts, please comment.x

Bonne Année


Entrez ce code dans votre panier et bénéficiez d'une remise de 5 % + 1 cadeau surprise