Cotton Reel Craziness!

If you have received the current (February) edition of the Bustle & Sew Magazine, you will have seen one of the projects is for some miniature cactus planters – embroidered onto felt and “planted” into vintage cotton reels……

I had huge fun stitching these – and now I display them on the shelf in my workroom – along with the sign I made in letter carving classes last autumn…..

Though I think my embroidery skills are rather better than my carving ones haha!! I’ve had lots of very kind positive feedback about these little cactuses and so I’ve been inspired to offer them as kits.  We’ve been super-busy here at Bustle & Sew HQ getting everything ready, including removing old thread (simply can’t be used after 50 years as it has faded and perished) from the reels with a craft knife.  As I worked at this, I noticed some of the old-fashioned colour names on the reels…..

Don’t you just love “turkey red shade”, “mole”, “oriental poppy” and of course “chocolate” and what on earth was “reseda”? Which of course was one of the reels with no thread on it at all!  I remember my mum sewing with sylko threads when I was a child, and some of these reels are probably around 50+ years old.

The mini cactus planter kits, including vintage cotton reels, will be available as a limited edition at the weekend, and I’ll be sure to let you know when they’re available.



I work with wool which often requires dyeing to achieve just the perfect hue, value, saturation and shade. One of the dye colors in my collection is reseda green. It’s a beautiful green, and I use it quite often. Perhaps your reseda was the same lovely green as mine!
I love your wooden spools and small cacti!

XX Linda B.


Thank you Linda – I’d love to hear more about your wool and dying processes if you have time! xx


Thanks so much Valerie – the mystery is solved – though I must admit I haven’t heard of the city in California, oops! xx


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