An “etui” is a small ornamented case that is used to hold needlework tools (needles, scissors, etc.) The name comes from the old French estui, meaning prison. Etuis come in all kinds of shapes, sizes, renditions… some are shaped like boxes, some are simple needlebooks with slots for scissors and maybe a little pocket for threads.
I stumbled upon a website called Giulia Punti Antichi, which is home to an Italian family who work together in the embroidery design business. Giulia has some beautiful stuff on her website! Much of it is counted thread techniques. She’s designed some beautiful biscornu patterns, and some really lovely “etui” type projects.
Giulia also features some free patterns on her website. The one that caught my eye was the Assisi Swan etui.
The Assisi Swan Etui from Giulia Punti Antichi (update: 2021, the link is no longer working – no indication where this resource can be found) is a pretty little Assisi work pattern for a book that holds needles and scissors. The design is in PDF format. The pattern is free and it includes finishing instructions.
Take a look around Giulia Punti Antichi – it’s really a neat site full of all kinds of inspiring ideas! As a designer, her kits are for sale through different European retailers (I didn’t see evidence of their being available in the States?), and in each kit’s description, she indicates the retailer who sells it.
One other interesting note about her designs and her kit descriptions: she goes into detail about the things that inspire her in creating her designs – which is nice! You get a sense of the area of Italy she’s from (Tuscany) and its beauties.
Keep in mind when looking at European embroidery retailers: the Euro is strong against the dollar. Right now, it costs us more than $1.40 to “purchase” one euro. And then there’s shipping! So it may be better to find out if she has a distributor in the States… (I didn’t find one! If you do, let us know!)
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