The Cressida Pin

Cressida, a shawl or hair pin with delicious mix of pattern, texture and sparkle, here’s how it happened.


I love yarn, almost as much as I love beads. Just as with the beads, I’m ok simply owning, looking at and occasionally smooshing a pretty ball of yarn. But, I do also knit and crochet, so the yarn gets used eventually, but not as quickly as my magpie purchases of new yarns. 

As a result I have several baskets of yarns in my studio. I was contemplating starting a pattern for a lace shawl that called for a fine yarn, and as I sorted through the stash, I had a little thought, that grew into a big thought. I could bead a delicate shawl pin, inspired by the colour mixes in the various yarn baskets. Just a little thought, but it gently shifted the way I was looking at the beads, and the ways I could use them

A fine yarn, needs a very light shawl pin, so it won’t weigh down too much and pull the shawl. For that I needed to find a fine pin that would ease through the delicate fabric. I made a pile of possibles and started beading. The pin I settled on, is an old fashioned upholsterer pin, they only come in steel, so then next part of the adventure was a trip to the shed. First, the slightly rough points were smoothed with a grinding wheel, then, epic fun, out came the blow torch for a session of heat blueing the steel into more interesting colours. Each one came out differently, which was just about perfect.

My ‘relax’ mode of beading is bead embroidery. I love the freedom of a blank piece of foundation fabric to fill, and it struck me that this would be a great medium for something light weight, but rich in detail. 

I’d been reading about treasure hoards, and loving the fine metalwork of ancient pins and brooches, and a little thought grew into another big thought, I could combine counted beadwork and embroidery all in one piece. A few doodles later and I had the beginnings of the design. The first one I made was shades of Plum, the dark richness of a Victoria plum, with hints of dusty blue, like the bloom on the fruit. Next, to check it all would work a second time and be translatable into steps, I made the Lichen mix of sour yellowy mustard and dark bark brown, with a shot of greeny blue sparkle, Yum! it was designed to go with a crochet shawl in dark Olive tones and ancient gold metallic thread. Road testing came next, I wore the pin for a week to make sure the design worked, and added an optional safety cap, because, while the pin did its job beautifully, the end could be a bit poky when hugging cats and small people.


The pattern is laid out in a combination of step by step photographs, with a few diagrams to clarify thread paths. It took a while to process all the images, but the result is, that even someone new to bead embroidery should be able to follow the steps.

I’ve also tested Cressida in a variety of fabrics, and in my hair. So, the pattern is written, the many layers of foundation and backing cut, pins are blued and baggies of my four favourite mixes of beads and crystals are all packed and ready to go. Choose your colourway here.

You can find the Cressida kits here…

But if you have all the materials you could ever want, the PDF of the pattern is available in my PDF store here.

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