History of Thanksgiving

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thanksgiving scarecrow machine embroidery design
Scarecrow Placemat / Table runner design


It’s the festive season and its opportunity to celebrate with family and companions. Thanksgiving is coming up and Sweet Pea thought it would be enjoyable to peruse up on the historical backdrop of Thanksgiving. We know our American and Canadian Sweet Pea companions will observe Thanksgiving soon so we trust that your day is loaded with sustenance, family, companions and giggling.


In 1621, the Plymouth pioneers and Wampanoag Indians shared an autumn harvest that is recognised today as one of the main Thanksgiving festivities in the provinces. For over two centuries, individual provinces and states commended days of thanksgiving. It wasn’t until 1863, amidst the Civil War, that President Abraham Lincoln declared a national Thanksgiving Day to be held every November.

Pioneers held their second Thanksgiving festivity in 1623 to check the end of a long dry spell that had weakened the year’s gather and provoked Governor Bradford to require a religious fasting period. Days of fasting and thanksgiving on a yearly or occasional basis got to be a tradition in other New England settlements also. Amid the American Revolution, the Continental Congress assigned at least one day of thanksgiving a year, and in 1789 George Washington issued the principal Thanksgiving proclamation.

thanksgiving machine embroidery design in the hoop
made by Dena Thomason-Whitesell‎

In 1817, New York turned into the first of a few states to authoritatively receive a yearly Thanksgiving occasion; each praised it on an alternate day, Sarah Josepha Hale propelled a campaign to set up Thanksgiving as a national occasion. Abraham Lincoln at long last regarded her demand in 1863, request that God ” commend to his tender care all those who have become widows, orphans, mourners or sufferers in the lamentable civil strife ” and to ” heal the wounds of the nation.”

thanksgiving machine embroidery design in the hoop
made by Penny Mueller Brown


• Centres on cooking and imparting a plentiful supper to family and companions
• Turkey a thanksgiving staple
• Other customary nourishment; stuffing, squashed potatoes, cranberry sauce, and pumpkin pie

machine embroidery design pumpkin mugrug thanksgiving
made by Pat Hester Grahl‎

• Volunteering is a typical Thanksgiving Day activity – food drives host supper to the less fortunate.
• Parades including the New York City’s Thanksgiving Day parade, which is the biggest, and most acclaimed, with around 2 to 3 million onlookers along its 2.5-mile course and drawing a tremendous TV gathering of people.
• Marching bands, entertainers and elaborate floats conveying various celebrities and giant balloons shaped like cartoon characters.
• President of the United States has “pardoned” a couple of turkeys every year. Saving the birds from the butcher and send them to a farm for retirement. A number of U.S. governors also perform the annual turkey pardoning ritual.

made by Jeannie Clark Horton


Modern thanksgiving

Today’s festivity is a blend of conventions from the New England custom of celebrating a harvest, in the view of New England; and the Puritan Thanksgiving, a grave religious recognition joining prayer and feasting.

Thanksgiving is gathering together to express gratitude a feast with prayerful thanks and nostalgia for a simpler time. Thanksgiving is a deeply meaningful and comforting annual ritual to most Americans. The national memory of a moment in Plymouth, nearly 400 years ago, when two distinct cultures, on the brink of profound and irrevocable change, shared an autumn feast.

Celebrate your thanksgiving this year by creating one of our beautiful fall quilts and show off your fall bags made with designs from  swpea.com

geometric tote bag machine embroidery in the hoop
made by Ellen Hanraads
geometric tote bag amchine embroidery design in the hoop
made by Tammy Singletary Kozior
machine embroidery design
made by Jackie Panos
made by Dianne S Paxton-Pringle
made by Pat Thomas
made by Sandy Gee Hulbert

more Thanksgiving machine embroidery designs at http://swpea.com/search?q=thanksgiving

Sweet Pea’s favourite beach trips in Summer

Beach trips

 Summer is approaching fast and it’s already getting hot in Queensland. This is the perfect time to start planning some beach trips and why not read about some of Sweet Pea’s favourite summer holidays.  We hope this will inspire you to take your own relaxing holiday vacation soon!


Sunshine Coast  – Mooloolaba

 Mooloolaba is just over an hours drive from Brisbane and is the perfect place for a day trip in summer. Along the beach there are delightful little restaurants and cafes. We love to grab a spot in the park and have a picnic at sunset after a long day spent at the beach in the waves.



 Stradbroke is an island about an hour’s boat ride from Brisbane and is the perfect family getaway destination. You can either rent out a house or stay in a hotel. Even better grab your caravan or tent and stay right on the beach. Stradbroke is the perfect place for people who are more adventurous and love to get away from the city.  The Sweet Pea family love to camp right on the beach far away from the city lights. There are so many stars in the sky and it’s a great time to spend the day and night right on the picturesque beach. But watch out in the water because there are SHARKS! Typical Australia.




Gold Coast – Coolangatta

 Many people have heard about the Gold Coast when they think of Australian beach destinations. However all the Sweet Pea family love to escape the crowds at Surfers Paradise and enjoy a relaxing weekend at Coolangatta instead.  The beach at Coolangatta has soft white sand and beautiful blue waves that the kids and even adults can enjoy spending the day in.

peter-and-poppyannette-robbie-gold-coast2Moreton Island – Tangalooma Dolphin Resort

Lastly our family favourite beach destination in summer is Tangalooma Resort which is located on Moreton Island just a 75-minute boat ride from Brisbane and is the perfect place to spend the day but we stay for a whole week instead. One day is just never enough for us as there are so many activities for the grandchildren, children, adults and grandparents. Our whole family stays there together and we love seeking adventure, relaxation and nature. But the must see attraction is the dolphin feeding every night where you will never miss a sighting of the dolphins.


Sweet Pea loves the beach


The perfect essential for your beach trips are our beautiful, fun and easy to make beach bags. Other beach visitors will be jealous of you and your very own uniquely designed bag.


machine embroidery design in the hoop beach bag


Hawaiian reflections bag –




I Don’t Date Fish Beach Bag



Hawaiian Leaf beach bag





Machine Embroidery Twist on Sashiko Quilting


Sashiko was a style of functional embroidery developed in Japan and used as early as the 17th century, which was very popular with the peasant class. Traditionally the style features geometric white patterns on darker, usually indigo cloth.

Japanese Folded sashiko - quilt.jpg

(sashiko pictured here recreated “in the hoop” using an embroidery machine) https://swpea.com/products/japanese-folded-sashiko-quilt-4×4-5×5-6×6-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design.


The Sashiko style was used predominantly to mend clothes with patches. The quilting of the clothes made them more durable and warmer for the harsh winters peasants would have to deal with outside of estates and castles. It could also be used to turn clothes beyond repair into bags, hats and cloths for cleaning. If necessary it could be utilised to quilt an entire outfit, changing it from indoor summer-wear to winter-wear.  It was important for the working class to repurpose material in this way due to its scarcity, as textiles could not be mass produced, and even once they could be, were often too expensive. In this way, the poor in Japan could get the most use out of cloth very valuable cloth as possible.

The other purpose behind Sashiko was, of course, to make the clothes more aesthetically pleasing. It is an example of a group using their limited resources to best effect, and creating beautiful patterns without using the expensive new silks that the ruling class of the time had access to.

Design Aspects

Sashiko which means little stabs, was usually created using white thread on top of dark indigo cloth traditionally. This was due to the fact that dyeing cloth brighter colours was more difficult and more expensive than darker shades. Laws were eventually brought in stopping any lowborn individual from wearing bright colours, further restricting the colour choice along with a superstition that indigo deterred insects and snakes. When designing modern Sashiko of course it is possible to use any colours but for those wanting to stay traditional white thread on dark blue is the norm. As previously stated the designs created using the thread were geometric shapes used to make peasant clothes more aesthetically pleasing while still serving a purpose. The designs are created using a plain running stitch.


Image source: folkfibers.com


The material used was loosely stitched and originally made from hemp and linen. Eventually peasants gained access to cotton which was better quality but still loose enough for the embroidery. The thread used was strong cotton whenever possible and hemp before this was available.

Sweetpea Embroidery Design

We are able to replicate these beautiful 17th century designs with our embroidery machine these days, rather than painstakingly with a long thin sturdy needle like the Japanese who originally designed them.

Here’s a quick sneak peak on how the sashiko quilt is recreated “in the hoop”.

Embroider the Sashiko.


Take your second piece of fabric and fold it in half length ways wrong sides together.


Place your Fabric onto the hoop, matching the fold up with the little indication marks we stitched earlier and the raw ends towards the bottom right corner of the block. Tape your fabric in place and stitch down.


Now use that same stitch down line as your placement line for your third piece of fabric. Lay the fabric wrong side up on the hoop with one edge crossing the placement line by about 1cm (1/2”) and with the excess towards the top left corner of the block.


Stitch Fabric down.


Continue following the full instructions provided with the download from swpea.com and the final result will look like this. To find the design click on this link https://swpea.com/products/japanese-folded-sashiko-quilt-4×4-5×5-6×6-in-the-hoop-machine-embroidery-design.

Japanese Folded Sashiko Quilt5x5 6x6 7x7 in the hoop.jpg


Fairy Pocket Bag made in the hoop machine embroidery

machine embroidery designs in the hoop fairy bag


This is a design for an amazing bag with pockets on the front where three little fairies live. The fairies are all made in the hoop.

There are three different size designs included for the bag and also for the fairies – 5×7, 6×10 and 8×12.

All the panels of the bag are made in the hoop and then the borders and lining are added with your sewing machine.

Full photo instructions are included for the bag and the embroidery.

Finished sizes:

5×7 = 39cm wide x  23cm high (16″ x 9″)

6×10 = 48cm wide x 31cm high (19″x 12″)

8×12 – 57cm wide x 35cm high (23″x 14″)

Your bag will be admired by everyone!! 


click photo to watch fairy pocket bag video

Fairy pocket bag 5×7 6×10 and 8×12 in the hoop machine embroidery design




Learn how to do ‘in the hoop’ FREE puppy zipper purse

Learn how to do in the hoop free puppy purse comes in three hoop sizes 4×4, 5×5 and 6×6.

This design comes with very detailed instructions and will teach you how to do in the hoop.

Full photo instructions and directions are included with your purchase.

It is our intention to offer you the best service always and for our designs to be the highest quality.

Designs come in all formats except ART.  For eg pes, hus, sew, xxx, jef, vp3, vip, mit, dat, dst etc

Instructions are included in English and German.


How to download our digital files and instructions

machine embroidery design download
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Instructional videos


machine embroidery design, instrcutional video, youtube
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machine embroidery design, instructional video, youtube
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machine embroidery design learn in the hoop
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How to convert Australian currency listed on our website to your own currency

Sweet Pea is an Australian Business and whilst our website shows our designs in Australian dollars you can easily change the prices shown to your own currency using our ‘currency selector’ at the top of our website.

Whilst your ‘cart’ will display your purchase in the currency you chose, you will check out using Australian dollars ( AUD) at the most current exchange rate.

Your purchase will come out of your actual bank account in your own currency.

machine embroidery designs, currency selector




Christmas Holly ‘in the hoop’ machine embroidery designs


Holly and greenery at Christmas

 Christmas will be here soon and many of us will be decorating our homes with beautiful bright Christmas plants. Some of the Christmas plants include mistletoe, poinsettia, Christmas wreaths, Christmas trees, Holly and more.  Here’s some quick facts and history on these plants and why they are used at Christmas.

 machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas , holly

Mistletoe (Viscum album)

One of the many plants famously used at Christmas is mistletoe also known as the kissing plants.  A Scandinavian myth believes the poisonous plants were used, as a peace offering after a goddess’ was heart broken after the plant killed her son.  The tears of the goddess became the berries of the plants therefore making the plant sacred as “mistletoe would never again be used as a weapon and that she would place a kiss on anyone who passed under it.”  Mistletoe relates to Christmas, as the Druids believed mistletoe protected people against evil and used the plant to produce cures. Modern use as a seasonal plant around Christmas time started, as young druids would use mistletoe to signify the New Year.

machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas , holly

 Poinsettia (Euphorbia pulcherrima)

 The poinsettia plant is beautiful therefore it’s no wonder this has been a symbol of Christmas for many many years. According to a legend, a poor young girl was upset after had nothing to offer her church on Christmas. So the girl presented bright and green weeds that she found close to the church. During the service on Christmas eve these weeds turned into the beautiful red star-shaped flowers (poinsettia). The meaning of these flowers represent offering gifts of humility therefore the perfect flower at Christmas known as the ‘Holy Night Flower’

machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas , holly

Christmas Wreath and Tree

The Christmas wreath is often seen on doors and used as decorations around Christmas starting from pagan roots. Before the spread of Christianity these wreaths were a symbol in the wintertime as they had strength and unity. This symbolism was particular important in winter to enable those facing the hazards of cold weather to show strength.  The circle of the wreath is a symbol of eternal life a strong message at Christmas time. According to legends the pine trees used as Christmas trees signify the trinity of Creator, Son and Holy Spirit with the triangular outline.

 machine embroidery, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, christmas , holly

Holly (Ilex aquifolium)

History finds that holly grew around footsteps of Jesus Christ and the thorny leaves and red berries symbolise the blood shed from Jesus on the cross. Holly is known as ‘Christ’s Thorn’ in northern European countries.  The sharp leaves are a representation of the crown of thorns Jesus wore as he was crucified.  The bright red berries of the holly plant are a symbol of the drops of blood shed from Jesus. Therefore Holly is and still is a very strong Christian symbol of Christmas and Sweet Pea has made lots of beautiful Christmas designs featuring Holly.

Holly and Christmas Trees in our ‘in the hoop’ machine embroidery designs


The Colouring in Craze for Embroidery, an Anti-Stress Remedy.

machine embroidery design, machine embroidery designs, in the hoop, colour in


Simply sitting and clearing your mind can be relaxing, away from today’s technology and fast paced environment. Sometimes we just need an escape to relax our mind and wind down. We already know embroidery is our escape from reality and Sweet Pea has made it possible to use colouring as another perfect way to escape reality.  The hypnotic and calming craze is the perfect way to distract the brain.  The sense of satisfaction you feel after creating a beautiful original design can have a positive effect on the rest of your day.

Engaging our hands and our mind as we focus on colouring in between the lines is new and delightful. Join the kids and grandkids for a day of fun helping each other create a fun new project. We found that studies suggest adults 65 and over who are creative had better health overall as they required fewer visits to the doctor and had fewer health concerns than non-crafters. Furthermore, studies suggest rhythmic activities such as colouring, knitting, crocheting or quilting are beneficial as they provide a meditative state allowing you to forget about any worries or stress.  So why not combine our love of embroidery, quilting and sewing and dive into the creative anti-stress craze of colouring.

As we’ve known for many years kids love colouring in and they also benefit greatly from colouring at an early age. Colouring in improves motor skills, hand-eye coordination, and better handwriting that prepare them for school. Kids that colour when they’re young get creative, colour awareness and self-expression that can benefit them for the rest of their life.

Instead of buying a colouring in book why not personalise something unique that you can enjoy for years to come.  Instead of walking through aisles and aisles of fabric and not finding the perfect colours for you this is the way to create your own designs or even create a new fun activity for the kids and grandkids.  Sweet Pea has expanded this colouring in craze to benefit you and your design freedom. Here are some or our best-selling colouring in designs.

Perfect for Adults and Children