Thursday, 26 July 2012

Out of the Cupboard!

So, this week I have sort of been a bit off colour, hence the relative silence!

But as I haven’t been in work, I have been plodding along with the two catch up projects as and when I’ve felt up to it and the crewelwork is very nearly finished. I will post it onto here when it is made up. The slippers keep going.......!

I thought it might be nice to share some of the work that I have already done for the RSN Certificate and Diploma with Tracy Franklin in Durham. I know where all the faults are in these and normally they are hidden away, but we're none of us really ever satisfied are we?

The first module I did for the Certificate was a piece of Jacobean Crewel work that I took from a number of design sources. This introduced quite a variety of embroidery stitches as well as the concept of shading which is a large part of what you learn at the RSN. There are two contrasting shades of Appletons crewel wool, each in a number of tones, and it is executed on linen twill.

Jacobean Crewel

I then did silk shading and the tulip is based on an old botanical drawing. Boy, did I have trouble with this as I could not get my head around 'painting with a needle'. It is done with DMC stranded cottons using single strands in the needle and on cream silk.

Silk Shading

The next module was canvas shading. The picture was inspired by an old Chinese print. There are a number of canvas work stitches in the piece and it was done in Appletons wool, DMC stranded cotton and DMC stranded linen with highlights in silk threads on 18 TPI canvas. 

Canvas work

The final module was the Goldwork. This piece was inspired by a pair of Elizabethan gloves I had seen. You learn to put down padding, kid leather,couching and plunging a variety of gold threads using waxed threads, and chip work. There are also some spangles in the 'grapes'! It was done on cotton velvet.


Each module is done in 8 taught lessons but you do as much homework as you are prepared to put in. I had never done half the techniques and the others I had only scratched the surface of. So like I've said before, I learnt that I can do things and finish them without tossing them into the cupboard!

Wednesday, 18 July 2012

Hot Off the Press

Wow - the Diploma Blackwork piece is off to Japan for an exhibition there of the work of the Royal School of Needlework. Chuffed to little mintballs. Photos courtesy of Tracy Franklin at assessment.

Moving On

Well, the burse and veil are finito and packed up ready to be dispatched to their new home. I can’t emphasise what a weight off my shoulders this is. As you probably guessed from my list of things to finish over the summer I was not known to finish what I started. I’m one of those people who goes off something when it doesn’t all go as planned, puts it in the cupboard and ‘forgets’ about it. Well no more! Doing the RSN certificate and diploma makes you finish a module for assessment and the bottom line is it aint cheap so you have motivation to get on. Learning self discipline is good for the soul!

Now the slippers are progressing nicely but canvas work can be a bit relentless, so I’ve pulled out a piece of crewel work that is so nearly complete and when it is, it will be ready to turn into a cushion.


                                                                   Jacobean Crewel work

The design is based on a traditional Jacobean design pricked onto linen twill and worked with Appleton’s crewel wools. The stitches have been chosen pretty randomly as the work progressed but include long and short, stem, buttonhole, chain, closed fly, seeding, French knots, bullion knots, Pekinese, whipped spiders web, raised stem, satin and padded satin.

I can swap these turn and turn about without too much trouble as they are both on frames that can sit on my trestles. When it comes to turning the crewel into a cushion and I get my machine out I have another piece of crewel to make up so will kill two birds with one stone and another unfinished piece will come out of the cupboard. THEN I can move onto something new!

For your delectation I took these lovely Madonna Lilies just at their peak before the rain got them. I suppose if I look back at the photos I can imagine summer was actually here this year! Could even turn them into a silk shading………………

                                                                    Madonna Lilies

Sunday, 15 July 2012

Keeping Busy

First foot

The slippers progress slowly, I have actually finished this one and started on the second, but I can’t stop thinking of new ideas at the same time. The next ‘little’ task to get out of the way is a crewel work cushion that has been on the go since I finished my crewel module at Tracy Franklin’s. Anyway I now have an incentive to finish it and make it up as a raffle prize for an event coming up.

That should take me towards the end of the summer and then its getting ready for the RSN Advanced Goldwork. I’ve already decided on a basic design inspired by the late Beryl Dean. I love the way she worked traditional stitchery but in a very contemporary design.

I started out doing the certificate wanting to embroider ‘like they used to do’ with some idea of sitting in window seats with my linen and silks!! But I’ve come to the conclusion that embroidery is like gardening. You start with good basics and it develops from there. It is always developing and it should be personal not a pastiche. Putting the right stitches in the right place is like finding the right plant for a particular spot. You can be totally whacky and wild or nod to historic pieces.

Talking of gardening, the roses are FINALLY out and not blown by the rain/wind. I just had to grab these and get them in a vase and the smell is divine

Roses and Lady's Mantle

Anyway back to the slippers...............................

Wednesday, 11 July 2012

Jolly Hols

Home, home from the hols and back to it. You might know that not all went to plan and whilst I took the slippers with me, hey ho they did not get finished. Problem is they’ve been through floods, removals all sorts. Needless to say, they are not set up as they would have been if I was starting them now so the canvas is somewhat distorted!! However, since I’ve got back I’ve just about got one foot done and we’re onto the next.

I took some time out to think about where I am at the moment and what I really want to do. So while I keep thinking, I will share some pictures with you all and you will see that I was thinking about shape and form as well as having a laugh!! 

The dogs enjoyed their holiday too!

We went down to Alnwick to the gardens and whilst the day started fine....................... ended up the wettest day of the whole fortnight

Alnwick high street  28th June 2012

These next photos are of the stone carvings at Dryburgh Abbey near Kelso. It's a beautiful spot with a fantastic setting-a sort of Fountains Abbey in the Borders. Burial place of Sir Walter Scott and Earl Haigh too.

Orchids in the Bamburgh dunes

And yes we did have some fantastic weather too


Tweed at Coldstream

Sadly the Tweed was too high for fishing - especially for such beginners!

So now its back to work again fully refreshed and with lots of ideas in my little notebook just need to turn them into embroideries!

PS Just thought you’d be pleased to know I’ve passed my Blackwork module for the RSN- 2 down……………