Sunday, 20 December 2015

First term with the RSN

Sorry I haven't posted much recently, it's been a bit hectic!

But here's what I've been up to this first term of my course. First I did my individual samples of the whitework module - can't seem to get away from whitework!

Pulled thread work 



These have all gone for assessment now, but there are another three to finish, then phew! At the same time I have been plodding along with advanced silk shading. I did a figure for my Diploma but also have to do an animal so here is my red squirrel. His hands are still to complete and I've to 'fluff' him up a bit more. But I must say I have learnt so much from doing him.

Squirrel almost there

And that's just the embroidery! Now for a short break then back to it. Happy Christmas and a wonderful New Year

Wednesday, 2 September 2015

New Paths to Follow

I'm back home now after teaching Blackwork to members of the NE region of the Embroiderers Guild at their summer school in Wooler. A lovely group, they were so keen and such a pleasure to teach that the three days sped by as they took on the challenge of how to use traditional blackwork patterns.

Elizabethan Poesie - blackwork sampler

Most of the summer has been taken up with making sure everything was prepared for this as writing instructions are a whole new ball game. Then I have to get ready for the new term.

New Term? you might say. Oh yes! Never one to make snap decision, after not months but years of prevarication I finally took the plunge last autumn and applied to study as a Future Tutor with the Royal School of Needlework. I have been offered a place and my new journey begins next week.

I will have covered some of the work already on the certificate and diploma but there is plenty still left to do, and to share. I will be fortunate enough to work out of Durham still as Tracy has kindly agreed to mentor me with occasional trips to Hampton Court Palace

So from the law to hopefully becoming a professional embroiderer/teacher seems a bit of a leap and I am both excited and terrified probably in equal measure! But if I have half the fun and satisfaction I had this last weekend in Wooler I think I've made the right decision. As they say, watch this space

Saturday, 18 July 2015

Church work

I've been doing a bit of ecclesiastical work recently.

A little while ago I was asked to make a stole for a priest's ordination ceremony. The only stipulation was that it had to reference Durham where they had studied. St Cuthbert's cross seemed the obvious choice!
Finished stole
The stole is mid calf length in cream damask, all hand stitched and with the cross appliqued on in red and gold silk dupion with metal threads.
St Cuthbert's cross
I saw St Cuthbert's cross at the Lindisfarne Gospel exhibition in Durham last year and hope I came close to capturing its beautiful simplicity.
Cross detail
I also have a ongoing job of repairing and replacing church furnishings at my local church. These are a new set of alms bags simply embroidered and appliqued. I have four to do like this and then to make up, my least favourite part!
Alms bag ready to make up

Wednesday, 24 June 2015


I started working a beadwork sampler at the end of last year, after I finished my Magna Carta panel.

I used Shelley Cox's RSN Bead Embroidery book to work these samples with canvas work stitches. The beads are fairly random - what I had or got hold of locally. It is quite difficult locally to get hold of a nice variety of very small seed beads, the internet has loads but can be a bit bewildering until you know what you want.

The top three are the first ones I did and the bottom three the last and I think you can definitely see an improvement as I went along! The threads were just left overs that I pulled out and tried to blend. Again, some I'm quite pleased with. I had no idea about mixing bugle and seed beads before I started but it's nice to let patterns make themselves.

I have a huge problem with sampling. I can't seem to let myself go and try things at random. This gave me a pathway that I meandered down at leisure over a few months. Will have to see if that works with other techniques!!

Complete finished sampler

Rice stitch and Smyrna

Hungarian Ground variation
The Rhodes stitch is the only one in a solid colour - I had an idea of doing a Chanel inspired sample. The four corners even have pearl seed beads as an extra layer!

Rhodes stitch

Wild goose chase

Cushion stitch  

Thursday, 18 June 2015

Ready to fly home.

The little crown is couched Jap thread and sequins and beads.

Adding the crown

The final sequins in the centre of the crown and he is ready to go back to Nicola. I have loved working him, and the colour and pattern are a joy to work up and see come together. Look out for him later in the year, hopefully in a fancier roost than my embroidery frame!

Ready to go!

Monday, 15 June 2015

Coming together

The rose leaves were worked after the background seeding on the wing and then the blue flower all in long and short stitch. There are french knots to go in the centre of the rose along with some more beads.

Long and short rose and leaves

It was then the tricky bit - giving him a pleasant expression! Long and short shading for the face with french knots down the centre and padded satin for the beak and eyes.

Owl's face
The end is nearly in sight!

Friday, 12 June 2015

Owl's progress

The owl's wings are made up of a variety of stitches and patterns. Having done the french knot stars the lower wing is a trellis of satin stitch and detached chain with french knot centres.

Trellis stitch
The feet and long tail feathers are variations on satin stitch.

Completing the tail feathers.

Long and short wing feathers.

Tuesday, 2 June 2015

Something Special

I am currently working up a delightful owl for Nicola Jarvis, one of her bird embroideries. He is worked on silk dupion with Au Ver a |Soie threads in a veritable rainbow of colours.

Here is a sneeky preview...

Fine Trellis and shaded seeding in acorns

Monochrome oak branch
I'll post some more as I work him up.

Satin stitched roses and french knot stars

Sunday, 17 May 2015

Magna Carta 800

Last year I found out that I had been selected as one of the members of the Embroiderers Guild who were each to embroider a picture for Cornelia Parker's 'Magna Carta, An Embroidery' now on show in the British Library in London. I've had to keep the news secret. This huge piece is an embroidered representation of the whole Wikipedia page about Magna Carta as it existed on one day in 2014. It has been worked by people from all walks of life from prisoners to politicians, famous and not famous. There is a link to the BL site here with more information

We all worked the panels in different ways, whatever suited the subject. We were given black perle for the lettering but apart from that could use whatever threads we chose.

My panel is a close up of the Runneymede memorial inscription, one of the last on the page and I chose to work it as an applique. There were a few of us at Tracy's who did them and we all did them differently.

If you are in London this summer do go and see it, it's free entry. If you can't, check out the video on the BL website above where Cornelia talks about making the piece.

Stitching silk dupion background

Long and short stitch with a bit of sparkle!

Or nue with Jap thread

Working the inscription

Wednesday, 13 May 2015

Life after fine whitework!

Mm, I haven't posted for some time, and time as they say goes so quickly.

Well I have been doing some embroidery over the last few months, so where was I?

I had just about finished my fine whitework piece and getting it ready for assessment, then there was an 'issue'! Let's just say that it necessitated redoing the whole thing! And I didn't think you wanted to go through the whole process again. Bad enough for me! It's now finished mounted and in for the next assessment... But I forgot to photograph it. You know how it is, you just want to see the back of something!!

In the meantime, I am teaching a blackwork class at the NE region of the Embroiderers Guild summer school later in the summer. So I have been preparing for that.

Playing with Pattern
Worked on either 28 or 32 count evenweave linen with DMC stranded cottons, there's also a hint of bling with DMC Diamante!

A touch of gold!

Based on Tudor embroidery motifs, it shows how you can use pattern as well as thread to achieve depth in a piece. I've just got the instructions to do now but I did also do a handy sampler to help with that!

Blackwork sampler

Nice to revisit techniques.

There is more to reveal but that is for another post!