Wednesday 20 September 2017

Well hello...........

Hello, long time no see!

I thought a catch up was long over due and I could share the news that I am now officially a Royal School of Needlework Graduate Tutor.

Yes, I survived the Future Tutor course and graduated with a distinction in July of this year.

So here are some of the things I got up to for the course alongside the subjects I had already covered.

Working at the Burberry Makers' House

Stitching with colleagues on the Future Tutors kneeler project

I put a French knot or two in the Queen's 90th birthday brook

Visiting the Westminster Abbey Broderers studio

I made a box or two

...and a number of teaching samples

but never forgot my Durham base - canvas shading of the Durham cathedral sanctuary knocker

Finished off with my signature project - a recreation of the Ashmolean museum's 17th century frog purse

and was amazed to be awarded the E Elvin Goldwork Award

It's incredibly hard work, but I'm having a ball can't you tell.

Thursday 14 April 2016

Quick catch up

Another busy term has gone by too quickly! I completed the silk shading and whitework modules - now just the assessments to wait for.

Silk Shaded Squirrel

Drawn thread work

Broderie Anglaise

Shadow work

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!