all my own work by ann

Sewing and textiles with Ann

Embroidery – new skill

The idea to do some embroidery came about when i stumbled upon an online craft fair one day. It was in Yorkshire; probably 150 miles from home, and yet i was able to see the craftspeople at work, and browse their wares online. And buy! As it turns out, the chosen supplier lives quite near my family in Leeds. was offering some relatively simple looking embroideries, along with everything you need to stitch them, including a 6″ frame. So i indulged. And here is the rather lovely result.

Maggie Magoo Moth

Much encouraged by this new found pleasure / time filler, i found another supplier and indulged again. This time my supplier is the William Morris Society, and the template is a sample based on a Morris design. And here is the rather lovely result, again!

William Morris sunflower

In both cases the instructions told me what stitch to use, and in which colour, and in the case of the Morris example, only supplied slightly more thread that was needed to complete their suggestion.

Then is decided to get clever, and design my own……

I’d visited Tatton Park in Cheshire back in June, and conceived the idea on the day, of doing some sort of crafty tribute to the visit. At the time, i wouldn’t have predicted that it would be an embroidery! I present below, the Japanese Garden.

The two biggest challenges that i had were 1) how to get an idea from an inspiring photograph, to a much simplified embroidery template, and 2) which stitches to use once i had my design.

I started by thinking that i would be re-creating the whole photo, and it took quite a while for me to realise that wouldn’t work. I would need to hugely simplify the design by picking out key features and just hinting at the wider surroundings.

It was pouring with rain when the picture was taken, which might be a reason why i want to remember it. (?)

I drafted my design on paper, and then hand drew it onto the fabric in pencil. My fabric is undyed calico, bought from Guthrie Ghani. I had all the other supplies, either left overs from the other work, or thread that i had accumulated over the years. There are other ways of transferring designs.

The colours and stitches, i made up as i went along, depending upon what thread, and knowledge (!) was available to me.

My satin stitch needs more practice, and i would do the top of the roof differently if i did it again. I quite like the alternate rows of black and brown chain stitch to form the tiles though. The waterlilies, whilst a bit ‘rustic’ are OK, even though they lack perfection. Living things generally do lack perfection! The blue stab stitch can represent the lake or rain drops, or both.

Trellis stitch was a timely discovery! My Morris instructions indicated that it existed although it was not required for the template that i stitched. Now i am not a big user of YouTube, but every now and then, it can be very useful, and i spent a few hours exploring embroidery stitches, prompted by the fact that trellis stitch would be a useful option. Thank you to Sarah Homfrey (and her cat). I think i’ll probably be there again, sometime in the future. As a result, the trellis is in trellis stitch, the veranda, originally back stitched, was whipped, and the added greenery is knowingly a combination of stem stitch and split stitch.

An expert will observe faults, and maybe offer improvements. As my first self-designed effort, i am quite pleased with it.

Why i am liking embroidery….

It’s highly portable, and stores easily i.e. the supplies don’t take up much space, and i can take it round the house with me, to find good light, or a comfy chair.

It’s colourful.

It’s relatively quick to complete – at least when the designs are this size.

I can indulge an inclination to design and create my own memories.

I could perhaps, maybe, incorporate it into some clothing.

What am i going to do with them…..?

I don’t know! Ideas on a proverbial postcard, please, bearing in mind that i already have a large number of my mother’s beautiful, and framed cross stitch works, piled behind a cupboard in the lounge, also wondering what to do with them….. I think Mum would have been interested to see what i have done, although i don’t think she ever did her own designs. With one exception, which i asked her to make, i think they were all from kits.

I have spent my life being told that i am ‘just like my mother’….

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