Jenny Wren, the breast is yet to come!

I am slowly continuing to make progress on my little Jenny Wren Etui. After finishing her tail I moved on to her breast. The feathers are outlined in chain stitch and then filled with a variety of satin stitch, fly stitch and detached daisy stitch. The most worrying part of the stitching was using a stiletto to punch holes into the fabric – these were then bound with satin stitch. I think that it has turned out fairly well….


Next step – the wings…

Happy stitching!

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Pins, pins and more pins…

I spent a lovely productive day today at Hampton Court finishing off and mounting my Jacobean Crewelwork. However, I did totally misjudge just how long the mounting process would take.

Before any mounting could begin I had a little more sewing and covering up of lines – lines that I had not seen, but that were spotted very quickly by Heather. A few stray tacking stitches also had to be removed.

Then on to the mounting. The first step in the process was preparing the mounting board which is measured at 3cm larger than your needlework on each side. Before cutting the card, check and check again that it is square and the measurements are correct. This piece of card is then glued onto a second piece of board and the two pieces are then left to dry under a very large pile of books.

Once the glue is dry, calico is stretched and glued to the board. Pins are put in place all around the edge to hold the calico taught – this process is very hard on the hands – but more pinning is to come! You need to make sure that you do not glue too close to the edge of your work as you will be sewing into this.

Once everything is dry you can begin to mount your embroidery which is stretched and pinned (yes, more pins!) onto your board, making sure you keep the grain of the fabric straight – something I found nearly impossible to see!


Pinning is a gradual process starting with only a few pins, once you are happy with your placement and that the grain of the fabric is straight, you add more and more pins, stretching all the while as you go. The worst part of the process is the corners as the grain of the fabric distorts more easily here.



Once thoroughly pinned, the piece is turned over. The corners of the work are turned in and the edges are then stitched in herringbone stitch,  using a very strong buttonhole thread. Herringbone stitch is not difficult – but I did have problems with the curved needle – losing two into the floorboards! The corners are worked in slip stitch and at every stage you are pulling and tightening which is very hard on the hands.

My journey into mounting stopped here – as the end of the day had arrived, my hands were shot and I was exhausted! I am planning to go back next week to finish off the backing and to prepare the canvas for my next module. Yipee!

Happy stitching.



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More of a buzz….

A little bit of snow and the whole world comes to a standstill – making it the best time to sew. Although today I did little more than finish off my bee brooch. First, I cut out the wings and used buttonhole stitch to secure the edges. Next, I attached legs and wings to the body and finally stitched on a black base and clasp. I am quite pleased with him really and as I wear brooches every day – he will join my collection. A very appropriate brooch for someone whose name means ‘bee’.

Keep stitching pretty….

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What a buzz…

After spending so long on my Jacobean crewel work I felt the need to do something fun and frivolous. So today I spent the day at Hampton Court learning how to make a stumpwork bumble bee brooch with Rachel Doyle as tutor.


So cute!

The morning was spent on turkey rug stitch which forms the main part of the bee’s body. Once the stitches were complete you then had to cut them all back to give a bushy effect. It was with crossed fingers and legs that I took to the scissors!  Then in the afternoon we wrapped wire to make antennae and legs.


During the final part of the day we learned how to make the little wings by sewing on a very fine mesh. As always there is never quite enough time to finish the project, but here was my progress at the end of the day….

I was hoping to put it all together when I got home – but after being caught in a major traffic jam for 2hours, I thought better of it. So will post my finished brooch later.

Happy stitching everyone!

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Jack’s back for one last time….

Well it was a slow day at the RSN this week, although I finally finished my Jacobean Crewel work piece – yay! I spent the first hour or so on the bird’s beak and decided to stitch this in a medium brown using padded satin stitch. Once finished I looked at the whole picture and realised that, not only was the colour all wrong – but the stitch was far too bulky and as a result focussed all the attention on the beak, detracting from the rest of the piece. So after a quick word with the tutors – out it came.

I then tried again using a lighter brown and a closed herringbone stitch and it seems to have worked much better. The only other things that needed completing were the little eye in padded satin stitch and the top swirls above the large flower. Here is the finished piece…

The tutors seemed unconcerned about the bird’s foot, the orange herringbone or the need to add to the fern spirals at the bottom of the picture. This either means they are satisfied that I have finished – or they are just fed up with me!! I have been assured that I will be able to mount my piece ready for assessment on my next visit. So this now means that I can turn my attention to the canvas work module.

Happy stitching one and all…

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Home stretch…

I have another session at the RHS booked for next Friday and would really like to start to mount my piece of work if possible. So today I have made a concerted effort to look at it critically and finish off as much as I can.

I used coral stitch to end the vines in twirls, stem stitch and bullions to form leaves in the big petals of the large flower, stem stitch for the birds legs and bullion for it’s claws.

But there are at least two sections which are really annoying me now. The first of which are the bottom petals of the large flower which are just too orange and I think I may redo these in green or brown.

Secondly,  I must have slipped when originally painting the design and as a consequence the birds feet are very wide at their bases. I am now thinking that I may add another vine around the feet to try and hide this.

All I need to think about then is the birds beak and face….

Today was a good day for sewing and I also received a lovely surprise from Sewtherapy on Instagram. She was my ‘Send a little love swap’ – and here are some of the lovely things she made for me.

I just can’t believe that people spend so much time quilting mug rugs (which are lovely) – only to sit an old mug on!

Feeling lucky!

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The ‘tail’ of Jenny Wren…

Just couldn’t wait to get started, so after reading through the instruction booklet twice, I set to on what I considered to be the easiest part of the project. The tail of Jenny Wren is worked in wool, silk and goldwork on tweed. It was a lovely day, with lots of great light to sew by…..


However working with tweed does hold a few problems – it is a rather hairy fabric and the fibres are easily caught up in the gold purl and bright check. After the addition of spangles and beads the tail was finished. Next steps…. the wings!

For more details on this beautiful Jenny Wren Kit by Jenny Adin Christie……click here.

Also arriving in the post today was a new set, or 3, of Tulip needles. If needles could look sexy….then here we are!


Happy sewing to all…..

Posted in Current projects., goldwork, Wren Etui | Tagged , , , , , , | 14 Comments