Making a little progress….

Following another day at Hampton Court I finally feel that I have made a little progress with my canvas work.  I still am at a loss as to how to choose a stitch for a particular space – but at least my colour blending is going well (according to Owen). It was a quiet day today with only 3 of us in total – which meant lots of time to talk through our work – something I always feel is most helpful. Sew… is my progress…

The one thing I am uncertain of are the diamonds at the bottom right of the piece – Owen felt they should be slightly unequal to give more flow to the piece, but they just look like I have miscounted stitches to my eyes!

DSC_0778 (2)_LI

So my goal is to finish this little area and then move on to some of the background… wish me luck!

Happy stitching everyone!


Posted in Current projects., RSN Canvas work, RSN Certificate | Tagged , , | 15 Comments

Shiny, shiny…..

What a fabulous weekend spent on a two day course at the RSN, with Becky Hogg! Although I have nothing against the Royal family, I felt that I needed to be away from the expected 24 hour media coverage of the ‘Wedding of the Year’. So it was a weekend away to work on my gold work.

The course covered a number of techniques that I already had a little experience with – but also included some new to me such as; cutwork over string padding, pulled and threaded pearl purl and several different couching methods.

Goldwork is however, notoriously slow and after day 1, there was little progress to show for all the hard work, mostly padding and a little passing work…. and we didn’t escape all the Wedding day activities as two very special guests showed up to assess our work           ( Rachel and Owen – in their best bib and tucker)…

During day 2 we applied cutwork over the string padding, coiled and stretched pearl purl which we then interwove with cotton threads – adding colour to the coils. We also couched a leaf to be cut out and added later (sorry no picture of this). So here is the two days of progress…

I had thought about posting a picture of Becky’s finished piece, but I think I will leave everyone guessing a little while longer. Instead here are a few pictures from around Hampton Court, it looked glorious in the sunshine.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Current projects., goldwork | Tagged , , , , , | 8 Comments

Medley of Monkeys…

Ok, so I know that ‘medley’ is not the collective noun for a group of monkeys, but it rolled off the tongue better than a ‘troop’ or ‘wilderness’! This weekend I have continued to make even more monkeys in readiness for Christmas (never too early to start!) – but have to admit that I lost the will to live after the 5th was finished.

I think I will leave the last two for another time….. Meanwhile in the garden the slipper orchids have come into bloom as well as the Judas tree – which I love.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Posted in Current projects., Having a moment | Tagged , , , | 7 Comments

Oooh, lovely things…

I don’t know about anyone else, but I just love the right tool for the right job. So having treated myself to a set of new ‘Tulip’ needles, I simply had to have a lovely pincushion to park them in – even though I have several ‘handmade by me’ or ‘gifted’ pincushions already! I had been coveting the work of the Fish Museum and Circus for some time and decided to treat myself. The desire to own an animal pincushion is only intensified by the fact that they sell so quickly. First you need to sign up to a mailing list which then notifies you of the once a month, time of release for each set of pincushion. There are usually about 8-10 pincushions for sale – but these sell out within the first 5 minutes! It took me 4 attempts to buy one that I really liked! But then last week……..

And isn’t he just so cute……


Meanwhile in the garden – spring is in full swing! The slipper orchids, trilliums and cow parsley are all in flower….

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy stitching to one and all……………..

Posted in Having a moment | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Just Monkeying around…

With lots of new additions to my extended family in the last couple of years, I decided to try and get ahead for Christmas this year ( yes I know it is early!) by making some soft toys. I found just what I wanted in the new ‘Tilda’s Toy Box’ book.

If you haven’t come across the book yet – it is full of lovely projects aimed specifically at children (although there is a lovely needle case design that I wouldn’t mind!).

I settled on a hook monkey, which not only looked cute – but I thought I could get one finished pretty quickly. So I set to work this afternoon and have managed to cut out, sew and stuff all the elements ready to be put together tomorrow.

Just a little more stuffing and sewing up gaps  – and I think he looks ok. Just another 4 to go!

Happy stitching one and all…

Quick update – here is the finished monkey – just a little rouge to add to his cheeks and 3 more to make!DSC_0817_LI

Posted in Current projects. | Tagged , , , | 11 Comments


A frustrating trip to the RSN this week, which led to more confusion in my head as to where to go with my canvas work. Owen spent a long time with me explaining all the different stitch families that I could use, producing hundreds (I exaggerate slightly) of photocopies of even more stitches, which really blew my mind! We also talked about how to blend different shades of thread, but he stressed the need to be aware of not using too little or too many threads. I understood all this in principle – but found it almost impossible to apply to my blank canvas. I mean – how do you know what ‘too many’ threads looks like? And with so many stitches to choose from, how do you narrow them down? Finally, how do you get the texture you want?

After spending the whole morning pontificating – trying out different combinations on my trial canvas – Owen finally got fed up and told me that I would just have to start and see where it took me. So I made a tentative start ……..     and this is how far I got!

I decided to start with the horses leg which I have worked in Jacquard stitch and then merged this into byzantine stitch. The colour is very hard to recreate as it is very flat in the picture and I have erred on the side of orange/brown rather than hard reds. As you can see from the photos, there are already a large number of threads on the canvas – even for this small area. I am still not sure what to do next – but at least it is a start.

I think the garden is feeling my pain – it looks decidedly wet and grey this weekend – so I couldn’t even get out for a gardening break!

Right – off to look at other peoples’ canvas work for inspiration….

Happy stitching everyone.


Posted in Current projects., RSN Canvas work, RSN Certificate | Tagged , , , , | 12 Comments

Canvas colour crisis…

As I know very little about canvas work stitches or techniques I have decided to do a little practice work before jumping in and stitching my project piece. All I have been told so far by Owen, is that no colour is flat – by which I think he means that I have to continually vary the colours that I am using. This sounds easy, but in reality is proving to be quite tricky. I thought that I was doing quite well, varying stitches and colours – but then realised that each time I changed the stitch, I changed the colours of thread – resulting in lines of colour.

The other thing that I am struggling with is knowing how many threads I should use for each stitch. This is only intensified by the fact that we can use a variety of threads – from wools, to silks and pearls. The RSN guidelines state that all the canvas must be covered – but the holes within the canvas should not be distorted. Here is a look at my progress so far…. Hopefully on my next visit to the RSN I will get further guidance and at least I can show the tutors the sort of direction that I want to be going in – so time has not been wasted.

The stitches that I have tried so far are:

a – Rya stitch                              b- byzantine stitch                    c – condensed Scotch stitch

d – slanted goblin stitch           e – star stitch                              f – Algerian eye stitch

g – Rhodes stitch                        h – Italian cross stitch              i – half Rhodes stitch

Most of the stitches went in well – but the threads in the Italian cross stitch would not lay flat – I think that this is because I tried to include too many threads.

Meanwhile spring has sprung and I heard the first cuckoo today on our dog walk! In the garden everything is bursting into life and amongst the daffodils are an assortment of erythroniums, anemonies, spring pea and fritillary. I just love this time of year, the garden is full of promise and it is warm enough to shed the layers but not so hot that you are uncomfortable.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Happy stitching and happy gardening too!




Posted in Current projects., Having a moment, RSN Canvas work, RSN Certificate | Tagged , , , , | 6 Comments