The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 1
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 2
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 3
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 4
The Unbroken Thread: slideshow photograph 5


Getting ready for RSN Silk Shading course

I have been stitching lately but I’m also getting ready to go to Bristol to begin the RSN Silk Shading course with Kelley Aldridge. I’ve learned that being well prepared means I’ll be able to use the time I have with my tutor productively. Learning silk shading is the point, not all the other bits and bobs that need to be done in preparation.

“What needs to be done?” I hear you ask. “You have your thread and your silk and the image is chosen – what’s left to do?”


This weekend here’s what I did to prepare:

1. Go to copy shop to have a high quality photo printed so the colors of the cosmos by Mandy Disher are clear. She very kindly gave me permission and sent me a super high quality image.


2. Print the image using different effects to highlight the shade or tone of the image. Thank goodness for computers!


3. Cut the silk thread to shortish stitching lengths, put them on the thread holder, make tags for each color and put those on the thread holder. This job took f o r e v e r… and I hate fiddly, uninteresting stuff like that. However, it will save lots of time and now I’ll be ready to thread my needles and stitch.


4. Draw and color the image using coloured pencils. This is recommended in the RSN Silk Shading book by Sarah Homfray and it’s a great idea. It makes one really LOOK at the colors and how they all work together. I’ve started but haven’t finished the drawing yet, so I’ll post that in an upcoming post for you to see.

Here are photos of me working out which coloured pencils work for which thread. Below are the “whites”. They’re not really all “white”, especially the one second from the right.


Here are the greys. Except some are more blue and some more purple and some more silver…you get the idea!


Lastly the greens – which aren’t all green. In fact, some of the pencils came from the brown area of the pencil case.


This is definitely going to be about perceiving color and tone and shades. If nothing else, it will be good for my artistic eye!

5. Cut the calico used for backing the silk. Not time consuming but it must be done.

6. Make a list of everything I will need to take to Bristol. The list isn’t that long but I make it early so I have time to go over it a few times, knowing I’ll catch something I’ve forgotten.

What a wonderful, fun weekend! Only two weeks until we fly to London and drive to the village of Wick in Somerset where we’ll be staying. I am SO excited to be seeing Kelley and her students again and be surrounded with other people who love embroidery as much as I do!

Honeysuckle growing beautifully!

I’ve now reached the point on the Sweet Honeysuckle piece by Anna Scott where I’ll be doing something I’ve never done before. I’ve outlined the remaining petals in split stitch and filled in the areas at the bottom of each petal as instructed.

DSCF5860It looks really pretty and I can already “see” what it will look like when it’s finished. I just love the delicate colors!


Next, I’m supposed to draw 17 teeny, tiny oval shapes onto the appliqué paper and fuse the paper to the felt. Then I have the intricate and tricky task of putting out 17 teeny, tiny oval circles.



I’ll need a steady hand and very sharp scissors for this! (Sharp scissors? – check! Steady hand?) – depends on the day. I’ll wait for a stress free one! I’ve done padding before using gold thread but not using silks. This will be fun to try something new!

Loveday crewelwork piece is begun!

I woke up early last weekend to frame up the linen for the Loveday crewelwork piece from Nicola Jarvis. I was so excited! Whenever I am beginning a new piece I have mixed feelings: I know it will take a while to frame it up and what I really want to do is get stitching, so I’m impatient. On the other hand, I enjoy being able to do every step of the process so, even though it does take a while, I like framing up a new piece.


The background of the fabric for the Loveday piece is dyed a beautiful robin’s egg blue and the areas to be stitched are left the natural color. This will be the first time in a while that I’ve stitched something on a coloured fabric and I’m already anticipating how pretty each colour will look next to the blue background as I work the piece! You can see all the colors that will be used in the piece – won’t it be beautiful?!

The piece itself is quite large – the fabric measures about 22″ x 28″ – I admit I didn’t measure the length before I put it onto the frame but it’s long enough that I had to roll the fabric around the top of the frame so it would fit. This was new for me – I hadn’t rolled fabric around the top of the frame before although I knew it could be done. It worked a treat!


I began with the tree trunk/stem. All of it is worked in stem stitch – fortunately one of my favourite stitches as I’ll be doing a LOT of it! The brown shades look so rich next to the blue background don’t they?


These are the first stitches into the fabric! I wonder how many hours it will take? It’s a large piece but some of the bits are very quick to stitch. Any guesses as to when I’ll be finished?