I’ve been at a two day workshop taught by Tracy A. Franklin with eleven delightful women from Northern England and Scotland for the past two days. By far the best part of going to these kinds of courses is meeting and getting to know other embroiderers!
The workshop was entitled “Embroidered and Embellished”. We embroidered, with
There are three little acorns on the left side of the image and buzzing merrily nearby is a wasp. These are the next parts of the design I worked in the Loveday crewelwork piece. I have a special fondness for acorns since my first crewelwork piece for the RSN Certificate, where part of my original design included acorns. They are perfect for crewelwork since they can be stitched using a multitude of different stitches, each combination producing a different acorn.
My first acorns were embroidered with laid work nuts and French knot caps. These acorns are embroidered with laid work caps and Bayeux stitch nuts. The first step for laid work is always to embroider a smooth ground of satin stitch. The second step is to “lay” long stitches over the satin stitch in the direction (or directions if there are two threads crossing) you require. The third step is to couch the laid stitches.
It’s important to keep the laid stitches equal distance apart so the resulting grid is even. You can either do this by eye or use a small strip of paper that you’ve measured to the correct width that you lay down next to one laid thread as you put in the second laid thread. In a large area, I always use this trick to make sure my stitches don’t go at an angle and I find, as I’m almost finished, that I have to take them out.
Nicola has chosen four colors for the acorns, using a light and a dark rust or a light and a dark green in combination. My favourite touch are the single gold spangles at the bottom of each acorn! A bit of bling always looks good! The tiny wasp buzzes merrily away and is safely made of wool thread, so he won’t sting me!
This Loveday tree is coming to life, full of birds and other little creatures, just the the real tree on which the design is based!
Before we went to Bristol we spent a few days in the Midlands staying with dear friends and sightseeing. On the Saturday we visited Whightwick Manor. (pronounced “whit-ick”…I know! but it’s how the English say it!) Whightwick Manor is owned by the National Trust and happens to be their ‘newest’ property. From their web site ” In 1937 Geoffrey Mander MP did something remarkable – he persuaded the National Trust to accept a house that was just 50 years old.” The house is a wonderful collection of all things Arts and Crafts and well worth going to see. However, we had another reason for visiting: Nicola Jarvis’ exhibition “The Art of Embroidery” is being shown there and seeing her work – inspired by the work of May Morris – in that setting was very special. There will be many events in conjunction with this exhibition so if you live in the area or will be travelling to England, you may want to look here to see what’s on the schedule. Photos weren’t allowed to be taken inside the house but the gardens are fabulous! Around every corner is a beautiful vista. The details on the outside of the house are every bit as impressive as those on the inside. The trim on the house up on the eves is beautifully carved and I loved the chimneys! Take a look at the edge of the roof tiles below – they’re perfectly in line creating a delightful zigzag pattern! These two chimneys below are symmetrical, that made me smile! Below is a stained glass window which, naturally, is more vibrant inside but still quite impressive from the outside. This carved woman’s head is way up at the top, above a window and there was as much care put into carving this as anything that was easily seen inside. By the time I’d walked around to the front of the house the sun was lower in the sky and I just wanted to sit on the grass and soak up the atmosphere. After we were done at the house we all went together to an Indian restaurant for a great meal. On the way we drove down the lane whose sign you see below. No kidding – it’s called Billy Buns Lane! I just love England!