Be proud of your improvement!

As many of you know, I’m teaching an online course on the Trevelyon’s Cap that I embroidered in 2012-13. The finished cap is a piece I was, and still am, very proud of having embroidered. Now that I’m teaching the course, I’m embroidering one panel of the cap again so I can get more detailed photos for my students. This last month I embroidered the little rose buds and, for the first time, I noticed how much my embroidery has improved. I was surprised – and pleased! – to see what effect my RSN Certificate Course training and my own practice had on my skill level as well as on my confidence.


Here is a photo of a long and short shaded leaf at the bottom of the panel that I did in 2012-13. The stitching is shaded, but it’s a bit “thick”. Although the stitch direction is OK, I feel it looks better in the photo below where the stitches are more angled.


The shading in the leaf above is more delicate, the stitches aren’t as crowded and the length of the stitches is more varied. Additionally, I had the confidence this time to add a third colour. I simply didn’t know how to do that the first time I stitched the cap!


The rose bud, above, is the little motif that made me stop and notice how much my stitching has changed/improved. When I took the photo below, I had the cap itself right next to me. When I uploaded the photo and saw it on my computer, I was surprised at how much more delicate the shading on the sepal was now than it was in 2012-13. Remember my silk shading project for the RSN Certificate? I guess all those hours of silk shading paid off!


You might be wondering, “Why is Kathy telling us and showing us about her own improvement in her embroidery skills?” I’m telling you because I know, without seeing any of your work, that all of you have and are improving every single day. So often we get wrapped up in stitching a piece and having it completed that we don’t stop and look through our older pieces to see the improvement we’ve made. Of course, it’s easy to see improvement when stitching the exact same piece, which most of us never do! But take some time to look at an older piece and a more recent piece where you’ve used the same technique. Can you see improvement? I’ll bet you can!

We’re all learning and getting better at our needlework skills – we just don’t stop to look, to notice and to be proud for just a moment!

Trevelyon’s Cap Final Photos

The sun did shine for a short time this weekend. It was late afternoon, so it slanted in the window as it does during the early part of the winter at about 3 pm. These photos have shadows which enhance the bright color and gold shimmer of the cap.

I took quite a few more under a strong light against a flat white background; these look more like museum shots. Lastly, there is a video – made with my iPad so it isn’t the very highest quality. It does, however, show you the piece in the round.

Before you zip down the page, I want to say thank you to all of you who sent encouraging words, upbeat comments, sympathetic insights and general support during the past year. You’re a great community and, as I’ve said before, I wish we could all get together and chat as we stitch.

Thank you from the bottom of my heart.



Please click on the photo above to watch the video.













There will be future posts on the specifics of putting the hat together, lining it and even making the tassel.

Until then…Liebe Grüße!

Trevelyon’s Cap : done by the weekend – I promise!

It sounds like a student’s promise to a teacher or a child’s promise to a parent doesn’t it? “It will be done…I promise!”

Well, it is done except for the photos. All of it is finished: the construction, the signature, the padding and the lining. I’ve taken photos but not one of them does it justice. You see, it’s late fall/early winter in Berlin. What does that mean? Shorter days and no sun. Photographs are better in the sunlight, especially when photographing silk and gold.

Until the sun shines tomorrow – which I’m promised it will do – here are some still shots from the video I took of the construction process.

When I cut the cap away from the rest of the fabric, I had to take a deep breath! Scary moment! Folding the border up to meet the cap wasn’t too difficult and went just as I planned – what a nice change!

Working slowly and carefully made the task go smoothly. I need to thank my mom who taught me how to sew and my dad who taught me I could make or fix anything I put my mind to. Without their teaching and encouragement, I wouldn’t have tackled this project.

It’s a matter of working out the best method for the materials you’re using and your own set of skills to achieve the desired results; even if you don’t do it the “usual or traditional” way. If the result is what you want, then it’s a successful technique!

It also helps if you stick out your tongue a little bit when you’re concentrating!