New Class: Bateau Bayeux

BBayeux copy

Some time ago I wrote to the Bayeux Tapestry Museum in Bayeux, Normandy, asking if I could have permission to teach a course using an image from the Bayeux Tapestry. It didn’t take very long from them to reply and here is their charming answer:

“Chère Madame

Vous êtes tout à fait libre de vous inspirer de la Tapisserie de Bayeux pour toute création artistique. Effectivement, l’oeuvre appartient au domaine public.
Nous serions très heureux de recevoir une photo de vos réalisations.

Bien cordialement,
Brigitte LECOURT
Assistante de Direction”

A translation follows:

“Dear Madam

You are quite free to be inspired by the Bayeux Tapestry for all artistic creation. Indeed, the work is in the public domain.
We would be delighted to receive a picture of your achievements.
Best regards,
Brigitte LECOURT
Executive Assistant “

How wonderful!

For many reasons it has taken me some time to be prepared to offer this new online course through my teaching website, “With Threaded Needle”, but now I am ready!

Here are the details:

-The course will commence in early September, 2016. It will last for 6 months.

-The cost of the course will be $118.00 including shipping and handling. Payments made be made in one or in 10 instalments to make it affordable for everyone.

-The kits will be shipped in late July/early August.

 Interested? For information on how to register and the different payment options, click here.



Knitting and Stitching Show – take 2!

Excited! I am excited and proud and grateful and…lots of other good feelings!

I haven’t been to the Knitting and Stitching Show in London since 2010.  Although we planned to go last year so I could see my RSN goldwork piece on display, our plans had to be cancelled. This year, however, we are going. In fact, we are going next week and I will be there on Thursday, October 10 all day and into the evening to see everything and everyone.

My dear friend and wonderful teacher Nicola Jarvis has an exhibition in the Gallery as does my very first teacher Phillipa Turnbull.  The Acorn pillow I stitched for Nicola’s one woman show, “The Art of Embroidery: Nicola Jarvis and May Morris” at the William Morris Gallery will be on display in her exhibition.

Finished Acorn

Finished Acorn

Last week Phillipa emailed me and asked if I would be willing to loan her the Bateau Bayeux piece for her exhibition “A timeline of Crewel Work 1630 -1930”.  You don’t need me to tell you what my answer was – and I sent it in record time – under 5 seconds! I feel very fortunate to have friends in the embroidery world who think highly enough of my work to include me in their exhibitions. Their encouragement is what motivates me to keep learning and striving to create higher quality work.


Above is the Bateau Bayeux piece all framed and ready to go. I’m carrying it over with me and will go to Alexandra Palace on Wednesday to get it to Phillipa in enough time for her to mount it.

The last and only other time I went to the Knitting and Stitching Show I didn’t sign up for any workshops. This time, I’ve chosen to attend a workshop  in the morning given by Bobby Britnell titled “Easy and Fun Sketchbook Skills”. According to the workshop brochure, “You will be given clear and accessible, step by step instructions of how to create effective and instant designs, working directly into a sketchbook using a variety of media. You will go away with your sketchbook full of ideas and a head buzzing with possibilities for personal interpretation.  This makes this short course a must whether your interest is in drawing, designing or in any aspect of textiles. Suitable for the complete beginner through to experienced artists.” Oooohhh! I HOPE so!

I decided to treat myself and enjoy a proper British tea in the afternoon. Since I’m going on my own, I will be put at a table with others and hope to meet some equally enthusiastic needlewomen. If any of you, dear readers, are going to be there on Thursday and have booked in for tea, please let me know if you want to meet up! I will also be at Nicola’s exhibition just a bit before 6 pm so that is another place we could say hello.

For those of you – of which I know there are many! – I will do my very best to see all I can, write about it and take photos where I’m able. I wish I could pack you all into my suitcase and take you with me. Wouldn’t we have fun shopping, talking, drinking tea and eating scones?!



Would you like to embroider your own Acorn Pillow?

Click on the image below to purchase the e-book “The Acorn: A Story of Stitching” .




Bateau Bayeux Sails Away!

My little Bateau Bayeux is sailing across the English Channel! It’s all finished, water tight, rigged out and the crew and cargo are loaded. The split word on either side of the sails and mast is “Transivit” which, according to Wiktionary, is ” the third-person singular perfect active indicative of trānseō” . Trānseō, according to the same source, means to traverse or go across. 

Well, we knew that! Just look at them; they’re clearly not standing still!


Finishing up the planks on the boat was quick and easy. Even stitching around the single line waves that come up into the bottom plank was no problem. Likewise, the letters – all done in outline stitch – were also very easy.


Looking at the photo below, you can see that the second dye lot of the creamy yellow is quite different from the first. In the top plank that’s stitched with that color, I’ve blended the old and the new dye lots.  In the lower plank I had to stitch the whole thing with the second dye lot since there wasn’t any of the first dye lot left to blend in on that panel. (If only I’d looked carefully first!) The overall effect is fine, though, and I’m very happy with how the boat looks.


The letters are all stitched with the dark blue wool. They’re funny shapes, not even at all and some have serifs and some don’t. I had to keep referring to the photo in the book to make sure I did each one correctly.


It’s a pretty nifty idea to split the word so half of the word “transivit” is before the boat and half after. I think it reinforces the idea of travel and movement. Those embroiderers of old were rather clever!


Below is a photo of the piece off the frame. It needs to be gently pressed. Whenever I finish a piece of crewel work I usually spray it with water and pin it to my ironing board where it can dry and flatten itself out through evaporation. With this thread though, I won’t do that. I already know the dark blue has a tendency to run and I’m not taking any chances. Using two bath towels, I put one folded in half under the embroidery and one folded in half on top of the embroidery and then use gentle steam to flatten out the fabric. I’ve had success with this technique before when I was concerned about the moisture from the steam causing the dye in the threads to run.



The very last decision I need to make is what do I do with it now? This is what I have the most trouble with as an embroiderer. I have so many beautiful pieces in a drawer because I don’t need that many cushions and i don’t have that much wall space. I think this would be a gorgeous cushion. In fact, the colors are the same ones as the furniture in our living room. On the other hand. I could frame it.

Opinions please!