RSN Graduation Day!

Four years after I started my very first course with Nicola Jarvis in Rugby, I was at Hampton Court Palace to receive my Royal School of Needlework Certificate in Technical Hand Embroidery. It had been an exciting four years. The skills I learned, the knowledge about both technique and design and, most of all, the people I’d met and become friends with made the last four years so memorable.


It all started back in July 2011 when I went to Rugby to do my very first course, Jacobean Crewelwork, with Nicola Jarvis. Little did we know as we left Berlin that our dear friend, Dave and my teacher, Nicola, would meet and fall in love during the two weeks of the course. All of the needlework aside, that is the single most wonderful thing that happened as a result of this course.

Here we are just before going out to dinner after the very last day of the course. I met a teacher, made and friend and when we left, love had found two of the most wonderful people we know.


We flew to London on the Sunday before the graduation ceremony, which was on Monday June 29. Dave knew we were coming but Nicola thought she wouldn’t see us until a visit in August. The plan was to go to a favourite pub and surprise Nicola for lunch. Dave told her they were going for lunch and she really had no idea we would be there. We arrived first and the landlord hid us in a side room where we could see them arrive. When we came out, poor Nicola was not only surprised, but she just couldn’t comprehend what she was seeing!

It’s the earliest I’ve ever gotten out of bed (4:45 and for a 7 and flight) and the farthest I’d ever come for a lunch date! But it was so worth it! I’d never have had the success I had on the course without the great beginning I was given by my first teacher, Nicola.


Of course, there is also my husband to remember. He has developed an interest in embroidery, an opinion about what is good design and what constitutes good stitching. He traveled with me, read all my blog posts for mistakes, and was just a wonderful support as I pursued my degree.


Then there’s a woman who came into my life at the Knitting and Stitching Show in London and she has been at the end of an email or a text to help, advise and encourage throughout the course. Debs Wilding, who created this Shaun the Sheep, graduated on June 29 with her Future Tutor Diploma. Debs will be working in Bristol with Kelley Aldridge at Lovestitch Ltd. and she is already a fantastic teacher. Go study with them if you have the chance!


Most recently I went to Bristol to finish the last two courses – Canvaswork and Silk shading- with Kelley Aldridge. Kelly’s enthusiasm, sunny disposition, sense of humour and ability to keep me focused and keep things in perspective has been invaluable. She is, quite simply, delightful! She is also an excellent, highly organised RSN Tutor for both the Certificate and Diploma courses at her studio in Bristol, Lovestitch Ltd. Go study with her!


The exhibit of all the work done by all of us was something special. There is no doubt that the standards of the school are very high. The CEO of the RSN, Dr. Susan Kay-Williams, kindly agreed to have her photo taken with me. She was very proud of all her graduating students.


Now I have my Certificate of Technical Hand Embroidery with Merit (eeeekkk!) from the Royal School of Needlework!

The last group of people I have to thank is all of you. You all supported me and encouraged me throughout the fours years I’ve been writing about my RSN experiences. Thank you so very, very much!

What’s next? Well, the Diploma of course!



RSN Silk Shading Assessment

Yesterday morning I got an email that made me VERY HAPPY! Kelley Aldridge, my RSN teacher, sent me the assessment of my silk shading piece. The subject line read “Assessments Marks!” and the message was short “Well done you…”

I passed with Merit earning a 78% on my piece! Whew! The silk shading piece was by far the most difficult, so I wasn’t confident of how well I’d done.

The comments are absolutely accurate and will help me do a higher quality silk shading piece in the future.

The comment I agreed with 100% is that the color of silk I chose for the background was too near in color to the flower itself. “A more contrasting color would have shown the embroidery off more – this does not have to be a strong color, just slightly more different to the embroidery shades themselves.”

Another point was that the stitch length in the largest petal was sometimes too long. The advice “take care when working in a large area that you do not increase the length of your stitches too much.” is good.

As for the color of the flower – something I got a lot of comments about here – “White is notoriously difficult to shade – you have made a very good attempt!” Hooray!

Completely finished!

The final comment by the two assessors:

“This is a very pretty piece, well worked and a lovely first attempt at silk shading. Well done!”

A very happy lady is sitting in Berlin right now!


RSN Canvaswork assessment – remember this project?

Those of you who read The Unbroken Thread will undoubtedly remember how much difficulty I had with my canvaswork project for the RSN Certificate. I was a complete beginner and had no concept of how canvaswork was done, how to use the different stitches and, for that matter, how to DO the different stitches. At the beginning it was the most frustrating, hopeless feeling I’ve ever had whilst learning any embroidery technique. Of course, when I got to the end of the project, I loved it and felt competent to embroider canvaswork pieces successfully in the future – which is the point, really.

Umbrella RSN Canvaswork


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