Tuesday, 12 November 2013


This little thistle was part of a recent commission. It is in a slightly heraldic style with long and short leaves and flower head with extra straight stitches for all the spikes. All worked in stranded cotton. It looks shiny as the lengths are kept very short for working. Frustrating as you only do a few stitches of each colour but vital to keep a good sheen on the thread.
Thistle stitched in long and short with stranded cotton on silk dupion.

Thursday, 24 October 2013

20 years of silk shading at the Royal School.

Last month I celebrated 20 years of working at The Royal School. I still love embroidery now as much as I did when I started as an apprentice . Of all the techniques that I have learnt my favourite one is long and short silk shading. It is also the one that I was most apprehensive about and as a teacher it is also the one that I find students are most keen to master. All I can say is practise, practise, practise!!

This was my first attempt at silk shading, a wild dog rose. I can see many mistakes in it, the edges of the rose are very uneven and the turnovers on the petals are unshaded and very heavy. I also padded them which I think is unnecessary . A three dimensional effect should be achieved just by the shading. I used just anchor stranded cottons for this worked on a flat silk background.
I was pleased with the leaves though, I tried to include blemishes in the leaves and picked some actual leaves to copy as I worked. 

This silk shading I really enjoyed a green woodpecker, although again I would do it very differently now. I stitched this in the second year of my apprenticeship so felt more confident at long and short. I used anchor and DMC stranded cottons and worked on a very fine linen background. 

Rosie the cat. A companion piece to Lonnie which I talked about in another post.I enjoyed Rosie more , I think as I learnt so much from the first piece she seemed much easier to work. Her eyes were harder though, they were huge and she really liked to stare. I think I managed to capture her character and her stripes!! 

A close up of the long and short showing the many colours used. 
Another close up of her fur. 

My latest long and short stitch piece a crewel work embroidery. The long and short was worked in medici wools on a calico backing . I then edged the whole embroidery with silver pearl purl number 1.This is a real metal thread which is coiled like a spring , you pull it slightly apart to stitch it down. This one contains a small amount of silver which will tarnish over time. I then cut out the embroidery to wear as a brooch. Embroidery is not just for pictures. 

Saturday, 25 May 2013

Seaside embroidery

This little starfish I embroidered ages ago. I wanted it to really 'grab' surfaces so there is a really fine florists wire under the edges. The base is a machine embroidered sateen with velvet discs french knots and various surface stitches. The background is a beautiful Japanese paper that a student gave me as a gift.

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Silk shaded cat embroidery

Painting with the needle. This cat is embroidered in long and short stitch using a combination of Anchor and DMC stranded cottons on a dupion silk fabric. Traditionally this technique would be worked with silk but with the amount of colours I used the cost would have been huge.

Thursday, 4 April 2013

I am lucky enough to work at The Royal School of Needlework. I was one of the embroiderers who worked this beautiful crest. It looks like it has been worked in silk but actually it is stranded cotton, in long and short stitch.

Bargello circles

Got carried away with the bargello circles. They are so quick to long as you don't miscount!!

A bargello needlepoint canvas button. This was stitched on 24tpi. canvas with Appleton crewel wool.