Jane Austen

Hello everyone

How are you hope your week is going well?

Johannesburg Class

There are a few places left for the Johannesburg Class in October – see details here,  so if you are interested in attending please email me.

Jane Austen Kit

Over the past few years I have had numerous requests for a certain blue & white design that I had stitched many moons ago and was avidly being pinned on Pinterest.  My students encouraged me to re-create it so I set about re-designing it and am delighted to announce that it is now available as a kit in the ETSY store.

I have named it Jane Austen as I love all her books and movies and wanted the design to pertain to that era and the lovely soft hues that were so prominent in their fashion and decor.  The design is a “Shades Of Whitework” project stitched in soft, smokey blues with touches of parchment, pale gold and white, on a premium linen fabric.   I have always loved blue and white and the shades were so pleasing to work with, I have promised myself to use them more often in the future.

Jane Austen

Jane Austen

Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Class in Johannesburg

Hello everyone

How are you, hope your week is going well!   I am pleased to let you know that I have managed to secure a venue, dates and times for the Johannesburg, South Africa Class in October 2015.  It will be held at the lovely Country Club Johannesburg Woodmead – in a large spacious room overlooking the golf course, what bliss!  Thanks to Lesley King the functions co-ordinator at the club and Kim Grossett who made this possible.

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Country CLub Johannesburg Woodmead

Country Club Johannesburg Woodmead

There is a two day class on offer, on Mon & Tues 12th & 13th October.  The class is on Needle painting embroidery and we will be working on the Nuthatch In Spring as shown below.  Full details of the class are included in the PDF – click here for details. 

Nuthatch In Spring

Nuthatch In Spring

The classes will begin each day at 9.00am and end at 4pm.  Tea & lunches are provided and a full kit included in the cost.  Online registration will open on this website on Monday 17th August.   Details for registration will be posted under CLASSES.   It is recommended that you email me first to secure a place as they are limited to available class numbers, and will be secured on a first come first served basis.  Contact details can be found on this site under CONTACT.

Payment of the class fee is required at time of registration, –  please note that as the conference hire fees and airline tickets are payable in advance the registration fee is not refundable if you are unable to attend.  I look forward to meeting you and sharing two wonderful, relaxing days of stitching in October!    Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

Edinburgh Scotland

Hello everyone

Hope your week is going well and you are managing to get some stitching done?  This week I would like to continue our journey from London to  Edinburgh, Scotland.  I am of Scottish descent so for many years I have wanted to visit the home of my ancestors and as my daughter had lived there prior to London for almost a year it was an ideal opportunity for her to come with us and show us around.

On Friday morning after the Westminster classes we boarded a train from Kings Cross Station, London (think Harry Potter) to Edinburgh, stopping off overnight in York.  The train journey was an absolute delight as we had time to relax and view the beautiful English countryside from our windows.  We arrived in Edinburgh at lunch time, and promptly went off on the top of a double decker tour bus to get an overall view of the city.  I was absolutely charmed by Edinburgh – it is possibly one of the most beautiful city’s I have ever visited.  Based around the medieval old town and the elegant Georgian new town it is a feast of stunning, historical and modern architecture, Edinburgh Castle looms over the whole city and it is the seat of the monarchy in Scotland with Holyrood Palace, being the home of the royal family in summer.

Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Scotland

Edinburgh Castle

Edinburgh Castle

The queen was in residence when we arrived as is her custom to visit in summer so we had to wait a few days before visiting the palace.  I had been advised by Phillipa Turnbull of the Crewel Work Company, who runs superb annual, Scottish stitching retreats to visit Holyrood Palace with a view to seeing some of the Mary Queen of Scotts embroideries.  I was not disappointed – the tapestries and embroidered bed covers and curtains were wonderful – unfortunately we were not allowed to take photos but I did manage to find this photo online of Mary Queen Of Scotts bedchamber, courtesy of https://thefreelancehistorywriter.files.wordpress.com.  It is difficult to see the actual bedspread but it was a stunning example of crewel embroidery in soft shades of cream, greens and pinks.

Holyrood Palace

Holyrood Palace

Mary Queen Of Scotts bedchamber

Mary Queen Of Scotts bedchamber

On a visit to the Museum Of Scotland I saw some lovely examples of needlepainting and other embroidery as shown below and was amazed at how many pieces I came across displayed casually  in tea shops and other places in Edinburgh.  Some of the pieces are possibly very valuable but just hanging on the wall like an everyday picture, possibly handed down by a great grandmother or friend?

scot 7

scot 10Of course no visit to Scotland would be complete without mentioning tartan – it is everywhere, so gorgeous.   Needless to say it is now fixed in my mind that I just have to,  incorporate it somewhere or somehow into my shades of whitework designs.  Can you picture it in contrast with the white?

tartan weaving

tartan weaving

Display at museum

Display at museum

I will be running a workshop in Johannesburg, South Africa in October this year so look out for details on the blog next week.  Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

 

 

 

Westminster

Hello everyone

Last month I went over to the UK to visit my daughter and whilst there took the opportunity to run two days of workshops which were held at St. Matthews conference center in Westminster, London.   St Matthews is a little church very near to Westminster Abbey – the area of Westminster is breathtaking with its’ plethora of beautiful historic architecture as seen below.  St Matthews hire out rooms for conference venues, it is a central location in London and it was here where the classes were hosted.  Just off the classroom was a lovely little courtyard with English roses and tubs of flowers where we had teas and lunches. I did not have my lovely daughter with me to take photos so was only able to take a few with my iphone and I am not known for my talents as a photographer – I normally cut off peoples’ heads but managed to keep those on just this once!

Westminster London

Westminster London

Westminster bridge London

Westminster bridge London

St Matthews Church

St Matthews Church

My youngest daughter and I in front of Big Ben Westminster

My youngest daughter and I in front of Big Ben Westminster

Although the events co-ordinator, Enver was so kind and helpful with the pre-arrangements I was not sure what to expect as the whole event was organized via email from Cape Town.  I had to rely on Enver to cater for lunch and teas and because they had a prior conference on was not able to visit the premises until the day of the class.  The day before the classes began it was announced on the media that they were experiencing an unexpected heatwave of 38 degrees.  Anyone that is familiar with these old church buildings will know that they have double glazed windows (to keep the street noise out) that do not open, so I was naturally concerned that it would be less than ideal conditions for stitching!  When I arrived early that morning,  Enver had placed fans around the room and plenty of cold water was available for the students throughout the day, so it was fine, we soldiered on and there was lots of chatter and laughter, despite the circumstances.

Classroom

Classroom

classroom

classroom

west 9Over the two days,  students arrived from various parts of  UK.  We had Annie Penin from France, and Natalie Marais from South Africa.   Eleanor Roome came from the Isle of Man for both days and was a great help to me in setting up the classes, thanks Eleanore.  I was so interested to meet Kay Dennis, teacher and author of several stumpwork books  – it is always good to compare notes and learn things from other designers.  It was wonderful to meet so many talented ladies and have them in my classes – they were such a joy to teach and so appreciative of everything.  I was thrilled to receive, on my return,  pictures of some of your finished nuthatch birds and the lovely feedback. Thanks to all of you for attending – I know that many of you had to arrange accommodation in London over the busiest time of the year when Wimbledon was on and catch trains home at midnight, your efforts are appreciated.   I do hope we can repeat the experience at some time in the future?  Next time I will make sure it is in cooler months!

Eleanor & natalie

Eleanor & natalie

tea in courtyard

tea in courtyard

west 4 Next time I would like to share with you the next part of our strip to Edinburgh Scotland where I got to view the Mary Queen Of Scotts embroideries at Holyrood Palace.  Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

Landscape Kit

Hello everyone

Hope you are all having a good week?  Next week I plan to share with you my teaching experience in Westminster, London but today I wanted to let you know about the new landscape kit that is now available for sale in my Etsy store.

I have received numerous requests for landscape designs over the last few years, but to be honest could not find the right artwork to translate into embroidery.  A few months ago I came across the art of Louise Marion.   Louise is a French Canadian artist who paints vibrant, colourist expressionism art –  just what I was looking for.  You can see some of her artwork on my Pinterest board.   It took a little persuasion but finally Louise gave me permission to use some of her paintings and I got down to designing and stitching.

This was something quite different to what I normally do and it was an absolute joy to stitch – each aspect of the design came alive in front of my eyes, motivating me to keep stitching till complete.   The energy of her work and little details she includes had the effect of lifting one’s spirits whilst stitching – it really was very gratifying!  Thank you Louise for allowing us to use your beautiful art.

Provencal

Enlarged picture of Provencal

Here is the first of the designs – Provencal. The design is a miniature approx 11 x 11cm and is stitched on our gorgeous new premium linen from Germany which has a very close weave.   It uses numerous thread colours but they are all DMC stranded cotton so you will have no problem sourcing the thread.  I plan to add a second design soon, so that they could be framed as a pair, or individually if wanted.

Premium linen from Germany

Premium linen from Germany

LINEN FABRIC

The new German linen is now available for sale in the Etsy store here – after many years of trying to source the right linen I have found it and it is lovely to stitch on.  It is manufactured on the old style looms so has that very close weave that we always look for in a good surface embroidery linen, and therefore  can be used for Needlepainting, Whitework, miniatures or any other type of embroidery.   It is sold by the half metre and is 160cm wide so one piece will cater for at least 4 large embroideries or several smaller ones.

The Southern Belle muslin is also back in stock, although I am having problems sourcing the original quality of the fabric and so it may be discontinued/replaced in the near future.

WHITEWORK THREAD PACKS

If the thread pack for the kit you require is out of stock I recommend that you purchase a skein of white/grey floche together with your kit.  This will suffice for at least two kits.  All other threads used in the Shades of Whitework kits are DMC stranded cotton, in fact the full design can be stitching using DMC substitutes if required – there are instructions in the booklet.   It is not always possible to keep stock of the thread packs for sale but I have listed the threads needed for each design so that you can see what is needed when you place your order.

Gentle Heart  Shades Of Whitework Kit

Gentle Heart Shades Of Whitework Kit

Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

 

Royal School Of Needlework

Hello everyone

How are you?  I am back in Cape Town after 2 weeks in London and another week in Edinburgh, Scotland.  It was wonderful to see my daughter again and spend time with her –  she made sure that we saw many of the sights, having lived in Edinburgh and now in London.  Not being used to all the walking (despite my numerous trips up the flight of stairs up to my office)  I did suffer with sore feet!  During this time I taught a class at the Royal School of Needlework and later two days of classes in Westminster.  This week I would like to share with you the Royal School Of Needlework experience and will follow with a post on Westminster later.

As you probably know the RSN is housed in the old “Grace & Favour” apartments at Hampton Court Palace, in Surrey England.  It is a fascinating story you can read more about the Grace & Favour apartments here.  The RSN run hand embroidery classes from beginner to BA degree and have an embroidery studio where works of restoration and conservation of historical textiles are commissioned.  You can read more about the origins and history of the RSN here.  and get info on current events on the facebook Page.

RSN

Hampton Court Palace

Royal School Of Needlework

Royal School Of Needlework

Hampton Court Palace

Hampton Court Palace

Gardens at Hampton Court

Gardens at Hampton Court

Tues 23rd June.  The day before I was due to teach at the RSN my daughter, Stacey and I boarded a train from Waterloo station to Hampton Court, a journey of about 45 mins.  When we came out of the station and crossed the bridge I was taken aback by the immensity of Hampton Court Palace and it’s beautifully manicured gardens.  The sun was shining on the river Thames which runs along its banks and ducks and boats bobbed along on the water, making it picture perfect.   I felt a little thrill at the prospect of entering such a grand establishment and not a little nervous!

Entrance To Hampton Court Palace

Entrance To Hampton Court Palace

Stacey and I were warmly welcomed by two members of the RSN,  Noleen Wyatt-Jones the Classes Coordinator & Administrator and Anne Butcher the Programme Director.  We were led through tight security along some back passages of the Palace into the RSN apartments.  Finally we arrived in the courtyard of the RSN,  and made our way up the lifts to the top floor where I was shown my classroom.  I was hosted in the degree room with its stunning views of the formal gardens below and had to pinch myself occasionally to remind myself I was really there!

rsn5

View From My Classroom Window

View From My Classroom Window

 

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The day was spent being shown around the various classrooms, meeting some of the degree students, tutors and a tour of the studio, where we saw some restoration work being carried out.  I was fortunate enough to see some of the collection including a beautiful display of whitework and some lovely examples of 18th – 19th century silk shading and crewel work.  One would normally have to pre-book a tour to view this so I was in my element!  The RSN library is filled with a plethora of books on embroidery, design, textiles and history, some of these rare, out of print books which if time had allowed I would love to have delved into.

Later I was taken to the RSN gift store on the ground level which opens onto some of the gardens to allow access to visitors and students alike.  I signed copies of my book for the store and had a good browse through some of their lovely sales items such as bookmarks, greeting cards, books and kits all of which are available from the RSN online shop here.

 

Section of a crewel embroidery screen

Section of a crewel embroidery screen

Silk Shading 18th Century RSN

Silk Shading 18th Century RSN

Later in the afternoon Stacey and I had some lunch in one of the Palace cafes and then did a tour of the Palace.  This is a whole other story but suffice it to say that I have always had a great interest in King Henry viii and his many wives and to see where and how he lived was fascinating.  At the end of the day we made our way back (full of inspiration and a feeling of awe) across the bridge to catch the train back to Waterloo in preparation for the next day’s class.

My daughter & I

My daughter & I taking a rest in Palace Garden

Wed 24th June.  Once again bright and early on Wednesday morning, we made our way on the train – I was so grateful to have my daughter’s calming presence and the fact that she remembered the way through security up to the RSN apartments.  She was a huge support helping me set up and spent the day taking photographs of the class and surrounds.  Stacey combines  graphic design with photography and has a gift for capturing the beautiful essence of her subjects –  you can see some of her work here.

Here are some photos of flowers in the Palace Gardens.

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

Palace Gardens

When we arrived Noleen and my lovely assistant for the day Becky,  had set up the classroom for me – the kits were laid out and the fabric, hoops and magnifiers in place so all I had to do was set up my projector equipment.  Becky was in total control of the teas, queries from students and all other aspects which left me free to devote my time to the students and teaching, wonderful, thank you so much Noleen and Becky for all your help!

Class activity

Class activity

The students arrived, most of them from the UK and Europe – one Lady, Paula Wilson came all the way from Hawaii,  and another was from Sydney, Australia!  The ladies were lovely, so appreciative and interested in every aspect of the technique, it was a joy and privilege to teach them.  There was lots of discussion, laughter and of course stitching – all went home having completed a good portion of their bird and I hope having learned something?  I know I learned a lot from them and do hope to be able to take you up on the invitation to teach classes again at some time in the future.

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Nuthatch In Spring Class Project

Nuthatch In Spring Class Project

I like to think that traditional met with the new and we embraced each others ideas, so that together we can unite, grow and continue to encourage present and future generations in the art of hand embroidery?

Teaching at the RSN was so much more than a class, it was having the opportunity to participate in an establishment with traditions that go back hundreds of years and I was humbled and grateful for the whole experience, in particular the warmth and welcoming interest of the tutors and staff.  A big thank you to all at the RSN for the opportunity!

I have some exciting ideas to share with you in the upcoming weeks.  Meantime, wherever you are in the world, remember “Embroidery forever, housework whenever!”  Keep smiling and happy stitching!  Trish

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