Chapter 10: Final Port of Call



Books Consulted & Exhibitions Visited


Course recommendations in my collection

Layers of stitch                                               Campbell-Harding & Grey             Batsford

Edges and finishes in machine…                 Campbell-Harding            Quilters’ Resource Publications

Fabric painting for embroidery                   Campbell-Harding            Batsford

Flowers & plants in embroidery                 Campbell-Harding            Batsford

Machine embroidery: stitch patterns       Campbell-Harding           Batsford

Stitch, dissolve, distort                                 Campbell-Harding & Grey             Batsford

Machine embroidery                                     Harker                                 Merehurst

Sketchbooks and journal quilts                   Berlyn                                  self published


Books from my own collection

Embroidery: a history                                   Warner                               Batsford

The textile book                                             Gale & Kaur                       Berg

Conquest & overlord                                     Jewell                                  Midas Books

Art Nouveau designs in color                     Mucha et al.                      Dover

Embroidered pictures                                   Tucker                                 Black

Contemporary embroidery                          Morrell                                Studio Vista

Machine embroidery: inspirations from…              Dibbs                    Sally Milner publishing

Lettering for embroidery                              Russell                                 Batsford

Cindy Hickok: with thread in needle…      Hickok                                ISBN 978-0-615-


On form: a stitcher’s workbook…              Fibrefusion                         Art Van Go

Transfer painting                                            Gamester                           ISBN 978-0-


Encyclopedia of embroidery techniques  Brown                                 Headline

Needlework school                                       Practical Study Group     Windward

Design for embroidery                                  Springall                              Pelham

Design for embroidery                                  Howard                               Batsford

From image to stitch                                     Grey                                     Batsford

Applique                                                           Brown                                 Merehurst

Embellish and stitch                                      Campbell-Harding & Grey             d4daisy

Magic of machine embroidery                    Curran                                 Batsford

Layered cloth                                                  Small                                   Search Press

‘this lustr’ed cloth…’                                     Midgelow-Marsden         Art Van Go

Strip patchwork                                              Campbell-Harding            Batsford

Quilting                                                             Osler                                    Merehurst

Fragile fabrics                                                 Beaney & Littlejohn         double trouble

Layer, paint and stitch                                  Dolan                                  Search Press

Stitch, cloth, paper & paint                         Hughes                                Search Press

Surfaces for stitch                                          Hedley                                 Batsford

Fabulous surfaces                                          Monk                                   d4daisy

Exploring creative surfaces                         Monk                                   d4daisy

Smocking                                                          Andrew                               Merehurst

Spun-bonded textile and stitch                  Cottrell                               Batsford

Country diary of an Edwardian Lady         Holden                                Book Club Associates

Embroidery & architecture                          Messent                              Batsford

England is a garden                                       Hamilton                            Select Editions

West country is a garden                             Hamilton                            Select Editions

Staffordshire hoard                                       Leahy & Bland                   British Museum

Sutton Hoo ship burial                                  Evans                                   British Museum

Early medieval designs                                 Watson                               British Museum

Green Man                                                      Basford                               Boydel

The kingdom of the ice bear                       Miles & Salisbury              Book Club Associates

Henri Matisse: the cut-outs                        Buchberg et al.                 Tate Gallery

Life & works of Gustav Klimt                       Harris                                  Paragon

Eric Ravilious                                                   Binyon                                 Lutterworth PressEric Ravilious                                                   Powers                                Imperial War Museum                                                                                                                                  /Wilson

Antoni Gaudi: complete works                   Cuito & Montes                Feiraband, Berlin

Gaudi: modernism in Barcelona                Postcard book                   Taschen, Cologne

50 favourite houses by Frank Lloyd Wright            Maddix                 Thames & Hudson


Golden Spider silk                                                         V&A

Alexander McQueen: savage beauty                       V&A

Balenciaga                                                                      V&A

Shoes: pleasure & pain                                                V&A

Henri Matisse: the cut-outs                                       Tate Modern

Fabrications Group                                                       Riverhouse, Walton; Lightbox, Woking

Kingston & District EG Exhibitions 2013, ‘15, ‘17 Kingston Museum

Why the trees are blue                                                Knole House

Jewish Embroidery                                                        Waddesdon Manor

Wendy Dolan                                                                 Standen House

Ramster House, 2013, ’15, ‘17

Internet resources

Pinterest websites

Embroiderers’ Guild website

Individual embroiderers’ websites

Part of my workspace (in the spare room)

The business end

Time & Costs

I have individual time logs and costs for each Module (see below).  The costs do not include servicing my sewing machine, which I have done every two years, and most of the outlay has been for threads, which it is difficult to apportion.

Health and Safety

This is covered in the individual Module paperwork (see below)


Also covered in the individual Modules.

Module 1

Total time for Module 1: 129.00 hours     Costs:  £62.35

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Module 2

Total time for Module 2: 197.00     Costs:  Nil


Module 3

Total time for Module 3: 225.75     Costs:  £89.36

Chapter 8 086

Module 4

Total time for Module 4: 177.25     Costs:  £38.48

Module 5

Total time for Module 5: 137.75      Costs:  £108.17


Module 6

Total time for Module 6:  203.75      Costs:  £147.09 


Overview of the Course

 1.  Yes, I am much more confident in my use of the machine, and much more aware of what it can do.  My ability to produce the effect I have wanted has also increased.  My previous C&G courses had already greatly improved my design skills, which were not good, and I have been able to build on them to further improve

Design for reverse of cushion for Assessment Piece 2


Chapter 05066

‘Nene’ neck

Finished sample

2.  I’m not sure what my expectations were: the Adult Ed embroidery class I was attending was closing, and the C&G Machine Embroidery course I had started had become un-viable due to lack of numbers, which had been disappointing.  I wanted to increase my skills to include proficiency in Machine Embroidery as arthritis was making hand embroidery difficult.  Although it seemed counter-intuitive to take a practical course on a distance learning basis, I have an Open University Degree which had surprising parts to it, so I thought it likely this course would be the same.  The only thing which I might (and I emphasize might) have wanted was some way work a solid stitch piece (like Carol Naylor) without puckering the surrounding fabric.  Perhaps the design part has shown me that maybe this is not wholly desirable?


I think it is the best piece of work I have ever done, certainly from a design point of view.

I like the effect of all the different stitches.

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Just to prove I can do Cable stitch and get a really good effect.

I love this, too.


Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

And this: Markal Oil sticks do work, after all.


I must learn how use moulding felt, ie. choose a more suitable design source.  I couldn’t get my head round Frank Lloyd Wright although I really like his work.  Moving it on into something else seems outside my capabilities.

Sometimes you can over-complicate things, so knowing when to stop is a good idea.

Or even when never to start is a better one. (See Moulding felt above)

This is the design for ‘Mad Bird’.  For some reason I can’t remember now, I didn’t want to do this at all, so I had a tantrum and threw everything I could find at it.  This produced the obvious result: it was horrible and I hated it.


Use of machine patterns in a decorative panel.

Not actually for the course (a birthday present) but I would not have achieved this level of free machining without the course.

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Probably the best results I have ever had on Romeo

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

I actually think I might become a machine embroiderer!

And now…

What next?

I have a list as long as my arm (quite literally):

Shorten the sleeves on a T-shirt, mend the hem on the sitting room curtains…

Start on the pieces for the Kingston Branch Exhibition in October

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2


A piece based on this method: Sticky paper and Romeo and the Flower-stitcher foot.

Module 4

Something similar, using these shapes and techniques, plus some motifs from C’a d’Oro palazzo in Venice, using a turquoise dyed background and gold applique.

This is my contribution to the Branch Exibition of 2009: the Branch Project above (now in the Education Centre at Hampton Court).  Somehow I have to work out how to do a face in machine stitches to portray the Patron Saint of Embroidery: Constance Howard, green hair and all.



Chapter 9: Arrival


18th January

Back, right side with Black vinyl stitched down

Back, wrong side

20th January

Finished back, right side

Close-up 1

Close-up 2

Close-up 3

Back wrong side



24th January

Front – wrong side with map pieces added

Front – right side with gondolas added

Numbered from the top, I have added some stitching to 5 & 6, but I feel that 4 needs some as well as it is a shiny rayon fabric – the same as the right hand shape on the back – and your eye goes straight to it.  It may be that stitching on the map shapes will do, but if not, what colour would be best?

Photocopy with suggested stitching:

Red vermicelli in the Red/Blue cotton

Yellow vermicelli in the plain Lemon, Brown vermicelli in the variegated shade, just round the edge of the map/the gondola/both/or neither

Due to the appalling light (and I waited until this morning to take the photos) you can’t see the straight stitching inside the green and large blue shapes.  I intended to use the Green/Blue variegated, but could use a green or blue ombre respectively instead.

Braid for edging.

There is indeed a vermicelli machine stitch.  I don’t want to make the braid any wider, so I think the top one would work as it is.

28th January

Finished Cushion front – right side

I think this is as good as I can get it, I like it, but I still prefer the back!

Wrong side


Right side Close-up 1

Close-up 2

Close-up 3

Close-up 4

Finished braid


Despite having been serviced before I started on the cushion, for some reason best known to itself, the Bernina would not sew 100% evenly on the curved bits, as you can see.  Hopefully, this should not detract from the overall look.

30th January

Braid added

Finished cushion front

Close-up front




I can’t say I am thrilled with the cushion now it is finished.  I quite like it, but what I had in mind was something more sumptuous and thrilling.  The back is more what I had in mind, but does not go with the curtains.

Back before making up.

I also found making up the cushion less easy than I hoped.  Possibly someone with better dressmaking skills might have been tidier than I am.

However, I think of using a similar design to the back for a panel for the branch exhibition in October.


Chapter 8: Along the Way





I won’t do a paper mock-up of the whole cushion, as I need a cushion pad, so will need a lining/toile anyway.   I am making full colour cartoons for the front and back, so will include them.  (Some of the photos are not as good as they could be due to the lack of natural light).

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Paper mock-up/pattern

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2


This is a map of the sestrieri (districts) of Venice, plus the Arsenale (Naval yard – pale blue) and the Isola San Georgio Maggiore (orange).  I resized the pattern, as it was too small.


These are outlines of ferri (the metal pieces on the bows of gondolas) in different fabrics, sizes and colours: 1 Silver leather, 2 Black PVC; 3 White organza; 4 & 8 Black organza; 5 Silver rayon; 6 & 7 Grey organza.  (Supposedly, a gondola mooring in the mist).

I actually like this design better than the one for the front, but it works better in monochrome than colours, and would not work as well with the curtains.


Dye & Fabric

Dyed fabric (actually dark green)

Applique fabrics

Janet stuffing the cushion pad

Blurred photo of half-stuffed cushion pad

Cushion pad in the chair


Depending on how you look at it, I was lucky enough to be meeting a group of fellow embroiderers for coffee at this point, so I took the whole lot with me to get some opinions.  They thought the yellow was too bright, I thought the reds were the wrong colours, and we all thought the prairie points didn’t look connected.  There is enough of the dyed fabric to make prairie points and the colours of the stitching will show up better.

Prairie Points 1

Prairie Points 2

Bondawebbed back

Pinned to curtain

Front 1

Front 2

The result was that I bought some more dye, went home and microwaved some more fabric.  I mixed a sunflower yellow and a beige to tone down the yellow, and used a ‘Rosewood red’ for the red.  I also juggled the colours about, and prefer the second one.


Stitch samples

Free machining: feather and granite stitches.

Gondola mooring post


I think the prairie points will have to be green, and the machine patterns chosen very carefully, with the second one down, the joined circles are too wide apart.  Also, the idea of making the points look like the Arsenale wall don’t really work, so may have to be rethought.


All the shapes will be reinforced using matching threads and zig-zag stitching,  and straight stitching as further shadows echoing the applied shapes.

Front with applied shapes

Photocopy of front

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

The backward ‘S’ shape is the Grand Canal: Granite stitch in metallic and random cotton

Free machining: Feather stitch and straight stitching in analogous colours.

Free Machining samples


Machine Pattern samples

Braid samples

Braid Sample


Paper and fabric shapes










Chapter 7: Favourite Destinations






First thoughts



Arsenale wall with ‘fishtail’ crenallations – Prairie points?


Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

And then this afternoon from the far reaches of the Bristol Channel, came a request to know if an Altar Frontal would be an acceptable assessment piece!  No.2 daughter is currently staying on Lundy Island while she writes a book (or bits of two), I’ve told her the time scale is a bit too short, but I’ll do it it next year.  It seems likely that she considers that the Chapel of St. Anne is in need of one.  There is no wifi, so brief text messages seem to be her only method of communication.  That would have won hands down if she’d mentioned it earlier, but as it is, I’ll view it as a present for completing the course.


I originally intended to use a ‘pillow-case overlap’ as the fastening, but the design of the back doesn’t allow for that, so I will probably use velcro on the facings at the bottom, and put piping on the outside front of the opening, as I think the prairie points will get horribly bent there.  I shall still use them for the rest of the cushion.




Chapter 6: Making Waves




Sample 6:1a

Chimney patterns


Sample 6:1b

Skewed skylight outline

Granite stitch

(using Stitch and Tear as Sinamay is difficult to free machine)

Inside with machine pattern added


Outside close-up


Moulding felt

Sample 6:2a

The moulding felt was dyed using Transfer paint



Fastened round a bottle

Balcony shape – sort of

Sample 6:2b



The Synagogue roof, paperclipped together and slightly out of focus

Very unsatisfactory result


Digimax A50 / KENOX Q2

This is one of the manipulated sections of a piece called ‘Raiment of Needlework’, my contribution to a collective EG Branch piece ‘Cloth on Gold’ for the 2019 exhibition.  It is a sandwich of sticky soluble paper and Romeo with ‘snippettings’ of fabric and thread as the filling.

With added stitching using a Flower Stitcher foot

Manipulation using fibre-tip pens to corrugate

Finished piece of fabric


Chapter 5: This way and That



Antoni Gaudi  1852 – 1926

Gaudi worked principally in the city of Barcelona in Spain, building projects for wealthy patrons: such as the houses Casa Mila and Casa Batllo, the Parc Guell and its contents, as well as the cathedral of La Sagrada Familia, which was unfinished (and still is) after his death in a road accident.  His style was organic and fluid, and included stained glass windows and furniture for the buildings.

Chimneys, Casa Mila


As a finish for a large number of his works, especially the Parc Guell, Gaudi used the Trencadi technique: mosaic made with pieces of glazed pottery.  Parc Guell includes the Finca (a house) and Bodegues Guell (a crypt) for one of Gaudi’s principal patrons: Eusebi Guell.


[Page numbers refer to ‘Antoni Gaudi’ by Aurora Cuito & Cristina Montes]


Archway decoration Bodegues Guell [p.333]

Casa Batllo gallery



Chimneys, Casa Mila (see p.59)

Trencadi Lizard, Parc Guell (see p.60)

I sliced both the previous drawings into four pieces and reassembled them in a different order.  These are the results; the lines/sections in red might be omitted, and others added, depending on what was required.  The combinations are almost endless.

Casa Batllo (rear view)


Frank Lloyd Wright  1867 – 1959

Lloyd Wright worked principally in his native USA.   He began his career in an established architect’s practice in Chicago, but wanting to use his own ideas on what a house should be, he left to set up on his own and, like Gaudi, he built projects for wealthy patrons: houses such as Falling Water (probably his most famous), La Miniatura, featuring ‘textile blocks’ and in New York, the Guggenheim building. He also built houses for himself and family members: his own favourite was Taliesin, which, sadly, he had to rebuild twice after disastrous fires.  He took inspiration from the ancient civilisations of South America, but expressed them in cast concrete.



Stained glass                                                                Guggenheim Building

‘Textile Blocks’


I am very fond of Hollyhocks, but not very good at growing them.  I can see why the patron called her house after them (her favourite flower, apparently) but where Gaudi might have made them look flower-like, Lloyd Wright’s work is more angular and geometric.  The Guggenheim Ramp is certainly more organic, but has a touch of ‘brutalism’ in its angles.



Inside the Guggenheim



I did the same exercise with the Hollyhock decoration and the interior of the Guggenheim – cutting them into four and re-assembling them.

The Hollyhock would need a lot of editing- it is very detailed – but the Guggenheim was extremely successful.



Three quite random, unedited, sections.

The bottom, brown, one might be improved by extending downwards and editing the lines.



Exercise 4 Source  003

Charles Rennie Mackintosh stained glass

Charles Rennie Mackintosh ‘Ingram chair’




Saint Martin de Martigny-Courpierre (Aisne)

Quarr Abbey, IOW.

Obviously, none of these images were created by either Antoni Gaudi or Frank Lloyd Wright, but the zeitgeist is present throughout, and it is the same one which inspired both of them.  It will continue to inspire others to cross boundaries, and explore both old and new mediums of expression to express their own individualism.


Chapter 4: Stepping Out



It has been difficult to choose three more machine embroiderers, mainly because most of those who caught my eye used machine embroidery alongside hand work, and multi-media.  In the end , I looked at four: Alice Kettle, who seems to work solely with machine, Alysn Midgelow-Marsden, who uses machine with mixed media, Meredith Woolnough and Carol Naylor, both of whom only use a machine, but seem to restrict their output to one genre of work.  Alice’s work is on the grand scale, Alysn is very idiosyncratic, Meredith’s is very delicate, and Carol uses colour in a strong and powerful way, so all different.

Alice Kettle

Professor Alice Kettle

I first came across Alice Kettle (born 1961) at the Knitting & Stitching Show, when I think she was the Embroiderers’ Guild Scholar, taking a postgraduate course at Goldsmith’s College.   She is now a Professor of Textile Arts at the Manchester School of Art, Manchester Metropolitan University.

She was the first person I remember who purposely ‘warped’ the fabric, usually calico, by the heaviness of her stitching.  At that time, stitchers were encouraged to use a ring to keep the finished work flat, as without extreme care, the work would pucker and shrink the background unevenly.  Alice has worked on a number of large commissions including a frontal for the Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre at Winchester Cathedral in 1994,three frontals for Gloucester Cathedral in 1998; ‘Looking Forwards to the Past’ in 2007 for Winchester Discovery Centre, and in 2015, ‘A Map to the Future’ for the Lloyd’s Register of Shipping’s Global Technology Centre at Southampton University, where they specialise in Ship Science and Oceanography.  She is currently working on a project about the world Migration crisis ‘Thread Bearing Witness’ featured in the journal Embroidery issue September/October 2018.

Alice works on calico with minimal preparatory sketches, and little outline on the fabric. Her work is allegorical and symbolic rather than realistic, and she uses free machine stitch, treating her machine and threads as a painter would use a brush and colours.

Pause II (detail)


Looking Forwards to the Past

Looking Forwards to the Past

Lotos Eaters

Lotos Eaters

Narrative Line

Image result for alice kettle Winchester cathedral

Chapel of the Holy Sepulchre, Winchester Cathedral

In the style of Alice Kettle




I’m not convinced by this, but it seems to be how Alice works?  Polycotton with viscose threads with a felt backing.


Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

Alysn is based in New Zealand, although she has science degrees from UK universities, and uses her scientific background as a foundation for her curiosity.  This extends to working with metals, as well as fabrics and threads, and it is for this innovation she is known and admired.

She uses non-traditional mixed media in conjunction with her sewing machine.  Her work is abstract, although mostly based on themes: Stains and Discards, Permutations – natural forms found in seeds, leaves, bark… are explored, Taniwha – native water guardians remind us of the importance of water to life.  The pieces which illustrate her book …this Lustr’d cloth… still use natural forms – leaves – but demonstrate the metal techniques covered in the book.  In an interview with the Canadian website Running with Scissors, she says:  I think that I am most interested in attempting to visualize the emotions we have or the feeling in a moment or a place rather than the actual physical look of it.  and For a while now I have been concentrating upon using primarily metals and metal cloths which have lots of very interesting properties and I suspect that this will continue, but I never give up exploring alternative media and discovering which of these can add statements to the pieces I am creating.

I have to admit that although I like her pieces, I am not tempted to use her methods: metalwork is a step too far!  However, I am looking forward to seeing her work at the Knitting & Stitching Show (Oct. 2018).  I should like to find out how she achieves some of the effects.

Alysn Midgelow-Marsden works with embroidered textiles using a wide range of contemporary textile and mixed media techniques. Although sh...

Copper Tendrils

Image result for alysn midgelow-marsden

Richly Stitched

Related image

The Crown Jewels gone Mad

Not So Standard Angelina by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

New Directions with Angelina

Image result for alysn midgelow-marsden

Fabricated Narratives

In the style of Alysyn Midgelow-Marsden





This isn’t any more satisfactory than the previous sample: bits flung together to demonstrate what Alysn uses, but I couldn’t get the stitching right.



Meredith Woolnough

Image result for Colour in Your Life Meredith Woolnough

Meredith Woolnough is an Australian artist who specialises in machine stitching natural forms onto dissolvable materials using a domestic sewing machine.  She traces the designs onto soluble fabric, and stitches over the design in layers, after which the fabric is washed away.  The spider’s web result is float-mounted using pins over a neutral board, or covered in resin and suspended from above.

Describing her work to the website, Bored Panda, she says “Basically it all comes down to the way I stitch the design. I need to make sure that all of my stitches are connected so that when I wash away the base fabric it doesn’t just all unravel and turn into a big mess. Over the years I have developed a way to stitch so that I know it will all hold together.

Meredith explains that it would be easy to ‘Google’ her subjects, but in an article in Be Inspired Vol 4 which features her work, she explains that ‘it is important for me to get out of the studio regularly to stretch my legs, reconnect with nature and get the creative juices flowing’.  She says she is lucky to live near several national parks and a botanical garden so that she is able to draw from life.  However, the corals and other sea life present a problem: underwater photography can provide some help, but not, apparently, a replacement for observation and drawing.

Her work is beautiful, I should love to be able to create similar pieces, but I was glad to discover that she does insist on taking a break from such intricate work, and tackle something entirely different, but I can’t find any pictures!


Image result for Colour in Your Life Meredith Woolnough

Ginko leaves

Image result for Colour in Your Life Meredith Woolnough

Organic Embroidery

Artist Meredith Woolnough Uses Home Sewing Machine To Capture Nature’s Most Delicate Forms With Embroidery

Related image


In the style of Meredith Woolnough

Picture of Nautilus (Google)

Pinned out to dry


Finished sample

Romeo and viscose thread.  This worked better, probably because I’ve used this technique more than the others, although you can still see where I have not managed to connect all the rows of stitching.

Carol Naylor

Image result for carol naylor

Sussex-based Carol Naylor is a Fellow of the Society of Designer Craftsmen who studied at Hastings School of Art and Goldsmiths College.  Starting as an art teacher in Yorkshire, she is now a machine embroiderer who exhibits and lectures across the world.

Carol works landscapes on cotton duck canvas, using a variety of threads.  She uses the countryside, both at home and abroad, as her inspiration, generally working a series of pieces illustrating a theme, such as Lavender, or Poppies.  There are several lavender series from Spain, the South of France and Lordington Lavender on the South Downs.

The starting point is an in situ drawing of the landscape, next a stylised and slightly geometrical version; then identifying the colours, threads and textures to be used.  Carol uses cable stitch working from the reverse, with a heavy thread on the bobbin, and a 30 or 40 weight on top, using a couching technique, and correcting from the right side afterwards.

Image result for carol naylor

Threading through the Landscape

Image result for carol naylor

Where Poppies Bloom


Image result for carol naylor

River Valley

Image result for carol naylor

Skyscape Sunset

Image result for carol naylor

Diamonds and Rust

In the style of Carol Naylor

Clee Hills








I used calico over felt, and no ring.  I was not happy with this, I couldn’t get the thick bobbin thread through the fabrics,so I used the same thread top and bottom, which didn’t give the right effect, but I didn’t have any canvas of the right weight.  I might have another try at a later date with the right fabric and some slightly thinner bobbin thread, perhaps coton a broder instead of perle.