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

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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

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Richly Stitched

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The Crown Jewels gone Mad

Not So Standard Angelina by Alysn Midgelow-Marsden

New Directions with Angelina

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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

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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!


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Ginko leaves

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Organic Embroidery

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

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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

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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.

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Threading through the Landscape

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Where Poppies Bloom


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River Valley

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Skyscape Sunset

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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.





Chapter 3: Along the Tracks



Italian or Corded Quilting

Sample 1: Creative use of Free Embroidery with Italian Quilting

As suggested, I looked at both Antoni Gaudi (Curves) and Frank Lloyd Wright, (Rectangles) and couldn’t really relate them to sample 1, so went back to the Picture Gallery: Twisted grids, p.36.  With Art Nouveau in mind, I found something similar in Dover Art Nouveau designs in color: Mucha, Verneuil & Auriol p.18 shapes by Mucha.  I made a fabric by chopping up thread ends and bonding them with Supamend onto white poly-cotton.  This was covered with chiffon, and the design raised using wool.


Chopped threads

Mucha design


Mucha design worked onto prepared fabric

Finished sample

This worked well, the difference between the padded area shows up easily.

Sample 2:  Italian quilting combined with stitch techniques

The design was based on a photo of Merchants’ houses in Ghent (p.17), besides the verticals and horizontals, there is a poster on the side of the building with a paisley-like shape on it.  The straight lines were executed using twin needles: two sizes 2.5 and 6mm on transfer dyed poly-cotton.   On top of this were worked three different sized paisley shapes with free machine outlines for the corded quilting, and machine patterns added.  Stitching against the twin needle direction was not easy.


Design sketch

Twin needle stitching

Pattern stitching

Finished sample

I think it is an interesting idea, but difficult to carry out satisfactorily.


Sample 3:  Italian quilting focusing on line and colour

This design was based on part of the plan of Hampton Court Maze (p.10).  Dyed poly-cotton, with chiffon on top and calico underneath.  The calico made it hard to get the coloured soft cotton threads into the right places: it would have been better to add the calico after doing the quilting.

Half the maze plan showing coloured lines

Design worked on fabrics.

Finished sample



Trapunto or Padded Quilting

Sample 1: using pattern

I began by looking at the Chrysler Building (p.33), but didn’t think it would work, but that the ‘cogs’ on the ratchet of the Lock paddle (p.32) would.  This was worked on a printed poly-cotton fabric, using a metallic thread.


Free machine Granite stitch

Back view

Finished sample

The metallic thread worked well, but I think a less complicated patterned fabric would have been better.


Sample 2: Where the depth of padding varies

The design is based on the ‘Snail staircase’ (p.4)

Manipulation of the image

Shaded according to depth of padding.

Very little padding, free machining on procion-dyed calico

Back view


Finished sample

I was happy with this sample, it produced exactly the result I wanted.


Sample 3: Tonal value demonstrated through the padded areas

Tarr Steps (p.16)



Shaded tracing


Shapes within shading



Chosen area

Eventual design



Finished sample using multi-coloured, light and dark jade wool fibres under chiffon.

Close-up showing curly Wensleydale fleece at the bottom

This was not as satisfactory as I had hoped: the chiffon was too opaque to show off the colours and textures of the wool topps properly.  Unfortunately, it was the only white one I had.



Chapter 2: Up hill and Down dale


English Quilting: 1. Flattened areas

Design based on Western Rose of Notre Dame de Laon  see p. 16

Procion-dyed calico, wool-viscose felt, soft cotton backing

Natesh black & white thread, Guterman multi thread, yellow quilting thread


2. Print and stitch

The print block is the large white ‘wiggle’

Acrylic paint on procion-dyed damask table napkin

Photocopy with fibretip additions

Madeira threads and metallic


3. Quilted face using free embroidery: Self portrait

A gargoyle?

A Green Woman

Cream printed sheeting, green Madeira Matte thread


4.  Something different

The same design on two different satin backgrounds to see what happens.

Design from the Staffordshire Hoard

Basic design on cream satin

Extra stitching in Purple ombre Natesh

Rainbow satin with dark grey and black/white ombre Natesh

I think the cream and purple version is more effective than the rainbow/grey one.

Module 6: Going Places


Chapter 1: Starting Out


Places to go:

I came to the conclusion that notwithstanding chronic ill health, I have actually been to the majority of the places I want to go, apart from Scotland and Ireland.  I’ve been to the USA twice, including Hawaii (my cousin lives there half the year), France, Belgium, Italy, Madeira, Malta and Russia!  I’m going to Holland in the autumn, and went to Switzerland as a teenager with the Guides – Lucky Me!  So I have a lot of photos to choose from, which became very difficult and rather idiosyncratic, with decided themes.


Very useful ticket

You used to be able to get into Kew Gardens with the NBGW card (no longer alas) and we saw the Dale Chihuly glass exhibits.  This sent us to Bond Street, (where the Halcyon Gallery let Roger lie on the floor to take photos).

Photo from Chihuly book

The Ffabulous Ffion’s current Museum of Choice.  Exhibitions have included The Spider’s Silk – enlivened by the kitten setting off the burglar alarm at home.  Alexander McQueen (a bit scary for her but the rest of us liked it), 60’s Pop, Balenciaga (a hit all round) and a promise of Frida Kahlo later in the year.

Chihuly has a piece in the Foyer at the V&A; and No.2 Daughter, who lives in Cowes, IOW, found some in a hotel in Dubai.

I regularly visit the Medieval Gallery and the sculptures, with or without Ffion.


Michaelangelo’s David

Chihuly at Halcyon Gallery, Bond Street.

Similar piece (not Chihuly) on Murano Island, Venice, where Chihuly went to learn about the way the Murano glassworkers use colour.



People to see

Family, some will come with us

Grandad went flying and the rest of us watched.


One is twinned with Deauville, and moaned because we booked the gite for Cowes Week, when she is course-setting.

V&A Galleries again

The 11th Hour memorial at the National Memorial Arboretum

The Acanthus Green Man Mask from Bamberg Cathedral is one of the most spectacular.

One of many Misericords in Ripon Cathedral (sang there with the OU and the Church Choir.)


Up the stairs

La Scala Contarini del Bovolo (Snail Staircase), Venice

Double staircase, Blois, Loire Valley, France.

Gite at Meursac in the Saintonge C16 and very worn.

Gite at Louroux-Bottereaux in Les Mauges,

Family’s bicycles (and Family) at a bar in La Suisse Normande.

A different kind of staircase: Foxton Flight

Not likely!  Spinnaker Tower in Portsmouth.  (We took the lift).


Through the Door

Chapel of the Holy Blood, Bruges

Mandroga Island, Russia

Garden Open, Curry Rivel, Somerset


Boutique, Talmont-sur-Gironde, Bordeaux

Bar, Bruges

Lynmouth Harbour

Cider Mill shop, Normandy



     Wrought Iron Gates

Tijou Screen, Hampton Court.


One of the pubs near my Grandmother’s house in Stafford is called ‘The Gate’, the sign used to be a half-size 5-bar gate hanging over the car park, and painted on it was the following rhyme:

This Gate hangs well

Hinders none.

Refresh, and pay,

And travel on.


Along the Path

Dom is not pleased that Ryan beat him out.

Down the Garden

A Levada on Pico d’Areira, Madeira.  These irrigation channels are used as hiking paths.

Path on Kizkhi Island

A path on Kizhi Island, Russia.

Path on Ribiero Frio, Madeira



Double-walled Garden, National Botanic Garden of Wales

Mouth of Truth, Arsenale district, Castello Sestriere, Venice.

Lock wall, Grand Union Canal, Hertfordshire

Chateau d’Angers, France

Fishtail crenellations  on the Arsenale walls (and the Moscow Kremlin – built by Italians).



Caernarvon Station

Believed to be the earliest Labyrinth design on the planet – very similar to one on Malta

Hampton Court Maze.

Spoilt forever for me, aged 10, by my father, who insisted on studying the map in the portico to see if it was correct, and then trying it out.  It was correct.


Some of the Labyrinths designed for London Underground stations.

Painswick Rococco Villa 1

Painswick Rococco Garden Maze

Jardin de Villandry, Loire Valley

Pattern Garden, Jardim Botanico, Funchal, Madeiro.


Places using Transport

Gondolas seen from the Rialto Bridge, Venice

C. Walter Hodges immortalized this Lifeboat in ‘The Overland Launch’.  It was towed from Lynmouth to Porlock over Countisbury as the sea and wind conditions would not allow a rescue from Lynmouth.

Our first narrowboat at Rickmansworth on the Grand Union Canal.

This was an real Icicle Cruise as the canal was frozen and there was snow on the towpath

The Ffabulous Ffion and the Awesome Angharad in a double scull at Gloucester Regatta


Ffestiniog ‘Push-me Pull-you engine ‘Merlyn’

1930’s Riley in the Cotswoldsbeing admired by  residents of Hawaii

Moscow Metro decoration

The first tractor off the Soviet production line, (incidentally made by a woman).

MS Vasily Surikov at the Moscow River Station


Biggles in his Tiger Moth

One of the Dunkirk ‘Little Ships’ on the Thames at Surbiton

Carousel in Caen, Normandy

The local bus



Tarr Steps, Devon.  Prehistoric Bridge.

Romanesque Abbey of Jumieges, Normandy.

Early Gothic Cathedral, Notre Dame de Laon, Picardy.


Merchant’s house, Ghent, Belgium.

Flooded  Bell Tower of St. Nicholas Cathedral at Kaliazin, making a reservoir and transport artery, Russia.

St. Basil’s Cathedral, Moscow, at night.


One of the seven ‘Stalin Skyscrapers’, Moscow.

GUM department store, Red Square, Moscow, with a Sale on.

(Now a collection of Western Designer outlets!)


Kizhi Island, Russia

All the buildings are made from Aspen wood

Restoration of Summer Church roof


The Winter Church (smaller, so easier to keep warm, the lake is still iced over in May).


The Summer Church

Smolny Convent, St. Petersburg.

Model of Santana House, Madeira


Houses on Burano in the Venetian Lagoon


Church of St. Martin de Martigny-Courpierre, Picardy.

(c.1930 cf Stalin Skyscraper)


Notebook Drawings

Mark-making using ‘non-traditional’ implements: eg.  Ruler, corrugated cardboard, paper, matches.


Before I started on C&G Creative Embroidery, I studied with the Open University (BA. Hons).  They have a Chapel Choir which I joined, and which is why I have a large number of photos of French and English Cathedrals: we sang in most of them.

One of the tenors was an art teacher, and he used run an ‘ad hoc’ sketching class for absolute beginners.  Some of these exercises are ones John set us, others are from the C&G course.

Drawing lines round items; what to do with lines 1

Illustrate words


‘As a result of adding’.

Machine embroidery on white canvas, the lines produced by sewing machine.  Two examples graduating from White (top left) to Dark Blues/Mauves (bottom right).


What to do with lines 2



What to do with lines 3

(I didn’t draw this, it was one of John’s handouts)



V&A again



Shading – Norwegian Maple leaves


Dismemberment – Prunus Tree


Re-assembled differently.


Things that caught my eye

see also Structures p.22

Opposite the Salon du The, Place Drouet d’Erlon, Rheims


Grand Union Canal, Denham Deep Lock, Upper sluice


Chrysler Building

‘New York, New York’

became a piece of Blackwork in mid-blues.  Reduced scan of tracing of photo.  Area extracted for embroidery and reversed.  (I didn’t mean to work the reversed picture, but accidentally printed the reversed scan twice and didn’t want to waste the paper!)








Photo in newspaper, might become something?

Raising a wreck in South Korea – for scrap, presumably


Winter skies after Rowland Hilder

Seed heads after Angie Lewin


Possible Theme Board

Sutton Hoo Burial project


Bird Head, using distorted grid

Bird foot

Both from the Sutton Hoo Burial project


Stoles and other bits and pieces


Apart from the fact that I have had a Campylobacter infection, (which turned out to be a notifiable disease to our surprise) and had to spend time in hospital as a result, I have also had some urgent non-C&G projects to complete.  A skirt for last year’s holiday, a special birthday present for one of the little girls next door and an ordination stole to name but three.

I am particularly interested in the ordination stoles as they are a very special part of a special time in the priest’s journey to his or her vocation and future life.  Clerical Outfitters stock a number of suitable stoles, often the same ones as their competitors, and not necessarily totally relevant to the ordinand’s life experience.  Because of this, I am happy to make a bespoke stole, which may not have quite the professional finish of the ones from Vanpoulle or Watts, but is made for someone I know who has told me of their journey and trusted me to illustrate it for them as they want it.

The first stoles I made were not ordination ones, but leaving presents for two curates and a retiring Parish Priest.  Helen asked me to make her a purple stole, and to personalise it for her, I consulted a Dictionary of Saints to see what St. Helen(a)’s attributes might be: a Latin Cross – an upright one.  St. Helena was born in what is now Turkey, near the city of Smyrna.  So, the cross on the back of the neck was worked in Smyrna Cross stitch on waste canvas.  I decided that this would be our ‘trade mark’, and all the others have had the same Cross.  Imogen wanted a green one, and I couldn’t find anything specific for her name, so she has an otherwise identical stole to Helen’s.

St. Andrew’s Cross & Anchor                                              St. Mark’s Lion

Smyrna Cross Stitch Latin Cross

Helen’s is identical but purple: we have two parish churches: St. Mark at the top of the hill, and St. Andrew at the bottom.  There is a hanging Rood in St. Andrew’s which is mounted on an anchor, so I superimposed a St. Andrew’s Cross onto the anchor to personalise it a bit.  (You can’t do much with St. Mark).  The silk came from Hilary Williams at The Silk Route in Frimley.

The next two were to match a Laudian Frontal which I supervised as a parish project in 2012.  One remained with the frontal and the other was given to our much loved Parish Priest when he retired in 2012, he travels a lot, and takes it with him on his railway journeys around Europe.  Because it is multi-coloured, it can be used any time in the year.  This was the thinking behind the frontal: it doesn’t have to be changed every season.

As well as the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee symbol, there is a leaf with the Olympic Rings.  The Vicar gets the children to look for it when he does ‘Exploring the Church’ sessions.

This is the second, and shorter stole, which fitted Helen and Imogen who are both quite short.  I am making another long one, as our current priest, Robert is over six feet tall.

We had a new curate after Robert arrived, as he is a designated trainer and this is Laura’s Ordination Stole.  St. Laura’s attribute is the Laurus Nobilis.  I machine embroidered the sprays of Bay, and superimposed Laura’s choice of motifs from her home parish, and our two churches on top.

This is David’s stole.  David lives in the next parish (also the next Diocese) and although he has not been officially on the staff, because we do not currently have a curate, Robert has been mentoring him, so I ended up making another stole.  David has been very popular in the parish, and a help to Robert as well, so we are happy to give him a present.  His cousin is taking an art course, and designed him an Ember Card (a card asking for our prayers at his ordination on 1st July in Guildford Cathedral), which illustrates part of his motivation towards his ordination.

I asked if they could modify some of the design to fit a stole shape, but in the end I had to do it myself, rather daunting, but apparently acceptable.


And from the sublime to the slightly ridiculous: Florence’s Birthday present.

I gave my grandchildren a postcard size photo album each when they were small to keep photos and treasured pictures and their own art work in.  I also gave one to Florence’s older sister Annie, and doubtless Clementine will be expecting one at a later date!

Annie’s Album

Florence’s Album

The background is actually green calico, but the photo is not very good.


Chapter 9: Out of the Shadows




Reflections in windows


Bottle glass window

Check fabric

Fabric crayon over rug canvas and net curtain

Soluble plastic with stitching

After washing (bottom row granite stitching on Aquasol)


Poly-cotton with a paper bag print (ironed on) with plastic sequins used as shisha mirrors attached using machine satin stitch, and free machining in metallic thread.

Close up


Actual Shisha

Gelli plate print on printed organza

Free machining on soluble plastic to make a mesh to hold the shisha mirrors

Mesh attaching shisha

Close up


Transfer-printed Felt

(Photocopy of the felt with initial drawing of pocket placement)


By the time I came to work this sample, I was running out of energy and didn’t understand exactly how to work the pockets (ie. with two layers of sheer)  I had to oversew the machine patterns.  The items in the pockets are shisha mirrors, sequins and chocolate foil.


Painted Acetate

This is probably acrylic paint.  The acetate is stitched using a 100 Leather needle to free machine in rayon and metallic thread on to cream stretch velvet and dark grey organza.



Resolved sample showing ‘shadow work techniques’

Looking through

One of our favourite NT properties is ‘Batemans’, Rudyard Kipling’s home.  He wrote a poem called The Way through the Woods

‘There was once a road through the woods  Before they planted the trees.  It is underneath the coppice and heath…  of a summer evening late,’

I remembered the title, and looked it up, and then tried to find something to illustrate it.  I am a great fan of Eric Ravilious, especially his wood cuts.  I found a tiny illustration about 2.5 cm square for a London Transport publicity book called ‘Country Walks’.  This is it blown up to 400%.

It seems to be winter with bare broad leaf trees and evergreen bushes.


I made a crude torn paper mock-up including the evening sky ‘Red sky at night’, not summer, but you get beautiful sunsets in winter:

and discovered what is apparent in so many of Ravilious’s works: that he includes so much patterning in what appears to be a straightforward picture.  The bare trees are a grid through which you see the missing path through the woods, shown as a shadow of the tree trunks in the picture.


Initial planning form.


Braid on linen

Braid on tape

(The tape was not wide enough and definitely the wrong colour.  After a bit of consideration, I decided to mount the sample onto a piece of linen using one of the ‘leafy’ machine stitches and work an ‘evergreen’ cut edge outside it).


Resolved Sample


Stage 1  (using Super Mend powder)

Stage 2 (and Free Machining)

Stage 3 (The Road through the Woods)

Stage 4 (using Bondaweb)

Stage 5 (Carrier Rod trees)

Stage 6


Stage 7

Stage 7 (Close-up of Birch trees)

Stage 8 Close-up

Resolved Sample:

The Road through the Woods.




Stage 8 extra tree


Stage 8 – 2

Photo taken 28/03/18