Fire lizard

An idea for a piece of embroidery can hit you when you least expect it. One evening, I was watching a nature programme on TV when the phone rang. I paused the programme and settled down for a chat, but as I talked, I kept looking at the image on the screen. The picture was…

York Minster – All Saint’s Chapel dossal

A stunning example of goldwork in (fairly) contemporary ecclesiastical embroidery can be seen in All Saint’s Chapel in York Minster. This magnificent dossal (or hanging behind an altar) was made in 1972 by the Minster Broderers, from a design by Joan Freeman. On red silk, the design is worked in padded gold kid and couched…

Dodecahedrons I and II

In the last post, I described basic goldwork couching. These two pieces, Dodecahedron I and Dodecahedron II, were both made using exactly that technique. Dodecahedron I, the small gold one, is a geometrical solid with 12 five-sided faces, and is about the size of a tennis ball. For each one, I cut out a pentagon…

Goldwork – basic couching

As I’m working on the second cross, this seems like good time to look at the basic goldwork technique: couching. Couching is very simple – it’s simply laying one thread on the surface of your fabric, and using a second thread to stitch it down. This can of course be done with any sort of…

First central cross completed

I’ve finished the first cross! More detailing still had to be added after the appliqué was finished; on Fiona’s design, there are some small red discs. These were coloured the same as the detail I’ve done as appliqué, which would imply working them in the same way, but I felt that I’d already reached the…

Goldwork centre ring

Continuing with the goldwork, I’ve now added a ring in gold thread to the centre of the velvet cross. I first stitched over the relevant part of the transfer design on the back in small running stiches, to get the location for it onto the front of the fabric. I then cut out the ring…

Goldwork outline

I’ve outlined the appliqué cross with couched Japanese passing thread no. 8 in gold, or Jap gold for short. I used two threads at a time; I don’t cut the threads, but leave them on the reel, or reels, as I use two at once. This both cuts down on wastage (this stuff costs money!)…

Rainbow squares – red

The second of the squares I’ve done. 4″ square again, and more goldwork, but really in gold this time. The trunk and stems are in couched no. 8 Jap gold thread, and the leaves in rough purl and bright check purl. The trunk is worked on one layer of yellow felt, and the leaves on…

Rainbow squares – blue

As a group project, all the branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild in the North East Region are currently working on rainbow squares. These are 4″ squares in rainbow colours, to be worked in any technique. Each branch is doing things slightly differently, but my branch, Sunderland, is covering all the colours. All members have been…