I was taught to stitch as a child, by my mother and grandmother, as well as some lessons at school, although I have few memories of this – it feels as though I have always stitched! I have tried many forms of craft work through my life, including knitting and calligraphy, but my first love is embroidery, with dressmaking a close second.
First of all, a huge apology for not having posted anything for ages. I’ve been madly busy, and had a lot to do and think about. I need to work on updating and developing the website, and that has caused me to neglect things, which is not good. “My bad” as they say (although I’m not entirely sure what it means....?)
One of the many books in my possession is a facsimile of an early 16th century pattern book, published by Lacis in 1999. A few years ago one of the patterns caught my imagination. Its a depiction of St Margaret of Antioch, a young Christian woman who refused to marry the man her father had chosen, and was fed to a dragon. Apparently the cross she was carrying irritated the dragon's stomach, and after three days it split open and she was freed unharmed (and apparently not even stained by the dragon's bodily fluids!)
My apologies, Dear Reader, for not posting anything for several months. Life has been rather hectic for several reasons. A family illness and bereavement complicated December, and then I was somewhat busy during January getting organised for a trip to ‘furrin parts’, which took place in February.
The trip was to NEW ZEALAND – nothing like going the whole hog if you are planning a trip, is there? If you are flying the world you might as well fly all the way to the other side!
I've just finished a project I've been threatening to do for some years, namely to make a new angel for our Xmas tree. The old one is 18 years old, and was made in something of a rush. It's been looking sad for a few years, and every year I have said "I must make a new angel" and every year I have forgotten or got too involved in other stuff. This year Hull and East Riding New Stitchers (HENS) have a tree in Beverley Minster for their Christmas festival, which I think is the weekend of 9-11th December. So members have been making Xmas decorations all year to put on the tree.
I am just returned from a wonderful weekend out to play in the Big Scary Smoke! I came down to London on Friday morning, mainly to go to the Association of Dress Historians annual conference at the Artworkers Guild. The weekend kicked off with a tour, organised by ADH, of the Clothworkers Hall Textile Resource Centre of the V&A. One of the staff showed us their storage facilities - the biggest range of shelves/drawers I have ever seen, all of those archive type where you wind them on so you can get at the shelves. Vast!
This morning I've finished a project I've been working on for almost exactly a year. It's an embroidered Stomacher, loosely based on a design from Charles de St Aubin's book, The Art of the Embroiderer, which dates from 1770. It's stitched on ivory silk, using silk thread and silver passing thread. The green edges of the ribbon, and the silver passing thread are tamboured, and the rest is long-and short stitch, chain stitch satin stitch and French knots, mostly with spilt silk thread.
“We have been delighted that Alison has not only contributed to our exhibitions and displays, but her sessions stitching in costume have delighted visitors and added enormously to their museum visit.” Dr. Sophie Forgan, Chairman of Trustees, Captain Cook Memorial Museum, Whitby.
On Saturday next, July 30th, I will be stitching in costume at the Captain Cook Museum in Grape Lane in Whitby. Do come and see their exhibition, Wives and Sweethearts: the Sailors Farewell, and find me in the drawing room.
See you there!