Alison Larkin Embroidery

Historical Embroidery in Full-size and Miniature


There is an old curse which says, “May you live in interesting times.” I’m not sure I really want to – these times are a bit too interesting, perhaps – but I have been trying to make some lemonade out of the lemons – or at least a gin and tonic!

As a former biology lecturer with an interest in epidemiology, I am very aware of pandemics and their implications. I followed the figures published by the WHO during the Swine Flu pandemic of 2009, much to the dismay of my non-scientific colleagues at the FE college where I worked, who could not comprehend my fascination with all the (slightly morbid) statistics. We rather dodged a bullet in 2009 – it could have been a LOT worse, as this pandemic has shown us.

This time I have been less obsessed and rather more focussed on following the social distancing rules. My focus has moved from epidemiology/biology to embroidery, so I’m not getting quite so hooked on figures. Perhaps they are a bit too close to home this time. Chris and I have been staying in most of the time. I’m not getting as much exercise as I could, because I don’t want to risk infecting Chris (he’s disabled), but otherwise we have been doing fairly well. Both of us have plenty to get on with, certainly!

In fact, I think that my embroidery has been a godsend! I have so much I can get on with, because I always have about 6 different projects on the go at any one time. I’ve been working on costume items for myself, miniature pieces to update my display samples, dragons doing yoga just for fun……

I’ve also been working on planning and preparing for when the lockdown is lifted. One aspect of all this ‘life on hold’ is the opportunity to take a deep breath, and spend some time thinking and planning. The timing of the pandemic has been ‘interesting’, in that my book, Jane Austen Embroidery (co-authored with Jennie Batchelor) was published a whole TWO WEEKS before the lockdown. So all our plans for publicity events and book launch have had to be put on hold. Add the fact that other aspects of my embroidery work, such as the miniatures, were also just beginning to develop, and life has been in a quite strange limbo. Everything is ‘on hold’ as it were, which has actually given me development and preparation time that I wouldn’t otherwise have had.

Hence finally managing to update my website, which I have been wanting to do for a couple of years. I’ve been revamping my leaflets, and making Regency costume to go with the period of the book, so I am equipped for events when life gets going again. If I can just get my lectures updated, sort out display equipment, and keep up the stitching, then I shall be well on with being prepared  to hit the ground running when we are allowed out again!

This certainly gives me plenty to get on with. I’m not the sort to do ‘bored’ at the best of times, but in fact I’ve been beavering quite well. It does make it easier to lockdown when you have plenty to do. I wonder occasionally how I managed to cope when I did go out to do shopping, lectures etc! It would be good to get out to my fitness classes again, though. The diet is off, in the interests of morale, and with no real exercise, I suspect things will have deteriorated a bit before the lockdown is lifted. Ah well, as long as I can still get into my costumes, I should be alright. And getting back into the diet and fitness sessions should reverse the trend, with luck.

Do stay safe, well and sane, Dear Reader, and hopefully I will catch you on the flip-side, as they say!


  1. Hi there. Like the new website. Love the comment “on the flip side” – as opposed to “on the other side” (Grayson Perry in his Art Club programme – well worth a look) which conjured up an entirely different picture ! Mxxx

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