For centuries women have used cloth as a tool of comfort and as an expression of beauty within their homes. Creating cloth for warmth, cloth for shelter, our female predecessors embellished these linens with hand stitch using laborious and time consuming techniques thereby enhancing the functional beauty of objects which enveloped and protected their families. Inspired by these women I hope my creations pay tribute to and recognise the devotion expressed in cloth by our female ancestors .

''the use of traditional often time consuming process alludes to the devotion of a mother''. c K. A. Ruane 2007

Tuesday, July 19, 2016

delicate blue and white

I think I said here that I had been doing a little embroidery on some of my new surfaces...well here it is. I have only taken small snippets and added them to a base of white cotton but I can already see the potential of the textured cloth mixed with a smoother background. There are possibilities for rich seams and lots of surface embellishment too.
This one will most likely stay like this, a sample, an example of how these pieces can be used as part of larger pieces of work. Now I want to play with my other surfaces from here, create more examples, more ideas....move this whole process forward.

Tuesday, June 7, 2016

the correct colour

This time I chose the right colours.....I can't link to the other post which is relevant to this because Typepad is down but the pinkish one, the raspberry like one was created first with the wrong coloured embroidery thread. The top image, the darker colours, they are the right colours if this is to live with the cross stitch piece you can see in the third image.
I say ''if this is to live with the cross stitch piece'' but now I am wondering, thinking...wouldn't it be lovely just to have lots of pieces of this all joined together?
That's an exciting plan, it gets me fired up. Trouble is I have so many other exciting plans for other things. At this rate I will have oodles of works in process.....ooodles.

(I actually just realised that the pink, raspberry post is immediately below this one....happy days)

Sunday, June 5, 2016

bubble cloth no cross stitch, French knots won the day. (I'm talking about what I said yesterday) Disregard the fact that I used the wrong colours ( I was supposed to use the same colours that are in the white cotton piece with the lettering) Yes, disregard that fact and also disregard that these look more like raspberries than roses and it's a winner. It's a winner in my eyes anyway because even though I can't use it with the lettering piece it is still a rather nice piece of cloth which will be useful for something.....just don't ask me what yet.
There is lace cloth here too, made some time ago and created using the correct colours. The lace cloth makes a beautiful overlay but I'm not after an overlay, I'm after a side attached companion. Never mind, I will make more white ''lace'' like cloth which actually looks like bubbles to me (hence the title of today's post)....I will then endeavour to choose the correct colours for the roses. Note to self......choose your colours before it goes dark Karen.
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Monday, May 23, 2016


The silk piece, the petal piece is almost completely embroidered....just one or two petals left to embellish. Having said that, I may add something else to that surface, I'm thinking......
The gingham piece has more work needed too, lots more work. Thing is, I have wondered for some time whether these two pieces would live together happily so I tried it this morning. I think they do. What do you think? 
I can't stay long today, there's cake to eat. Happy Birthday to me!
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Sunday, May 22, 2016

buttons and bling

As you know I am about to get new cabinets in which to keep all things've been sorting out which mainly consists of moving one pile of stuff to another space and replacing it with another pile of stuff. Whilst shuffling piles of stuff I came across a couple of things which came back from France with me, a blingy pillow and two sets of buttons. They are now in the shop.
I've been embroidering lace cloth quietly for a few days now, for a class related project. Meantime, whilst my mind is wandering to all things sample and portfolio related whilst I stitch  it also wandered back a few years to a past project. I don't want to say too much about that today in case I create a huge mess which I can't share but this afternoon I plan to doodle with that project in mind, alter it, move it on and hopefully it will be the start of something ''quite'' that I mean, same stitches, same cloth (one trick pony here) but different patterning....hopefully....
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Saturday, May 21, 2016


Another piece has been created for my ''sample portfolio'' plan. Here I have taken photographs of the ''whites'' for this collection along with the new piece finished yesterday. More paper based work is needed and I intend to remount everything I have put together up until now....I'm not happy with the mounts. My paper has arrived for that but now I'm waiting for silk ribbon. meantime I will create more pieces. Sampling samples is what I have decided to call this process. Create embroidered samples, mount them, decide you aren't happy and do them again.... - See more at:

Friday, May 20, 2016

Embroidery, lace, Marimekko and thread

It's been a busy week...I resisted temptation in Paperchase. I would say that was my biggest achievement. New cabinets have been bought, white of course....they go on the wall next week. An expert will be doing it so they don't immediately collapse which is what would happen if we did it. I sorted out a cupboard, (second image) and if you can spot anything alcohol related in that image it has nothing to do with me. The red box, I bought that from a Graduate at a Degree show several years ago. It was part of her final collection of gift wrapping paraphernalia. The ceramic bowls in that image are extra special, hold  a lot of affection and good memories for me. I exhibited in London alongside the guy who made those several years ago. When I got home a parcel was waiting for me, those bowls, a gift from him. Since then he has become a superstar and was artist in residence at the V&A earlier this claim to fame...he gifted me some of his work.
The cupboard with the untidy books...I still need to sort that out. I'm hoping to get a lot of things ''sorted out'' over the next couple of weeks. Famous last words I know but at least I have done one cabinet, that's further than I have ever gotten before. Finally, the last post man making me and pencils. Thank you. Marimekko pencils???? Who knew....
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Friday, May 13, 2016

stripes, silk, samples,

The latest ''in progress'' sample for my planned mini sample portfolios. This one has striped silk in shades of grey and off whites which I bought in London earlier this year. So far one seam is embellished with French knots and web stitches run the length of a strip of striped silk. When I laid this piece alongside the piece from yesterday it struck me how well they live together, it started me thinking about a bigger piece using this combination of cloth. I am resisting though, trying not to get distracted.
The main reason for my resistance is a plan I have to develop something which I have been working on for class, for ''stitching a  story....'' My girls don't even know yet but hopefully when it develops I can share a tiny glimpse of it on here for you. The girls get to hear about it on Sunday.....
(stitching a story girls......I may be able to post late Saturday afternoon. I will let you know :))

Simply Stitch 4 was re-listed as a work on your own class yesterday after a couple of requests.. You will find that here.
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Thursday, May 12, 2016

white and gimp......for a sample portfolio

Another sample, white, gimp, pleated net...the next step in my sample portfolio play. This one has couched gimp overlaid across pleated net,  a seam of French knots and four tiny cutwork circles worked on a strip of cotton lace. There was quite a bit of response to my queries, my ''wondering'' from Tuesday, thank you for that. I am leaning towards three double spreads, six embroidered pieces in total and keeping them all the same colour, consistent, for example...shades of white, subtle blues and grey in one collection. Other portfolios will have brighter colours, pinks, lemons, brighter's still very much a ''work in process'' and requires much more ''wondering'' but I am part way there. - See more at: