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

Thursday, February 12, 2009


Hi! I meant to post early this week but it has been horrendous here, dust, builders, boxes, rubbish and to cap it off I have been unwell. Some kind of gastric thing the doc says so although I have been off work for three whole days almost nothing pleasurable has taken place at all. One good thing did come from this health hiccup though, plenty of time to browse online and look what I got off ebay! The most beautiful vinatge cloths, I put my bids in and waited and waited. I got beaten to it on another two but I am not very good at this auction thing, I don't have the patience or the inclination to watch the clock go down and pounce, credit card in hand to out bid some stranger who obviously wants something more than I do.
I couldn't believe how opening these packages and handling these pieces of cloth inspired me. I felt a compelling urge to stitch, honestly, I was so excited. ( does that sound like I need to get out more?? Maybe to some people but I know there are others who will totally understand what I am talking about) These pieces reminded me of how much pleasure I got from making 'wrapping cloth eight'. I had truly enjoyed the use of colour in that, colours like those our grandmothers would have used.

Then I found this, in amongst all the debris, a sample from about two years ago, very simple stitching on cotton fabric using similar colours to those in my vintage cloth.

Then I came across these, samples I had made to use in my teaching practice when I was doing my PGCE. Heavy 'proper' hand embroidery, time consuming and extremely satisfying to create.

This one has to be my favourite, it's probably the placement of the flowers, I like order and precision although you wouldn't believe me if you could see my house at the moment!! In a funny kind of way I also love the spaces, the white emptiness.

So here I am, a highly excited, inspired embroiderer with a very sore stomach itching to stitch! I am on it, new work has begun. I don't know what it will be yet, it may turn into an edge for swaddling band two, a new swaddling band, a component of a totally different piece I have been ruminating on, who knows, definitely not me yet. Enjoy what is left of the week, holidays next week (yipee) and hopefully more embroidery and lots of blogging.


Victoria said...

I am trying to pick my favorite, but I can't, as they are all stunning. Now I must wipe the drool off of my keyboard.

Hope you are feeling much better and that the home improvement will soon be over!

Miss 376 said...

What a good buy, no wonder you felt inspired. Hope all the chaos is sorted soon and you're feeling better

Gina said...

I love the densley stitched sample with the pink heart.

Kayla coo said...

Hope your feeling better Karen.
I love the colours in the old threads,beautiful.
I like those knotted stitches grouped together.x

Threadspider said...

My favourite is the one with the tiny French knots, like little sweets. What a lovely restrained colourfest.

MargB said...

Of course I love them all. What is the fabric ???twill?

Guzzisue said...

buying off e-bay can be a kind of magic as you have just shown(slso too tempting) hope you are feeling better and pick up that needle:-)

Ulla said...

I hope you are feeling better by now. I like your finds on e-bay, they look a lot like my inherited table cloths in the making. My favourite of your samples is the middle flower of the symmetric sample, the long stitches in another colour give it a nice touch.

Jacky said...

What wonderful embroideries...great ebay purchases!

Love your own pieces too, so beautiful and the detail!!!

Hope you are feeling better Karen.

Jacky xox

Diane said...

I so hear you on the gastric thing. Terrible isn't it? I also spent a lot of time browsing these last two months with all my health problems and Ebay teased me many a time. I have ordered many things from there and I get just as excited as you do. Your stitchwork is lovely, as always :)

Theresia said...

I love your embroidery, beautiful!

Embroidery Digitizing said...

Your designs are beautiful! I love how the flowers.. You used colorful combinations that that make the whole design so gorgeous!