Mother and Child

I embroidered this version of Pierre-Auguste Renoir’s Mother and Child in 1998. I don’t know how large the original red chalk drawing is but my version is 4.5 x 5.5 inches. In the drawing, the mother might actually be sewing something but it wasn’t possible to say for sure from the greetings card that I used as my source. I had forgotten that I gave her a piece of needlelace. I’m not even sure that the fountain in the background is part of the original either.


journey piece finished

I picked up my recent journey piece again this week and finished it less than half an hour ago. When I’ve posted this entry the embroidery will be put in the box that holds the other finished projects that I have no use for.¬† I didn’t enjoy sewing with crewel wool as much as I do with standard embroidery floss and I don’t know if it’s the wool itself or the fabric I was using.

journey piece2


dress form a la Mrs G

I can rarely buy trousers off the peg within my budget that fit me and since I actually took an evening class course on how to construct patterns, I thought it was time that I made my own again. I’m an avid fan of the Great British Sewing Bee, even if I don’t always agree with the judges, and I’m sure that watching the latest series played no small part in my decision to put pattern to fabric once more, that and the fact that if I make my own clothes I have no-one to blame if they don’t fit.

This week my pattern drafting books were brought back into the workroom from the garage where they’ve been for ten years and I began again to construct base paper patterns. In one book I had entered my measurements as they were then, twenty years ago – the last time I actually did any proper dressmaking, and I was slimmer then by almost two sizes. I consoled myself at that point by reminding myself that I am now a mature woman and it’s alright to have a mature figure to match but I don’t much like me this way so the calorie counting starts again Monday.

I knew that making the patterns would not be too big a problem but without a fellow dressmaker to hand, checking the fit of the resultant muslin would be. I had bought what is really a shop display dummy (as opposed to a proper dressmaking form) from a charity shop a decade ago but the size was too small for anything but checking hems or hanging scarves from, until this week when it struck me that I could simply pad it out to my size. In a trawl of local charity shops yesterday, I bought a padded cot bumper and an extra-large simple sleeveless cotton knit dress. The bumper wadding¬† was used to roughly pad the form where necessary and then stitched to the original stretchy cover and the dress was made into a new cover. I think I now have a workable dress form and although it’s not an exact copy of my shape, the essential dimensions match me sufficiently to be of use and the wadding can be removed or, heaven forbid, added to easily. The wadding also makes it a little squidgy in places, just like me.

dress form 1

dress form 2

Jasper update

Jasper likes nothing better than to recycle the recycling. With a paper bag clamped in his jaws he padded in from the kitchen one morning, with an “I dare you to try and take this bag from me!” gleam in his eye. I noticed that the bag was from my son’s shop Tea Ink, so I had to take a photo.


Big Sis’s wip

I added a few stitches yesterday and then thought that I ought to take a piccie before doing any more. I’ll post again as I do more to it so that Big Sis can see that it’s not just stuck in a cupboard!

The office I worked in twenty years ago had organised a coach trip to a stitch and craft show at the NEC in Birmingham and as Big Sis was visiting me at the time, we took the opportunity to go. She bought this Footpath to Quarndon Rowandean kit and I bought Barbara and Roy Hirst’s book Raised Embroidery. I have to own up to always wanting to stitch this. I think I badgered Big Sis into buying it, saying that it would be quick to stitch. Quicker than twenty years anyway! I haven’t given up on my own thirty-odd years old wip in case you were wondering. I keep it near and add some more stitches now and again so it too will eventually be finished – promise!

footpath to Quarndon

journey piece

Whenever I travel to visit Big Sis I like to have some embroidery to do during the long train journey there and back and this time round I began a piece of crewel work. I had a supply of Appleton’s crewel wool, bought when it was on special offer at my local stitchy shop and I used Jane Rainbow’s book Beginner’s Guide to Crewel Embroidery for my inspiration. I had a close look at the fabric earlier and it appears to be 28 count Aida or similar and was chosen a) because it takes the wool easily and b) I just happened to have some – bought for a reason now unknown. It’s not a fabric I would naturally chose to embroider on as I don’t like to see where the warp and weft intersect when I’m stitching – it somehow upsets my stitching rhythm, and I also find that I can’t get the same degree of outline detail on it when using a single thread but it’s ideal for the fine crewel wool.

It might take a while to finish this piece. I didn’t take it out of my case during my visit or on the return journey and only stitched the green calyxes after rehooping it on Wednesday. What I should concentrate on is a half-completed kit piece begun twenty years ago by Big Sis which I coerced her into allowing me to take away on the understanding that I would actually finish it so I better get cracking!

blue flowers


Humpty Dumpty

Humpty and the messenger are off the hoop. I gave the piece a short rinse in cold soapy water and then lightly ironed it from the back before stretching it while still damp but I can see a couple of places where my marker still shows so when I return from Scotland I’ll wash and stretch it once more before taking it to the framers. The original John Tenniel illustration is only ever shown in black and white so the colours of the outfits are my choice. Calico background, DMC cotton embroidery threads, mainly long and short stitch and the messenger’s hat is needlelace.

humpty final



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