Stitch along materials list and kit option

•August 27, 2014 • 45 Comments


This is the dragon I’ve gone with for the front of the stitch along purse, he’s based on a c12th capital from st Pierre chauvigny, France

I missed out the nekkid guy getting eaten.

I’ve gone for a biggish purse, about 7 inches square for the design area, as smaller is more difficult and I don’t want to make things too hard for any beginners taking part. It’s not big enough to be unachievable within our time frame though.

And the leopard for the reverse side will be a surprise.

The kit is listed on folksy and will contain

- wool ground fabric( please note that I will mark out the design unless otherwise specified) 2x12inch square.
– naturally dyed embroidery thread, enough for both front and back designs,braids, and tassels. Five colours plus white, if you’re using your own you want something about the weight of appletons crewel, nothing too heavy.
– needle
– linen thread for assembly
– wax for linen thread
– silk brocade or damask lining fabric
– silk thread to sew lining
– individual colour key

As with the baby dragons no two kits will be alike, since I don’t want two people having identical purses. Some will have minor variations, others will be entirely different colour schemes, so if you would like a red or green dragon, say so when ordering, or tell me here, otherwise don’t bitch when you get what you’re given.

Complete kits are listed on my folksy shop ( button in side bar) or comment and I can send you a paypal invoice. I’ve also listed a simple wooden frame of the sort I use for classes,( frame is uk only) some of the white ramie I use for opus Anglicanum, and some gilded leather strips for appliqué.

If you only want a kit for one side of the purse without the trimmings, leave a comment and I’ll sort it out.

I’m going to post each stage on the first Friday of each month between now and Christmas. So that’s September 5th, October 3rd, November 7th, and December 5th. That’s my time, and could be any time that day, possibly the day before if I’m going to be away for any reason.

Cushion complete

•August 23, 2014 • 12 Comments

I was going to lay this aside because I had more important things to do, but then I wasn’t feeling well and anything that involved thinking just wasn’t going to happen – so the cushion got finished.


I was going to do corner tassels, but then realised I’m still a bit too brain dead for tassels.

I’m quite pleased with it, even though the central shield is a little skewiff. If I did another I think I’d sew the shield on last- you live and learn.

When my brain is working again, probably Wednesday, I’ll post the materials list and kit options for the stitchalong.

Working weekend

•August 19, 2014 • 6 Comments

I meant to post this yesterday, but got a bit overexcited about the fabric because it felt like I’d been waiting for weeks. In reality it was probably ten days. I think in these days of internet shopping we are so used to things turning up almost instantaneously, waiting for the spoonflower order was like being a kid again, when anything mail ordered meant waiting a month whilst cheques were cashed and pack mules ambled their way across the Pennines – at least I always imagined it was pack mules since it seemed to take forever.

Anyway, the weekend at the ashmolean. We had Friday ambling round town because I’d booked the hotel too early, which was nice because I really really needed a day off- I spent over a week prepping stuff.

The appliqué course on Saturday was jolly good fun. Nobody actually finished but everybody made good progress. I’m hoping people send me finished pics because as usual I was so preoccupied making sure everyone had what they needed I forgot to take any.

Sunday, the first of three opus Anglicanum days, was slower and more serious, but I think everyone got the basics enough to make their own progress for next time. We were concentrating on drapery, and I’m hoping everyone takes the time to work on theirs because it will leave them better prepared to do the faces next time. I will try to take progress pics next time.

For today I have pics if a second appliqué piece I started as a sample. This one is taken from a German hanging in the europaische stickereien book. I’ve done one of the 12 panels as a cushion.

I normally cut all of my pieces and tack them before sewing anything, but in this case I thought it would be best to start with the couched vine that acts as the foundation for the whole design. I was keen to play with the 2 1/2 / 2 fluffy white silk I’d just bought because it’s so soft it feels like it’s made from kittens. I can never see the point in marking organic designs with too much precision, so I simply roughed out a single line with tailors chalk.


It was enough to keep me on the right track, and I added twigs and what have you as I went. The outer line was the hard part and then the inner just sort of followed round. I didn’t bother plunging the silk through the background wool, instead I just ended it so that could eventually be covered by a flower


I kind of liked it at this stage, but of course to replicate the original it needs leaves and flowers. These are mostly so tiny it made no sense to tack them, instead I’ve simply been holding each one in place as I sewed ( this wool is like fuzzy felt and doesn’t slip much) and I’ve been sewing the leather strip on as I go.


I’m hoping I have time to finish it soon because I really like they way it’s looking, but I need to concentrate on a couple of articles and of course the stitch along first.

Much excited squealing

•August 18, 2014 • 14 Comments

Was heard in these parts earlier today, because my spoonflower order arrived.image

A whole lot of doctor who fabric. Ok, so it’s sold in flagrant breach of copyright, of that I’m sure, but before auntybeeb complains I’d like to point out that the one and only licensed who print is absolutely crap.

Gareth is delighted with the calvin and Hobbes tardis print, which is for his shirt only, and we both love the vitruvian dalek. I love the who damask for it’s clever design, and the tardis panelling for it’s subtlety.

I took the chance to order whilst the pound was strong against the dollar because spoonflower is pretty pricey, but for something special it’s definitely worth it. A word of warning to anyone considering it though- they sell in yards rather than the metres were used to in the uk, and the cloth is relatively narrow. Even so I might have overcompensated by ordering 16 yards for 4 shirts, but I’m planning on seeing what I can make for myself with the leftovers. It seemed better to get more than I needed because I wasn’t sure how my patterns would fit the narrow width, and international shipping is pretty hefty.

Later this week I’m going to play with the delft clay casting set that’s lain in my workshop untouched for years- melting scrap silver into question mark custom buttons for custom shirts sounds like an excellent first project!

Tristram applique

•August 12, 2014 • 6 Comments

Today I made an ipad cover based on the Tristram appliqué. I ended up binding the top because I experimented with a blanket stitched top edge and it really wasn’t working for me- unpicking might have shredded the edge so it was more sensible to bind it


I made it as a sample for the appliqué workshop on Saturday as I want people to stick to smallish things so they’ll stand a chance of finishing them on the day. I’m thinking ipad covers, small bags or little cushions.

fairytale coat – the truth about puss in boots

•August 6, 2014 • 18 Comments

This post is written by Branston. You can tell because my grammar and punctuation are generally far superior to my monkey’s.

I get very annoyed when I watch that “Shrek” film with my monkey. I’m not frightened of the ogre, you understand, I’m far too brave. No, get annoyed when that so-called “Puss In Boots” charachter appears. You see, as usual, Hollywood has got it all wrong – that Banderas voiced ninny has about as much to do with the real Puss as me wandering into our local branch of Boots the chemist to buy flea treaments. Not that I ever get fleas, of course, and even if I did I would send the Monkey to Boots.

No, I get irritated because Hollywood portrays our glorious hero as a ginger cat.

Ginger – seriously? Do these idiots not know how to research? Do they know nothing of felines?

The famous puss of legend could never have been ginger, as any fool would know, because (and you’ll have to excuse me being racist here, but it has to be said) gingers are feckwits. The average ginger cat is even more stupid than my poor deluded monkey, and trust me, that’s pretty damn stupid.

If they had done even the slightest bit of research, if they had even bothered to ask the average kitty in the street, even a ginger would have told them Puss In Boots was a greykin.

The legend could only have been a greykin, becuase grey cats are without doubt the cleverest, most intelligent, cunning, witty, suave, dextrous, glorious, bravest, handsomest (~cough~this is your monkey, Branston, I think that’s enough adjectives, thank you)and bestest kitties in the world.

Determined to right this wrong, I had stern words with my monkey. I told her that Puss In Boots on the fairytail coat had better be grey. I even modelled, because I’m helpful that way.

Of course, the results don’t really do justice to the model. I’m far more handsome and dashing in the flesh…

branny in boots

I do look good in boots though.

Tullie house beastie

•August 4, 2014 • 11 Comments

I got another lovely surprise yesterday, this time by email. Caroline, on of the participants at the Tullie house workshop last weekend, sent me a picture of her finished beastie.


The very neatly embroidered Latin was provided by her son peter, and translates as “here ( is ) moss with his bone”. The pose was based on that of the leopard from my Noah’s ark, and works splendidly for a collie.

I’m chuffed to bits to see this finished( and Ann’s unicorn- I’m noticing a trend that people who base their designs around their dogs finish quickly).

And here’s the handsome fellow who modelled for the embroidery



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