•August 18, 2017 • 1 Comment

Is for dragon (Well, duh!)

He’s basically the puppy dog dragon, but done in silk appliqué. I’m pretty much doing medieval mixed media here.

It was my original intention that all the lettering be done in the same dark brown/black, but I realised that dragon had to be written in fire.

I’m having loads of fun with this. There is a very strong chance that it won’t even get shortlisted for the competition, but I don’t care.

IN other news, there’s still time to order a Christmas stitchalong dragon kit

In other other news, I got a new laptop at last, so I’ll try and sort out the sidebar photos and shop soon. Gareth has accepted it as normal, or at least girlfriend normal, that I got not in the least bit excited about my shiny new MacBook, but got very animated and explained to him in great, and very enthusiastic detail about how lovely my new £25 planishing hammer is instead. I actually got more excited about the Hokusai cover I bought for the laptop than I did about the computer.


•August 17, 2017 • 6 Comments

I wanted C to be for cats, but thought it ought to be for calligraphy.

Fortunately my brain rejects anything serious, and so I bring you – Calligraphic Cats!

I adapted the shapes from the two catlike beasts from the luttrell psalter and I think they work well.

Cats are in laid and couched work. I’m doing most of the lettering in split stitch.

I’m not entirely sure “calligraphic” is an actual word, but I don’t care/.


•August 16, 2017 • 12 Comments

B is for book, obviously.

A couple of days after coming back from the manuscript day I tracked down some proper animal skin parchment, you can buy offcuts quite cheaply from the manufacturer. I did ask, and was hoping they would send me some pippins or bits with holes, but alas it was not be.

Instead I made a very small book (it’s about two inches high). Not being a calligrapher I tried googling the best inks to use on vellum and parchment, but unfortunately all google came up with was inks for the proprietary brands of paper known as vellum and parchment.

After much though I decided that sharpie works on everything. And I do like superfine sharpies, so it was a good excuse to treat myself to a rainbow set.

So B is for book.

I am ridiculously pleased with my miniature rendition of Van der Weyden’s Magdalene reading, because drawing small is just so not my thing – I’m usually a bit more impressionistic (which is a euphemism for messy and scrawly in my case). The ink showing through from the other pages is fine – it’s not because I used sharpie, it’s the nature of the parchment, which is quite translucent – this is evident form the Luttrell psalter.

The blue cushion upon which the book sits is leftover silk ribbon from my c17th jacket – damn stuff cost 8quid a metre, so I might as well use up the leftovers.

B is also for Bodleian.

which I managed to misspell, so I had to add a footnote explaining that scribal errors are authentic, because I don’t have much parchment. The drawing is my rendition of the library’s own logo.

B is also for bishop.

Seeing as how they were supposed to be able to read.

B is also for bottom.

Because there are lots of those.

And finally B is for bestiary.

I didn’t quite manage to make the elephant sky blue pink with yellow dots on, but at least it’s pink. (And yes, that is a poo emoji the heffalump has just deposited).

Competition entry A

•August 15, 2017 • 2 Comments

Few months ago I had a day trip to the Bodleian library to look at manuscripts. The idea was to get entries for a competition “reinventing the medieval book”. To be completely honest I wasn’t sure I wanted to enter, but I thought I’d go along for the free day trip, then I got all interested and decided I would enter.

I was interested in the contrast between books that last for centuries, but are made from the skins of baby animals, so I decided to make a medieval baby book, with an A to Z of medieval manuscripts.

SO first I needed a long thin strip of wool for the scroll. In order to keep the “pages” neat, I first pulled out some threads to define the squares for each letter.

Next I took some cochineal dyed thick silk and put a running stitch through the drawn thread. You always think running stitch will be dead quick and easy, but in reality this little job took me three hours. The square are quite small, only about 11cm.

So once I had pages I could start my alphabet. A is for Alfred, because he was all in favour of literacy, and because this allows me to save some time by re-using the Alfred jewel embroidery I did for the ashmolean class earlier in the year. I’m basing the script on that used in the luttrell psalter, including the twirly bits around the capital letters.

Guess which letter comes next? go on, I bet you can’t guess…


•August 14, 2017 • 9 Comments

I had a day of textile demos and storytelling at Nuneaton museum on Saturday, and for once I actually remembered to take photos!

(possibly this was because there were signs all over the place saying that no photography was allowed, but I did get the ok)

I finished my puppy dog dragon that I started at pontefract in May. He was worked over the course of four events.

I rather like him, he might become a kit. At the IMC three lovely boys from China came to see him and we’re trying to teach me the proper name for the Chinese elemental dragon who holds a pearl, but in the end we agreed that this dragon is too silly to be an elemental, because he’s obviously playing fetch with his ball.

I didn’t put everything on display, I’m having to edit things these days. But it was interesting because the temporary display in the other gallery was of some small woven tapestries, and of course, most people seeing embroidery will say ” ooh, look, tapestries!”, so for once I was able to point them at real tapestry to see the difference.

Stitchalong dragon

•August 9, 2017 • 17 Comments

Gareth thought she was looking lovely (I think it’s a girl dragon) but kept muttering I’d ruin it by putting gold on.

He has admitted that he was wrong.

Chris the dragon doesn’t just use laid and couched work like previous stitchalong beasties, she also uses trellis couching, opus style split stitch, cloisterstitch, german brick stitch, and some couched outlines with gilded leather. So although she uses authentic stitches, this many different techniques would not have been used together in period, but I was having fun because this is an original design.


there is an ebay listing if you prefer, but it’s more expensive due to fees


The shop is out of order at the moment, but I’m getting a new laptop next week, so hopefully will be up and running again by the end of the month. In the mean time if you would like any of the other kits (unicorn, leopard, baby leaf tailed dragon, rabbit hunting, wilfrid manykecks, owl physician,)just pm me.

Dragon is roughly cushion sized, so about twelve inches finished size.

Kit includes marked canvas, individual colour key, veg dyed wools, fluffy silk thread for the dragons hat, needle and gilded leather. The kit can be made up with whatever colour dragon you choose, she would look lovely in red or blue or purple.

Price forty two pounds plus post (3 uk. 5 Europe. 6 usa/oz)

I’m also offering marked canvas only for twelve pounds plus post

If you want to work with your own materials there will be a pdf with the first post, which will be on the first of September, and you’ll need an even(ish) weave canvas and some nice colours of thread – crewel wool is recommended.

First posting will be beginning of September, fortnightly after that.


Some things.

•August 6, 2017 • 8 Comments

I have been utterly rubbish the last few weeks. I forgot to take photos at the IMC, at pontefract, and at the Lincolnshire embroidery guild AGM, but luckily, Jayne Hudson sent me a picky of her finished dragon from the Lincoln class

I love the orange eyeshadow with matching orange toenail polish. My aunty margy likes to tell of the time before my mum had met my dad, when the two of them went to a disco. Margy was so horrified by my mums lime green trouser suit with coordinated orange accessories that she made mum get off the bus early so they wouldn’t be seen entering the disco together. But am sure this little chap will be the absolute belle of the dragon disco.

I made some Anglo Saxon outfits for Preston park museum in Stockton this week, here modelled by Sophie ( still have to make her a headdress)

And I haven’t seen much of Gareth because he’s been down the bottom of the garden.

” I’m building a third greenhouse” he says

“just a little one” he says

” it’s only for a few sarracenias because I’m sick of having them in the conservatory” he says

” it really won’t be that big” he says

goes down the far end of the garden…