2007 was a busy stitching year but mainly because I did some very large projects. I am trying to develop my skills with blackwork and goldwork so I did a lot of that at the start of the year.If you are interested in blackwork then look at this web site as they have some wonderful free patterns to get you started.

The first finishes were actually completed in Dec 06 as they were Xmas presents. My Embroiderer’s Guild branch held a workshop in Nov for goldwork. I had done a little bit before but this picture was the workshop project and I finished it quickly and gave it to my aunt for Xmas. I was pleased with it but it is not the sort of thing I would normally do as I prefer more historical designs. The shimmer effect in the background of the picture is made by layering organza – there are two colours of organza for the hills and water and then a full layer of pale organza over the whole picture. I used some wide variegated dye organza ribbon for the hills and sea in lovely blues and greens and it worked well.
Goldwork picture

I also made some little handbag mirrors with blackwork as presents for all of the women of the family.
Handbag mirrors
These are motifs from a larger Elizabethan Garden in knotwork that I made for my Mum – sadly no pics of that- but I have used these motifs for cards as well as they are so quick to stitch and really effective.The pattern comes from a book on Elizabethan Cross Stitch by Barbara Hammet that I bought some years ago. It has the most wonderful patterns in – now all I need to do is to give up work full time so that I can do them all!

I decided to experiment with goldwork so I designed this flower for my Mum from scratch with no pattern. It is stitched on black velvet and I think it has come out really well. The hardest part was cutting the aperture for framing it – I have a circular cutting tool that I got as a freebie but kept cutting it too big!
Goldwork flowerGoldwork Flower - close up
The close up pic is bit fuzzy but I hope you can see the flower head which is different gold and bronze seed beads which worked well.

NeedlebooksThis was my first finish of 2007 in terms of getting the stitching done and is actually a set of presents for stitching freinds of mine for Xmas 2007. I didn’t end up putting them together as needlebooks till Sept though when my Embroiderer’s Guild branch held their exhibition and I wanted to display them. The patterns come from New Stitches mag and from one of my many blackwork books (the oak leaf one). I chose the oak leaf as it is my friend Bev’s symbol in re-enactment. The other two designs are for Kerry and Tracey who are also in the re-enactment group. Last year I made them all little pots to keep pins in using similar blackwork motifs and I have more gifts in the pipeline. I have no pics of the pots sadly as I was not taking stitchie photos then. I now record everything I do.We all sew a lot because of making the costume and they are also keen on embroidery as well especially things that we can actually sit and do in our shows like needlepoint and goldwork.We are having a stitching workshop in Feb where we can spend the weekend creating a new project each that we can work on during shows as the public are always really keen to see what we do.

My next project was a much bigger piece of goldwork that I could not resist when I saw it in Classic Stitches magazine.
Tudor Rose
The design is called Tudor Rose and is taken from a historical piece which is in the collection at Liverpool Cathedral which I have yet to visit but would love to.It is very typical of Elizabethan goldwork motifs – particularly those found on priest’s garments. I love the goldwork in churches and spend as much time as I can on holidays (and as the kids will put up with!) visiting churches to see that and the religious art.

It took about 50 hours and was my first go at using real silk thread which I bought from the Silk Mill. I am now hooked on silk even if it is more expensive than normal thread – it gives such a wonderful sheen and is more authentic for my historical stitching as well. This was going to be a present as well but I could not part with it. I took it to our Embroider’s Guild exhibition in Sept and was thrilled to have it picked to go to the national Guild stand at the Harrogate and Doncaster exhibitions a few months ago.

Some friends of ours from re-enactment got married in June so my next project was a wedding gift for them.
Wedding pic
Again it was a very large project which took about 30 hours to do. The design is from New Stitches mag and I thought it was perfect when I saw it. I will eventually stitch one of these for me as well. It was stitched on Aida with a gold fleck in the fabric and I used a real jewel for the lady’s necklace which you can see in the close up below.
Wedding pic - close up
We had a wonderful day at their wedding – below is a pic of Jennie and Blackie the happy couple – despite the awful weather we have had this summer they were blessed with  beautiful sunshine (which was very lucky as we were all in our best costumes for the day!) and we had a wonderful time with a tournament and fantastic banquet.
Jennie and Blackie

My next project was also for a wedding – this time for a friend from work whose daughter was getting married. I had offered to make the bride and her three bridesmaids bags and chose small Elizabethan flower motifs as they were getting married in an Elizabethan hall in York. I stitched the flowers in silk thread on  silk dupion fabric and used gold jap couched around the flowers and beads for accents.
Bridal bags
The bride’s bag is the top gold one and had four flowers stitched on it and the others are for the bridesmaids and they had two flowers each. You can only see one of the flowers on each bag in the pic. I lined them with satin and used gold filigree aiglets on the ends of the ribbons that pull together to close the bags.

I then decided to make myself a similar bag to wear when I am re-enacting (though on linen not silk as I am not a rich enough charcter to have been able to afford silk) but have not finished that yet. All the stitching is done but not the making up so that will be a 2008 finish.

My last project was another Guild workshop – this time on crewelwork.
Crewelwork-close up

This pattern is taken from one of the oldest published needlework books ‘A Scholehouse for the Needle’ – first printed in the 1600s – (I used a copy obviously!) that the workshop tutor had and was my first attempt at crewel. I am very pleased with the way the grapes turned out – you can see those in the close up pic. This was supposed to be a present but I have not found a suitable box to mount it in yet so for now it is framed and on my mantlepiece.

The workshop tutor, Alison Larkin from the Guild of Miniature Needle Arts , had brought along her work on miniature embroidery, lots of which is made for dolls’ houses and is historical. A couple of weeks later I managed to get to see more amazing miniature work at Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire, including more of Alison’s . The level of work was fantastic with some stitched on 100 count silk gauze! My eyes are bad enough with 28 count evenweave! The Hall also has a wonderful collection of full size embroidery from around the world. If you get the chance do go and visit – the house is fantastic as well.The miniature embroidery exhibition has finished but there is lots else to see that makes it worth a trip.

I then started on the little Xmas ornies and from Sept on have mainly done these and the baubles and cones. I am pleased with what I have finished this year and feel I have really learnt a lot of new techniques.