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WINTER 09/10

han netw







welcome to the

first issue of needle EDITORIAL


We hope you will enjoy the many varied articles from around the world. This is truly an international magazine dedicated to Embroidery in all its forms. We would like to thank everyone who has submitted an article and those who have supported our ideas. This first issue is packed with inspirational stories, amazing works of art and projects for you to have a go at. So sit down, wrap up warm and don’t forget the hot choc and marshmallows and enjoy a read to see you through the winter months.



01. The Sublime Stitcher Jenny Hart 05. Textile Holiday Tours 07. St Paul’s Cathedral London 11. An African Rainbow 19. Stories of Cloth 37. The Wisdom of Grannies 40. A knitting phenomenon

13. A Persian Journey in Felt 51. Book review - The art of embroidery



03. Susan Sorrell 15. Maria Paula Dufour 23. Joetta Maue 29. Emma Ferguson 30. Kiwi Punch Designs 35. Fiber Artist Karen Payton

41 The 12 days of Christmas 49. Ribbonwork Scissor Case - Poinsettia


57. The Hand Embroidery Network 58. Online embroidery tuition

Sarah & Andrew Whittle Editorial & Design

Advertise Submit content Regular Contributing Writer Shanti Johnson -

17. The Bead Journal Project 31. A History of Raised or Stumpwork 45. Crazy Quilting 48. Preserving Vintage Designs

BUSINESS 27. Selling online with Makers Online 63. Market place 65. HEN Directory

INTERVIEW 43. Sunny Orange County


EVENTS 61. Whats on guide


NEEDLE is published four times a year by the Hand Embroidery Network ( © 2009 The Hand Embroidery Network. Reproduction in part or in whole without written permission is strictly prohibited. The Editor reserves the right to edit, shorten or modify any material submitted. The views expressed by contributors are not necessarily those of NEEDLE or the Hand Embroidery Network.

The Sublime Stitcher

Jenny Hart, Artist and Entrepreneur Jenny Hart is an artist. It isn’t her work with pen and ink that has made her famous, however (although it is good enough to merit acclaim). Rather, her notoriety comes from the paintings she creates with needle and thread. Since 2001, this enterprising woman has been designing and creating contemporary takes on the more traditional genre of embroidery. Indeed, her revolutionary style has been at the forefront of the current renaissance in the American embroidery world, attracting crafters who might otherwise never have picked up a needle and thread. Recently, Hart was presented with the opportunity to expose her craft to those outside the U. S., exhibiting several of her artistic pieces at two fiber arts exhibits in France.

By Kate Donovan Houston Photography by Kenneth B. Gall


Needle caught up with Hart at her second exposition, “Fils Croisés,” at the Galerie L. J. in Paris. Featured among several up-and-coming European textile artists, including Sandrine Pelletier and Birgit Dieker, Hart used the exposition to

showcase examples of the work for which she has become famous. Her six pieces in the show-- three embroidered portraits, including one of Lou Reed wearing a crown of thorns, and three hand-drawn portraits embellished with embroiderystyle accents-- perfectly present her edgy, yet playful style. With examples of her work found in publications from Nylon to The New York Times and others adorning the walls of such celebrities as Elizabeth Taylor, there is no doubt that Hart has garnered a name for herself in the world of textile arts. Interesting enough, however, her fame comes less from her work in this genre and more from her wildly popular on-line business, Sublime Stitching, which she refers to as “the original source for alternative embroidery.” Surprisingly, Sublime Stitching didn’t arise out of Jenny Hart’s lifelong knowledge of embroidery. In fact, it’s hard to believe that until nine years ago, she didn’t even know how to sew! While going through a difficult time in her life, she felt the need to find a way to get a grip on the anxiety and uncertainty surrounding her. Sitting down next to her mother one day, she asked to learn how to embroider, and the rest is history. Her first embroidered piece was in fact a portrait of her mom, and a new artistic outlet for Hart was born, “I found embroidery to be immediately relaxing…. It’s the best outlet

for anxiety and depression.” More than just a means to relax, embroidery became for Hart a means to make a living. Started in 2001, Sublime Stitching grew out of the need she saw in the marketplace for updated patterns, more modern instructions, and a way for stitchers to share their art and their outlet, “I knew people wanted things other than dancing fruit and cute bunnies.” She certainly provided this, filling her online store’s offerings with images as varied as Roaring Twenties flapper girls to sushi rolls. The only employee for six years (“No vacations at all,” she laughingly points out), she now boasts several “helpers” on her payroll. Despite the growth of her brand, Hart wants her fame to rest with her work, “It’s important to me that people know that I’m on my own with Sublime Stitching. Yes, I have helpers, but I’m the designer. I’m the one who built the company from the ground up.” It is this very work, in fact, that brings her so much pleasure. The managing and daily work involved with the company has become almost as therapeutic for her as embroidery itself, “The contact with customers, being able to give people something they ask for… This sharing of information is a very rewarding experience for me.”

Hart admits that she is still surprised by the fame her work has brought her, but she finds it nice to know that she has made an impression on people. For her, the chance to participate in the alternative embroidery processes arising in the U. S., and indeed in Europe as well, gives her great pleasure, “I’m happy to have been able to collaborate with the people working in this arena.” Based on the influence Jenny Hart has had in revitalizing the once languishing art of embroidery, her colleagues surely feel the same about her. If you would like more information on Jenny Hart or Sublime Stitching, visit her websites:,, and


Susan Sorrell has always had a “wild imagination” growing up. Traveling all over the world with her father’s job, she has had to entertain herself with all kinds of arts and crafts. She didn’t become serious about art, until she made it her major at Winthrop University. Earning a Bachelor’s degree in Visual Design, Susan worked for a short time as a graphic artist, then decided to get her Masters in Education at Converse College, to teach art. Being around children was a great way to get her creative juices flowing, so she quit after 12 years and became a full time artist. Susan calls herself a “mixed media” artist, since she likes to dabble in a lot of different medias. She has been working with textiles since 1998 and hasn’t tired of it yet. Combining painting, sewing, beading and embellishing on fabric has opened new avenues to express her self. Her pieces are whimsical, colorful and have a personal theme. Susan likes to draw her inspirations from her life and what is happening in the world. Her recent series of work, “Southern Fried Fiber” is inspired by her “Southern” roots. Susan lives in Greenville, South Carolina,USA. To view more of Susan Sorrell work visit her websites at; 3


Textile Holiday Tours

experts on the Leek embroideries, textile restoration and contemporary art textiles, amongst many other activities. Lorraine aims to support the local economy whenever possible by using independent hotels, visiting small local textile businesses and utilising the services of local guides and experts.

Lorraine Traer-Clark is a textile enthusiast and maker and has been active in the textile word for a number of years. She launched Textile Holiday Tours in September 09 as she felt there were plenty of companies offering textile based tours overseas but there wasn’t a company in the UK offering holidays that take in the wealth of our textile heritage and our vibrant contemporary textile scene. Textile Holiday Tours fills this gap and is offering a selection of UK based breaks in 2010 that have a packed itinerary - seeing textiles in private collections, going behind the scenes at National Trust properties, visiting private studios and meeting


The tours are escorted by Lorraine and begin and end at the destination hotel, so you find your own way to the hotel. Once at the hotel, you will be picked up each morning and brought back each evening and most days, morning and afternoon refreshments together with lunch are included. These have been arranged in private rooms so there is no queuing or noisy crowds. A welcome dinner is always arranged so you can get to meet your fellow guests and make friends if you are traveling on your own. Then at the farewell dinner you can cement friendships and say goodbye. There are many highlights on the tours being offered, some of them being, at National Trust visits, you will go behind

the scenes and meet with the property’s experts; on the Arts and Crafts Tour whilst seeing the Leek embroideries (not normally accessible to the public) you will be guided by expert Dr Brenda King, you will learn about textile restoration with Jacqui Hyman and you will see inside the magnificent arts and crafts building Manchester Town Hall; you can book the Gardens and Textiles Tour and combine both your passions along with workshops run by Stacey Harvey-Brown; if contemporary textiles is your interest, you can visit The Stroud International Textile Festival with a special programme laid on by Festival Director Lizzi Walton. These are just a few highlights from the tours to find out more, or to order a brochure please go to www. or telephone 01621 869089.


By Arlene White

St Paul’s Cathedral London


April 2007 I became part of a project that has inspired me in such a way I would never had imagined - learning more about embroidery and teaching this to others. School of Needlework, and now working for herself. I met Kate at the Royal School, whilst doing a one-day Stumpwork class in March 2007, here we started talking about the project with Trisha who was already involved so Kate invited me along and so, as they say the rest is history. Kate had two troops of Volunteers working on Tuesdays and Fridays in the Crypt of St Paul’s Cathedral.

The project was to make four altar frontals, 14 chasubles, 8 dalmatics, 4 cross-bearers’ tunics, 110 stoles, 46 Copes, 1 mitre and other apparel needed for the everyday running of St Paul’s Cathedral in London. On this project I was privileged to work with some of the most talented and interesting embroiders I have ever met, and can now proudly call all my friends. Organiser of the project was Kate Sinton, a previous apprentice of the Royal

On my first visit I was introduced to the ladies who came on a Friday, and one special lady was a fellow Aussie, Athalie Colquhoun, well, we hit it off straight away, Athalie made me feel so much at home, and hence took me under her wing, and we kept everyone entertained in the Crypt with our Aussie antidotes and our unique Aussie humor and accent. Of course I jumped at the invitation to join the project, especially getting free tuition, working in the crypt of such a famous church and working alongside such talented ladies on the project. Along with the skills I have been taught - have been gold plating, and the placing of pearl purl on the crosses which were placed at the neck of the stoles. Working with gold pearl purl we also embroidered the D’s and the cross swords of St Paul’s onto to the same stoles. I have also been taught more gold work techniques, shadow work, and other much needed embroidery skills.

Working side by side with these very talented ladies we placed braiding, gold trimmings, crystals etc to the many vestments, and as shown above Anne and I are attaching the braiding to the purple altar frontal. When we were making the white and red altar frontals, I laid on the floor underneath them, as it was difficult to reach the centre, to place stitches, crystals and braids, so on my back laying on the Crypt floor I would push the needle through to the top, whilst either Kate, Daphne or Athalie would push it back through, it was great fun, the ladies all laughed at my Aussie ingenuity, although the floor did get a bit uncomfortable and cool.


On the 1st of November, All Saints day, when we were all privileged to be part of the blessing of three of the altar frontals, the green, white and purple one, (the red one was still being made), along with about 30 or so vestments, the Chasubles, and many of the stoles. The Dean took the blessing, followed by the All Saints’ day service. Michael my husband attended the service with us, and I must admit this was a highlight of my 2 years there, I was able to show him with great pride, the work I had taken part in and seeing this event with me, made me feel very proud too.


Late 2007 my husband and I moved to Scotland, during our 13 months there I traveled down 4 times to continue my work with them, and brought work back to Scotland to do. Late October 2008 I traveled to London for the final blessing ceremony of the last Alter frontal and the rest of the Copes. I also attended the exhibition held at Central St Martin’s in Holburn in London, we’re we saw our 3 years of work on display along with the Bishops cope and Miter.


Sarah Whittle is a contemporary artist based in Bacup, Lancashire, UK. My new work looks at bugs and insects particularly domestic pests. I have always loved illustrating nature from an early age and then started to take this into embroidery. I love all forms of embroidery techniques but particularly favour free hand embroidery and free machine embroidery. Due to my love for hand embroidery I have setup and manage the Hand Embroidery Network which is a social network website and attracts members from around the world. The Hand Embroidery Network is a free resource for hand and free machine embroiderers.


By Ansie Van der Walt

An African Rainbow South Africa is known as the Rainbow Nation - multi-coloured and multicultural. Just as the rainbow in the sky is a symbol of promise, so the Rainbow Nation is filled with promise - promise of enormous talent and creativity. Unfortunately for a large part of the population this rainbow is hidden behind the dark clouds of poverty, crime and AIDS. On the southern tip of this beautiful land, in a township called Khayelitsha, the sun is breaking through the storm clouds and a rainbow has appeared. This rainbow is called Mielie (meaning corn or maize) and


is the brainchild of Adri Schutz, designer and entrepreneur extraordinaire. Mielie products are handmade from the reclaimed by-products of local cottonmills. The weavers, better known as the Fa-Mielie, come to the workshop once a week to deliver finished products, spend some fa-mielie time with the other weavers and pick up new projects. The rest of the week they work at home while taking care of their children and earning a proper income. According to Adri a product is only considered successful if it creates a job, is mindful of the environment and is competitively and beautifully designed.

The vibrant colours of this rainbow radiate worldwide as the Mielie products are available as far afield as Europe, America and Australia. Not far away from this colourfulness there is another break in the clouds where once more a rainbow is visible. This time it is called Moxy. With a passion for all things colourful, creative and crochet, Laura Summs is the inspiration and driving force behind this team of previously unemployed women. Together they create vibrantly coloured and beautifully textured crochet blankets, cushions and accessories. They use mohair and wool

How Needlecraft bridges the gap between Traditional African Craft and Contemporary Design from the Eastern Cape and bamboo and cotton from Cape Town. As before, the ladies work at home and come together once a week for fellowship and to exchange finished work for new orders. Laura does all the assembling and finishing. She enthuses: “There is no crochet-machine. Every time you see a piece of crochet, you know somebody, somewhere, took the time to make this with their own hands. Crochet is nostalgic, it reminds us of our grandmothers and a time when life was spent in the slow lane...”

Khayelitsha is only one end of the rainbow. The other end is 1700km away in the far north of the country. In the foothills of the Upper Drakensberg, to the west of the Kruger National Park, lies a small town called Letsitele. This area is the home of the Shangaan people. They are well known for their unique style of embroidery and beadwork. Under the creative guidance of Irma van Rooyen, five embroiderers got together in 1989 to start an initiative called Kaross. Now 20 years later Kaross is the voice of 1000+ Shangaan people who are rewriting their culture by exploring their

traditions and re-applying it to modern products which are marketed worldwide. Solomon Mohati, an artist, sums it up beautifully when he says “I’m proud of my culture and want to share it with people from outside. Kaross makes me happy because we can work together with other South Africans creating unity and making art. Kaross helps people lead better lives.” Our Rainbow Nation is not just made up of many colours and cultures, but beautifully and lovingly embroidered, weaved and crocheted colours and cultures. Mielie: Moxy: Kaross: 12

Glasgow recently had a taste of beautiful Middle Eastern crafts, as Bita Ghezelayagh’s exhibition ‘Namad: A Persian Journey in Felt’ visited the Collins Gallery.

designs are inspired by traditional Turkoman motifs, charms, geometric shapes, birds and symbols. Lines from Persian literature are embroidered along the hem of some the garments.

Namads are thick felted ‘T’ shaped cloaks, traditionally worn by shepherds. The thick fleece is perfect for protection against the extreme cold. Bita has taken this functional, traditional garment and adorned it with bright silk embroidery, to create a fascinating collection of work.

A Persian Journ

Bita sources her namads from felt workshops in Borujerd and Khorramabad, Iran. Producing a namad is a very physical job, two or three men work on the fleece, using traditional felting techniques. No sewing is used, instead to create the namad shape hands are used to tie the fleece in to small knots. These joins have disappeared by the time the namad is finished to create a seamless garment. A shepherd would wear a plain namad, with a full length cut down the middle. The colour would be dependent on the type of fleece used; typically browns or beige. A new namad would be very stiff, so it would be worn over the shoulders. Over time, with regular use, the felt softens and the sleeves become functional. The namads on display however are unwearable; they have not been split down the middle, and the head hole is far too small. These namads are strictly textile art. It takes up to two months to design the embroidery to adorn the namad. The


from BBC Persia, a namad maker talks of ridicule. Felt manufacture is barely acknowledged, nor taught or supported by the government, and it is therefore possible that this skill could disappear altogether.

The namads are taken to Tehran to be hand embroidered by an Afghan woman and her daughter, it takes them approximately one month to complete a namad. The namads are stitched in thick threads of brightly coloured silk sourced from Qom city. The luminous blues, pinks and yellows gleam against the natural fleece backgrounds. The silk threads do not penetrate the full thickness of the felt. The stitch used is pokhtedoozi, a labour intensive technique of tight stitches, so that they do not get loose in wear, washing or ironing. Bita has also in the past used screen printing to decorate the namads.

My only complaint, slight that it is, that it would have been interesting to see the communication between Bita and the crafts people, the designs for the embroidery and to be able to compare these to the final piece. To see how the embroiderer interprets the artist’s instructions.

Bita has a background in architecture, interior design, film production and costume design. This exhibition draws a spotlight on traditional skills that are dying out. Why would a shepherd want a namad made today, when they could buy a coat made from the latest synthetic fibres? Namad manufacturing is not highly regarded in Iran, in the accompanying short documentary at the exhibition

The exhibition is next showing at the Quilt museum and Art Gallery in York from January to March 2010, and then travels to the Scott Gallery in Hawick for April and May 2010. Try to catch a look if you can.

The namads on display are visually stunning with the silk threads radiating. Hopefully exhibitions such as this, will help to save the jobs of the namad makers, preserve skills and raise awareness of endangered traditional crafts.

Tracey Gaughan

By Tracey Gaughan

ney in Felt




Maria Paula Dufour In her illustrations she incorporates the things she loves most: fabrics, patterns, paper, wool, buttons, fibers and embroidery. Her illustrations are inspired by old stories, memories, smells, objects found from the past and by the memories of those afternoons enjoying herself with her grandmothers. Those times and those memories, is what she calls “vintage”. Her work begins on the canvas: her blank sheet is the blank canvas, without any human intervention, which she then dyes by hand to achieve the colours she is looking for. She focuses her search of materials on what others consider waste: edges of fabric, flawed patterns and old clothing. In this way she reuses and recycles fabrics, textiles and papers, collaborating with the care of the environment.

sewing, drawing, embroidering, knitting, weaving or interweaving depending on the objective to be achieved. She also makes a record of the backs of her illustrations, which she calls “Reverse seams”, because there are also interesting frames that are not seen at first sight. Her passion for fabric was inherited from her grandmothers. Her paternal grandmother, Susana, inherited the skill and the ability to work, she knew wool and fabric. And, from her maternal grandmother, Elina, she inherited her sewing machine, with which she actually works, a foundational element in the art she loves most: COLLAGE. Collage is the language that María Paula Dufour has chosen to express herself and to make experiments. It gives her the freedom she needs to find the different framing and composition in her illustrations.

Maria Paula Dufour was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, in 1978. She graduated in Graphic Design at the University of Buenos Aires (UBA), in 2003. She attended various Illustration workshops at the National University of Art. She has illustrated about fifteen books for children. She works for publishers in Argentina, Brazil, Mexico, Puerto Rico, Germany and Spain. As an integral author (text + illustrations) she published in Mexico: “Corazón tictac”, “Mirko, a mar abierto” y “El placard de Violeta”. You can find more about María Paula Dufour at

And thus, from here onwards she joins the materials, layer upon layer, using different procedures: hand and machine


By Geneviève Crabe

The Bead Journal Project In the spring of 2007, a post on bead artist Robin Atkins’ blog caught my attention. Inspired by a quilting journal project, Robin wondered if bead artists would be interested in a similar project involving beading. The rules were simple: a one-year beading commitment to create a journal with bead embroidery, with one page per month. “You have total freedom to define ‘journal page’ any way you want: flat or 3-dimensional, pages in a book or loose, only beads or combined with quilting, collage, writing, etc.” (from Robin Atkins’ website - I became one of 239 people from 13 countries who joined the project. I only knew the basics of bead embroidery at that time, and I hoped that creating these pieces would encourage me to step outside my comfort zone and try new things. It took me several weeks to come up with a theme for my journal. During my search, I came across some sketchbooks that belonged to my late mother, Suzanne La Palme, who spent her career as an embroidery designer in Montréal. I selected twelve images from the


sketchbooks as my inspiration for the journal pages. I then purchased twelve fat quarters of beautiful batik fabrics from a quilting supply shop near my home, and matched them up with each subject. Each page begins with a 6x6-inch square of Lacy’s Stiff Stuff™, wrapped with the fabric. I then transferred the design using a chalk pencil. The designs are stitched with a combination of beads, sequins, and buttons, using coordinated Nymo thread. On my blog, you can see the pages, as well as the sketch each page is based on. It has also been very exciting to see the work of all the project members on the BJP web site. The Bead Journal Project (BJP) is continuing. Registration is now open for the 2010 project, and I hope that some of you will consider joining. You can find more information on the BJP web site; registration closes December 15th, 2009.


Stories of Cloth


By Lesley Sutton Images by Paula Keenan The notion of belonging is central to our understanding of how we give meaning to our lives; we define ourselves by the communities that we are either born into or choose to belong to, families, places, ethnic groups, faith groups or political parties. Although the need to belong is a basic instinct of human nature modern western culture has emphasized the role of the individual and we are gradually loosing our sense of community. We look back with a sense of nostalgia to the days when we sat around the kitchen table together or by the fireside learning how to sew or bake, perhaps listening to ‘Listen with Mother’ on the radio, or attending the village fate, joining the Brownies, or Sunday School. This feeling of collective nostalgia led to writing a project now known as Storiesofcloth. Whilst putting away some linen one day I noticed my old cot blanket, worn and torn by the material narrative it contained. As I ran my fingers over the warm, familiar shades of pinks, greens and creams I was touched by a mnemonic sensory experience and in the words of Gaston Bachelard ‘the distant past resounded with echoes’. This old worn blanket carries a history which I connect with when I touch it. It is like kissing the hand of history. Memories come flooding back of days off school when I had the mumps or tonsillitis, and my mother sat

playing board games and reading me stories whilst I recovered, or of playing with my dolls with my sister, and then more recently of being snuggled closely under the blanket with my own children as we watched Disney films on the tele. This piece of cloth holds a deep sense of belonging for me. A belonging to place and my childhood home, a belonging to family and to the changing circumstances of my life’s journey as I have grown from child to parent. Commissioned by Trafford Borough Council and funded by the Heritage Lottery Fund Storiesofcloth created opportunity for reflection on past memories associated with the ritual events of birth, marriage and death through the sensory medium of cloth; creating an opportunity for exchange between cultures and generations and increasing understanding of one another’s lost or changing heritage. We observed and documented individual and collective stories told by small groups of women from different cultural backgrounds who through varying circumstances have all found themselves living in and around the Borough of Trafford in South Manchester. Despite their varied backgrounds all the women hold things in common; the celebration of life from birth to grave and the use of textiles during these celebrations. 20

Initially the projects aims were to document items of cloth belonging to each of these women, to learn a number of textile skills and traditions that could be used as an educational resource for gallery workshops within the schools and colleges programme, and to encourage the women to share their material memories with one another. However what actually happened came as a complete surprise to me as something far deeper than we had anticipated or been prepared for began to unfold. To touch the pieces of cloth activated the past and enabled us to engage with the memories surrounding them, to appreciate the stitching and time gone into the making or the care taken in the wrapping and preserving the treasured item, or to begin to understand the ritual or festivities that the cloth was a part of, meant that we quickly acquired a mutual understanding and respect for one another’s circumstances and traditions, no matter what our backgrounds. The presenting of a piece of cloth often resulted in a torrent of words, sometimes very personal and intimate, other times political or cultural. The sessions became a nexus of feelings and stories that raised both questions and answers as we engaged in this tactile journey.


Over the following months we held and documented many beautiful and special pieces of cloth; a 19th century christening gown had been worn for 5 generations by members of one English family; it bore the marks of time with small hand stitched repairs made as little tears had appeared over time. Another item was a hand embroidered Chinese red baby’s outfit and tiny lion shoes, made by a Chinese maid in 1931 as a gift to a Scottish postman on the birth of their baby boy whilst posted in Hong Kong. Another, a traditional red and gold two piece Chinese bridal suit with an embroidered phoenix and dragon symbolizing the balance of male and female. However some of the stories told were completed unexpected, where the showing of an item of cloth opened up some very deep and personal memories that created an atmosphere of vulnerability and openness. Judith is a Jew who has lived in Manchester all her life. She carefully unwrapped a package containing remnants of the clothes her mother Helen Taichner wore while hiding from the Nazis in Poland in 1944. A blue and white dress made for her mother by Jadwiga, a Catholic maid who befriended her during this horrific time and hid her in the maid’s toilet for 3 months and a further

6 months in the cellar. She also brought along a woolen sock knitted by her grandmother for her mother before the war, sadly her grandmother died during the Nazi occupation along with all of Helens relatives. The sock is well darned and the dress patched and mended, a metaphor for the life that followed. These items of cloth are very precious to Judith as they become a physical connection, an exchange of sensory information, to a time in her mother’s life that she would otherwise have difficulty in relating to. They also create a tangible connection to her grandmother whom she never met. What seems a very ordinary object at first glance becomes something very special when you learn of its hidden narrative.

Amina, Maymunna and Fowzia from Somalia showed us how to embroider white cloth to make wedding hats for their men folk. They taught us the stitches they were using, a sort of button hole stitch to create geometric patterns that were then pierced to create an elaborate design. In Brava, their home town they would use Acacia thorns for as needles, it seems they are the perfect size and tool for the job.

We discovered that many traditions are shared, but with slight differences. The use of red as a thread or cloth for good luck and protection kept reoccurring between the cultures. As mentioned before Chinese wear red to bring good luck and tie red thread to a baby’s cot or use red stitching and cloth on babies clothes. The Jewish use the Kabballah, a piece of red thread tied to the wrist or again stitched onto clothing to ward off the evil eye. We were shown a baby’s sleepsuit from 1949, made out of a utility blanket. ‘‘Everything was recylcled, so a used blanket was cut up to keep me warm. Red ribbons or thread were sewn or attached to all my clothes by my dear mother so as to ‘keep away the evil eye.’’

An embroidered Mei Tei, a traditional style of Chinese baby carrier made by Flora, is embroidered in red with good luck symbols to protect her babies from evil. Aferdita, a Kosovan refugee, brought along a piece of red woven cloth that had been worn by her mother on her wedding day. A red thread was tied around the bride’s waist by her father to represent the family blood line. This was then broken as she entered the grooms home to symbolize her belonging to the new family. A piece of red cloth was placed on the roof of the in-laws house and if the bride was found not to be a virgin the red cloth is removed and the bride returned to her family in disgrace.

Objects, are meaningful; they hold significance partly because of their utility and their contribution to our lives and our society, but perhaps more importantly because they can act as tools for thought; rather like the text from a book, material objects, and in this case items of cloth, can be read as tools to explore the identities of individuals and groups; they become vehicles for selfrealization, for through the intimacy of touch, memory is triggered, nostalgia begins its important role of confirming our sense and understanding of ourselves; we don’t just describe the physical attributes of the material we hold, but something deeper rises to the surface; we engage in an experienced understanding. For more details go to or e-mail



I am extremely inspired, in love with, and intimidated by Louis Bourgeois. I find the strength, vulnerability, and honesty in her work astounding. I am especially inspired by her writings.


Joetta Maue



see more of joetta’s work at the following events Joetta is currently included in the Emerging Artists show at the Shore Institute of Contemporary Art in New Jersey. ( Current.html) Opening November 6th is Over and Under, a very cool embroidery show curated by the fabulous Jenny Hart at Yard Dog in Austin, TX. (http://www.

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In January Joetta will have a solo exhibition titled Waking With You, at Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery, Lawrence, MA., ( gallery.html) and she is also curating the show Connective Thread, at Sweet Lorraine Gallery, Brooklyn, NY (http://

Joetta is also included in a forthcoming Indie Craft book edit4ed by Jo Waterhouse. The book is expected to be available in October 2010.

I am very influenced by my daily life and routines. My personal domestic space as well as the memories of my family and grandparents homes greatly influence the aesthetic in work.


I am most inspired by the daily interactions I have in my relationships and the often complicated feelings and emotions I have toward them. I approach my work very autobiographically initially and work to open the narrative up more to my viewer as I work.




Designer Makers now have the world at their feet. They are no longer confined to their local area supplying a handful of outlets, condemned to a trickle of sales that makes turning their skills into a profitable business nigh impossible. So what has turned their world on its head? The answer is of course the INTERNET.

By David Saunders

But how does a designer/maker use the internet, how do they grapple with the huge tentacles of this selling Octopus that stretch out to the far corners of the globe? How do they tame the internet Octopus and survive? As a designer you have studied design, mastered the skills, produced a product and are now ready to sell. So now let’s look at the options that are available to you.


Own Website

Self-managed Store

The first option is to pay a web designer to create your own dedicated website. This can be a very expensive route to go down as it costs a significant amount of money to design and build a website, and the ongoing maintenance can be time consuming and incur more costs. Once it’s running, you have to know how to market the site so that you generate traffic to it which can require a lot of expertise and money. No traffic means no sales equals wasted money.

Third option is very similar to the hosted ecommerce shop except instead of a monthly payment you pay upfront for every item you list on your site, normally this lasts for four months and then you have to re- list and pay for them all again, also you pay a transaction fee of 3.5% on every sale.

Remember the internet Octopus can squeeze you dry of money before you have even started!!

Hosted Ecommerce Shop The second and much less risky option is to invest in a ‘Hosted ecommerce shop’. This service allows individuals to self manage their own website from a standard template, the hosting server charges a monthly fee and this can range from £20 to £200 per month depending on the level and type of service you want i.e. Bronze, Silver or gold, also there is a fee of 3% plus on every payment taken on the website. You have to be computer savvy to use this type of site if not there are yet more fees for help to put your products on there. This type of ecommerce is a great way to start selling on the internet but only if you are supplying a very specialised product to a specific market, if not then you are back to the same problem of marketing and generating that all important traffic to your site.

One of the main problems with these sites is their sheer size individual designer tend to become lost under layers of navigation and it is important to note that these sites do not market themselves to the customers who would buy your product range, that responsibility rests entirely with you. With both these types of site it is up to the individual to decide if it will work for them but remember the costs are all up front and you do all the work. So be careful that internet Octopus could be taking your money before you have even earned it.

Umbrella Sites The fourth option comes under what we call umbrella sites; these are websites that host multi-designer makers. These sites are like department stores; customer can browse around and buy from a variety of designer but then only need to make one payment. At the end of each month the site transfers the money to the Designer after deducting their commission.

All these sites are very similar but they do vary in certain ways, some require a joining fee which runs into hundreds of pounds, others have an annual renewal fee or both, so be careful about paying your hard earned pennies up front. Some you have to upload your own products etc, other stipulate that you can only display your products on their site which can be restricting if your trying to launch your range, but on the plus side and why they are worth looking at is that they GENERATE TRAFFIC and market your products and remember, TRAFFIC EQUALS SALES!!

Makers Online Solution Here at www.makers-online we believe that designer/makers should only pay commission on sales, we charge no joining fee/annual fee or listing fee. We upload your products and manage your site plus market your products, and you can place your products on other websites if you wish it’s your business and if you’re starting out we appreciate you will need all the sales you can generate. Makers-online is the most cost effective way to have your own on-line presence with out any initial outlay or financial risk. So there you have it beware the internet Octopus, think carefully before jumping into the water with him, don’t allow him to squeeze your business to death before it has even started.


emma ferguson If you are looking for an unusual, fun and funky handcrafted embroidered gift then we can definitely recommend the work of Emma Ferguson. Emma creates unique and quirky hand embroidered accessories as well as textile illustrations. Her works looks into the association between

computers and craft and results in tactile objects that are wearable yet humorous. In 2006 Emma started a stall on Brick Lane, London UK, called I like birds where she sells her accessories every Sunday.




1) I heart tea brooch £18 2) Cross stitch anchor necklace £18 3) Hello! brooch £8 29

Kiwi Punch Designs Kiwi Punch Designs run by Catherine Wood is a Toronto based craft business focusing on hand-embroidered greeting cards and home decor items.

Catherine started her crafting business back in 2007 and says she absolutely loves it. ‘I find that my greeting cards combine my love of sewing and my infatuation with stationary quite nicely.

And my canvas pieces allow me to make items on a larger scale. I also adore the ‘one of a kind’ nature of my work’.

1) I heart tea brooch £18 2) Cross stitch anchor necklace £18 3) Hello! brooch £8 30

This embroidery technique is usually regarded as unique to the 17thc. However its origins began a long time before this date. Padded or raised embroidery had been part of religious embroidery for quite some time although mainly on the continent of Europe. During the reign of Henry VIII the purge of the monasteries and religious houses in the 1530’s and onwards caused the loss of many embroideries so we have really no way of knowing how much raised work had been worked in England prior to that date. There are a few references to this kind of work but very few examples have survived in England. During Elizabeth Tudor’s reign a great deal of embroidery was worked and as the country became more settled towards the end of the 16thc. embroidery became far richer and more intricate although the raised element was still relatively rare. Due to the dissolution of the monasteries most embroidery was of a secular nature. Children of the day were regarded as small adults and expected to absorb knowledge and crafts to such a great extent that today’s children would find almost impossible. A girl of perhaps 8 or 9 would be expected to produce in sequence a sampler of darning and plain needlework, a whitework one, a coloured one and eventually if she had proved to be 31

By Grace Lister

A History of Raised or Stumpwork adept enough to undertake it, she would make a cabinet for use as a writing box or jewellery container. During the early part of the 17thc. these would be fairly ornate with embroidery worked on a flat plane and it wasn’t until about 1640 that raised work was included. It was considered to be an essential part of a girl’s education as she would be more sought after as a wife and mother if she could sew or oversee the sewing of a household’s linens and dress. A young girl would be made to sit for hours learning and practising these accomplishments and only when completely adept at embroidering the various techniques required would she be allowed to start to make her stumpwork casket. Designs for these caskets would be drawn out for her by travelling artists who probably had readymade patterns to transfer onto the white silk that was used. This is shown by the fact that many caskets seem to have very similar designs mainly either Biblical or Mythological subjects or portraying Royalty. Many show King Charles II and Queen Catherine of

Braganza in their royal robes often under a canopy of stiffened needlelace. All figures, both Biblical and Mythological are invariably dressed in Stuart clothing, almost all clothing being made from needlelace or fine fabrics applied to the padded figure. Wax or wood was used to form the faces which were then painted and one peculiar feature to our modern eyes is that if a figure was supposed to show surprise, double eyebrows were worked one above the other. The wood used was probably balsa wood and horsehair used for padding. Hands were wired and hair composed of loops of metal thread caught down with stitching. These figures were surrounded by all kinds of items, plants, trees, animals, birds, insects, fish, and landscapes were composed of houses, castles, streams, hills or valleys – in fact, anything and everything was added to the background. Biblical scenes although set in desert landscapes had trees and hillocks such as are seen in English landscapes. As in Elizabethan embroidery there was no awareness of space, in fact space was there

to be filled and similarly there was no scale or perspective to the design. An insect could be embroidered to the same size as a King. In the earlier pieces of work spangles which are similar to but smaller than our present day sequins, would be scattered over the background areas. In later work this practice seems to have died out. All sorts of items were used in this technique. Water was shown by using pieces of mica, and tiny pieces of leather and parchment, pearls, straw, glass beads, marbled paper and many other objects were used. A lot of the embroidery was worked in metal threads which were probably far finer and more flexible than those we use nowadays. When the embroidery was finished, the pieces would be sent to the nearest city where a skilled craftsman would make up the casket and return it to the embroiderer. Many of these caskets are very intricate. Some have embroidered gardens set into the lid or a set of embroidered drawers at the front covered by doors, all very finely worked. These caskets were highly prized and kept in 32

a prominent place to be admired. This is probably why, after all these years, they are in fairly good condition. In fact, some of them with doors covering the internal embroidery, still show the bright colours of the silks used in those times. Unfortunately, most metal threads have tarnished but it is not difficult to imagine how very rich these must have looked when new. Not only caskets were embroidered with Stumpwork. There are mirrors with stumpwork surrounds, pictures and loose panels ready to be made up into boxes. As time went on the fashion for these caskets waned and flatter boxes were made still partly using the stumpwork techniques and designs. Not very many Stumpwork articles have been discovered after the 1680 to 1690’s so it seems as though the fashion for these highly decorated items died away in a fairly short time span. The highly raised designs of these items echo the heavily carved furniture of the time and when the fashion for lighter work crept into England from the Continent, embroidery changed to a far lighter type of work. The resurrection of Stumpwork embroidery began in the very early 1980’s when two embroiderers, Barbara and Roy Hirst, devoted their time and abilities to producing modern day panels in this technique. Their combined efforts led to increased interest in this work and very soon it became a popular subject.


Barbara’s untimely death this year was entirely unexpected to her numerous admirers but she and Roy have left a wealth of work done to a very high quality which we can all admire. Those who have seen her work and the Millenium Casket she and Roy produced are truly thankful for their skill and devotion to this subject. Others have taken up her mantle and what was an entirely neglected pastime has now become a much sought after subject. My own interest in Stumpwork stems from a workshop with Barbara and Roy back in the 1980’s and I have attempted in my own way to emulate not only their meticulous approach to this subject but to give it a new outlook by using modern subjects. I started off with Barbara working figures and still use her systems of producing these however placing them in everyday situations. My “Fisherman” was done in the 1990’s using metal threads for the fish and wiring the hands in the

identical way that the young girls of the 17thc. worked them. This led to other subjects using modern products to show the activities of our times. My “Circus Ring” was an answer to an exhibition titled “Going Round in Circles” and “Twitchers” was worked for my son, an avid birdwatcher. When I moved house to the countryside a natural subject was suggested by “Morris Dancers”. I still get great enjoyment from working out how to produce a subject - an instance is the top hat of the ringmaster in “Circus Ring” which took a whole afternoon to produce and insert into the picture. I hope this has given the reader some insight into the history and development of this technique and the love and care that was taken by those young girls in their treasure chests made with such attention to detail that it has influenced those of us today who love the work also.


Fiber Artist Karen Payton My passion for fabric began as a young girl watching my mother design and sew belly-dancing costumes. I pursued my love of clothing at Northern Illinois University, where I studied both textiles and fiber art. After many years of finding my way through fabric, sewing and embroidery, I developed a unique process to design my images. I use old clothing and fabric remnants, combined with hand embroidery to create characters that express love, harmony and joy. I work out of a home studio in Southern California. For more information, please visit my website at


To give my pieces an intimate quality, I hand embroider each face. It’s a long process, sometimes taking a few months. But it’s a labor of love and well worth the time. Here are the steps:

1. The inspiration for the faces come

from many sources; a nose of a friend, eyes from a magazine ad, lips from my children, etc. I sketch out the face and hair onto Bristol paper and outline with a thin black marker.


Next, using a light box, I trace the outline of the face with a light pencil onto heavy duck canvas. I then fill in the entire face with colored pencil, down to the smallest detail. I use this as the pattern for choosing the correct color embroidery floss.

3. I then put together a frame to stretch

the canvas on. Many years ago I purchased a few different sizes of Q-Snap frames. I put these together to form a rectangle in a size big enough to stretch the canvas. Once the frame is in place, I attach it to an Elan wooden embroidery frame holder.


I use DMC floss and a tapestry needle to fill in the face. I set out a small, flat wooden box to layout all the colors of floss I will need. I start with the eyes using only one or two strands of floss. I then work my way out to the larger parts of the face. Once I get outside of the eye area, I use three strands of floss at one time. I often blend two or three strands of different colors to get the right shade.

In some instances, I take white DMC floss and dye the strands with watered down fabric paint to get the right shade (especially with the skin tones).

5. I use a random pattern all over the

face with small running stitches. I do not overlap stitches, but keep filling in until the face is complete.


When all the stitching is done, I add tiny touches of colored pencil on top of the stitches to achieve the right shading.

7. I iron double sided transfer paper

to the back of the face in preparation for cutting. Once the hair is appliquĂŠd onto the face, the entire piece is cut out and sewed onto the body of the work.

Take a closer look at textile patterns and techniques in our new Costume Gallery exhibition. From delicately embroidered florals to bold geometric prints, the clothes we wear transform us into living works of art. Now on until Winter 2010 Click here for more details


The Wisdom of Grannies 37

By Jayne Coleman

Many of the members of HEN mention that they first learned embroidery and other handcrafts from their grannies. I remember sitting side by side in bed with my Nanna with both of us stitching away on some small project. After she had a stroke it took a time for her speech and fine motor skills to return but she eventually took up knitting and embroidery again and this time it was I who was the helper, the guide. My paternal grandmother was ill in the last year of her life when my youngest brother was born yet one of the last things she did was to knit him a blanket. It was all in garter stitch, full of holes where she had dropped stitches and somewhat misshapen but knitted with such love. It became the equivalent of Linus’s blanket for my brother. I was in the strange position that I became a step-gran before I became a mother and I did the things that grannies do - I knitted booties and blankets and machine embroidered a duvet cover based on E.H. Shephard’s drawings in the Christopher Robing books, because something made with your own hands brings a love that nothing bought can replace. In our modern society handwork, whether it is embroidery, tapestry, knitting or scrapbooking, brings us back in touch with ancient female traditions. All over the world cultures have developed their own

traditional forms of embroidery – mola, crewelwork, broiderie anglaise, whatever form they take it is due to our innate need to create beauty, often functional, frequently celebrational. In South Africa, where I live, cultural traditions are alive and well. Rituals of betrothal, marriage, birth, puberty, manhood and death all require specific types of dress. The Xhosa took European imported materials and beads and made them into their own, so German Print became Shwe-Shwe and braid is used in layers to adorn over skirts, shawls and scarves (doeks as they are known here). Beads, bells and kilt pins are incorporated into garments and jewellery. It is the grannies, the gogos, who are the people who help to keep these traditions alive and the young women who update them. At a tiny village called Hamburg on the Keiskamma River a group of grannies whose families have been hard hit by HIV/AIDS have come together to use their creative skills to earn money to support the orphaned grandchildren they care for. The Keiskamma Arts Trust is now known world wide for their exceptional creative embroidery such as the Keiskamma Tapestry that hangs in the South African building of Parliament and the Keiskamma Altarpiece – a masterpiece triptych worked on by all in the group.


The Keiskamma Altarpiece uses the form and themes of The Issenheim Altarpiece to depict hope and redemption in the face of the HIV epidemic. It celebrates the strength of grandmothers who bear the responsibility for the children in these times. It stands 4.15 x 6.8 meters. (13.6 x 22.3 feet). Amongst elephants the herd relies on the matriarch to keep them safe through times of drought and hardship. She knows the secret waterholes that never dry up, the trees that safely provide food during winter. Surrounded by her daughters and multi-generational grandchildren she is the one who decides disputes and protects the herd when it is in danger. Amongst the Zulu people, the first wife of the king is given the title of honour – Ndlovukazi – the mother of Elephants. Prior to Christianity the Goddess was worshipped in three forms – maiden, mother and hag/crone. The latter has become devalued, a figure of mockery and evil, useless to society. We need to reclaim the wisdom of the matriarch, the one who has lived long and learned much wisdom in that lifetime. As we do our embroidery, working it into the spaces we find in our busy lives, we are part of a ancient lineage and should in turn become the matriarchs in our families, handing on the skills and wisdom we have garnered as we have lived our lives as best we can. 39

Words & images by Jayne Coleman

My Mum-in-Law Mabel Coleman

a knitting phenomenon

Gran gloating over all her new wool

Mabel Coleman was born just after the start of the First World War, one of the youngest of a family of ten children. They lived in Leicester, the centre for a long tradition of home based knitting, so it was natural that from a very young age she learned the art of knitting along with a treasury of poetry. Now approaching 95 she still knits, daily. She reckons that’s the reason why she never got the arthritis the doctor threatened her with in her sixties – her hands never got the chance to stiffen up as they were kept constantly busy with needles and wool. From the mid 1950’s she and her husband Reg spent their lives as Methodist missionaries in Zimbabwe. She may not get out much now but she still knits, for family members, for the old men at the old age home and for the orphans at the orphanage in Harare. Mabel’s biggest problem in Harare for the past five or so years is to get wool, any wool. As family we collect enough together to send up a parcel when someone goes up that way so she can enjoy her greatest treat - a bag of mixed wool that she can sort and mix and match for the Kaffe Fasset designs she delights in. She has been knitting these for so long

now that she doesn’t even have to refer to the pattern books any longer. Even when cataracts dimmed her eyesight, she carried on and rejoiced when they were removed and she could see the colours properly again. Mabel ensures that each person gets a unique and beautiful article to wear these orphans don’t get hand-me-downs,

they get a jersey knitted just for them. I think that is a gift beyond price, to recognize each person’s individuality, whatever their age or circumstances. So, to my mum-in-law, long may you go on knitting and giving pleasure to people you don’t even know and may never even meet.


make it

The 12 days of Christmas An embroidered quilt Each year I see Christmas quilts come out and each year I dream of making my own. As an embroiderer I wanted to produce central panels that I could include in a patchwork quilt. I decided last year that I would not leave it another year. To design the embroidered panels I gathered lots of different Christmas cards of the 12 days of Christmas and studied them for a long time. Then I put them all away, pulled out some big sheet of paper and started doodling. It’s then that I realised that it would mean lots of birds and lots of people!

tape the cloth over the top and trace through. If you fabric is light you may want to use some lightweight iron on interfacing on the reverse to stiffen the cloth slightly. Always test that the pen does come off the fabric before you start copying the whole design.

To keep the design simple I chose to outline the designs but as with any embroidery design it’s up to you how you choose to “colour”!

All the motifs use stem stitch to outline this is an easy stitch but can take some practise to get them even. This has a good rhythm to it when you are stitching. It works well along straight line and long curves but can pull in on sharp corners. You can prevent this by making the stitches small or by using a small couching stitch to hold the corner/curve in place.

I have used a small stem stitch on most of the design. This is a quick and easy stitch to master and is great for outlining. The lettering is also a mixture of couching and stem stitch but it would also look good with a back stitch.

Transferring the design Transfer the picture onto your cloth. There are lots of ways to do this but I find the best way is to use a water erasable pen. Tape a copy of the picture to a window,


Stitches used The motifs use a small number of stitches and all of them quite straightforward. It is a good project to practice your stem stitch with.

Stem stitch and couching

Detached Chain stitch I have suggested detached chain stitch for the leaves on the pear tree the partridge sits in. They make good leaves and they seem to naturally have an oval shape to them. However I have not used it on the leaves of the turtle doves as they need to

be slightly larger rounder leaves. It will depend on what size you stitch it as to which stitch suits best. I have also used chain stitch on all the musical notes. A small detached chain at the base of a straight stitch seems to make a good note. They also make good buttons on the drummers costume and in set of 3 to decorate the dancing dress on 9 ladies dancing.

Feather stitch This is used with a very short bottom stitch to create feathers. Use them randomly to create a bit of texture.

Running stitch This also makes a good texture for feathers and has been used on the breast of the partridge.

French knots French knots are vey good for eyes but you may want to work several very close together if they are a bit small. Try to just wind the thread around 2 or 3 times to give a neat little knot. There are also French knots in the scallops on the dancing lady. You could use beads if you prefer.

By Joanna Teague

Back stitch I have not used back stitch though it is very good for even lettering. I find it a slow way to do lettering but very neat.

Other suggestions? Outline it with a variety of colours to suggest the different characters. Use a light running stitch to shade it. Enlarge the design and use bondaweb and scraps of fabric to “colour” it in. You could then embellish it with stitch and buttons. Machine embroider the words. Make them into gift bags and fill them with little gifts. This project was brought to you by Joanna Teague of http://

Download 12 days of Christmas patterns For stitch how-to’s visit the HEN Stitch A Day on HEN Blog.


Sunny Orange County and Embroidery Love! Most of us think of Southern California as beautiful beaches and sunny warm weather. Well it is also a mecca of talented Artisan and Crafts people who enjoy many different mediums. And the needle arts, Embroidery to be exact is no different. We have a healthy number of Embroidery Guild of America Chapters in Southern California, 16 to be exact!

Shanti: How long have you been President of EGA of Orange County? How long have you been doing Embroidery?

As well as many creative and free thinking Embroidery Artists!

Linda: I’ve just been re-elected president for 2010. We have a wonderful group of talented ladies who have inspired me to expand my embroidery techniques.

Since I am the Stitch ON grrl in Southern California, I thought it was fitting to Interview the President of the Orange County EGA Chapter, Linda Leone. You can read my postings every week on the Hand Embroidery Network Blog for updates on what the haps are in Southern California, as far as classes, events, EGA gatherings, and more!

Linda Leone Chapter President Orange County, EGA We welcome Linda Leone, she is the President of the Orange County Embroidery Guild of America Chapter. Thank you for the interview and insight into Southern California’s Embroidery Scene.


I was taught surface embroidery by my mother and it consisted of the stem stitch, lazy daisy, and french knots. For years after my marriage I did no embroidery and then slowly began embroidery again by making pillow cases and cross stitch projects. Shanti: How big is the Orange County Chapter of EGA? Linda: Our chapter has approximately 65 members but would welcome anyone interested in either challenging themselves with new skills or exploring as a beginner

By Shanti Johnson

the technique that would interest him or her. EGA welcomes both men and women as members.

Shanti: What do you enjoy about Embroidery and what is your favorite style?

Shanti: Do you see a influx of younger people getting into Embroidery and joining EGA of Orange County California?

Linda: For me, embroidery is relaxing and I am able to take some projects with me to appointments and not feel like I’m wasting time. It’s hard to say which are my favorite techniques because I’m interested in so many things. But I would say that I am more of a traditionalist in terms of embroidery technique.

Linda: I wish I could say that we have younger people interested in joining. Right now, EGA is in the process of opening up membership to teenagers. Shanti: What do you see as the trend for Embroidery at this time? Linda: I see that the style of embroidery that we traditionally have envisioned when someone talked about embroidery is changing. Although we still have the beautiful old techniques being taught, more needle artists are creating free hand with their needle, experimenting with color and a mix of techniques, new fabrics, and new threads. I believe it is this evolution that may bring new and younger members into the organization. This is what I see in the evolution of embroidery. Someone else may see something different.

Shanti: Why is there a shortage of Classes in Orange County for Embroidery and does your Chapter offer any? Linda: There are classes and teachers in Orange County if you know where to look. Some needlepoint shops have classes with excellent teachers and there are some teachers who belong to EGA who give private lessons. At one time Saddleback college offered a needlework class but I don’t know if it’s still offered. Also, some senior citizen organizations have classes.

Shanti: Does your Chapter do any Charity Work? Linda: OCCEGA does do charity work. I would say right now our major project is the EGA “Kissing Pillows” which are small cross stitched pillows distributed to deploying soldiers and their small children. We also knit baby hats for local hospitals. Shanti: And last, what do you see for the EGA Chapter of Orange County in the next few years? Linda: I would love to see young people joining us and learning as beginners and growing to expert stitchers in their chosen interest. Shanti: Thank you so much for taking time out and giving us this interview. If you are interested in attending, contact; Costa Mesa Community Center 1845 Park Ave, Costa Mesa, California Every Second Wed. from 7-9pm


Crazy Quilting Being able to put down on paper what you see in your mind, is a talent. Being able to combine that with your favorite past time is a blessing. Artist and designer Carol L. Steffensen of Minnesota brings her love of drawing and painting to the stitching industry in several different formats. ‘Drawing and painting is something I have done for as long as I can remember,” and that goes back to first grade in a little old country schoolhouse. “It has been my friend for many years and it has always been a big part of my life.” A retired Registered Nurse, Carol spends her days in her studio turning out designs that reflect what is in her mind and obviously what is in her heart.

Crazy Quilting. In trying to find a solution for her, I got the idea for the Crazy Stitching look. So then, I thought it would look cute as a little stocking ornament, and that was the start of the whole line that continues to grow.”

With Carol Steffensen

One of the ways to get that look is to use fabric that is tea dyed to make it look old. The steps I follow are these:

My process for doing these came about as I experimented with ways to print artwork on fabric. I spent the better part of a year to finalize my process and produce the product exactly the way I wanted them to look. I like vintage things and the vintage look.

Carol is a busy mother of three and Grandmother of six who loves and lives in the country where her studio is located. It is from that country where she gets her inspiration. She works in many different medias, but her favorite is pencil and colored pencil. Today she shares with us some images and the process of how she goes from a vision to the actual finished product. “A while back I was approached by a friend who was struggling with a piece of Crazy Quilting that she was working on, and she wondered if I could figure out a better way to transfer the various stitches and drawings that are sometimes included in


Visit Carol’s website at or her blog at

Step 1 I decide what item I want to draw and using a #2 pencil I do a basic sketch of the item. I keep working with the drawing (redrawing a little and erasing) until I have it proportioned accurately and all the lines are just as I want them. I do my drawings on 67 lb. white cover stock. This is a little heavier than regular drawing paper and makes the final piece more sturdy. Step 2 Next, I will take a Black Perma Ink Pen or a Copic Pen and trace the final design as I want it by drawing over my pencil lines. Sometimes, I may add a few new details as I work to finalize my drawing. When I have it completed, and the ink is dry, I erase all the pencil marks, leaving me with a permanent black design. Step 3 I take the black pen image and tape it to the top of my lightbox, place a clean sheet of 67lb. of white card stock on top of the drawing I have just made. It is important to get it centered or positioned correctly for printing purposes. Now I take a Copic pen in a sepia color and trace all the lines and detail of my finished black pen design. The reason I use the Sepia colored pen for the final drawing is because I feel like that color keeps the detail lines softer and they blend with the colors that I use when I do the coloring process. I feel the black line

is too harsh. Sometimes it may take two or three times to make this sepia drawing as you want the lines to be as exact as possible. Step 4 The final step of my process is applying the color. I like the color to be very soft and have a washed out appearance to make it look more aged. The color may actually be applied either using watercolor, or colored pencils. I have done it both ways, however, prefer the colored pencil method just because they are easier and less mess, and can be erased if too dark. I began by lightly coloring the areas where I want color. With colored pencils, it works best to apply 2-3 layers of pencils to go darker rather than one heavy layer. By doing this, you keep the color more even. In doing my coloring, I apply the same principles that are familiar to all artists such as making colors darker or lighter to show perspective or form, shading darker areas, and maybe leaving color off to show where the light is coming from, etc. After I have the color exactly how I want it, I then use a stump to soften and blend color lines. I then clean up my drawing with an eraser making sure there are no extra color or line areas. This final drawing is then what I refer to as my color-plate. The color plate is then used to print the design to the fabric which is pre-treated

to accept the color. After printing it is heat set and ready to use. The second part of the fun comes when you can take your design and use a stabilizer and /or hoop and begin doing the embellishments on your design. I like to find little buttons, silver or gold charms, beads, etc to add to the design for another dimension. I have used this process for a lot of my designs and it is very satisfying to me because I get to combine my love of drawing and my love of stitching. I throw in a little designing of quilting, and wool applique’ patterns once in a while to keep the creative juices flowing!


V{|v~twxx [ÉÄÄÉã Wxá|zÇá 'home of the Quilting Snow ladies"

Quilt Patterns * Stitchery * hand embroidery * Wool Applique chickadee hollow Designs 24980 5th St. NW New london, mN 56273 320-354-2456


By Kathleen McConnell


Vintage Designs My journey of discovering and preserving vintage linen designs began a few years ago. While helping a friend clean items for a sale in her antique shop, a box in a dusty corner caught my attention. Spilling over the edge of the box, the scalloped corner of a dresser scarf could be seen. The intricate embroidery was soiled, but it’s beauty and charm was striking. As I lifted the piece out, I was saddened to discover that much of the scarf had deteriorated, due to dirt and age. This one corner was all that was salvageable. With hand embroidery being my life’s work, I realized the many hours someone had spent stitching this lovely piece. Were her thoughts on a loved one far from home or was she silently saying a prayer as she stitched away in the stillness of the late evening hours? I could imagine her excitement as each stitch fell into place, bringing her closer to the finished item. With a picture in her mind of how it would look on the dresser in the bedroom. I can imagine this because it is how I feel with every linen I embroider. I held this tattered piece in my hand, my fingers running over the textured stitches. What a shame to see this lovely piece destroyed. The vision of this design being embroidered on bed linens and tablecloths started forming in my mind. A vintage design from yesteryear, embroidered on new linens for today’s use! I took this piece home, traced over the stitching, marking the different stitches in the design and stored it away for later use.

On another occassion, while walking through a junk store, I spotted a partially stitched tablecloth draped across a baby bed. The vintage linen was in wonderful shape, as well as the remaining design. What little embroidery that was done , was beginning to unravel. I took it home and started to remove the previous stitches, revealing a more intricate design that had been covered up with the heavy embroidery. I started embroidering this cloth for myself. Before I started my stitching, however, I wanted to preserve the beautiful design. I simply traced off the design. Since tracing off the design from that tattered old piece, I have started collecting linens for their designs. While I do not sell these designs, I use them as reference for my stitching and for embroidery for my customers. I take joy in knowing that a small part of history is being preserved and revived for someone else to enjoy. With little research, one can find many places that offer vintage embroidery transfers. However, if a transfer cannot be found to match a certain linen, tracing it from the stitched piece itself, can be a wonderful help. In just a few easy steps, you too, can enjoy embroidering these wonderful vintage designs. To learn more visit

Step 1 Once you have decided on the design, press the piece to ensure there are no wrinkles. Step 2 Lay the linen/design on a flat, well lit surface. Tape or pin the tracing paper over desired area you wish to trace. Step 3 With a sharpened pencil, trace over the stitches or the lines in the design. It doesn’t have to be exact, just enough to distinguish separate stitches in the design. Step 4 After the design has been traced, remove it from the linen. Trace over the penciled drawing with a dark pen to show the design better. Now, carefully mark the different stitches by drawing a small line to the area of a certain stitch and naming the stitch. And now you have a vintage design ready for embroidering! A small piece of history preserved by you! 48

Requirements • 12 inch square of fine cotton or linen fabric. Finished size: 3x5 inches • 8 inch square of lining fabric • 4mm Silk Ribbon - Red and Dark Green one card of each colour • Stranded Cotton - Lighter Green • Gold Seed Beads or similar • Sewing Cotton to match • Two pieces of card or pelmet Vilene cut to shape of templates • Cord or Binding in Gold • Piece of thin batting Trace outline of template for the front of your case and two pieces for the back of case onto the cotton fabric. Embroider design as shown below on the front piece. Apply beads. Cut thin batting to shape of both front and back templates and apply to cardboard with small dabs of glue. Cut out around the outlines of your embroidered front and back sections allowing for turnings. Working running stitch in a strong thread round the edge of these two sections, pull up around the cardboard shapes and fasten securely. Stitch your lining over the back of the front section and stitch the second piece of cotton to the back section. Now stitch front and back together using a ladder stitch. Apply cord or decorative braid to edges starting at the base and turning over or joining the ends.


By Grace Lister

make it

Ribbonwork Scissor Case Poinsettia

BACK Cut 2

Beads Straight stitch Fly stitch

FRONT Click here to download PDF of this pattern 50

book review the art of embroidery inspirational stitches, textures and surfaces by Francoise tellier-loumagne Published by Thames & Hudson

Review and images by Sarah Whittle Of all the embroidery books both old and new that I have ever bought this is my favourite. This was however a Christmas present from my husband Andrew bought while I was studying for my degree. It holds pride of place on my bookshelf and is constantly thumbed through for inspiration. If you are looking for a book that takes your embroidery further, then this is the book for you. Full of inspirational photographs, sumptuous surfaces and delicious textures this book


is jam packed with ideas for creative embroidery based on the natural world. It is however not a step by step project book, though there are projects in the book itself, this book is more about making you think and develop your own ideas. The book begins with a look at various embroidery techniques both modern and traditional as well as a review of common embroidery stitches and materials to use. The author then takes you through twelve chapters that demonstrate design and composition from individual motifs to all over pattern repeats worked in both hand and freehand machine embroidery. This is a great book for embroidery artists,

designers and students who are inspired by the natural world. I have used some of the books techniques in my own work including the technique of using wallpaper paste to create a non-woven fabric. I have to say that the information was a bit vague here but this is the only minor flaw of this amazingly inspiring book. I did however adapt the technique and created my own way of making the non-woven fabric which you can find as a tutorial here.

creative textures


inspiring photographs


inspirational ideas 54


First Steps by Sarah Whittle 55

more recommened reading

Woolly Embroidery by Chronicle Books £5.63 (RRP: £9.99)

Freestyle Machine Embroidery by Carol Shinn £12.45 (RRP: £19.99)

With Woolly Embroidery, learn how to add stunning designs to clothes and home accessories using simple crewel, stump work, canvas work, and other embroidery techniques. Explore the possibilities of freestyle machine embroidery and its application for quilting and fiber art with this technique and inspiration guide for all skill levels.


Fungus by Mary Conn 56

The hand embroidery network


HEN EXHIBITION The Hand Embroidery Network is a new exciting community for contemporary hand embroiderers across the globe. Our aim is to encourage and promote the practice and knowledge of the art of embroidery by providing a platform for contemporary embroidery artists to promote their work. We provide an active and growing embroidery community, online embroidery exhibitions, hand embroidery tuition, a dedicated embroidery directory, online embroidery bookstores, our own range of hand embroidery patterns.








click here to join the HEN community

The Hand Embroidery Network is a growing community of people around the globe who have come together through their love of hand embroidery. The Network is for amateur and professional embroidery artists, beginner or advanced.

Once you are a member of the network you can access free embroidery resources such as: • A hand embroidery stitch A-Z • Focus on embroidery basics such as threads, tools and fabrics • Free projects such as design templates and creative backgrounds • Take part in online exhibitions • Embroidery events • Embroidery techniques • Members gallery • Embroidery forum • Video tutorials


hand embroidery network online tuition


current courses If you have ever wanted to learn the art of embroidery from traditional to contemporary techniques, the Hand Embroidery Network are now offering online embroidery courses for all levels of experience, which allow you to study at your own pace in your own home. Why not learn a new hobby or develop your skills further.

Are you an embroidery tutor looking for an online platform to provide your courses? The Hand Embroidery Network have built a secure website, which you can host all of your courses and reach a wide audience via the HEN network. With over 1000 community members, the HEN is the ideal place to promote and deliver your embroidery courses. For more details please visit the HEN tuition website at the address below.

Customising Clothing Rebecca Hywel-Jones looks at hand stitches that are useful for altering and repairing clothing.

Bah Yumbug Victoria Payne brings you this painted and stitched Xmas project. Everyone loves a gift that keeps on giving.

Ribbonwork Pat Ashton-Smith introduces you to stitching with pure silk ribbon to produce a delicate piece of work.

Introduction to Embroidery Stitching with needles in one form or another has been used since about 20,000 B.C. Join Rebecca HywelJones on this great introduction course.

Introduction to Dyeing Rebecca Hywel-Jones introduces you to dying techniques, which can be a great way of completely changing the look of a garment. Found Objects Jackie Bowcutt shows you fun and easy techniques to transfer marks to fabric using objects found in the home.

Painted Kantha Jackie Bowcutt shows you how to create a painted fabric background for stitch using easily available equipment and a technique that will make you all into watercolour artists. 60

whats on guide Winter 2009 / 2010 UK On the Edge in York - Edge Textile Artists Scotland. Quilt Museum & Gallery, St Anthony’s Hall, York YO1 7PW On Until 23rd December 2009 Natural Fibres - A World Heritage & 75 Years of Stitching in Yorkshire - Leeds. To celebrate the International Year of Natural Fibres, ULITA (University of Leeds International Textile Archive) is highlighting the use of natural fibres in textiles from across the globe. St Wilfred’s Chapel, Maurice Keyworth Building, Moorland Road, University of Leeds, Leeds LS2 9JT 6th October - 26th February 2010 Exhibition of Japanese Sashiko Textiles. Traditional and contemporary textiles and garments. York Art Gallery, Exhibition Square, York Y10 7EW 10th Oct 2009 - 3rd January 2010 Experiments in colour: Thomas Wardle, William Morris & the Textiles of India - London An exhibition of textiles exploring the remarkable collaboration between the Victoria textile entrepreneur Thomas Wardle and the designer William Morris,


celebrating Indian inspired designs and natural dyeing techniques. William Morris Gallery, Lloyd Park, Forest Road, Walthamstow, London E17 4PP 10th October 2009 – 24th January 2010 Winter Light Work by nine local textile artists. The Gallery, Altrincham College of Arts, Timperley, Altrincham, Cheshire, WA15 8QW. 6th November-13th December 2009 Embellished: the Art of Fabulous Fabrics Take a closer look at textile patterns and techniques in the Harris’s new Costume Gallery exhibition, from delicately embroidered florals to bold geometric prints, the clothes we wear transform us into living works of art. Harris Museum & Art Gallery, Market Square, Preston, Lancashire PR1 2PP. 14th November 2009 - November 2010 Alice Kettle - Allegory Alice Kettle’s recent embroidery combines sensitivity with scale. Crafts Study Centre, Falkner Rd, Farnham, Surrey, GU9 7D

24th November 2009 - 13th March 2010. Sue Stone: life on the coast Stitched textile exhibition Campden Gallery, High St, Chipping Campden, Gloucestershire GL55 6AG 28th November - 13th December 2009. Christmas 09 @ Milsom Place Handmade in Britain showcase talented designer-makers. Octagon, Milsom Street, Bath. UK. 5th - 6th December 2009. Stitch & Creative Craft Shows Sandown Park Exhibition Centre, Esher, Surrey. 22nd - 24th January 2010 Birds of a Feather Featuring Louise Gardiner Bluecoat Display Centre, College Lane Entrance, Liverpool L1 3BZ 23rd January - 27th February 2010 Stitch & Creative Craft Shows Manchester Central, Manchester. 29th - 31st January 2010

INTERNATIONAL Just in time for the Holidays Intro to Embroidery workshop at artist Joetta Maue’s studio. Learn the basics of embroidery including 6 basic embroidery stitches. Located in Red Hook, Brooklyn, USA. December 13th 2009 http://littleyellowbirds.blogspot. com/2009/11/embroidery-workshop.html

Figuratively Speaking Cathy Cullis, Alice Kettle, Michelle Holmes, Rachael Howard and Priscilla Jones The Edge Gallery, 20 King Street Lancaster LA1 1JY 7 November - 24 December 2009

Holiday Show with affordable art wall Sweet Lorraine Gallery Screwball Spaces, 183 Lorraine St, Brooklyn, NY, 11231. December 12th, 6-9 pm. Ring in the holidays with drinks, snacks, dj’s, and awesome art. Connective thread An exhibition of contemporary fiber work. Curated by Joetta Maue. Sweet Lorraine Gallery Screwball Spaces, 183 Lorraine St, Brooklyn, NY, 11231. January 9th, 2010 6-8pm. Artists talk date TBD. Exhibition runs: January 4-30, 2010. Waking with you A solo exhibition of Joetta Maue. Elizabeth A. Beland Gallery Essex Art Center, 56 Island Street Lawrence, MA 01840. Reception January 8th, 5-7pm. Exhibition runs January 8th February 26th, 2009.



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the hen Directory African Threads Box 690, Mahone Bay, Nova Scotia, Canada. B0J 2E0 T: 902 624 8181 E: W:

Dorria Designs 27FL, 8BLDG, Adeeb Mouaakad St, Elseyouf, Alexandria. 21351 T: +0020167259597 E: W:

Artfabrik 324 Vincent Place, Elgin, IL, USA. 60123 T: 847 931 7684 E: W:

DragonLadyDesigns Lower Biggings, Eastside, St. Margaret’s Hope, Orkney, UK. KW17 2TJ T: 01856 831708 E: W:

Chickadee Hollow Designs 24980 5th ST NW, New London, Minnesota, United States. 56273 T: 320-354-2456 E: W:

Embroidery Supplies 7771 Hythe Circle, Dayton, OH, United States. 45458 T: 888-369-9495 E: W:

Dionne Swift Mountfield, 12 Cinderhills Road, Holmfirth, UK, HD9 1EE T: 07974 747080 E: W:

Faffree 41 Wimborne House, Dorset Road, London, UK. SW8 1AH T: 07709581537 E: W:

Doll’s House Embroidery Rose Cottage, Leek Road, Waterhouses, Staffordshire, UK. ST10 3JS T: 01538 308860 E: W:

Fay Pillinger / The Thread Shed 19 Sandgate Drive, Kippax, Leeds, UK. LS25 7EX T: 0113 2865404 E: W:


Felix Bendish Design Studio hwg-1-1c, 1st floor, juhu gazdhar bandh. govind buwa marg, santacruz-west. Mumbai.india. India. mumbai - 400054 T: 0091 022 6605058 E: W: Follow the White Bunny Rotterdam, Netherlands, 3021 E: W: Gail Harker Creative Studies Center 569 Technical Drive, Oak Harbor, WA 98277 T: 3602792105 E: W: Kiwi Punch Designs 115 Eglinton Ave W, #12, Canada. M4R 1A4 T: 647-668-8136 E: W: Lazy May - Iron-on embroidery patterns Hertfordshire, UK. CM23 E: W:

view the HEN directory at Maria Paula Dufour Buenos Aires, Argentina T: +541149261677 E: W: Meyyammai Muthiah 12,3rd street,East Abhiramapuram, Mylapore, Chennai. 600004 T: 24996198 E: Natalie-Zoe Sydney, NSW, Australia. 2000 T: 00614050318806 E: Rabid Designs 40440 Douglas Dr. #204, Canton, MI, United States. 48188 T: 734-895-7610 E: W: Sarah Ford Textile Designs 91 Bishopton Road, Stockton, United Kingdom. TS18 4PG T: 01642607828 E: W:

Sarah Whittle

21 Plane Street, Bacup, Lancashire. UK. OL13 8DW T: 01706 877023 E: W:

SeptemberHouse 2334 S. 31st Street Omaha, NE 68105 T: 4023419816 W:

The Savage Quilter 6815 N. May Avenue, Oklahoma City, OK, USA. 73116 T: 405-840-1466 E: True BDS Ltd J-5, Lotus Colony, Nandanam, Chennai, India. 600035 T: 00919444961257 E: W:

Tamay and Me Camberwell, London, UK. SE5 8RE T: 07725 696984 E: W: Textile Holiday Tours Ltd 22 Mell Road, Tollesbury, Essex, UK. CM9 8SP T: 01621 869089 E: W: The Eclipse Gallery 507 Fourth St. Algoma, WI. USA. 54201 T: 920-487-8060 E: W:

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passing on hand embroidery to a new generation

hand embroidery network

This first issue is dedicated to my grandmother Amelia who has been the biggest inspiration in my life and who will never be forgotten. Sarah Whittle

NEEDLE Magazine 01  

Contemporary hand embroidery magazine