Monday, 29 October 2012

Goldwork In Spain

I (Heather) recently went on holiday to Spain, and on the last day we spent some time in Mijas (near Malaga) before going to the airport. It's a typical Spanish town, lots of gorgeous architecture and tree covered hills under a beautiful blue sky.

Mijas, Spain, October 2012 (2)

On the edge of town, facing the sea is a lovely little shrine, the Ermita de la Virgen de la Peña, a 17th century cave partially hewn out of the rocks:
Mijas, Spain, October 2012 (4)

Tucked away inside this tiny chapel were some beautiful examples of goldwork embroidery on robes. The details were brilliant, and I had to take some photos to share with you.
Mijas, Spain, October 2012 (22)

Mijas, Spain, October 2012 (23)

For some more images, press play on this slideshow:

And here's a slideshow of the shrine and the area surrounding it:

I hope you enjoyed taking a look at this lovely embroidery - have you ever discovered any crafts on holiday?

Tuesday, 23 October 2012

Stitch of the Month: French and Bullion Knots

This month's stitches are French and Bullion Knots, which work well either in isolation, or in combination with other stitches.

French Knots
French knots form little round dots on the surface of the fabric; for some good instructions see Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary - French Knots.

They look good massed into a group, like this, this and this lovely rainbow:
french knots
(From Thetangledthread on Flickr)

These two gorgeous samples explore colour mixing and pontillism really well:
french knots

colour blending
(Both from Lovefibre on Flickr)

French Knots can be used effectively to build up a design, as in this lovely floral picture:
French knot detail
(From Follow the White Bunny on Flickr)

They also look really nice in whitework, like these two examples: on Stitchin Fingers and Flickr, or worked in amongst beads for interesting texture, like this. You could also try varying the type and number of threads you stitch with, to produce larger or smaller knots.

A little tip for you - if you struggle to work French Knots, try Colonial Knots. They look very similar to French knots, but are less prone to disappearing to the back of the fabric!

Bullion Knots
Bullion knots are longer knots, often known as caterpillar, grub or worm stitches for a good reason:
Craftster Hoopla Swap R4 To Kanawinkie (4)
(By Heather - the Bullion knots are the blue and green squiggly sections, e.g. below the blue button)

Don't let the names put you off, they are a great stitch to work, and as the above example shows, they look great massed into heaps making big textured piles of stitch. To work a Bullion Knot, see these instructions from Sharon B's Stitch Dictionary.

They look good worked in a range of different threads, as in this example, with very high sheen thread, or these thick wooly knots. By adding a lot of wraps they can be made to be very tall and loopy

As with French Knots, Bullion Knots also work well to build up a design, lending themselves to textured floral designs:
(From Coeurdefreesia on Flickr)

As they are comparitively long, Bullion knots can also be worked in between other stitches, and contribute well to highly textured pieces, as in the top left corner of this lovely piece of Moon-inspired embroidery:
High Texture Hand Embroidery of the Moon - Detail
(From average_jane_crafter on Flickr)

I hope all these lovely images have left you inspired to try out some French and Bullion knots - I look forward to seeing what you've come up with at the next session, or pop over to our Facebook page and share your thoughts.

Sunday, 21 October 2012

Requirements List for December 2012 Members Workshop

As well as getting to see the bunting we sewed last year, this December 10th, June Parkinson will be leading a Members Workshopmaking Sumptuous Mini Cushions, which sounds like great fun.

June has asked people to bring:

  • A normal sewing kit
  • Good sharp scissors
  • Pencil & ruler
  • A few pieces of various fabrics between 4'' and 8''
  • Normal sewing thread (black and beige).

June will bring (individual for everyone) pattern, backing fabric, (back material for cushion]  and lots of pieces of suitable fabric.

Friday, 12 October 2012

How to use this Blog - Part 4: Commenting and Sharing

Hi all,

Today we're going to look at how you can leave comments on a post, and how to share interesting posts with your friends.

If you've seen a post that is interesting, we'd love for you to leave us a comment with your thoughts. To do this, click the word 'Comments' below the blog post. This will either say 'No Comments' or have a number of comments, depending on whether anyone else has replied:
Leave us a comment

Alternatively, if you'd like to share the post with a friend, either via email, Twitter, Facebook, or Google Plus, just click the buttons below the post:
Share via social networks
If you are unsure which button to click, simply move the mouse cursor over the pictures, and a little box will pop up telling you what the button will do. Please feel free to share our posts with your friends!

And that's the end of our Blog How To Guide. I hope it has been helpful, if you want any help with any of these topics, please see Heather at a meeting.

In case you've missed any of the posts in this series, here are links to the first three:


Thursday, 11 October 2012

How to use this Blog - Part 3: Finding Specific Posts

Hello, and welcome back to the third installment in this guide to getting the most out of the Birmingham Embroiderers' Guild blog. Today we are going to take a look at how to find specific posts.

If you are reading the blog, and want to look at older posts, you can simply scroll to the bottom of a page, and click the 'Older Posts' link to go back through older blog posts:
Bottom of page

Alternatively, if you are searching for a specific thing, you can use the labels applied to each post to find the topic you are looking for. To find posts on a particular topic area, look for the 'Labels' section on the right hand side bar of the blog:
Using Labels to Navigate around the blog

This is a list of all the topics which we have written about. Click a label that interests you to see all posts on that topic.

This may be particularly useful if you're looking for something like a requirements list or the current stitch of the month, as these items will always have labels applied.

We also have some links at the top of the blog to frequently visited pages; our Welcome message, directions, the programme, and the main guild website. To view these, simply click the links at the top of the side bar:
Find Out More

That's it for this post about navigating around the blog. Tomorrow's post will be Part 4: commenting and sharing posts.

Wednesday, 10 October 2012

How to use this Blog - Part 2: The Update Emails

Hello! The next installment in our guide to getting the most out of this blog covers the update emails. If you've already subscribed to receive updates, then you will receive an email that looks like this when a post is made:
Sample Email

You can either read the blog post in your email inbox, or click the title of the post ('Then, Now and Yet To Be' in the above example) to take you to the blog, where you can view the latest post and look through older articles.

You may find that the pictures are not showing up in the email. If so, and you want to view pictures, you need to look for a link that says something like 'Display Images', and click it.
Display Images

If you always want to view images in blog emails, there may be an option that says 'Always display images...' Selecting that option will ensure that images from the blog are not blocked in future.

Finally, while we hope that you find the blog interesting and informative, there may come a time when you want to stop receiving update emails. To do this, find any update email, scroll to the bottom, and click the 'unsubscribe now' link:
You may need to confirm that you wish to unsubscribe. If you select the link by mistake, don't worry, just go back to the blog and follow the sign up process again.

That's all for the latest installment in helping you get the most out of the blog. Coming up tomorrow is Part 3: Finding Specific Posts

Tuesday, 9 October 2012

How to use this blog - Part 1: Staying Up to Date

I've had some suggestions that a guide might be helpful for getting the most out of the guild's blog, so I have put together a few posts, which I hope will prove useful:

How to stay up to date with blog posts
If you want to know whenever a post is made on the blog, the easiest thing to do is to subscribe by email. If you enter your email address, then whenever the blog is updated, you'll receive an email displaying the latest blog post. Alternatively you can click the link to go and view the rest of the blog.

To do this, simply look for the 'Follow By Email' section, over on the right sidebar of the blog.
Subscribe By Email

You will be taken to a screen that looks like this:

You need to verify that you are a human! To do this, type the scrambled letters in red into the box at the bottom of the screen, then press the 'Complete Subscription Request' button. If you struggle to read the word, click the Wheelchair button, and an audio file will play instead.

Once you've done this, the blog will send you an email, asking you to confirm that you want to receive updates. This is to prevent other people signing up on your behalf:

Click the link in the email to confirm that you want to receive updates:
Confirmation Email

Alternatively, if you already use an RSS reader, like Google Reader, clicking on the 'Subscribe To... Posts' button will allow you to grab the feed address to paste into your reader:


If you don't know what RSS readers are, don't worry - just subscribe by email to stay in touch.

If you need a hand with any of this, simply see Heather at a meeting. Thanks!

Coming next - Part 2: The Update Emails

Sunday, 7 October 2012

Simple Shapes, Simple Stitches, Experiments with Pattern Requirements List

On November 24th we will be welcoming Steph Redfern to Birmingham Embroiderers Guild to lead a day school entitled Simple Shapes, Simple Stitches, Experiments with Pattern. Steph is a very talented embroiderer and textile artist, and you can see more of her work on her blog. We will be doing lots of hand stitching, and Steph has asked us to bring along the following items:

  • Personal visual reference in the form of photographs or books, relevant to the course. For this course simple bold images to use as pattern or simple images would be ideal.
  • Fabrics, for instance plain and patterned fabrics, felt, metallic and sheer fabrics. Papers and mixed media if wanted.
  • Threads, needles, sharp scissors [suitable for fabric cutting], beads and any other interesting materials that could be used forembellishment.
  • Pencils and paper, tracing paper, a glue stick, paper scissors.
  • Bondaweb

  • If wanted - inks, acrylic paints and brushes/sponges/palette/print blocks for fabric painting. Although fabric painting is not part of the course these items may be useful to customise fabric for your project.

The day looks set to be a very interesting one. If you would like to book a place, please see Margaret Richards at a meeting, or email

Saturday, 6 October 2012

October Meeting: AGM and Stephanie Redfern

Hi All,

Just a little reminder that our October session is this Monday, the 8th of October. It is the branch AGM, so will be a chance to elect new committee members, and find out more about the running of your local branch.

As well as the AGM, Stephanie Redfern is coming to speak to us about Simple Stitches, Themes and Threads, ahead of her dayschool next month. She's a very talented artist and embroiderer,and it looks set to be a great evening. You can take a look at Steph's website here:

It is also time to renew Guild membership, would members please try to bring a completed membership form and their cheque book or cash - renewal fees are £39 for the year. If you don't have the membership form, you can download one from here.

As always, new members are very welcome to come along - details of the venue and times are here:

Wednesday, 3 October 2012

Places Available on a Sheer Delights Workshop in Solihull

Anne from the Solihull Branch has asked me to let you know that there are places on a workshop that is being run by Genesis textile group.

The workshop is on the 27th October with Shirley Aldridge, entitled ‘Sheer Delights’. It involves mono printing and transfer printing on to sheer fabrics. These will then be used to layer with other fabrics to create textile pieces with stitched embellishments. Shirley is an excellent tutor, having taught C & G for many years and is a member of Textile Connections.

If you are interested in finding out more, please email and I will pass your enquiry on to Anne.