Show and Tell June 2018

Diane shared two beautiful embroidered floral pictures and a cushion that had a strong impact on her journey with embroidery and other crafts.








The cushion was crafted by her grandmother, a seamstress, and the pictures by her mother who followed a part time City and Guilds course to become a fashion designer in bridal wear.  Her mother’s notebook was also available to view. Diane felt that as we are celebrating 100 years of suffrage this year, this was the appropriate time to share the power and strength of her female relatives who continue to inspire her in embroidery.


Lynsey talked us through the development of the northern part of our map that shows the location of the branches of the Embroiderers’ Guild. Sixteen members participated in the construction of the panels for this section and used more techniques than on the southern section.  A few members spoke about their sections.

Wyn chose the Dundee section as her family live there. All her section is hand embroidered.  Kirsty similarly chose the Galloway Forest region as Port Logan is a favourite family holiday location. She used couching, tatting and french knots to bring out the features in her section.   Karen used a natural coloured linen for her section in Ireland. She researched the towns to enable her to create small pictures of their prominent features eg Ballistone horse fair.  Lorraine selected the Shetland Islands as her name is associated with Lerwick, She used rock shaped beads for the numerous islands and said that she enjoyed the challenge of this project. Dallas asked for the Western Highlands as she had spent her Silver Wedding Anniversary near Loch Lomond. She used transfer dyed fabric for the backgrounds and applied Lumiere paints for embellishment. Eg beautiful pinks were used to define the rhododendrons around Callander and a machine embroidered Macintosh rose for Glasgow.

Thanks to Lynsey for her hard work, yet again, for coordinating and collating this huge project.

Dallas continued to Show and Tell about the different resources that have influenced her projects. She has been inspired by workshops, speakers like Janet Edmonds in 2012 who talked about the construction of boxes, prompts that she has written in her own notebook, an article on Must Haves in the Contact magazine and a book written by Maggie Gey.  Dallas made us packs of Must Haves to take away and talked us through samples that she made using fabric pieces and an embellisher to create brooches, greeting cards, little pictures, gift tags and leaves. She also introduced us to Lokta paper from which she made a corsage and buttonhole for her daughter’s wedding.  Dallas finished with a quilt top that she tried to make in a day!  Yet another inspiration from a recent speaker Val Nesbitt. Each patch was made from her own dyed fabric stash.

I was intrigued by the Lokta paper so asked Dallas for her source and this was her reply: I use sizes 30 & 65. The samples I had with me on Saturday were 30 I buy it from Stevensons in Clerkenwell Road (web address because the shop is near to my office  but there may be cheaper sources I think it is about £1.25 for 30 a bit more for 65 at Stevensons for a large sheet (about A3 size) They are very helpful with queries. 

Dora brought in the bottom half of a quilt (Quilt As You Go method) that is being made by a group at the Essex Federation of Womens’ Institutes for their room at Denman College.  She explained how Romford Embroiderers have given her the confidence and skills to participate in such a project and thanked the members for their inspiration.


Show and Tell 2017

This project began at a Guild workshop in March 2016 that was run by Libby Smith entitled ‘Using hand embroidery to create a book jacket for a pre-made altered book based on allotments. There were two elements one to create the book and the second to create the cover.  To make the book we removed pages from a book (a second-hand hardback novel), glued pages together, covered them in tissue paper and painted them with an acrylic paint wash to add texture. The book jacket is made in two pieces, front and back and then joined together.

I need time to develop an idea so after the workshop I continued with the project. As I have a small veg plot in my garden rather than an allotment, I took this as the theme and considered what I would be capturing in the book and realised that the entries would change with the seasons and so decided to call the book ‘A year in the life of my garden’.


The idea of seasons drew me to the work of Paul Catherall ( He is a London based printmaker who uses lino techniques to create geometric prints of iconic landmarks. He uses simplified versions of these landmarks with 2 or 3 tones set against a bold colour background. I first saw his work at an exhibition in the Oxo Tower gallery on the Southbank and bought postcards of some of the images. Paul was commissioned by Transport for London to create a set of four posters depicting views of the city reflecting the four seasons. The background colours of these posters were the inspiration for my book and cover.



The cover demonstrates a number of techniques that I have learnt from being a member of this friendly and helpful branch of the Guild. The background material for SPRING is a piece of cleaning cloth dyed that was given to me by a member when I showed interest in the colours. The hand embroidered lettering on the back of the cover is split stitch, a stitch that was demonstrated at one of our monthly ‘learn a stitch’ sessions. For the SUMMER beach scene, I using smocking to create the waves, a technique that I learnt on a Guild trip to The Royal Opera House at Purfleet last summer, and the words on the back cover are stitched in the style of handwriting that Libby Smith showed us at the workshop. AUTUMN’s design is done in cross-stitch, a favourite of mine. The background material for WINTER is felt that I made following a demonstration of wet felting at one of our monthly Guild meetings. I painted the spine of the book (something that I saw another member do at another Guild workshop which was run by Ruth Barton) before backstitching the name of the book.

Now that the book and cover are finally finished, I am going to start using it to capture the events and views of the garden as the year progresses.

Diane McCarthy