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Alison Cole (Goldwork and Stumpwork) Website- new kits and new look

A site that I’ve loved for many years
has an elegant new look, and Alison has released some lovely new kits. She often designs historically inspired pieces from the Jacobean period to William Morris, and her Or Nue insect range is just lovely! (I really want to do at least one!)
This is one piece that I particularly admire – a modern design of a signature Australian flower – the waratah.
Alison Cole – Goldwork Waratah

  “This waratah is worked in dimensional goldwork embroidery on a background of Colourstreams hand-dyed silk velvet – simply yummy!  This one is only small – approximately 10cm x 15cm and is padded with soft cotton and felt and embroidered in English purls and Japanese couching threads along with kid leather.

The kit is at
Click on the image to see a close up of the waratah.

Some comments on the new kits –
The stumpwork deer floral – lovely! The supplies mention “feathers” I think they are used in the flying insect up the top of the piece. Do you think I’m right? Close up at

It’s very impressive that a kit of this standard has been released.

Featuring only techniques used in traditional Stumpwork from the 17th Century, this piece is a delicious challenge for the experienced Embroiderer.

Worked in a variety of silks and English metal threads on a silk satin background, it features petit point slips, silk wrapped vellum and five variations of needle-lace among its many techniques.”
Check out the lovely bee on the header of the Contact Me page! I love her use of the kid. It must have been hard to work – very shaped, and tiny pieces.
I’d love to do the new “Memories of Italy” piece! Yuuum!



  :the berries on the sides – detached buttonhole stitch in red thread over kid?!? Pretty sure that’s what it is. Love the scrolly vermicilli too.


:  I love the way the bettlewings are attached using that “V” of thread – using straight stitches as are traditionally looks relatively ugly in my opinion. You can’t hide the stitches used to attach the wings, so making a feature of the way they are attached is a great idea!

And that’s just the new kits! There are many many wonderful older ones – goldwork, stumpwork, or the two techniques combined. As you can see, Alison has many wonderful ideas, very solid techniques, and beautiful supplies. You can also buy patterns for some projects.

She also sells some unusual supplies. A great range of coloured kid leather, …and would anyone like to try use some cane toad skin? (Cane toads are a big pest here in Australia – they were imported to the North in order to cut down on….grasshoppers I think. Now they are taking over the lower end of the ecosystem up there and the population is slowly travelling south, the rotten things!). She also has some vintage French metal sequins in gold and silver….

Have fun if you haven’t looked at her site before :-)

A Brilliant Opus Anglicanum/Or Nue Tute, and who was asking me ….. ?

Tanya of the Opus Anglicanum blog has written a brilliant tutorial on embroidering faces in opus anglicanum. She includes many general tips on stitching and thread, then a step by step (including photographs) of the embroidery of a jowly fellow from an alter frontal. He has the typical bulgy eyes and high forehead of these faces. Great stuff!

If you are wondering what Opus Anglicanum (which translates to “English Embroidery”) is, there’s a nice but brief introduction at
Tanya specialises in the technique and her blog makes very interesting reading as well.
This technique was the mother of Or Nue and the tutorial is relevant to those interested in that technique as well.

Now, who was it that was talking to me about the needlepainting book “Embroidery from English Gardens”? I’ve finally received a copy from the library, and I’m ready to talk about it….. :-)

The Franses Exhibition – Tudor and Stuary Embroidery

The link is from The Essemplaire Newsletter …..

 “The Franses exhibition includes museum quality embroidery and needlework, as well as rare examples of English knotted Turkeywork and woven tapestry. Also included is the Crocker Tapestry,  a recently discovered Elizabethan tapestry, a masterpiece acquired for the famous west coast Crocker family by Elsie de Wolfe in 1911.  Woven in the 1580′s, and in exceptional condition, it the most important English Renaissance tapestry to appear for over fifty years.

The selection of textiles begins around 1485 with the accession of Henry VII and ends with the Glorious Revolution of 1688 and the overthrow of James II, the last Stuart to sit on the throne of England.  ……” (from the Introduction)

The items are shown starting from the bottom row of the first Exhibition page. Click on each object to zoom, although the images don’t have much zoom detail, unfortunately.  You can step one zoom further in by RightHandButton-Mouse clicking and selecting “Zoom In”. This will show design details in much better detail that the original zoom, but not stitches. Any more zooms, the images just pixellate. (Rotten web resolution!)

The details for the item are on it’s page – the Catalogue tab provides abbreviated details.

The exhibition is of interest in spite of the zoom and not much technical detail because it has items that I, at least, haven’t seen before.

Price of Reproduction Embroidery, Example

Wow – the second post in a day!

I came across this …..

One of a Kind 18th Century Reproduced Queen Stitched Ladies Pocketbook by Pam Gill $1250. This extraordinary one of a kind piece has been exquisitely reproduced. All hand done in the “queen” stitch, required months of tedious work, and has resulted in this lovely reproduction of an 18th century ladies pocketbook. The original ladies pocketbook can be seen in the Time Life American Country Series, entitled The Needle Arts book, page 26. I have included a photo of the original as seen in this book. The queen stitch was mainly used for small items during the 18th – 19th centuries because it is such a time-consuming and very difficult stitch to do. The color of threads used and the pattern design are taken from a photo in the needle arts book. The pocketbook measures 6 3/4 W x 8 3/4″ H when fully open. It is lined with a salmon colored satin fabric and has two pockets. It is aged to look worn and used. $1250. Includes shipping for this one of a kind piece.

tedious” work? I wonder who chose that word?
very difficult to do“…..not once one learns it.
Mary Alsop” sounds familiar – probably a name that has come up on a sampler on the Needleprint blog.
….and wow! I wonder what the Masterclass, and other complex pieces of work we produce are worth, if only we  had the name and an established market?

My google-fu didn’t discover a site for the embroiderer.

More On Crewel Excitement

EDIT :-  I will look into the making of the right side of this flower when I eventually do a Jacobean piece, and write a tutorial.

I wrote a post on a lovely entry on the EGA’s blog on some Jacobean wall hangings in their collection at the post with those stvpendovs close vp shots.

There has been some discvssion abovt the stitch vsed in the leaf above – the direct link is in the Comments section.

Crewel Excitement!

Needlework News featured a post today from EGA America. It discusses a series of Jacobean hangings in brief. What excites me about this entry is the closeup photos provided. They are just magnificent!

Inspiration here, folks!
Thankyou, NeedleWork News

17th Century Samplers – Article from the V&A

The part I like best, apart from all the interesting information and the pretty images, is the poem :

” In 1688 the following list was published to explain ‘The School Mistris Terms Of Art For All Her Ways Of Sowing’:’A Samcloth, vulgarly a Sampler
Plat-stitch, or single plat-stitch which is good on one side
Plat-stitch, or double plat-stitch which is alike on both sides
Spanish stitch, true on both sides
Tent-stitch on the finger
Tent-stitch in the tent
Irish stitch – Back-stitch
Fore-stitch – Queens-stitch
Gold-stitch – Satin-stitch
Tent-stitch upon satin
Fern-stitch – Finny-stitch
New-stitch – Chain-stitch
Bread-stitch – Fisher-stitch
Rosemary-stitch – Mow-stitch
Whip-stitch – Cross-stitch
Raised work – Needlework Pearl
Geneva work – Virgins Device
Cut Work – Open cut work
Laid work- Stitch work and through stitch
Lap work – Rock work
Frost work – Net work
Purle work – Tent work
Finger work
All of which are several sorts and manners of works wrought by the needle with silk…’.

………” The clearest exposition of both name and form is to be found in Mary Thomas’s ‘Dictionary of Stitches’, 1934, and in the index she usefully groups stitches according to their function. The great variety of stitches has evolved because each stitch has a particular function.”

Lots lots more including technical tid-bits, but I’ll let you read it, if you are interested :-)

(gotta have a piccie!)

Exciting new Detached Buttonhole Class

From the Essemplaire newsletter :

“We will start a new on line class early next year of a thimble holder, this is a reproduction from the Burrell and will either run for two or three months. Perfect for those of you who want to brush up on their detached buttonhole skills as well as working the feathers on a separate ground and attaching them afterwards. Details to be posted later. “

Oh my – this is one of the things I’ve always wanted to make! I’ve seen a couple of versions.
If he only holds a thimble, imagine how tiny weeny some of these feathers are!

Now … to find out how much it cost. I’m not doing Glittering Gentleman’s Nightcap – $ way out of my range, in spite of all the extra stuff I could learn on top of doing the project by doing the course.

Scraps left for Foundlings

The blog Trouvais (which features antique country French decor) has an entry today about a subject the Needleprint blog has covered in the past – the scraps of fabric Mothers would leave with their babies when leaving then at Foundling Hospital gates.

The entry includes some great pictures of some of the pieces, and has a link to a current exhibition of them being held at the Foundling Hospital Museum.

Card of an c1700 English Coverlet in silk and gold

This is a card that I found tucked away. I don’t know where or how I got it – just that it was before I was into embroidery!
It’s advertising an exhibition back in 2005, called “Everlasting – The Flower in Fashion and Textiles”.
Given that flowers are my favourite embroidery motifs, how I would love to go the exhibition now!
It says that the card is an English coverlet, c1700, silk, silk thread, gilt thread.
I haven’t seen anything like it before. All metal flowers, yes. Flowers edged in metal thread, yes. Never satin stitched metal thread mixed in with silk thread as if it were silk.
The stems are satin stitched in gold metal thread.
In the red flower, 2 petals are entirely gilt satin stitched, and the innards of the rest of the petals. It’s centre looks like thick silk, tightly curled then partly unwound, and then couched down.
The blue flower is edged in gold stitches on the edges of each of the two ‘layers’ of the flower. It’s centre looks like stretched gold purl, possibly padded.
The buds and leaves all have satin stitched gold thread at their edges. (It looks black or silver in the scan as well as looking like actual gold in more heavily stitched areas – my camera->computer connection is playing up so I had to scan it, loosing the reflection of the gilt thread).