Wednesday, 14 October 2015

William II

The first commercial commission I have done, for the very beautiful Allen Lane series of British monarchs. Commissioned by Angus Hyland at Pentagram, a machine embroidery on linen.

Man's Shirt

Years in the making, a man's shirt. A Zara shirt decorated.

Monday, 8 October 2012


This is an old piece, machine embroidered.

Wednesday, 23 November 2011

Mexico City

The cushion has been made up at last, and delivered to the commissioner.

Monday, 6 December 2010


Composed from trademarks, done a long time ago, included now for completeness. There is a clue to my actual identity in this one.


This is going to be a cushion cover, asked for by a friend. (See previous posting, Fuegians, for my first attempt).
This was originally a scan of a set of rub-down letters, still in their packet, used to get some lettering to put on a postcard. I wanted to do something where I moved directly from pixels to stitches, and I just used the mosaic and posterize filters in Photoshop, printed out the result, and stitched from that. What I have got is record of how the characters degenerated through the process, rather that an attempt to make a decent replication of the typeface - Profil I think - in thread. I started out intending to keep the original colours, as far as the shades available from DMC and Anchor would allow, but then I changed my mind, and tried to make a more attractive object by choosing some colours.

The chart.


A pair of yellow leather gloves. Suggested to me by a lady and her daughter in the waiting room at St Thomas' Hospital. Not where you would look for helpful suggestions, and they were not that well designed themselves. They also suggested a matching hat and belt, but I think that is going too far. The pattern is pricked throught the leather with a needle first, having removed the lining.
These were meant to look like they were sewn by elves, but they are actually a bit too big for that. More like they were sewn by gnomes.


A pair of shorts. These are actually a pair of Nike golf trousers cut down.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010


This was meant to be a cushion, requested by a friend. I used cotton canvas (I don't know where it is from, there were a lot of similar lengths in the Cloth House, roughly woven, all with a stripe or two), but did not calculate how big the characters would be given the count of the weave. It is much too big to be cushions. I will probably cut it in half and put each pair of names on a stretcher.
The lettering is taken from various samplers in the V&A's book of samplers.
These were the names given to the four natives of Tierra del Fuego that were taken to England on the Beagle. They were on the ship, being returned to Tierra del Fuego when Charles Darwin sailed on it. Boat Memory died on the way to England.
PS. Of course, these were not their names at all. Their names were: El'leparu, O'run-del'lico, and Yok'cushly. There seems to be no record of Boat Memory's real name.

Thursday, 22 October 2009


Short blue wool cape.

Tuesday, 6 October 2009

Hungarian Men

Inspirational commitment to embroidery is demonstrated by these Hungarian men. Would it be too much to hope that we might all look as good as this again? If all the time we spent fiddling with iPhones and PSP's and DS's and watching soccer fixtures and Top Gear and Jamie Oliver was spent embroidering, imagine how good we would all look. I think it could happen.

Friday, 2 October 2009

Fifty Year Old Scarf

This was done for the significant birthday of a friend. It is possible that there is too much going on here. I need someone to take these things away from me when I have done enough. I have used some silver metal thread here. It is difficult to work with, but gives an interesting, slightly ecclesiatical look to the patterns. Almost all Palestinian again, with just a few shapes made up myself.

There, no scroll.

Thursday, 1 October 2009

My Scarf

Apart from the casual scribbling of my shoes, this is the only thing that I have done that I can wear so far. My ambition is for us all to be able to go out embroidered as a family. It is longer than it looks in this picture, possibly a bit too long.
You can see that one end is not made from Palestinian patterns, it is a mess of my own.

Tuesday, 29 September 2009


I wanted to do a picture, and include some idea of what these patterns were and where they were from. The picture came from a souvenir book published, as far as I can tell, by Japanese Christians. I would like to do another: an embroidered bulldozer. This was done in one evening, babysitting.

Shoes (Mens)

This was not really a project, it was just that I started sewing on my shoes whenever I had a spare minute. It did actually start as a repair.

Shoes (Ladies)

After the dress, I did the shoes. I realised that you could actually embroider anything that you could get a needle through. It was not easy though, and my fingertips were numbed for some time after this project. There is something wilfully stupid about doing this sort of work on a pair of very cheap pumps.

After they've been used a bit.

Dress 1

Having done samplers, I wanted to start on garments, actually sew something to wear. A dark wool dress was a nice thing to start on, it has a similarity to the Palestinian dresses the patterns are taken from. I worked on the made-up dress. It is a nicer shape than it looks in this picture.

(The great product that I first used on this is 'waste canvas', a mesh that you tack onto the fabric , sew through and then remove when the pattern is complete. It allows you to embroider a regular counted stitch on any fabric.)

Large Sampler

So, I started working from the book, "Palestinian Embroidery Motifs". Not unconnected with the post 'Tiny Sampler', I thought that since I was needing glasses to use cotton thread on 16 stitch per inch linen, I could make life easier if I used tapestry wool on what was about 6 stitch per inch linen. Also, I would get a much bigger thing to put on the wall. This is almost true. The sampler I made ended up about 1metre wide and 1.5 high. It covers quite a lot of wall.

Palestinian Embroidery

I discovered Palestinian embroidery at the fantastic Palestinian Costume exhibition at the old Museum of Mankind in London. in 1989. To tell the truth, it was this exhibition that made me aware of who the Palestinians were, and what a beautifully rich culture they possessed. The catalogue to this exhibition is still quite easy to find, look on Abebooks.
In 2007 I found "Palestinian Embroidery Motifs:A Treasury of Stitches, 1850-1950" , by Margarita Skinner and Widad Kamel Kawar, in the bookshop of the Victoria and Albert Museum. This is a fantastic book: photographs of a collection of stunningly beautiful dresses, technical and historical commentry. and over 200 motifs named, located geographically, and drawn up in diagrams that are easy to sew from. An unusual combination of a beautiful record and description, and a very practical guide for sewing. My copy is falling apart.

Tiny Sampler

This sampler had a purpose: I was just starting to wear glasses, and I wanted to see if I could do it , just one last time without. Sixteeen stitches to the inch, with natural unaided eyes!

Little Sampler

Then there was a break of several years when I did no sewing at all. I left some embroidery on a plane, and didn't start again.
When I did start to sew again, I did this little sampler, made up as I went along.

More Darwin

Diagrammatic representation of evolution as a result of variation due to mutation. Machine embroidery.

Monday, 14 September 2009


A machine embroidered portrait of Charles Darwin, with his first diagram of evolution as a tree , rendered in thread.

Friday, 11 September 2009


Using the machine, I started to do every King and Queen of Britain. I think I did five. I can't remember what these Kings are called, John Richard or Edward, probably.

Wednesday, 2 September 2009

Bishop Eaten By A Lion

Then I borrowed a machine, and just "drew" with it. I spent most of my time freeing jams and re-threading needles.

My Kidneys

After the first cross stitch pieces, I did some hand-sewn applique . This is my kidneys. I like the strange stain that mysteriously appeared on it.

Hybrid Crosses

Then I tried some hybridising.

And then, not wholly successfully, some over-embroidering.