Here's what we're thinking about today...

A "Handpicked" Project

17 February 2020

Unsurprisingly, I find a great deal of inspiration from the past and the Tudor period is a limitless source.  The entwined Tudor Rose and Pomegranate symbolized the union of two powerful nations in the marriage of King Henry the VIII of England and Katherine of Aragon of Spain.  The joy didn't last long and but the beauty of the rose and pomegranate can still be found in manuscripts, architecture, jewelry and other artworks of the time.  It has proven to be a popular motif and was chosen by Inspirations Magazine as the "handpicked" design for Issue #105.  The kit for this project is available at:

Filigree Heart

5 February 2020

Sometimes things happen by happy coincidence.  I was trying to put together a simple beginner class in metal thread and it got out of hand... so a two day project instead.  The coincidence is that it happened so close to Valentine's Day.  It goes out to all the extra special women who have brought joy to my life through their love of stitch.  To Catherine, Merydie, Jayne, Pat and Heather...  And to everyone who finds and shares

ad partum gaudium cum acu et filo

Time passes so quickly when you're stitching

1 February 2020

What better way is there to pass a long, cold and dreary winter?  I haven't settled on a name for this blue and green, silk and metal thread flower.  When I do it will go onto the workshop page with a few more details.   I've designed and framed up three more projects, all ready to go.  Spring will be here in no time!

The Old Mill

21 January 2020

This beautiful wool and silk cross stitch picture was embroidered by my great grandfather.  It had come to Canada when the family emigrated in 1912, but had been rolled up in a draw and forgotten for many years.  My grandmother wrote the card and attached it to the back when it was finally framed in 1972.

Not quite there...

17 January 2020

The Tudor rose is well on its way, one more day and it will be done.  There are some odd combinations of leaf colours, but changing colours makes the stitching more interesting.  It will be quite stunning when the silver highlights are in place.

Just finished

13 January 2020

The small version of the honeysuckle is very pretty. Now on to the large version of the rose. Check back on Friday to see if I can get it done!

On my list of things to do

11 January 2020

The Queen's Needle Case project for the EAC Seminar 2020 in Halifax has been given the green light, so now the work on the project kits can commence.  

Also, the third and final project in the 16th century botanical series based on the wood cuts in Jacques Le Moyne de Morgues "La clef des champs" is now on the workshops page.  If you have any questions about Marigold, or any of the projects, please email [email protected]

So close...

10 January 2020

Not quite done, just some outlining to go but it worked up beautifully, much better in real life than this picture!  Look for the detail images and a little more information on the workshops page this weekend.

Happily back to work 

6 January 2020

The Le Moyne marigold is finally back on the trestles and is working up quite well.  The goal is to have it finished by the end of the week, then on to the third Bacton flower.  I had thought to do the foxgloves but maybe the Tudor rose would be a better choice?

A new workshop has been added 

27 December


If you are interested in learning all about St. Faith's historic treasure, the Bacton Altar Cloth, please see the information added to the workshops page and email [email protected] for further details.

Bacton Altar Cloth: St. Faith's Elizabethan Treasure

19 December


I'm just putting the final stitches into the Bacton Marigold. I have also been working on the course outline. There is so much more to this treasure than one might at first expect, so the class will cover aspects of history, fashion, literature and art as well as the all important embroidery.  Detailed information about the two day course"The Bacton Altar Cloth: St. Faith's Embroidered Elizabethan Treasure"  will be posted on the Workshops page very soon.  

Sampler Sundays with Gary and Vonna

18 December


Lately, I’ve really enjoyed listening to We Talk Fiber while I stitch. Vonna and Gary have been exploring the history of Samplers and it has been very informative. Historically, stitched samplers included motifs, illustrations, stitches and text relevant to the circumstances of the youthful stitcher who created it. 

This is a sampler of a newer generation.  It is, with her permission, based on images in my daughter’s high school sketchbooks.  The chaotic tangled design incorporates full drawings, doodles, unrelated elements of text - memes - some are personal but many are recognizeable to youth in the first decades of the 21st century.

Bacton and Lemoyne Marigolds

13 December


It's been a busy couple of weeks with very little time for stitching.  Moving into the studio is a slow process.  I have found a little time to experiment with the Le Moyne and the second Bacton motif is also underway.   I like to work on two projects at once.  If I get into a problem with one, I can always take a break and stitch on the other.   

More news about the Broderers' Crown

8 December


The most recent article will be published in issue 16 of Medieval Clothing and Textiles, a journal published by Boydell and Brewer in April 2020.  The cover of this issue features a detailed colour illustration of one of the Broderers' original embroidered garlands.  The article includes a history of the election garland tradition, an account of the reproduction process supplemented by several photographs and diagrams, and a survey of other extant embroidered livery company garlands.  For more information about this issue and its contents, please go to Boydell and Brewer's website, look for the series Medieval Clothing and Textiles, then find issue 16.  There are many more articles that may be of interest including one on the Bayeux Tapestry.

A qualified success

4 December


After soaking the cloth for a day in tepid water, I was able to remove the larger areas of dried glue quite easily.  The thinner edges were a little more stubborn and required a bit of encouragement.   Where the glue had seeped under stitches, it needed to be removed carefully with tweezers.  The cloth soaked for about 48 hours and lost a bit of its vibrant colour but that was probably due to the novice dyer - my first and only attempt - not knowing how to fix the dye properly.  Lesson learned though - keep a very tidy workspace and put the glue away as soon as it's done with! 


2 December


Jade R is a highly recommended conservation quality glue and I used it in constructing the Broderers' Crown. I recently used it to put together the Dove ornament and very carelessly left it on the desk.  It tipped over and leaked copiously onto a piece of hand dyed and stitched cotton.  I didn't notice until a few days later when it was quite dry.  Now I will find out just how removeable it is...


28 November 2019

Selecting the colours for the project is always the most difficult part of the design.  As a rule, the colours required are rarely on hand. However, the marigold seems to be the exception.  Experimenting with the layering of metal and silk is next...

More project design

25 November 2019

The new studio/classroom is under construction and should be in use by the new year.  While it's still underway, new projects are being prepared so that through the long, cold, snowy winter, embroidery will be the priority.   This is a detail of the latest design in progress will be stitched in the same layering and applique technique as used on the Broderers' Crown - invenire gaudium.


21 November 2019

The third and last flower in the series based on Le Moyne's "La clef des champs" is the French Marigold.  The first step is to sketch the outline in pencil.  Next, a line drawing will be developed using graphics software so it can be manipulated to record stitches and threads in a format that is easily revised.  The other flowers in this embroidered triptych are the Eglantine (to be taught at BATB) and the Sweet Pea which will appear in Issue 105 of Inspirations Magazine).

A sprig of Pansy

19 November 2019

The pansy is finally finished and it stitched up beautifully.  Instead of the silver chamblet fabric the 16th century embroidery was worked on, a plain ribbed silk fabric was used for the ground.  Of course, one of the details that makes the original recognized as a garment worthy of Elizabeth I, is the silver woven into the cloth.  By adding touches of silver plate the modern reproduction sparkles too - not as much as the original, but it is still very eye catching.

A sprig of Pansy

13 November 2019

The pansy is working up very nicely, the colours are vibrant and the little fly adds a touch of whimsey.  Highlights of gold and silver provide some sparkle.

Remembrance Day 2019

My Aunt was a WWII veteran

Lt Col HJT Sloan (1917-2016)

On the 60th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands, a surprise viewing of the Bouquet of Remembrance and Celebration in its new home at Het Loo Palace

My Dad was a WWII veteran

WST Sloan (1920-2018)

He served as a coder on the HMCS Morden. The Morden had a reputation for rescuing survivors of sunken or sinking ships. During the nine month period September 1942 to June 1943, Morden rescued 357 shipwrecked souls from the Atlantic.  A talented watercolour artist, he painted a collection of ships from the Canadian Navy.

Liberation 75

9 November 2019

Just recently, someone reminded me that 2020 will mark the 75th anniversary of the Liberation of the Netherlands by Canadian soldiers in May 1945. 

During the war, the Netherlands Royal Family found refuge in Ottawa where Princess Margriet was born. In gratitude, the Royal family began to gift the City of Ottawa with thousands of tulip bulbs every year and the annual Tulip Festival was born in 1952. On the occasion of the 50th anniversary of the festival, a permanent sculpture of 50 golden tulips was presented to Princess Margriet in “Remembrance and Celebration”.

This unique sculpture was designed and engineered by artist Merydie Fjarlie.  It was stitched by Merydie and a dedicated team of skilled embroiderers over a period of 16 months. Each beautiful tulip was decorated with motifs embroidered in gold threads using the traditional technique of gold work.

Below are two of the fifty individually embroidered blooms, the torch and the poppy and an excerpt of John McCrae's 1915 poem, 

"In Flanders Fields".

Take up our quarrel with the foe

To you with failing hands we throw

The torch; be it yours to hold it high

If ye break faith with us who die

We shall not sleep, though poppies grow

In Flanders Fields.

A sprig of Pansy

7 November 2019

We have started the  new series with a line drawing of the P​ansy motif as it appears on the skirt panel with a couple of flies and a butterfly.  The pansy was a popular flower during Elizabeth's reign, it was also known as heartsease.  The technique used for the flowers is a seed stitch in silk thread blended to create the delicate shading.  Some petals are highlighted with gold passing in chain stitch.  The insects are, for the most part, encroaching satin stitch with details in straight stitches.

The Lost Dress of Elizabeth I

5 November 2019

In celebration of the new exhibition at Hampton Court featuring the Lost Dress of Elizabeth I, we have decide to create a series of embroideries based on the motifs appearing on the panel.  Butterflies, birds, animals and even sea creatures feature prominently.  We'll keep you posted on our progress.

Just finished

4 November 2019

The Peace Dove will appear in Inspirations Magazine Issue 108, November 2020.  White silk, bright check, plate and passing threads in silver with Swarovski crystals and touches of blue.