Sunday 4 March 2012

A week of great excitement!

A few weeks ago I was really quite down, and you kind and lovely readers and friends helped to  lift my spirits with your comments and support. So I'm delighted to say that everything has really turned around. I've had such an exciting and busy week, and I want to share my news with all of you.

Yesterday I taught the first part of my doll workshop for  'Abigail'  my all in one doll; for the Bristol City Council Adult Education Service. It was a really rewarding day, with a terrific group of students, and the dolls are coming along beautifully. I'm looking forward to the second day of the class and will try to get some pictures.

I was also thrilled to be contacted  by Kelley Aldridge . Kelley is a Royal School of Needlework tutor who  teaches the RSN Certificate and Diploma Courses both in London and  Bristol. She has her own business called 'Love Stitch' which offers a huge range of accredited and leisure classes to embroiderers. She'd seen one of my dolls and wanted to take a class with me, and has asked me if I will come and teach the class for her at 'Love Stitch'. You can imagine how excited I was.

Just after this on Friday - I was asked to create a new stump doll workshop too, so I'm busy thinking - and seeking inspiration! 

As if all this wasn't enough happening, on Friday I had a meeting with my friend Sue Eyles. Sue is a professional photographic artist who creates the most stunning and creative images. She saw my dolls at an exhibition last year and was inspired by them (How great is that!) She contacted me to ask if she could photograph them. Needless to say - I  was absolutely delighted and so we had a photo shoot, at which she took hundreds and hundreds of shots. (It has very much gone to some of the girl's heads I'm afraid, and I've had to speak sharply to Lady Isabella in particular!)  I'm thrilled that she has chosen to use some beautiful and creative images of some of my girls on her own website gallery - (which you can see  if you click on the 'People'  tab). We have another shoot lined up soon. I'm thrilled with what Sue has done so far, and I hope to be able to show you soon on my new website ( which is a WIP at the moment!)

No TAST from me this week I'm afraid, I haven't had much time to spare; but here is the experimental piece I have been working on for the last 2 weeks, which is based on this very basic watercolour sketch I did of a pink pansy. I wanted a nice simple subject to work on and once I started the stitching I was I'm glad I chose this and not anything more complicated!

Sorry I didn't photograph the process, 'cos I've had to do all my stitching in the evenings, and getting a decent picture is very difficult. The image was drawn onto the fabric and pelmet vilene  (extremely heavyweight interfacing ) used to pad the petals and leaves, leaving recesses for the darker stitching to provide depth of shadow.

One  thread of stranded cotton was used to build up layers of colour which add to the 'padded' effect - a bit like thread painting but much more 'bulky'.

Stem stitch, back stitch and picot were used for the foliage and bullion and Chinese knots to finish the flower.

It was an interesting process, and I quite like the effect , but it's  but bloomin' hard work stitching through pelmet Vilene with a size 9 needle, and I found I could only do so much at a time.  But, nothing ventured.....!

This is turning into  a long post - so finally -  by far the most exciting news I have had this week. My first great - niece arrived safely yesterday afternoon - mummy and baby (and daddy) are all doing fine.

I'm  a Granty!

Happy stitching everyone - and I hope you have a great week.


  1. This is sooo pretty.
    The flower looks so real

  2. I love the flower! It doesn't look simple to me.

  3. Woo hoo Jules!!! It was so fun to read this post and all the wonderful things that are happening for you! You truly deserve all of it and so much more! Wish I could be there to celebrate with you!
    Congratulations on your great niece too!
    Smiling big from across the pond my friend!

  4. Oh such beautiful work, wish I had the patience!

  5. Lovely watercolour painting, lovely thread painting and lots of lovely news, Granty Julie!=)

    Am just about to write....

  6. Yes, the Vilene probably would be a bit difficult, and layers and layers of thread won't have helped, but it does look good!

  7. This is an exciting and inspirational post. How wonderful that you are teaching all of the doll classes! I remember when you first started your own dolls several years ago. Your embroidery still shines as do your never ending choice of great words.."granty" How clever, and congratulations!

  8. What a wonderful week you have had. I love your stitching, but I also love the watercolor! Keep Smiliing!

  9. Wow well done Jules!! Love your sketch and your needle work awesome.

  10. Congratulations Granty! The doll photographs are stunning.


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