45 Years of Needlepoint

45 years, I can hardly believe it myself but it all started with a large stool which I worked in Florentine while my youngest daughter, Tamara was in play group – she is now got 3 children of her own with Victoria the eldest just 21!

1st ever Design..
Right from the start I wanted people to learn different stitches incorporated into a pleasing design  that would fit in their home as well as being fun to work.   Our first design Annette (we hoped to go though the alphabet and have done many times) but had difficulty with some letters, X and Z – Zuleika, not easy even if you adore Max Beerbohn!   Annette is still available and a popular design,   Interestingly the design I am working on at present is also an A, Aleppo.

From our design lists you will notice that girl’s names are widely used, frequently stitcher’s names many of whom are still enthusiastic but also names of places and historical techniques.

Aleppo Newest Design.
 I simply love to travel and indeed have been extremely lucky with trips either with a husband who worked (leaving me to explore) or holidays.  So Tiles of St Mark’s, (Venice)  Lucca (Italy)  Izmir and a smaller version Smyrna which was the old name for the city, (Turkey),  Cathedral Tiles  (South Island New Zealand) and now Aleppo (Syria) all bring great memories back. 

My other interest is adapting historical detail into designs for to-day with gorgeous stiches and colours.  One recent design ‘Tudor’ uses a frame work of Elizabethan strap work patterns often seen embroidered on clothing of the period;   Celtic Hearts was inspired by an antique silver brooch seen in an antique shop and a number of designs were updated from an amazing 19th century panel, the Mary Dowell Sampler.  The project for our trip to Tuscany this year is Arte della  Lana, the Coat of Arms of the Wool Traders of Florence.
Frederick Florentine
from Marry Dowell Sampler

Writing books on needlepoint has encouraged me to further research and experiment with many of these more unusual trends.   Some, I know are available on Amazon, my favourites are ’Needlepoint Stitch by Stitch’ and ‘The Complete Needlepoint Course’

Besides traveling for inspiration I have also visited some interesting places to teach, American women are enthusiastic needlewomen and on many visits I have given workshops or talks;  in Sydney I had a lively group raising money for charity, in Belgium and Finland I have given talks and workshops – needlepoint is so visual it is relatively easy to teach in English!
Project for Tuscan Trip 2016

The other aspect that has proved so popular is stitching trips (I originally called them Stitching Retreats but rapidly changed the name when someone told me they thought it meant silence for the duration!!  I can assure you nothing is further from the truth.   Originally we went to York, then for a number of years to the Lake District, Miller Howe where John Tovey became a good friend, then to Andalusia where we found an English sculptor who hosted our group and for the last 9 years to Calabria in southern Italy.  


In this celebration year we are returning in June (visiting 9 times I think proves how popular it is with the regulars)  but in September there will be our first visit to a beautiful place in Tuscany – proving popular with people wishing to combine the trip with add-ons to Florence of Venice.  Both venues in Italy are full at this time but do let me know if you might be interested in another year.


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