25 December 2011

Elizabeth II: Christmas message 1952

In 1952, following the example of her father, George VI, the new Queen Elizabeth did her first Christmas broadcast, which included the words in the embroidery above.  This was an example from eBay this year.  As with other embroideries (as opposed to cross-stitch designs), the examples I've seen show the variations produced by embroiderers with different levels of skill and who have made individual variations to thread colour (I don't think it's always fading from sunlight - if you look at the letter E on the side in these examples, it's in a single colour in one, and more than one colour in another).  I suspect this must have been a transfer, as the examples I've seen are on different colours of evenweave linen/cotton, from light cream to deeper beige/brown.

You can read more about the Queen's 1952 Christmas broadcast on her website (click here).   That page has links to all her Christmas messages.

Here's another version of this sampler:

...and another...

...and another, that had a couple of detail photos too..

Christmas Greetings!  I plan to continue documenting British patriotic samplers in this blog into the future.  It fascinates me how many there are, and how many people have chosen to make them.  Particular thanks and greetings to Sylvia at Linens and Royals for her much appreciated comments and for being so inspiring with her amazing collection of British patriotic samplers.

If you know more about this design eg. where and how it was published, please do leave a comment.

18 December 2011

21st June, 1982

Does 21st June, 1982 ring any particular bells for you? (Bells were rung on the day, I have no doubt).

Another clue:

Somebody thought it important enough to design quite a detailed work.  Someone thought it significant enough to make this tapestry.

Have the crown and the date and the stylised English roses given it away? (extra clue: Charles and Diana were married in 1981... did you spot their initials at the top of the design?)

I think the red/white/blue item at the bottom of the design is intended to be a cradle.  There's a lot of fecund/flourishing greenery.

You must be close to guessing, or have already guessed, that this records the birth date of Prince William.

It's done in wool on tapestry canvas - as a tapestry or needlepoint, depending on your terminology.  The cream areas are unstitched, so you can see through them to the backing board.

If you know any more about this design - where/if it was published, who designed it, if it was available as a kit - please do leave a comment.  It could have been a charted design (thus able to be used for cross stitch or canvas tapestry stitching) or a kit.  I incline towards the charted design (maybe in a magazine) because most tapestry kits of this vintage and up to the present day generally include enough tapestry wool to stitch the background, whereas counted cross stitch on Aida cloth/linen/evenweave doesn't usually involve stitching the background.  This stitcher chose to interpret the chart using wool and tapestry canvas, rather than as counted cross stich.   There are earlier designs from the 1930s and 1950s employing tapestry canvas with the background left unfilled/holey, but it's rare for more recent work, in my opinion.

11 December 2011

Elizabeth II : Diamond Jubilee (III)

Found on The Making Spot blog:

Ten years ago Needlecraft magazine celebrated the 50th anniversary of HM Queen Elizabeth II's reign with this stitchy project.
Stitching is golden with this vintage pattern from the the 2002 Golden Jubilee.

For the best result, stitch the foreground first but don't carry dark colours from one area to another otherwise they could show through when you stitch the background.

“The long legged cross stitch gives a pretty plaited effect and gives an instant edging. It's the perfect finish for a project that's fit for a queen!”

PS. Why not adapt it for the 2012 HM Queen Elizabeth's II Diamond Jubilee in 2012!

I am amused by 2002 being 'vintage' already...

It's a simple combination of rose, leek, thistle and shamrock. The original has a tapestry/woolwork look to me, but a counted chart can of course be done in cross stitch or tapestry, as you prefer.

The pattern is a free download - go to the blog page here for the download link.

Hmmm.  I don't think I've yet seen the 'category-killer' Diamond Jubilee pattern yet....

10 December 2011

George VI: 1937 coronation chairback & 1953 Yeoman of the Guard tunic

I can understand that this Yeoman of the Guard tunic from the 1953 coronation of Elizabeth II was a 'professional' item, so to speak: worn by a participant on the day -

Nice embroidery on it, too (it was on eBay: can't imagine parking this in a corner of my parlour!).

But here's a chairback embroidery from George VI's 1937 coronation:

...which is like a window on a world now gone.  I can't imagine this was done for use on the day at the ceremony: my guess is that it was done to adorn an armchair in someone's parlour.  The embroidered side visible on the back of the chair, the plain side to prevent Brylcreem or hair oil or pomade or whatever were the hair unguents of the time from soiling the fabric on the chair.

Instead of a bouquet of flowers, it is a patriotic statement: the king and queen's initials, the floral emblems of England, Ireland, Scotland and Wales, with the crown over all and the coronation date.  Where many British patriotic samplers have fussy detail, this one is a simpler and strong graphic statement.

I've never seen an Edward VIII version of this (ER would be the intials, I presume, for Edward Rex).  I find the font particuarly evocative of its time, slightly olde-worlde-calligraphic in style.  It's not a small design, either - the design occupies an area of around 12 inches square.

I have seen a couple of versions of this, with slight colour variations which would imply that this was a transfer design which individual embroiderers interpreted in their own colour selections - either because they liked their choice better, or they used what thread colours they had easily to hand.

Here is another version that was found as an embroidery, not as the long rectangle of a chairback.  You can see the lighter fabric and changes in thread colour.

I wonder what else was in that patriotic parlour? And if this chairback (and any others, if the embroiderer made a pair) were used for display/special occasions, or at all?

If you know any more about this design - where it was published, who designed it, whether it was a transfer - please do leave a comment.

03 December 2011

Peace Sampler: 1945

Earlier this year on eBay this peace sampler was offered.  It is patriotic rather than royal, commemorating the end of World War II for Britain - VE Day and VJ Day, both in 1945.  The design features a lot of symmetry - the flags and searchlights; and balances different motifs representing the Allies in a pleasing way - the Eiffel Tower and the Statue of Liberty, the kangaroo facing the elephant.  I particularly like the font on this.  I do not know if it was a commercially-available design/transfer or the work of a single embroiderer (if the latter, she certainly had design ability as well as stitching skill).  As the seller noted, if it was made when or soon after the war ended, materials to make it would likely have been in short supply.  I find the searchlights particularly poignant as a reminder of the constant danger of wartime life for civilians as well as those in the services.

A couple of pictures showing it in more detail:

There are quite a few samplers commemorating the jubilees and coronations of the 1930s and 1950s, many if not most from commercial interests and sewn by many many embroiderers and needlewomen.  I have seen fewer designs relating to World War II.  Partly, no doubt, because the nation was busy elsewhere - pattern designers and newspaper columns and magazines (paper shortages, too).  But there is a history of wartime needlework.  In quilting, the famous quilt by Jane Stickle known through Brenda Papadakis' Dear Jane book has, in the bottom corner of her immensely complex design (dozens and dozens of 4in blocks, all different), the evocative embroidered phrase, "In War-Time, 1863" - the US Civil War.  During World War II, the women interned (in terrible conditions) by the Japanese at Changi made three quilts - including one for their Japanese captors - from embroidered signature squares.  Read more about the Changi quilts here and here.  Possibly the most poignant square is this one:

There are so many records of war - in words and images and stitches.  These ones in stitches I find to have a particular and immediate impact.  The hands that stitched them were there with the needle and thread, and the stitched words and images feel as individual and close as fingerprints, humans connecting over time.

I think that's why I find these British patriotic samplers and embroideries so compelling and interesting and engaging, that sense of a connection to another individual life.  I wonder if, for some of these, the embroidered sampler is the only thing that survives of some of these people.  Clothes and possessions can be dispersed, household chattels dispensed with: but the samplers have the testament of an individual's  life, and a specific time in that individual's life when they committed themselves to the task of commemorating an event of importance to them.  There's a sadness in that so few of these have a record (either stitched on the sampler or noted on the back of the frame etc) of the embroiderer's name.  So they survive as testament to mind and heart, but to the mind and heart of someone anonymous.  I have asked for provenance for some of those I've added to my collection, but nearly always they've come from a fair or clearance sale, not from a known household or person. 

There's a curious quality to all these patriotic samplers, most particularly the royal ones - few if any of the embroiderers would ever have been likely to meet the monarchs whose jubilees and coronations they laboured for many hours and days to stitch and remember; and yet clearly they felt involved and connected, that these things were important enough to them to spend that time and create the artefact of their patriotism.

And if you look at the earlier blog entry about William and Kate's wedding, the patriotic sampler industry is alive and well and finding customers in 2011, as samplers and embroideries associated with Charles and Diana events did in the 1980s and 1990s.

As ever, if you know any more about the design/source of the peace sampler illustrated above, please do leave a comment. 

27 November 2011

Houses of Parliament

On eBay this year there have been several embroideries featuring buildings with royal associations, including this Houses of Parliament one with Big Ben and, in the foreground, the Thames.  They have been done in this impressionistic style of embroidery, quite fine stitching/thread, sometimes with a single thread colour like this one, and sometimes with multiple colours.  I wonder if they were transfers?  It seems unlikely that they were done freehand, and I can't see how they could be charted (well, they're not cross-stitch).  I've seen a couple of other examples which I'll add to this blog in the future.

If you know any more, please do leave a comment.

25 November 2011

Elizabeth II: Diamond Jubilee (II)

More Diamond Jubilee designs I've found.

From One Off Needlework, a cross stitch design with a more unusual palette of blues and greens displaying the plant symbols of Britain.  You can find the kit (with Aida cloth) here for £27.96 and other places have it (eg. Majesty magazine).
The next design is being marketed on eBay UK and also through the designer's Etsy site.  There doesn't yet seem to be a stitched example: instead, the images look like computer generated ones showing a whiter background and more cream toned background.

The designer's Etsy site is NeverDyingPoet - click here.  The Etsy sales are in PDF form, emailed (?the modern version of the transfers sold for coronation samplers?).

If you find Diamond Jubilee samplers I haven't already featured here, please do leave a comment with a link to alert me.

20 November 2011

George VI: coronation sampler with cross-stitched background, 1937

Listed on eBay earlier this year was this George VI coronation sampler from 1937.  In comparison to some other designs - for example the George V jubilee sampler with coaches from an earlier blog entry here - this looks distinctly chunky.  It seems to be due to at least two elements: the design itself (not a lot of grace about that coach, it looks semi-motor-car-like) and the size in which it has been worked (it's on tapestry canvas rather than evenweave linen or cotton).  Interesting to note the military figures: there were rumblings in Europe at the time.  The 1953 coronation samplers were much more likely to have jolly Beefeaters than the soldier and sailor featured here.

The background is also interesting.  The brown is cross-stitches - the entire background has been filled in.  One of the advantages of cross-stitch or embroidery samplers is that generally you don't have to fill in the background (unlike pictorial cross-stitch such as some of the photo-style William and Catherine designs illustrated in an earlier entry on this blog; or unlikehand-stitched needlepoint/tapestry with continental or ten stitch where every square of the design on canvas is generally filled).  Perhaps the stitcher stitched the design, saw how the canvas looked and chose to cover it up.

If you know where this design was published, please do leave a comment.

13 November 2011

George VI: coronation tablecloth, 1937

From a past eBay auction, all four corners of the tablecloth featured this design.  It measured about 33in x 34in and was in good condition, according to the seller, and sold for 17.78GBP.

I do wonder, with tablecloths, whether people really sat down to eat with their special coronation cloth on the table.  Was it made before the coronation, and used on the day?  Ever used after?  And always interesting, in relation to this particular coronation, is the switch from Edward VIII to George VI.  Was this design always George VI and Elizabeth (as the scrollwork names would seem to imply), or was it originally Edward Rex?  I know of one sampler design that I've seen done with elaborate initials that are ER (for Edward) in some versions and GR (for George) in others.  I don't know the lead time that manufacturers/designers/newspapers/magazines would have needed or worked to in those days.

I also wonder, with tablecloths and traycloths, whether they were more likely to be bought as preprinted linens rather than as transfers.  For a sampler, the embroiderer may well have a suitable piece of fabric, but a tablecloth sized piece, being larger - a preprinted and possible already-hemmed linen (or cotton) piece might have been the method of sale.  It would also make the placement of the transfer easier (eg. for this one, aligning all four in the corners diagonally).  Then again, a measurement of 33in x 34in is less than 36in, which has been a standard fabric size. 

If you know more about this design - where it was published, whether it was a transfer or a preprinted linen etc -  please leave a comment.

06 November 2011

George V & Mary: jubilee sampler, 1935

From 1935, a sampler celebrating the silver jubilee of George V and Queen Mary.  It appears to be stitched from a transfer.  The one above was in an online auction.
Here is another version of the same sampler from a different online auction:

There are subtle differences in the colour choices of the two embroiderers (eg. in the thread colour for the names of the king and queen).  Transfer patterns may or may not have specified thread colours, but stitchers would also be likely to look at their existing threads and use something close in colour because they had it, or different to the illustrated design's thread colour because they preferred it.  Transfer designs for patriotic samplers were sometimes available as kits, but could also (and I think, at this time period, more often) just be a magazine illustration and a transfer either with the magazine or available through the post, with the final thread choice being at the embroiderer's discretion.

These sorts of cross-stitch transfers used one simple stitch, and so involve less skill and, often, less variation than designs requiring even an easy range of embroidery stitches (eg. satin stitch, stem stich, back stitch etc).  It's interesting to compare them to present-day designs, most of which are sold as kits with fabric and thread provided.  The fabric is generally very evenly woven (aida or, more rarely, linen) and with the threads provided, the impulse to change colours is lessened.  Two versions of the same modern day cross-stitch kit (eg. from William and Kate's wedding) would be far less likely to have any variation than even the subtle changes evident in the two designs above.  The fabric imposes precision, and the thread uniformity.  The two embroiderers represented above, while they stitched the same sized transfer, chose their background evenweave fabric (linen, cotton or whatever they chose) and threads.

If you know where this design was originally published, or have any other information about it, or any other photos of it, please do leave a comment so the information can be added to this blog entry. 

30 October 2011

Elizabeth II: coronation brooches

In an online auction, this lot consisted of this Briggs Transfer coloured cover and inside, the transfers to embroider the brooches - a Queen's head, flowers of Britain and some of the Commonwealth, and two buildings - Windsor Castle and ?perhaps the Tower of London?.  I would assume that it also had thread colours and perhaps stitching instructions, but some transfer pattern books of the time did not.

A smaller alternative in time and scale for the embroiderer who can then wear her patriotism on herself, rather than on her wall.

If you know any more about this or have pictures of examples to share, please leave a comment.

23 October 2011

Elizabeth II: Coronation sampler with red coach

While last week's coronation sampler featured a heavily embroidered gold coach, the examples I've seen of this one generally feature the coach done mainly in red.  As a whole, it's a bit more lavish/whimsical/embellished than last week's design.The photograph often looks as though it's from a newspaper - I wonder if the design was originally from a newspaper?  I've seen a couple of different photos used in this design, but this is the one I've most often seen.  This image is from a past eBay auction (the item sold). 

My guess is that this was a transfer design, and not sold as a kit, as I've seen variation in colours used on it which imply that while there was a colour picture for guidance, the final choice was the embroiderer's.

If you know where this design was published, or any more information, please do leave a comment.

16 October 2011

Elizabeth II: coronation embroidery with Coach, Abbey and Palace

I hesitate to call this a coronation sampler in that it's a collection of images without much text.  But then again you get vintage and antique samplers that are just that, and this is clearly intended as a commemorative embroidery.  This example has been for sale on eBay.  It's interesting to see the choice of buildings on royal samplers - this design has plumped for the obvious London ones, Buckingham Palace and Westminster Abbey.

Which makes me wonder if there are any royal samplers featuring Balmoral or Sandringham?  I've seen one tablecloth design with royal residences embroidered on the borders/corners, but not a sampler with either of those.  I have seen embroideries focusing on individual royal residences, such as Windsor Castle or Holyroodhouse, but they feature the buildings, with little or no text beyond the building's name.

The eBay seller is this one, should you wish to follow up and see if this item is still for sale.

08 October 2011

Elizabeth II: coronation sampler (with stitcher's name)

I've seen several examples of this design.  It's not the most subtle, and usually looks a tad gaudy/chunky, but its most distinctive feature is the encouragement to have the embroiderer put her/.his name on the work at the end of the inscription.  Adds a nice individual link, when so many such samplers are anonymous/without named provenance, to have the embroiderer's name stitched into the work. 

The rest of the imagery is standard British patriotic fare, crest and crown and beefeaters and floral emblems etc. This one looks frayed, and having handled one of these, the background fabric is not a small count fabric, but a comparatively loose weave.  I wonder if it was sold as a pre-printed piece, rather than a transfer?  One of the notable differences between embroidered samplers and cross stitch ones is that embroidery offers more freedom in stitch choice and placement, as well as colour variation.  The four examples of this sampler shown here illustrate this nicely.  Even though it's a pattern, it's not being treated as a straitjacket.

This was auctioned in 2008 with a lot of mostly 19th century samplers with a starting price of 150GBP - hard to determine the value of this alone.  It was described as being in good condition.

Read more: http://www.liveauctioneers.com/item/5909533

Here are three other examples of this sampler:

01 October 2011

William & Kate: royal wedding crafts (article)

Illustrated with this cross stitch chart of Kate (courtesy of Cross Stitcher magazine), the Guardian had an article in April 2011 about the wide variety in royal wedding craft-related items.  I only just tripped over it, and figured it should be recorded here.  Royal wedding: Kate Middleton cross stitch pattern, by Perri Lewis.

Read the whole article here:

28 September 2011

E II diamond jubilee emblem update

Here is my version so far. The thread changes are used: combo blue and sand not lemon. I changed a couple of stitches' colours here and there as it pleased my eye better. Even in counted cross stitch there is room for manoeuvre! (I also think I might have goofed and miscounted here and there, so always use the chart as your authority, not any pics of my fallible work).

25 September 2011

Elizabeth II Diamond Jubilee Emblem: Free Counted Cross-Stitch Pattern Chart

I've created a free counted cross stitch pattern chart of the Queen's Diamond Jubilee emblem using http://myphotostitch.com/ and an image file of the diamond jubilee emblem found here: http://www.royal.gov.uk/MonarchUK/Symbols/DiamondJubileeemblem.aspx.

(Link to the chart is at the end of this post.)

(And yes, there's a chart for the Welsh language version too.)

I chose to specify a maximum of 100 stitches in any one direction and to use only 10 thread colours, as the original is simple in its colour scheme. I tried a few different versions with different sizes and more thread colours but found this version worked out well, as a design at least. The wording seems likely to stitch up with readable clarity, which at smaller numbers of stitches was not the case. If you want to make your own, use the two links above and you've got the tools you need to play around to meet your own specifications (eg. if you want fewer or more stitches in your design, and fewer or more thread colours).

At the time of putting this online, I haven't yet decided on the background colour I'll use, whether a light/medium blue or a darker linen. On a light background such as white or cream Aida cloth or linen, it's likely to 'float' as some of the edges of the design are light cream/white. The royal.gov.uk site has guidelines for use that suggest a particular Pantone shade of blue or red for a background. Click here to read the full guidelines pdf and see examples of the emblem in use (and what they don't want done with it). Remember to calculate enough fabric for a border and turnover (if you're framing it), not just the amount actually occupied by the design.

Note: I am not a cross stitch expert and cannot offer advice on your cross stitch version of this. There are bajillions of ways to learn about cross stitch - internet sites, books, magazines, shops. Likewise tapestry, knitting (you would be extremely unwise to anticipate that I could give useful advice on knitting) &tc. I can't tell you how much thread to buy. There are just too many variations people can choose - type of thread, number of strands, thread count of background fabric etc. I am not responsible for the success of your version (isn't it sad I have to put in a disclaimer like that?). I used the images at a size that myphotostitch could wrangle (which is smaller than the pixel size of the downloaded originals). You're welcome, as said above, to do your own versions using these tools. That said, I'll add info to the blog/this entry as I try stitching my own version.

I'm not selling kits or anything. It's not hard to find stranded embroidery cotton and linen/Aida/counted cloth (or tapestry wool and canvas, if you'd rather use that). I'm not making money from this - I figured I'd share it in case others would like to stitch it up themselves. Sometimes it's great to just put a freebie out there for others to discover and use if they wish.

If you do make your own version, it would be great if you'd add a comment on the blog and a link to a picture/photo of your version, to inspire others and to add to this blog's documentation of British patriotic samplers.

I really like the uneven charm of Katherine Dewar's design (read more here) and hope that, stitched, this chart will replicate that. The Blue Peter children's television program contest to design Queen Elizabeth's Diamond Jubilee emblem which she won had 35,000 entries. So she's inspired this pattern. Hurrah for Katherine! Here she is (with her dad) meeting the Queen:

The Queen meets Katherine Dewar, winner of the Blue Peter Diamond Jubilee Emblem Competition

And here she is with a Blue Peter presenter:

2012 Diamond Jubilee emblem competition winner, Katherine Dewar, with Blue Peter Barney Harwood



ENGLISH: Here's the link to the pdf file with the chart, including DMC thread colours

WELSH: Here's the link to the pdf file with the Welsh language chart, including DMC colours

The file can be printed in black on white, in which case you can use the symbols to know which colours to use where; or in colour, in which case you have the colours to help you.

NOTE: Each file is seven A4 pages when printed.


NOTE RE THREAD COLOURS: A couple of the thread colours selected automatically at myphotostitch.com are, to my eye, not quite right, or so I thought when I assembled them to stitch this emblem chart. I'll provide more information as I try out options, but for now, here are my changes (reference is to DMC colours):

3844 is an almost luminous turquoise. I am going to try substituting this with 803 or 3842, or may try one strand of 3844 and one of either of those or perhaps the other blue specified in the pattern, 517. The blue in the emblem isn't luminous turquoise, at least to my eyes. (I'm using 14 count Aida cloth, so I'm working with two strands)

3078 is the yellow specified for behind the lettering etc. It's a very lemony yellow. The emblem's colour looks more like a sand yellow to me. I'm going to try 676.

I also have a couple of thread colours with which I plan to try replicating the outline/lines you see in the original emblem, and maybe to use here and there outlining to add clarity. 310 is black, but I also have 645, which is a dark grey. I'm going to try both and see which I prefer.

Here is a page with a link to let you see DMC colours online; but remember your monitor can skew tones/shades/colours, so always check with real threads.

24 September 2011

Defiant POW cross stitch from World War II

Making is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be. *

From this blog entry at Mr X Stitch, I learned about the upcoming Power of Making exhibition at the Victoria & Albert Museum.  Among the objects displayed is this:

After six months held by the Nazis in a prisoner of war camp, Major Alexis Casdagli was handed a piece of canvas by a fellow inmate. Pinching red and blue thread from a disintegrating pullover belonging to an elderly Cretan general, Casdagli passed the long hours in captivity by painstakingly creating a sampler in cross-stitch. Around decorative swastikas and a banal inscription saying he completed his work in December 1941, the British officer stitched a border of irregular dots and dashes. Over the next four years his work was displayed at the four camps in Germany where he was imprisoned, and his Nazi captors never once deciphered the messages threaded in Morse code: "God Save the King" and "Fuck Hitler".

The Mr X Stitch blog entry has a link to a longer article in the Guardian, Nazis, needlework and my Dad by Patrick Barkham, from which the above quote is taken.  The Guardian article has this photo of Major Alexis Casdagli's son, holding one of his father's cross-stitch pieces that illustrates his father's WWII POW cell:

...and here is what the article says about this piece:

In a bleak, claustrophobic part-map and part-diagram, his father created a needlework of "Room 13, Spangenberg castle". The stitching depicted inmates' cells, a few lumps of coal, a sign saying "bath every 14 days", and a menu: "soup, potatoes, wurst, bread, semolina". At the bottom was a Union flag. National flags were forbidden in the camp, so Casdagli sewed a canvas flap over it with "do not open" written on it in German. "Each week the same officer would open the flap and say, 'This is illegal,' and Pa said, 'You're showing it, I'm not showing it.'"

Here is the information from the end of the Guardian article:

Power of Making is at the V&A from Tuesday until 2 January 2012, www.vam.ac.uk. A Stitch in Time: God Save the King – Fu*k Hitler! by Captain A Casdagli, available from lulu.com. Tony Casdagli is participating in a free workshop at the V&A. Crafting the Collection: Power of Making, 17 September, 11am-4pm.

About the Power of Making exhibition:

The V&A and Crafts Council celebrate the role of making in our lives by presenting an eclectic selection of over 100 exquisitely crafted objects, ranging from a life-size crochet bear to a ceramic eye patch, a fine metal flute to dry stone walling. Power of Making is a cabinet of curiosities showing works by both amateurs and leading makers from around the world to present a snapshot of making in our time.
The exhibition showcases works made using a diverse range of skills and explores how materials can be used in imaginative and spectacular ways, whether for medical innovation, entertainment, social networking or artistic endeavour.
Making is the most powerful way that we solve problems, express ideas and shape our world. What and how we make defines who we are, and communicates who we want to be.
For many people, making is critical for survival. For others, it is a chosen vocation: a way of thinking, inventing and innovating. And for some it is simply a delight to be able to shape a material and say ‘I made that’. The power of making is that it fulfills each of these human needs and desires.
Those whose craft and ingenuity reach the very highest levels can create amazing things. But making is something everyone can do. The knowledge of how to make – both everyday objects and highly-skilled creations – is one of humanity’s most precious resources.

The Guardian has a slideshow of some of the other works in this exhibition:

Not quite the same work as the more usual royal/patriotic fare I find for this blog, but just as important to document and include as British patriotic needlework.  Glad to have found it to share.  And I like the discussion/explanation of the importance of making.

19 September 2011

Elizabeth II: Diamond Jubilee (I)

With the Queen's Diamond Jubilee in 2012, designers and crafters and others are already gearing up with ideas.  Here's a roundup of some designs, news, exhibitions and ideas I've found recently.  I'm sure there will be more to document as the jubilee draws closer, which is why this blog entry is labelled as Diamond Jubilee (I).  You can also navigate to entries of interest by using the tags on each entry.

From Katiemae Designs you can obtain the chart for this blackwork embroidery:

Read more and order the chart here:
It costs  £5 (check on the site re postage costs to your location).

This is the same designer who made a detailed blackwork chart of Westminster Abbey for the royal wedding of William and Kate (as shown in my blog entry about W&K royal wedding samplers). 
See it and buy the chart here: http://katiemaedesigns.info/Buildings_and_Landmarks.html


Embroidery teacher Jacqui McDonald, who teaches at the Royal School of Needlework, blogs that she is working on a Diamond Jubilee design involving stumpwork, blackwork and goldwork.  No image of the design as yet. 
Read the blog entry here:
Read about the three classes in January 2012 which will teach the design:
Later in 2012 there will be a class showing how to mount your embroidery in a Jubilee Casket.
[Is is just me, or does 'casket' just have too much funereal association???  what with the Queen not being precisely young and all, even if her mother did live to be over 100 years old...]


Glimpses of Blighty is a competition being run by Madeira Threads and ICHF in the UK.   Here is their description:

‘Blighty’ is a slang term for Britain, first used in the latter days of the British Raj. It is now more commonly used as a term of endearment by the expat British community or those on holiday to refer to home.
With the world’s eyes focused on Great Britain, firstly with the Royal Wedding last April, and with the Olympics and the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee next year – let your imagination run wild and embroider all that is ‘Best of British’ both past and present, and you could WIN one of our fabulous prizes! There’s a prize for each Category winner and a superb prize for the overall winner!

It will be interesting to see what works might come from this.

Read more here:

Jacksons of Hebden Bridge, who sell kits for church kneelers, have several designs in kneelers and cushions telated to the diamond jubilee:

Kneeler above, tent-stitch cushion below.

Kneeler above, cross-stitch cushion below.

The final one, shown below, disappoints me a tad.  The energy and verve of the diamond jubilee logo have, to my mind, lost a lot of their charm by being 'regularised' into straighter geometry.  Not necessary, to me.  Here's the original logo, followed by Jacksons of Hebden Bridge's kneeler and cros-stitch cushion designs.

The company sells kits of their designs.  Visit their selection of jubilee designs here:
Prices range from £35.95 to  £59.95 for a cushion kit,  £42.25 to  £52.95 for a kneeler kit.  Check on the site for postage costs to your location.


A background briefing document from the Royal School of Needlework advises:

The RSN has an extensive collection and archive and to enable more people to see
some of its holdings, it offers themed tours. For 2012, in celebration of Her Majesty
The Queen’s Diamond Jubilee the RSN’s theme will be Royal RSN
Read the document here:

Keep an eye on the site for more information on jubilee exhibitions/events.  The RSN may well produce a jubilee sampler design for sale - they did a whitework one for the recent royal wedding (see the royal wedding samplers blog entry I wrote in April 2011 for more info). 


This crown stencil from Stencil Library has embroidery/stitching potential, possibly with cotton thread/gold thread/beading/as a wool-stitched tapestry...

They suggest it could be stencilled over a Union Jack design too.

Pricing: The size of the crown is 21cms high by 20cms wide (that is roughly 8 inches) but you can have it made to other sizes. Just ask. The price of the new crown at 21cms high is £18.50. UK postage is free. Add £3 postage for EU countries and £5 for everywhere else in the world.  Packages are sent by Royal Mail.

Read more on the Design Inspiration blog here:

In another blog entry, they show how to use a stencil to create a tapestry design on canvas:

Link for Union Jack stencil:

Trend BIble sees "British Street Party" as a coming trend, influenced by the diamond jubilee and the London Olympics. 

See all their images here:

Question for self: what sorts of samplers/embroideries will be around for the London Olympics, and do they fall within or outside my collection development/blog scope policy??...)



Not directly related to embroidery/samplers, but of interest if you are in the UK and able to visit is the touring exhibition The Queen: Art and Image.

This is a description of it:

To mark the Queen’s Diamond Jubilee in 2012, the National Portrait Gallery is staging an innovative touring exhibition bringing together sixty of the most remarkable and resonant images of Elizabeth II. This will be the first National Portrait Gallery exhibition to tour to British venues before being shown in London, opening in Edinburgh in June, Belfast in October and Cardiff and London in 2012.

The exhibition includes formal painted portraits, official photographs, press images and works by contemporary artists and explores the evolution of the way The Queen has been portrayed during the sixty years of her reign.  Artists and photographers include Pietro Annigoni, Cecil Beaton, Lord Lichfield, Andy Warhol, Lucian Freud and Gerhard Richter and their works are accompanied by archival material – from film footage to postage stamps.

The Queen: Art and Image celebrates and explores the startling range of artistic creativity and media-derived imagery that the Queen has inspired. It also probes the relation of this imagery to a world of changing values during a reign that has engaged the attention of millions.Read more here:
Catalogue book (harcover or paperback) is available - details here:
Or if you want postcard books, badges and more:


Please leave a comment to advise of any other useful related links, patterns, designs or kits related to the diamond jubilee. 

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