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. 

18 September 2011

Edward VII and Alexandra: crewel work with flags

These two crewel work pieces were offered on eBay recently with a starting price of 49.99GBP each.  They measure approximately 10 inches x 10 inches and the seller dated them to c1905.  It's interesting to see the mirror-image in the flags, which would make them sit in a pleasing way as a side-by-side pair, and also the combination of printed picture/photograph with embroidery.

Read more: here is a link to the seller:

11 September 2011

1939 George VI peace sampler

This one has been offered on eBay UK for several months at 149GBP or best offer.

Here is the seller's description:
This unique vintage sampler dates from 1939. It is unusual in that it depicts hopes for peace, but must have been completed only months before the start of the Second World War. Across the top of the sampler is sewn: 'Peace and Goodwill Toward Mankind'. On the left-hand side at the top is sewn: 'Chamberlain Munich Sept. 1938', and on the right-hand side: 'King George VI Queen Elizabeth Canada America. 1939'. I believe this sampler to be commemorative of the Munich Peace Conference of 1938 and the Commonwealth visit of the King and Queen to Canada and America in 1939.

In the centre of the sampler at the top is depicted the Coventry City crest. Beneath the wording and crest there are scenes of a 1930s American ranch, and beneath this a 1930s house and garden. Across the bottom of the sampler there are depicted various garden tools and implements. In the bottom right-hand corner the initials B.A.N. are stitched. The whole piece has a blue stylised border.

The sampler appears to have been professionally mounted onto a card backing. It is contained within its original frame (not glazed). On the back board of the frame there is the name and address of the person who we believe did the needlework - Beatrice A. Nelson, 71 Kennilworth Road, Coventry. The mounted textile and back board are loose in the frame and need re-pinning.

Condition: The sampler is well-crafted and the colours are still bright and vibrant, with only some slight fading. However, unfortunately the piece is quite heavily foxed and has some brown patches. Some of this may be due to the card that the sampler is pinned to, but the fabric itself is also badly foxed. There are no visible rips and no moth damage that I can see. The frame has some wear and light scuffing to its corners and edges, and as was mentioned above the sampler and back board are loose in the frame. The metal hanging rings have been screwed through the frame so that the ends poke through at the front. An unusual and unique piece of pre-war memorabilia.

This is the auction link from August 2011:

And this is a link to the seller:

It may of course be sold/gone by the time you read this.

A curious design, which seems more likely to be the ?adapted design of an individual needlewoman than a standard published pattern.

04 September 2011

Elizabeth II: coronation sampler (Windsor Castle)

Auctioned in 2010 (price unknown), this sampler features Windsor Castle rather than the more usual Buckingham Palace, and mixes classic sampler elements such as alphabet and numbers with more specific royal imagery.

The auctioneer's description:
A Queen Elizabeth II Coronation Sampler depicting Windsor Castle, alphabet, numerals and floral decoration, 1953 unframed, 39cm x 36cm

Read more: http://www.artfact.com/auction-lot/a-queen-elizabeth-ii-coronation-sampler-depicting-17-p-473d20cc1f

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