Home by the sea

Ropewalk – Brightlingsea (Essex UK)



Mudflats – old oyster beds – Brightlingsea (Essex UK)
View of Hurst Green Brightlingsea – (Essex UK)
Essex Fishing Smack – Brightlingsea Marina (Essex UK)

Exercise 3.2 – Translation through yarn

For this exercise we were asked to select a good quality image or postcard of and Old Master’s painting.  Old Masters were artists who were fully trained and worked in Europe before the 1800’s.  I did some research on the internet and found that I liked the paintings of Sandro Botticelli (1445-1510) and that they fulfilled the brief with textiles as the focal point and distinctions between different colours. Sandro Botticelli was and Italian painter who was part of the Florentine School under Lorenzo de’ Medici.  Botticelli is known as an Early Renaissance painter.   I also had to research where I could buy a copy of his painting and which ones were available at an affordable amount.  I bought a copy of this painting called The Virgin and Child and Five Angles from a well known auction site.

The original work of art is located in the Musee du Louvre in Paris.  It is oil on canvas and was painted by Botticelli around 1470.

The Virgin and Child and Five Angels – Sandro Botticelli – oil on canvas


Yarn Wraps

For this exercise I brought together all the bits of ribbon, embroidery thread, wool that I identified were possibly the same colours as in the image.  I have a large collection of (junk as my husband calls it!) all these items stored in plastic boxes in my work room.  It did take quite a lot of time identifying all the different colours and tones in the picture which is possibly not the best quality but was the best available to me.

Yarn wraps

The yarn wrap on the left side is the first one that I completed and I worked from the top of the image selecting the different colours and proportions I thought appropriate as I worked.  I have used a selection of different threads, yarns, ribbons and fabrics.

The yarn wrap on the right side I have worked using the same materials but have wrapped in the order of light to dark.

Here is a list of the threads, yarns and ribbons etc that I have used in these two wraps. All these items have been taken from my collection some have been purchased many years ago or inherited and some I have bought more recently.  The ribbons are also repurposed from packaging or those infuriating bits that are sewn into clothing to prevent them falling off the hangers which I cut out before wearing.  Sorry the list is long…


1 – Dewhurst Sylko no 40 cotton thread – cinnamon D162

2 – Black polyester ribbon – from a Betty Jackson dress

3 – Madeira Stranded Cotton – shade 435

4 – Stranded Cotton (poss DMC) D809

5 – Anchor Stranded Cotton  – shade 308

6 – Anchor Stranded Cotton – shade 868

7 – Stranded Cotton – pale blue (shade and make unknown)

8 – Stranded Cotton – shade 109 – Rose brand

9 – Gold polyester ribbon

10 – Black polyester ribbon

11 – Candy pink polyester ribbon

12 – Polyester sewing thread – red (shade and make unknown)

13 – Handmade paper (gift bag)

14 – DMC Cotton Perle No 5 – shade 816

15 – Anchor Marlitt – shade 1209

16 – Clark & Co Stranded Cotton – shade 504

17 – DMC Stranded Cotton – shade 224

18 – Dewhurst Sylko cotton thread – shade 121

19 – Bergere de France acrylic yarn (no shade number – pale blue)

20 – Gutermann polyester sewing thread – shade 435

21 – Clarks Stranded Cotton (no shade number – pale blue)

22 – Gutermann polyester sewing thread – shade 75

23 – King Cole Twister chunky yarn – shade 684

24 – Light gold ribbon & Carps machine twist cotton thread

25 – Silver braid

26 – Gutermann polyester sewing thread – shade 40

27 – Coates polyester thread – shade ‘moon’

28 – Bergere de France – acrylic yarn (no shade number – pistachio green)

29 – Crochet cotton – white

30 – Anchor Stranded Cotton – shade 306

31 – Felt (very pale blue)


For my third wrap I have selected a small section of the image and knotted threads together to match the colours of this section and their rough proportions to each other.  I have then experimented with rapping the lengths of coloured yarns randomly or laying the threads down side by side.

Selected section of image


Left hand photo is of the different coloured yarns knotted together before wrapping.  Right hand photo is this selection of yarns wrapped unevenly.

Further experiments with wrapping the left hand photo is the result of starting the wrapping from the opposite end of the joined threads.  In the middle photo I have wrapped lengthways and the right hand photo I have squashed the threads together.

I also experimented with laying the threads side by side as I have in my original wrapping exercise.

Final wrap


This exercise produced interesting results and even with small amounts of thread you can see how different colours work together and their relationship.  Whether you wrap in a random manner or lay the threads down side by side, each wrap produces different colour combinations.




https://en.m.wikipedia.org – Old masters

https://en.m.wikipedia.org – Sandro Botticelli

https://www.wikiart.org – The Virgin and Child surrounded by Five Angels


Gouache studies 3.1 – part 3

For this exercise I have used a sample of hessian fabric that has an open weave.  I have used the same fabric in exercise 3.1 where I had to identify the colours in the sample.

Hessian fabric sample exercise 3.1


Here we are required to extend a neutral piece of fabric in an imaginative and playful way, taking consideration of the texture and colour tones.  This was quite a challenge and whether I have produced what was expected I really don’t know!  My rendering of this exercise is whimsical to say the least but other than producing a painting of hairy fibres in a mesh pattern, I had no other ideas!  I was pleased with the result which is definitely playful and original.

Neutral fabric – extended design – exercise 3.1 – part 3



Photo studies



Aldeburgh Beach (Suffolk UK)


The old fish shop Thorpeness (Suffolk UK)
Cowparsley – Thorpeness (Suffolk UK)
Red Admiral butterfly on Nettles – Aldeburgh (Suffolk UK)
Pebble Beach – Aldeburgh (Suffolk UK)
Aldeburgh to Thorpeness footpath (Suffolk UK)
Reflections – Aldeburgh Parish Church – Aldeburgh (Suffolk UK)
Beach art (artist unknown) Aldeburgh (Suffolk UK)


Limestone walls – Citadel – Gozo (Malta)


Graffiti – Citadel walls – Gozo (Malta)


Valletta City Gate – Valletta (Malta) Architect Renzo Piano

Stitches with Stories – Glazig Embroidery

On Wednesday 10th May I spent a day with Susan Rhodes at her workshop in Wivenhoe, Essex exploring Glazig embroidery.  I had previously met Susan though EHA (Essex Handicraft Association) where she had come to talk to us about Glazig and Sorbello embroidery and I had completed a small piece of Glazig embroidery but wanted to explore it further.  Susan very kindly let me join her group of embroiders for the day where she talked about the history of this embroidery and we spent most of the day making a sampler of the different types of stitches used to create this colourful embroidery.

My first Glazig sampler

Glazig comes from the Breton region of France from the 19th century and was used to decorate the traditional clothing worn for family occasions.  Each area within Brittany developed their own style which would identify where in Brittany the wearer was from.

FolkCostume: Overview of the Costumes and Embroidery of Breizh, Brittany or Bretagne
Sample of Glazig embroidery taken from folkcostume.blogspot.de via Pinterest


Traditionally Glazig embroidery is worked in bands in bright colours with a limited range of stitches.  When you work the stitches correctly you notice that they are economic on the wrong side of the fabric so making the most of the thread on the decorative side.  The threads traditionally used are silk on a red or dark background on a woollen base fabric. The motifs used are stylised floral, geometric shapes and folk art.

For our sampler we have used Cotton Perle no 8 on a piece of red polyester satin ribbon with a black woollen mix backing fabric.  We also used a product called ‘Multifuse’,  a very fine fusible mesh similar to lightweight interfacing to fix the ribbon to the backing fabric.  This fusible mesh is not readily available in the UK, I understand that it is an American product.  It gives the ribbon stability and prevents it puckering up, and you can see the difference between my two samples, in the first sample I didn’t use an interfacing and it has slightly puckered.

My Glazig stitch sampler

Stitches from top left: Point Laouig (yellow/red), Double chain stitch (blue) with whip stitch (red), Point Echelle (green) with whip stitch (red) and running stitch and chain stitch (yellow), Point Kamm (multi-coloured), Point de reprise (red/white), Point Feston (yellow).

There are lots of examples of Glazig style embroidery on Pinterest, in particular the new, modern approach to this and many other traditional embroidery styles.

My design for a new sampler


My Glazig embroidery in progress

I have used traditional motifs in my design alongside a more contemporary colour scheme and traditional stitches, worked on a soft cotton ground fabric which is tacked to a calico backing.  I don’t use a hoop or frame, I quite enjoy the freedom of stitching without one.