I am now ready to start the stitch study as part of Stitch Junkies with Sharron B's stitch files. I have been thinking about the form this will take. It will be a major study and I want to include the stories that go with the stitches. I also want to use to opportunity to design some new work.
So I will begin with why I have selected 'this' linen fabric. I probably won't have enough to do all the samples on it so there may be other fabrics added along they way.
The first fabric. 25 count linen
I bought this fabric back in 1970 from the New South Wales Embroiderers Guild at a cost of $3.00 per metre. It is 25 count beige linen and now has a few rust marks here and there. I intend to leave these marks on the fabric as they are part of it’s story.
At that time the Guild rooms were situated in Beaumont House 167 Elizabeth Street Sydney. I was working as a Fashion Buyer for David Jones (Australia) Ltd. and my office was half a block away. The first time I visited the Guild I was still a cadet. This building had also been the site of the Women’s Club and one of the older Buyers, who was my mentor at the time, had taken me to this club for lunch and someone told be about the Guild.
The building was old with a maze of passage ways. An old style lift, that didn’t inspire much confidence, and lots of wood panelling. I remember the ladies as being ‘rather old’ also, and as I was about to be transfered to the London Office they told me I should visit the Victoria and Albert Museum, if I was interested in embroidery, while I was there. This advice was to change my understanding of embroidery.
I originally bought the fabric for a large embroidery , 30” x 60”, I was stitching for my Aunt’s new home. I found the design in Mc Call’s Embroidery for Beginners Book 2 page 27. My boyfriend, who later became my husband, drafted it out for me on paper and then I transfered the design onto the fabric. I remember that the pattern came in two layers. I stitched one and then stitched the next design over this.
I found the pattern again the other day and reading the instructions realise I didn’t understand a word. It was supposed to be worked on Homespun Fabric. Never heard of it in Australia back then, you did embroidery on linen. Then there was something about working it on a canvas stretcher, never heard of those things. And, I see it was supposed to be worked in “DMC Laine Tapiserie”. I worked it in DMC perle 3 and 5, that was all you could purchase at that time and then only from one or two stores.
The fabric has travelled with me through my whole married life, over thirty years. It has been folded and ironed numerous times. Stored in boxes and on shelves. Put into plastic bags, paper bags and calico bags. I always thought I might need it one day and now that day has arrived. It seems right somehow that my first big purchase of embroidery fabric should be used to document all the stitches I have learnt over the years and memories that these have and will revive.