News Update

Hi everyone

Well about an hour ago I managed to erase the whole Cross Stitch Gallery and it’s taken me all this time to figure out how to restore it! WordPress is seriously scary at times….Anyway it’s back & updated to boot.

Here’s the list of all the galleries that have been updated:



Contemporary Creative

Crewel & Surface Stitching

Cross Stitch



Landscapes & Scenes

Stumpwork & Textured Stitching


All the new photos are at the top of the galleries.


We’re on Facebook and you can find us here. Yay! \0/




Looking Over Shoulders 4

It’s going to be 39C here today so if you’re looking to escape the heat (or the cold in the Northern Hemisphere) by staying inside here’s some eye candy from the evening meeting of the Guild last Monday:

Jenny Balderson was working on a large crewel design:

Crewel work in progress by Jenny Baldessin

At another table Prue Deacon was adding a border to one of her striking canvaswork designs:

Canvaswork in progress by Prue Deacon

While Jan Senti was cross-stitching a teddy bear in an interesting way – she was mixing the thread to create a ‘tweed’ effect:

Tweed style Teddy bear x-stitched by Jan Senti

And Margaret Callinan was also doing cross stitch – a very atmospheric scene of a waterfall and cherry blossom:

Cherry Blossom and Waterfall in progress x-stitched by Margaret Callinan

Sarah Kimmorley was stitching this footstool cover for her dollhouse – my eyes were protesting just looking at the tiny size of the stitches!

Miniature Footstool cover stitched by Sarah Kimmorley

At the next table Lee Scott was knitting this gorgeous green lace:

Green Knitted Lace Shawl 2 by Lee Scott

and a closer look:

Green Lace Knitted Shawl by Lee Scott

Sitting nearby was this crocheted bag that Lee was about to start blocking:

Crocheted Bag with Pearls by Lee Scott

Across the way Anne Eccleston was bringing another vintage Semco piece to life:

Semco Vintage Strawberry Cushion and Pattern x-stitched by Anne Eccleston

Semco Vintage Strawberry Cushion x-stitched by Anne Eccleston

It’s a cross stitch cushion with strawberries and matches the tablecloth she had in last year’s exhibition which you can see here.

Jillian Farrer was also into vintage and embroidering this softly delicate piece:

Vintage Embroidery with Blue Flowers stitched by Jillian Farrer

On a totally different note Monica Andrew was working on this contemporary textured piece:

Contemporary Textured Embroidery on Marrone fabric stitched by Monica Andrew

Next to her Jill Travis was adding stitches to her Stitch of the Month book cover:

Stitch of Month Bookcover by Jill Travis

While Mary Bowron was chatting to her and knitting this bright piece for one of her family:

Blue Knitted Childs Dress by Mary Bowron

Lel Whitbread was very excited about stitching these blackwork flowers from a new book which gives this traditional technique a modern twist:

Blackwork stitched by Lel Whitbread

Just then Catherine Fetherston arrived and pulled out these two works in progress – a striking Hardanger motif:

Hardanger on Red Fabric in Progress stitched by Catherine Fetherstone

and some contemporary Casalguidi which is a UFO she’s trying to finish:

Contemporary Calasguidi in Progress by Catherine Fetherstone

Speaking of Casalguidi Yvonne Kingsley had this lovely needlecase sitting on the table next to her embroidery stand:

Casalguidi Needlecase by Yvonne Kingsley

She had this date palm in her hoop:

Date Palm on Wool blanket stitched by Yvonne Kingsley

It’s part of a large wool blanket – here’s a camel that’s also in progress:

Camel in progress from Wool Blanket being stitched by Yvonne KingsleyIf you’re curious about the white material around the camel – it’s soluble interfacing onto which Yvonne has traced the design. A cool way to get a design onto a dark fabric.

Well that’s it for now – I’m off to get a mega dose of high wattage energy – the Young Stitchers have their first meeting of the year this afternoon!


Looking Over Shoulders 3

Hi there again

The Guild started up for 2014 on Monday. Lots of people still on holidays so numbers were well down but there was some wonderful work in progress. Here’s a sample of what was happening:

Agnes Sciberras was working on this stunning contemporary seascape:

Agnes Sciberras - Contemporary Seascape in Hoop

The scene is from a photo she took down the South Coast of NSW around Narooma. If you want to look in more detail just click on the photo.

And here’s a closer look at the beautiful materials and stitching…

Agnes Sciberras - close-up of South Coast Seascape in Progress

 Ann Lond was meticulously stitching a Hardanger runner in a soft sage colour:

Anne Lond - Green Hardanger Runner in Progress

Here are the edges she was finishing:

Anne Lond - Green Hardanger Runner Edges in Hoop

And here are a couple of the ones she’s already done:

Anne Lond - Finished Edges on Green Hardanger in Progress

Barbara Adams fingers were flying as she progressed these Candlewicking blocks for a quilt:

Barbara Adams - Candlewick Rooster in Progress

Barbara Adams - Candlewick Dog

Barbara Adams - Candlewick Rabbit in Progress

Aren’t they cute?

On the other side of the table Val Woodward was creating this lovely Canvaswork piece in blue and turquoise:

Val Woodward - Blue and Turquoise Canvaswork in Progress

Next to her Pat Bootland was developing the latest of her inspiring Or Nue designs:

Pat Bootland - Or Nue of Man at Window in Progress

Pat is so skilled that she makes it look straightforward – just awesome!

And in her usual spot at the end of this table Ann Small was expertly cross stitching this challenging design:

Anne Small - Country Store x stitch on hoop

At the next table Kathy Pascoe was adding more roses to her vibrant tablecloth:

Kathy Pascoe Purple Tablecloth with Yellow Rose

While Margaret Cooper was creating these delicate Stumpwork elements:

Margaret Cooper  Stumpwork leaves etc in hoop

Meanwhile on the other side of the table the precise geometry of this Canvaswork was emerging from the expert stitching of Margaret O’Beirne:

Margaret OBeirne  Purple Canvaswork in Hoop

Across the way Evelyn Foster was showing us the Contemporary Whitework she’d just finished as part of her online course with Karen Ruane:

Contemporary Whitework by Evelyn Foster

And here’s the other side:

Reverse side of Contemporary Whitework by Evelyn Foster

This is Evelyn’s own design and is just wonderful!

She’d also stitched this needlecase for one of her friends on the table:

Evelyn Foster - Friends by Choice

Not far away a handsome cat was emerging from Joyce Lynch’s cross stitch:

Joyce Lynch - back of x stitch cat

And Helen Nastopoulos was stitching these cool mice:

Glenda Hudson - mice x-stitch

Sitting next to her Ruth Jackson showed us this endearing koala:

Ruth Jackson - x-stitch koala softie

Don’t you think he’s got great personality?

She’d also finished this cheeky cross stitch:

Ruth Jackson - Women and Men Communication x-stitch

and was working on this:

Ruth Jackson - X stitch Alphabet

A bit further around Gail Haidon was embroidering this colourful and softly delicate design:

Gail Haidon Blue and White Wool Embroidery in Progress

Here are these gorgeous blues in more detail:

Gail Haidon - Blue Wool Embroidery close up

Not far away Margaret Lamond was adding flowers to this brilliant piece:

Margaret Lamond - Gold embroidery in progress

At the next table Lesley Fusinato was creating another of her super cute mice – this time a little French mouse:

Lesley Fusinato - French mouse in hoop

Chatting quietly to Lesley was Margaret Roberts who was busy choosing colours for the next section of her contemporary landscape:

Margaret Roberts - Contemporary Landscape

I love the way she’s evoked the sense of part of the scene in sunlight and the rest in shadow – it adds realism to a striking design.

As I was walking out of the room I caught sight of Sue Scorgie with this Diana Lampe design in her hoop so I grabbed my Ipad and took these pics:

Sue Scorgie - Diana Lampe Design in Hoop

I wanted a closer look at the wisteria she was stitching so you get one too:

Sue Scorgie - Close up of Diana Lampe design in hoop


Exhibition of Miss Fisher’s Costumes

For the fans of the sumptuous costumes in the Australian TV series Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries there’s great news. They’ll be on show at Old Government House Parramatta from 1 March to 1 June 2014 – here’s the link to the National Trust’s website. Thanks to Sarah Kimmorley from our evening group for the head’s up.



Doreen’s Dollhouse for Stitchers

Hi everyone

We’re going to start 2014 on a fun note – a dollhouse made by Doreen Mcgregor that’s full of all the things that stitchers love – fabric, thread, notions, magazines, kits, yarns etc – and all hand made.

It was first shown at the Guild’s 2011 Exhibition but has proved to be such a hit with the public that it’s been on display again since then.

Doreen is an incredibly talented needlewoman. She’s usually sitting and chatting quietly while doing the most exquisite and complex Hardanger pieces but can also create lovely things in just about any embroidery style. She can also knit up a storm! And does funky as well as traditional.

Her dollhouse shows an attention to detail that’s just awesome. Here’s a first look:

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 15 by Doreen Mcgregor

It’s 25 cm or 10 inches high. The shell was bought but Doreen added the signage and most of the fittings and merchandise.

The name of the shop The Crafty Tadpole is a clever play on the name of Doreen’s favourite embroidery supplies shop in Canberra – The Crafty Frog. You can find the latter’s website here.

Now for some more pics of the outside and windows:

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 2 A by Doreen McGregor

Doreen stitched all those cross stitch pictures you see on the back wall specially for the dollhouse and they’re fingernail size!

Crafty Tadpole 1 by Doreen McGregor

Aren’t those bolts of fabric she created just fantastic?

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 10 by Doreen McGregor

How about these teeny tiny replicas of embroidery magazines?

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 6 by Doreen McGregor

and all those hanks of embroidery thread displayed on the wall?

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 3 by Doreen McGregor

I couldn’t get over how she’d crafted these tiny balls of yarn with their own brand in a whole range of colours…..and the coat hangers

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse No. 4 by Doreen McGregorNo detail has been forgotten – Doreen embroidered this carpet in canvaswork for the floorcovering…

Would you like some closer looks?

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 5 by Doreen McGregor

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 7 by Doreen McGregor

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse by Doreen McGregor

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 8 by Doreen McGregor

This miniature hardanger is just lovely and the fact that it’s the size of a large postage stamp really shows what a talented crafter Doreen is…….and yes she made those rolls of ribbon too! Doreen’s daughter Leigh made the sewing box – more about that later.

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 9 by Doreen McGregor

Those tiny kits in the window are also hand made by Doreen. One of my favourite items is the sewing pattern in miniature next to the sewing machine. Doreen’s daughter Leigh mocked up the carry box for the sewing machine in the left hand corner at the back as a birthday present for her mum.

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 12 by Doreen McGregor

Leigh also made this sewing basket and its contents as part of her gift while Doreen stitched the bargello bag……

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 13 by Doreen McGregor

and these two pieces of embroidery!

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 14 by Doreen McGregor

Just had to share the love for this funky purple bag!

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 16 by Doreen McGregor

As mentioned earlier that sewing box in the back right hand corner was also made from scratch by Leigh as part of her mum’s birthday present…….serious crafty talent in this family don’t you think?

Crafty Tadpole Dollhouse 17 by Doreen Mcgregor

Has Doreen’s dollhouse made you smile? It certainly brings out the child in me! Don’t forget to click on the photos if you want to see them in more detail.

Bye for now.

News Flash

Hi everyone

We have some news updates!

Butterfly Detail from Lorna’s Wren Stumpwork

After the last post there were a few requests for a closer view of the butterfly in Lorna’s Wren stumpwork. We aim to please so here’s the butterfly:

Lorna Loveland - Stumpwork Butterfly

New Galleries 

As you probably noticed the Members Gallery grew and grew and became unwieldy so Sharon B has created a whole series of new sub-galleries.

This presents a different challenge – how do you know if new photos have been uploaded without having to check every gallery? Well for the moment we’re going to list the new additions in special posts.

Some work includes a range of techniques and is shown in more than one gallery. Where this happens we’ll try to remember to flag it in our listing.

So here we go:

Beadwork – work by Glenda Hudson, Lesley Fusinato & Jenny Naughton

Crewel & Surface Stitchery – work by Diana Churchill, Anne Eccleston, Lesley Fusinato & Elvi McCann

Cross Stitch – work by Trish Hyland, Jenny Naughton & Luba Tomaska

Dolls & Softies – work by Irene Burton

Goldwork – work by Jenny Naughton

Hardanger – work by Marion Hendy & Elvi McCann

Quilts & Wallhangings – work by Lesley Fusinato

Seasonal Items – work by Glenda Hudson (same piece as in Beadwork gallery) & Lesley Fusinato

Stumpwork & Textured Stitching – work by Lesley Fusinato (same piece as in Beadwork gallery)

Vintage – work by Tina Korda

Hope this helps! If you have any ideas for how to handle this a different way just leave a comment – we’d love to hear from you.

2014 Challenge

Every second year the Guild holds a stitching Challenge.

Next year the commemorations of WWI begin and go through to 2018. The theme for the 2014 Challenge is Stitching Love and Hope.

How’s that for a teaser? Members will know more detail as soon as they purchase their envelopes……..and there’ll be an update in a blog post as soon as we know more!!!

Hope you’re having a great weekend!


Royal History in Cross Stitch 3

Hi everyone

Welcome to the final post in our series on the Kings and Queens of England since 1066. I’ve really enjoyed writing this quirky series and hope you’ve enjoyed reading it and looking at Barbara’s clever stitching up close.

From Queen Anne to Queen Elizabeth II

This period of royal history covers over 300 years to the present day. During this time there is a decisive shift of political power from the monarchy to the parliament, the growth and decline of the British Empire, and the union of Scotland and England to create the United Kingdom. Not to mention World Wars I & II…

Rows 5 and 6 of Barbara Bailey X stitch


We left this sampler with the reign of William and Mary of Orange. They had no heirs and so the throne passed to Anne the daughter of James II and his Protestant first wife.

Anne to George II Barbara Bailey X stitch

Anne (r. 1702-1714)

Her reign was characterised by prosperity and stabilty. Despite suffering from ill health (severe gout) for most of the period she was an active participant in political life. She attended more Cabinet meetings than any other monarch and astutely managed the conflicts in government that came with the rise of the two party system. The union of England and Scotland into the United Kingdom happened during her reign. She had 17 children but all died before their 12th birthday.

George I (r. 1714-1727)

George I was the first of the Hanoverian Kings. He was German, had a poor grasp of the English language, a whole swag of greedy mistresses and a badly treated wife. Needless to say he wasn’t popular! The image of him here with a key in his hand probably references the fact that he locked up his wife for long periods of time.

George II (r. 1727-1760)

George II reigned in a period which saw the beginning of the Industrial Revolution, a rapid rise in population, the growth of English economic and military power and the expansion of the empire. He had to deal with Bonnie Prince Charlie who landed in Scotland and was defeated at the Battle of Culloden. He was passionate about the invention of the marine chronometer (the first sea going clock) and that’s probably why he’s got a clock in his hand here.

George III to William IV

George III to William IV Barbara Bailey X stitch

George III (r. 1760-1820)

George III is a much maligned figure and is often presented as a caricature with the focus being on his loss of the American colonies and his bouts of insanity. In fact he was for long periods an able and cultured monarch who founded the Royal Academy of Arts. This was the Regency period and during this time the colony of N.S.W. was established and the  policy of transportation of convicts implemented. The Civil List to meet the expenses of the Royal Family was set up. Historians attribute his periods of insanity to Porphyria – a disease of the liver.

George IV (r. 1820-1830)

George IV was an extravagant collector and builder who liked the good life. He allegedly spent his wedding night in a drunken stupor on the floor. He liked pageantry and this became the basis for the ceremonial side of Royal events.

William IV (r. 1830-1837)

William IV never expected to become king as he was the third son of George III. At 13 he joined the Royal Navy as a midshipman which is why he’s shown here in naval uniform. He made it his mission to live long enough that Victoria would come of age and inherit the throne – there were other claimants to the throne hanging about.

Victoria (r. 1837-1901)

Victoria Barbara Bailey X stitch

Victoria is regarded as one of the great monarchs of England and needs no introduction. Her long reign is associated with the grandeur and power of the British empire. At the same time political power moved decisively away from the Crown to the Parliament. New forms of transport such as the train made it possible for her to travel and this made the monarchy more accessible. One of her last formal acts was to sign the Constitution of the newly formed Commonwealth of Australia in 1901.

Edward VII & George V

Ed VII and George VI Barbara Bailey X stitch

 Edward VII (r. 1901-1910)

Edward was the oldest son of Victoria and Albert and a bit of a wild child with lots of mistresses (presumably why we see him here with no pants!!). He injected a bit of fun back into Britain after Victoria’s long and sometimes dour reign. He’s reputed to have eaten 5 meals of ten courses or more every day. As a result he had a waistline of 122 cm or 48 inches when he was middle aged! Mary Poppins is set in his reign and you might remember that Mr Banks goes round singing:  ‘It’s grand to be an Englishman in 1910! King Edward’s on the throne, it’s the age of men!’ Meanwhile Mrs Banks is busy being a suffragette!

George V (r. 1910-1936)

George V began his naval career as a cadet at the age of 12. As Duke of York he opened the first Parliament of Australia in 1901. During WWI he made over 400 visits to troops and hospitals. In 1917 because of anti-German feeling he renamed the royal family the House of Windsor after the castle. He was earnest, traditional, hard working and a passionate stamp collector. The present Queen used to call him ‘Grandpa England’ when she was a child. As Prince of Wales he opened the Royal School of Needlework as we know it today and the RSN made his Coronation robes.

Edward VIII & George VI

EdVIII and George VI Barbara Bailey X stitch

 Edward VIII (r. Jan – Dec 1936)

Not much to be said here except that he’s shown saying goodbye after his abdication so that he could marry Mrs Simpson.

George VI (r. 1936-1952)

He grew up as Prince Albert the younger son of George V. He was shy and stuttered badly. As king he was reserved, courageous, deeply religious and dedicated. His reserve was balanced by the bubbly, out-going nature of his wife Elizabeth. During a State visit in 1936 he became the first British monarch to enter the US. He served in the Navy in WWI and as a result made numerous visits to his troops in many war zones during WWII.

Queen Elizabeth II (1952 – )

Elisabeth II Barbara Bailey X Stitch

Mmmmm the Queen here looks more like Camilla than herself. What do you think? Given that she’s the reigning monarch and we’ve just been through all the celebrations for her Diamond Jubilee and Coronation I’m not sure there’s much left to say……..except that she’s a remarkable person and monarch by any measure….maybe only to add that the RSN made her Coronation Robe of State.

Bye for now!

Royal History in Cross Stitch 2

Hi everyone

This post was meant to be written about 5 days ago but then the cockies (Sulphur-crested Cockatoos) chewed through the telephone line to our house and we’ve been without the Internet while a new line was connected. The fact that the very plump local brushtail possums also use the telephone line as an aerial highway probably doesn’t help either!

Hopefully I’ll be able to squeeze in an extra post over the coming week.

Now back to the second instalment of the royal history in Barbara’s cross stitch. Here are the rows of kings and queens we’ll be looking at in this post:

From Edward IV to William & Mary

This period of royal history covers the end of the War of the Roses and then the turbulent  and complex couple of centuries of tensions between Protestants and Catholics and Parliaments and monarchs about which faith would prevail as the  established state religion of England.


Rows 3 and 4 of Barbara Baileys Xstitch of Kings and Queens of England


Just to recap where we left off last time – it was with Henry VI the last of the Lancastrian Kings. He and Edward IV fought a series of battles in the War of the Roses. Henry VI was defeated in 1461 and confined to the Tower of London but re-instated briefly in 1470 when nobles loyal to him rebelled against Edward IV who was forced to flee. Edward IV returned and defeated the forces loyal to Henry VI in 1471:

Barbara Baileys Xstitch Ed IV to Richard III

Edward IV (r. 1461-1470 & 1471-1483 ) is regarded as a military and administrative genius. He was a popular king who restored the royal finances through tough management of royal revenues and shrewd investments including wool trading. His Court is described in records of the time as the most splendid in Europe. He spent a lot on expensive status symbols to demonstrate his wealth and power. The way he’s shown here probably refers to the fact that in the last few years of his reign he became rather stout.

Edward V (r. April-June 1483) was one of the Princes in the Tower. He became king at the age of 12. His uncle Richard, Duke of Gloucester, was made Lord Protector of the realm. He had Edward V declared illegitimate and confined to the Tower of London (then a royal residence) with his younger brother. The young princes were never seen again.

Richard III (r. 1483-85) usurped the throne from his nephew Edward V. He had a strong power base in the north of England and this caused growing resentment in the south. He died in the Battle of Bosworth Field fighting Henry Tudor. Richard III was the last English king to die in battle.

Barbara Bailey Xstitch Tudor Kings

Henry VII to Edward VI

Henry VII (r. 1485-1509) was the first Tudor monarch. In the latter part of his reign he imposed heavy taxation and his greed made him unpopular. He’s shown in this design carrying a chest of money.

Henry VIII (r. 1509-1547) is one of the best known and flamboyant kings of England. He was a larger than life figure and a talented linguist, musician, composer and writer and great patron of the arts. He established the Church of England and was married 6 times.

Edward VI (r. 1547-1553) became king at the age of 9. He was a devout Protestant and the Book of Common Prayer was introduced in 1549. Edward was physically frail and when his health was failing he accepted Lady Jane Grey (one of Henry VIII’s great nieces) as his heir.

Lady Jane Grey & Mary I

Barbara Bailey xstitch Mary Queen of Scots

 Lady Jane Grey (r. 10-19 July 1553) was a pawn in a broader political play. She was only 16 when she became heir to the throne. Unfortunately for her the country rebelled and rallied behind Mary the daughter of Catherine of Aragon. She was executed not long after.

Mary I (r. 1553-1558) was the first Queen to rule in her own right. She was a devout Catholic and over 300 Protestant heretics were burned at the stake and many more imprisoned.

Elizabeth I & James I

Barbara Baileys xstitch Elisabeth 1 and James 1

 Elizabeth I (r. 1558-1603) is regarded as one of the great monarchs of England. During her reign there was a Renaissance in the arts and fashion. Embroidery and lace were used to embellish sumptuous costumes. Imported reticello and other laces were used to create lavish cuffs, collars and ruffs (ornate, high collars). As Europe was going through a mini Ice Age during this period there was a demand for warm materials and many costumes were made of wool or wool blends. Elizabethan embroidery was used to add decorative elements to an otherwise plain fabric.

James I (r. 1603-1625) was the first Stuart king. He had been King of Scotland for 36 years when he became King of England. He commissioned the King James Version of the Bible which is why he’s shown here with a bible.

Charles I – James II

Barbara Baileys X- stitch Stuart Kings

Charles I (r. 1625-1649) is not regarded by historians as a successful ruler. His whole reign was one of conflict with Parliament and controversy. This led to his execution in 1649.

Charles II (r. 1660-1685) became king when the monarchy was restored in 1660. He had to deal with the Plague and the Great Fire of London. He was the patron of the architect Sir Christopher Wren in the rebuilding of St Paul’s Cathedral. But we’re going to focus on the lighter side – he loved to play tennis. He had special tennis outfits made of Holland (a Dutch linen regarded as one of the finest linens ever produced) along with special tennis shoes. Research by Professor Maria Hayward of the University of Southampton has established that the frames of the tennis racquets that he used were bordered with luxurious lace.

James II (r. 1685-1688) became king when Charles II died without heirs. He attempted to promote the Roman Catholic cause and this made him unpopular with  Parliament and the people. When William of Orange invaded and was supported by the English military he was forced to flee to France.

William and Mary of Orange

Barbara Bailey X stitch Wiliam and Mary

William III (1689-1702) & Mary II (1689-1694) 

Mary is recorded as being very attractive in contrast to her husband William III who was reported as being short and stout. She died of smallpox in 1694. William died from complications following a fall from his horse Sorrel which had stumbled into a mole’s burrow.

The more I research the royal history in this design the more I appreciate the thought and wit that’s gone into it. The designer has managed to pull off a balance between the often harsh reality of history and the more light hearted moments.

Hope you have a great week!


Royal History in Cross Stitch

A couple of weeks ago Barbara Bailey brought in this large cross stitch to be photographed for the Members Gallery.

Cross Stitch of British Kings and Queens by Barbara Bailey

I’m in awe of people who can do complex counted cross stitch pieces with this level of precision and skill.

Barbara’s piece is called Kings and Queens of England since 1066  and is a kit by Bothy Threads. It immediately caused a stir of interest with its droll take on the Kings and Queens of England. Some of the monarchs are well known and others more obscure. Each is shown with a particular motif and it was this feature that intrigued people. We were all trying to work out what they meant and this gave me the idea for this blog post.

So we’re going to explore the royal history in this cross stitch over three posts. This first post will focus on the first two rows of Kings which show the Norman, Angevin and Lancastrian lines:

First two rows Kings and Queens x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

They go from William the Conqueror to Henry VI and cover some of the most tumultuous periods in English history including the War of the Roses.

William the Conqueror to Henry I

William I and II and Henry I x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

William I (r. 1066-1087) was of course William the Conqueror who won the Battle of Hastings in 1066. The story of this battle is told in the Bayeaux Tapestry. William I was Norman, illiterate and spoke no English yet he had one of the greatest impacts on the English language by introducing a huge number of French and Latin words. He also commissioned the first census of the English population and property – the Domesday Book. He’s regarded as a great warrior king and that’s how he’s depicted here.

William II (r. 1087-1100) was the son of William the Conqueror and spent most of his reign consolidating Norman control over England. He was killed by an arrow while out hunting and this is how he’s shown here.

Henry I ‘Beauclerc’ (r. 1100-1135) was also a Norman king and had several chronicles/histories written about him during his lifetime and this may explain the way he’s shown here – reading the story of his life?

Stephen & Henry II

Stephen and Henry II x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

Stephen (r. 1135-1154) was the last Norman king. He was the nephew of Henry I and spent most of his reign fighting a civil war with his cousin Matilda (daughter of Henry I) for control of the throne of England. Maybe that’s why he’s shown in a rather aggressive stance??!

Henry II (r. 1154-1189) was a competent and powerful ruler who was famous for his energy and drive. He was the first of the Angevin kings.

Richard I & John

Richard I and John

If you’ve heard of Robin Hood then you’ve heard of these two kings.

Richard I was better known as Richard the Lionheart and ruled from 1189-1199. I was surprised to learn that he didn’t speak English and only spent 10 months of his 10 year reign in England. For the most part he was off fighting in the Crusades.

John (r. 1199-1216) was the last of the Angevin kings and has been judged harshly by history. He was forced to sign the Magna Carta and that’s what we see here.

Henry III to Edward II

Henry III Edward 1 and II X-stitched by Barbara Bailey

 Henry III (r. 1216-1272) was only 9 when he became king. He gets a mixed report card from historians  for his extravagance and tax demands which were balanced by his funding of important building projects (such as the rebuilding of Westminster Cathedral) and the establishment of a Parliament. We were really curious about the way he’s portrayed in the cross stitch but it turns out that he kept a menagerie in the Tower of London including a leopard!

Edward I ‘Longshanks’ (r. 1272-1307) was very tall and that’s how he got his nickname and why he’s shown here with long skinny legs. He’s famous for his military skill, energy and vision and very bad temper.

Edward II (r. 1307-1327) seems to be generally regarded as an extravagant and incompetent king who was eventually forced to renounce the throne in favour of his son.

Edward III & Richard II

Edward III and Richard II

Edward III (r. 1327-1377) was crowned king at the age of 14. He’s regarded as an inspiring leader who restored royal authority after the dissolute rule of his father. His military success made England the most formidable military power in Europe.

You might also be interested in the fact that he created the Duchy of Cornwall to provide the heir to the throne with an income independent of the sovereign or the state.

Richard II (r. 1377-1399)

He succeeded to the throne at the age of 10. Highly cultured and one of the great royal patrons of the arts. He was deposed by Henry of Bolingbroke (later Henry IV). Shakespeare recounts some of the complicated history of this period in his play Richard II.

The Lancastrian Kings: Henry IV to Henry VI

Henry IV to Henry VI x-stitched by Barbara Bailey

Henry IV (r. 1399-1413) Following the murder of Richard II, Henry IV had difficulty defending his legitimate right to be king. He had to deal with a rebellion from the Percys of Northumberland & Glendower of Wales. He defeated them at the Battle of Shrewsbury and Shakespeare dramatises these events in his play Henry IV Part I.

Henry V (r. 1413- 22) needs no introduction – he was a brilliant general who defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt. This triumph is immortalised in Shakespeare’s Henry V.

Henry VI (r. 1422-1461 and 1470-71) He came to the throne as King of England and France. His hold over France was weakened by the attacks of the Dauphin and Joan of Arc. He was interested in education and established Eton and King’s College Cambridge. His reign was marred by periods of insanity which led to instability and the War of the Roses. He was defeated by Yorkist forces at the Battle of Towton and imprisoned in the Tower of London in 1465.

His restoration to the throne in 1470 was short-lived when Edward IV regained the throne after the Battle of Tewkesbury in 1471.

Who knew a piece of cross stitch could generate so much interest and information??!! This design is a very clever mix of humour and insight.

Have a good weekend!

2013 Exhibition 1


The Guild’s 2013 Exhibition is on right now.

On Thursday it went from this:

Setting up 2013 Exhibition

to this…….

Exhibition 2013

in the space of a few hours. Amazing!

Young Stitchers

One of the first things that visitors see when they walk in is the table with the work of the Young Stitchers:

Young Stitchers table at Exhibition 2013

Haven’t they done some awesome stitching?

Caroll Pichelmann Retrospective

A special feature of this year’s Exhibition is a retrospective of the work of Caroll Pichelmann. Carol came to Australia from Austria in 1960 and has had a lifelong love of all things creative in embroidery.

She’s always encouraging other members to think outside the square when it comes to embroidery. She’s an artist with both the technical expertise and imaginative flair to pull off ambitious contemporary textile works like this one:

Cityscape by Carol Pichelman

This work My City Lives is large, three dimensional and with a strong architecture. It’s intensely worked and detailed and there’s a surface richness that’s hard to capture in a photo.

The city itself is a composite of favourite places in cities around Australia that Caroll has visited. Here are some details that I picked out from the foreground…..

Rocks and plants…

Detail Rocks and Plants from Cityscape by Carol Pichelman

The rock garden up close – you can see how the stitches create a landscape effect…

Detail rock garden cityscape by Carol Pichelman


Gate detail from Cityscape by Carol Pichelman

and a mossy tree…..Detail Cityscape stitched by Caroll Pichelman

It’s an inspiring and powerful work and it’s been a hit with visitors to the show. What do you think?

Some other Sumptuous Surfaces from Caroll

Caroll uses many techniques to create the complex, layered and interesting surfaces to her textiles. Here’s a sample of other work:

gum leaves…..

Detail gum leaves by Carol Pichelman

lid of a small chest…….

Chest lid in gold green and purple by Carol Pichelman

a piece created with Tunisian crochet…

Tunisian crochet flowers by Carol Pichelman

I’ll be sharing more of Caroll’s work in later posts on the Exhibition.

Other work

And here’s a quick impression of some other work on show….

In earlier  Looking Over Shoulders posts you saw Fran’s A Siennese Treasure in progress. Here’s the finished lid of her box: 

Siennese Treasure Lid by Fran Novitski

Hazel has stitched an intricate  goldwork butterfly:

Goldwork Butterfly by Hazel Frances


While Sarah K has made her Perugino embroidery into an elegant pencil case…

Detail Perugino Pencil case stitched by Sarah Kimmorley

Doreen G has done a colourful sampler of stitches on canvas:

Sampler of stitches by Pat Bootland

and Anne E has given her special touch to another vintage embroidery:

Detail Strawberries stitched by Anne Eccelston

Alison K has used machine embroidery and beading to give a contemporary twist to her leaves. Here’s a close-up:

Detail Just a pile of Leaves by Alison Kennedy

and Margaret J has made a decorative cushion with a cool blue cross stitch:

Blue Jars x-stitched by Margaret Joy

Tomorrow’s the last day of the Exhibition and if you’re in Canberra then make sure you don’t miss out on this chance to see some great stitching….

And when you need a break there’s the cafe’s excellent coffee and the retail therapy of The  Gift Shop and the Recycle Table.