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Sunday, 31 May 2015

Stumpwork Sheep and Daisies at the Royal School of Needlework

 My day began with breakfast in the hotel dining room overlooking the river. Breakfast on Sundays doesn't begin until 8 am, so I was first there.

It was dull and raining so I left myself plenty of time to get to the class meeting room - Barrack Room 3- in Hampton Court at 9.30. I had slipped over yesterday while doing a test run of finding the meeting place and did not want to repeat that in the wet.

All went well and 12 of us were there to be met, given our Palace passes and guided through the maze of back stairs and corridors to our classroom, on the second floor.

I teamed up with Elizabeth, a woman from Cornwall and a member of the West Country Embroiderers,  who was also cautious with her knees! We enjoyed each other's company and hung out together.

It was a good group and the tutor, Heather Lewis, was attentive and clear. The room was an oddly cluttered space with a tiny area for morning tea. There were several levels up and down short sets of stairs.

The view through the round windows was great.

We got down to work quickly and learned a series of stump work techniques.

The RSN provided sitting hoops, magnifiers and most tools we needed. The tutor provided a kit.

The photo does not do justice to the graded colour with which we filled the daisy leaf. The leaves are worked on a white cotton and will be cut out and attached to the background of our piece.

We made a needle-lace leaf. I made a mistake with mine and will need to work out if I can rescue it.

We created a stem using detached ladder stem stitch. I was more successful here.

The piece de resistance was a sheep made of French knots. Using six strands of cotton in two different colours made all the difference here - a great effect.

None of us got anywhere near finished, but we have the techniques to finish the stitching and construct the final piece. I'm not sure how much of this I will be able to do while away. It is demanding on the eyes and the small travel hoop I have with me may not be up to the job. I will, however, show the final product on my embroidery blog when it's done.

At lunchtime we competed with the public for food and were free to move around the Palace.

Elizabeth and I popped briefly into the Chapel Royal and caught a few minutes of an organ concert.

We finished at four, by which time it had stopped raining, but was still overcast.

On many fronts this is a good thing to have done. I learned several techniques of stump work, met an interesting group of women, saw the Palace from a working perspective and had first-hand experience of the Royal School of Needlework. A pretty satisfying experience.


  1. Love the sheep. How wonderful to have a backstairs view of Hampton Court and to let your imagination wander to the past. Have you thought of a fold up walking stick to use when outandabout, not when you're managing luggage?

    1. I do have a folding walking stick with me but decided I could do without it yesterday.

  2. I love the sheep too! How nice to do something your love in such a beautiful setting and to make some new acquaintances.

  3. I look forward to seeing the finished work. Nice to be able to wander around and just drop in to the Chapel Royal for a bit of organ!

  4. Yes-it was that more than anything that made me realise the privilege.

  5. Wonderful experience. Looking good. Look forward to see it in real life.

  6. I have missed a few days due to another wee flood in the basement here -- time to get that fixed! But it looks like you have been having a lovely time. I am admiring the view of the garden, and imagining what the people who planted those pyramid yews would think if they could see them now. They are giants!
    And the sheep is going to wonderful once it is stuffed and sewn to the background. It's given me an idea.... we'll see if it pans out. 12 people seems like a nice sized class, too. What a great trip you're having!

    1. Oh no, not another flood! And here am I swanning around!

  7. I am so far behind on your adventures Jillian lol. What a wonderful class to do in such a fantastic location. I'm just a little jealous lol. Enjoy yourself!