Fun summer workshop – stitched denim pockets

Several months ago it was suggested that we collect old denim pockets with the intention of decorating them with stitch for use at our exhibition in June next year.

A group of members gathered together on Monday with their old denim pockets, needles, threads and assortments of accessories to embellish them.

When we have an invited tutor visit us to teach a workshop,  there is always a lot to learn and very little time for chat.  This day was completely different as everyone did their own thing and there was a whole day to stitch and catch up with good friends.

Below are the pockets in progress

The choice of stitch, thread and accessory was completely our own so it was great to see such a variety.  Two members had brought their sewing machines but the majority chose hand stitching.

Summer pockets 22
Summer pockets 18

While we were all busy stitching and chatting, Annie was kindly sorting out our wonderful library.  We have a great selection and thanks to Annie it will be so much easier to see what is available to borrow.

Oh yes, and thank you Annie for making the delicious cake!!

Summer pockets 1

Great day.  Now we have got to decide what to to with these denim pockets.  Bunting, competition, display?  I wonder what we will decide.

Do remember to ink in the dates of Friday 7, Saturday 8 and Sunday 9 June 2024 for our exhibition.

Photos and write up by Ros

Exquisite Containers – Embroiderers Guild Challenge

Over a year ago, Lindsay suggested that I might be interested in entering the Embroiderers Guild Challenge for Exquisite Containers. I have never entered anything like this before but I do enjoy making boxes so I thought I would give it a go.

Exquisite Containers

I began by making a design for the lid. I contained a glass rivoli with seed beads and sewed this onto a firm Vilene base. The next step was to manipulate and sew strands of Soutache (Russian Braid) in a swirling pattern incorporating more beads. The biggest problem was keeping the work symmetrical.

The completed pattern was sewn to green cotton fabric, mounted onto an oval shape which was later attached to the lid.  Work on the sides had to be accurately sewn in place before being added to the base. Oh why do I make things difficult with more symmetry?

Judy Exqusite box 2

I was delighted to be awarded “Commended” for the Beryl Dean Award for Hand Stitching.

The box has only recently been returned to me as it was kept by the Guild for display purposes. I am glad I entered and would encourage everyone to enter a challenge too.

Judy Exqusite box 3

Congratulations on your award Judy J and thank you for telling us all about it.


Photos thanks to Vernice C.

Surprise find – The New Forest Embroidery

I have just returned from a long weekend in the New Forest with my walking group.  Currently I am only able to do short walks but it did give me the opportunity of exploring the area and to my delight on Saturday afternoon I visited the New Forest Heritage Centre in Lyndhurst.  I was wandering around their museum and suddenly saw a sign – up stairs to the New Forest Embroidery.  What a thrill as I had never heard of this embroidery and I want to share some photos.   

It is 25 ft long and was commissioned in 1979 to commemorate the 900th Anniversary of the founding of the New Forest.  It was designed by Belinda, Lady Montagu, and created with a team of more than 50 helpers, it highlights the most important events in the Forest’s history together with a wide range of local flora and fauna.  To find out more click on the links below.

New Forest Embroidery
New Forest 11
New Forest

New Forest Heritage Centre:

To read more about the New Forest Embroidery and to download a pdf file:

Writeup and photos by Ros


Congratulations to Lindsay and Nikki who entered the recent inspiring Madeira Embroidery Competition at the NEC.

Vernice kindly took them up in her car and it sounds like they all had a great day out.


After reading Alison Holt’s ‘Machine Embroidered Seascapes’ I was inspired to create something that included breaking waves and water movement. 
Alison suggests a background of varying tones of blue with lines of machine stitching in various shades of blue which, as they blend together, show the shadows in the breaking waves.
Longstone lighthouse is intriguing as, at high tide, it is barely 1 metre above sea-level. 
Incidentally, my embroidery depicts a relatively calm day! In a storm it would only be the lighthouse itself that would be visible!
Write up and photos by Lindsay Sherwood 
Alison’s website
Alison’s book – Machine Embroidered Seascapes
Lindsay lighthouse main

The Island of Maritius

After 2 years of waiting because of the pandemic the Madeira Stitch competition took place at the NEC in March. The theme was Islands.  My work was inspired by the Island of Mauritius. 

The jacket is on a mannequin which I hand painted the Island with sea and beach.  It is made from a recycled coffee bean sack.  There is a stitch stumped Dodo on the back as the last Dodo was killed on the Island by Spanish sailors in 1662.

On the front is the Spanish Galleon. Palm trees made from green lace, raffia and  green plastic strapping from a delivery parcel.  The bottom of the jacket the sea and sand is made from different strips of fabric free machined.

Nikki Island jacket 2 rotated

The hat has been made from scratch using sinamay, free machining with pipe cleaners for palm trees and free machined.   Stitched coloured tights for the red flower, machined stitched wool for the grasses and stitch raffia round a cotton reel for the hut. The sea is hand painted and stitched.

I titled the piece Greta Thumberg Island to reflect the fact that if we don’t look after the planet we will end up like the Dodo.

In 2018 I was fortunate to be the overall winner of this competition and this year was awarded Highly Commended and the piece will tour the country over the next year.  Although it took nearly a year to make it was fun and challenging to make!

Thank you Lindsay and Nikki for sharing your amazing work with us.


Therapy Puppets


Just prior to the start of the Pandemic I was due to collect the last of these Puppets, but the meeting was cancelled.

I now have all 21 Puppets we have made and will be sending them off to the Organisation who distribute them to Therapists all over the Country.

These Puppets are used in Therapy with children, giving them “safe distance” as they may be unwilling to speak directly to the Therapist but will tell their problems or worries to a Puppet.

Thank you to the following members who joined me in making these Puppets:

BARBARA BARR – HAZEL PARTRIDGE – ROBINA ORCHARD – JULIE BURCHETT AND “One Other” who did not give me her name but left her Puppet on the workshop table.

To find out more take a look at the website:


Report and photo thanks to Vernice C

Therapy puppets

Congratulations to Judy, Deena and Linda

On behalf of the group, I want to congratulate Judy, Deena and Linda who recently entered the 2021 Embroiderers’ Guild Challenges.

Judy entered the Beryl Dean Award for hand stitching and her beautiful box was Commended.  Your beadwork is amazing Judy and we look forward to seeing it in the future

Judy Joiner EG challenge

‘Kiss, Clasp, Crown’ by Deena has been Highly Commended for the Artistic Director’s Award for Innovation.  The figure Deena drew onto this piece is based on a reliquary in the British Museum.  Drawn on an old calico shopping bag then embroidered and quilted into and combined with Victorian mourning clothes too shattered to repair hand painted, beaded and mounted onto an antique purse frame.

Deena purse

Linda entered the Exquisite Containers category.  Although she did not receive an award I am sure you will agree with me that this is a “exquisite container”.  I love the 3D butterfly, dragonfly and flowers.  It must have taken you hours to do and I look forward to seeing it soon.

Linda Wells EG challenge

Post by Ros

Photographs thanks to Judy, Deena & Linda

Amanda’s memorable 3D Vessel Challenge

Message from Amanda who kindly set us the challenge

This year the challenge offers a reflective outlet in an incredible year dominated by Covid, lockdowns and all that has caused.  The idea is to create a 3D vessel that could hold or represent some treasures in your life.  The brief was loose so that it could play to everybody’s different strengths; embroidery, applique, free motion work, what ever inspires as a medium to express your feelings.

Ann K

I started by creating a piece of fabric with my embellishing/felting machine.  On top of a piece of felt I laid a variety of colours of silk and wool fibres and embellished/felted them on the machine.  I then cut out three elipse shapes, two of which I further embellished with a variety of hand stitches, using different types of thread and wool, together with some beads.  I used the third elipse for the bottom of the pouch with no embellishments.

Once the hand embellishment was finished I used bondaweb on a piece of silk to attach a lining on the inside of the pouch.  One edge of each of the two embellished elipses was finished with an overstitch and they were then attached to the bottom, again using an overstitch.  Some beading was applied to each corner and at the top to form a fastening.

The inspiration for this shape came from a similar shaped piece I bought at a local exhibition, which had been made by a friend of mine.  I think I will use it to keep some jewellery given to me by my husband, which has precious memories attached to it, especially as we celebrate our golden wedding anniversary in March 2021.  I think the celebration will just be the two of us rather than the party we had planned!

Ann K vessel challenge 1

Annie F

I chose to make a box because I thought I could!  I’ve never made a 3D thing before so having trawled through Pinterest searching for inspiration I thought I’d keep it simple.  Not that is was as simple as I’d hoped but l leant a lot about how not to go about doing it that’s for sure.
Having said that I really enjoyed the challenge and I’m pleased with the end result though I am not sure what I’m going to do with it!  I am actually planning to do another one to see if I can improve on the technique! Watch this space….
Annie F vessel challenge

I’ve just finished my second attempt at a 3D container and I’m quite pleased with it.  This one is a sort of folding purse with three pockets and grew out of  a piece of fabric stitched all over with a small running stitch in the manner of Kantha work.  The exercise has prompted an interest in Kantha work which I’ve always liked and I now have a book on the subject.

Annie F vessel challenge 3

Judy J

Here is my box for Amanda’s challenge.  I wanted it to be a “happy” box so chose bright colours. I used mounting card for the main construction which I covered with polyester fabric. I had already covered a lot of old buttons with brightly coloured silk so added these with circles of felt. It holds my sketch book along with small embroidered and beaded pieces done during lockdown. 

Lindsay S

A hand made box covered in fabric made from various textured hand embroidery yarns which have been secured to the backing fabric by covering with a fine net that blends with the yarn colour to render it almost invisible. This was then stitched through with wavy lines of machine stitching to create a solid piece of fabric.
The box appears to be empty but it actually contains my thoughts that were running through my head as I made it.
Lindsay box vessel challenge1
Embroidery Guild Challenge

A piece of fabric that was created from strips of sari silk and metallic fabrics which were stitched down and then I used reverse applique to distort the lines. I finished it with hand embroidery and beadwork.
This piece is an irregular shape.
I plan to insert a small bottle inside for fresh flowers.

Ros L

When I heard about Amanda’s challenge I thought about what I wanted to store in my 3D vessel and it came down to letters, music scores, photos, diary records and most of all, the wonderful decorated paper hugs that my two little grandsons had made during the first lockdown.  Rather than create a box I decided on a folder and have really enjoyed embellishing.

I started with a large rectangle of vilene and used strips of cotton drill to form a woven background.  I then used applique, free machine embroidery and hand stitching to embroider this background.  It was quite a large area to cover and I found the size challenging in my machine.  Once completed I made a bias binding with strips of the cotton drill, lined it and inserted a couple of side gussets which I stitched into place with a hand insertion stitch.  To complete the folder I covered an old buckle with the bias binding.  I have now got the fun of filling it with mementos however it is quite large and I have grown to love it so may end up adding a handle and using it as a bag as it is quite large.

Ros vessel challenge 1

Maria F

Not having any mementos to go into a container, I decided to make a ‘book’ of memories.
I divided these into 8 ‘pages’ entitled:
Connectivity, Helping others, Introspection, Nature in the garden, exploring the Countryside, Ageing, Birth and Creativity. 
The ‘pages’ comprise painted newspaper printed onto white cardstock which were then cut into squares of increasing size. These were stacked in order and tied with a machine stitched cord.

The memories were mostly painted scrumpled paper, tyvek or photo card backgrounds strengthened with iron-on vilene, collaged and embellished with hand stitching.

For each memory I found an appropriate quote  or poem. I have included the quote by Van Gogh for my creativity memory.

Rosemary C

I made a walnut purse using a technique shown by Nikki VW. I enjoyed the bead work.

Nikki VW

It is made from laminating painted/dyed tissue which has been gilded with foil and free machined and decorated with stitched gold foil from a desert lid and a silver metal food container and coated in acrylic wax and using pipe cleaners in its construction .


Great project using a UFO from Linda Monk’s workshop from several years ago at the guild.

Nikki 2 vessel challenge 1


Embroidery Guild Challenge

This vessel is made with 90% recycling it is made from Jacard cards from the scrapstore painted then I have applied Angelina for the sky, scrap blue fabric which I have  stitched for the Madeira competition and cellophane sweet wrappers, tin foil from a dessert pot coloured with permanent markers and vegetable netting for the roof of the house and green plastic strapping from a parcel that was delivered by courier.
The inside of the container was fabric printed using Transfer paints and the base was a block of wood. 
The design is based on 1930s Clarice Cliff Pottery her Bizarre ware. 
Title of my work is “Bizarre Vase” 
Nikki vessel challenge 2

Fiona H

I thought long and hard about what meant most to me during lockdown, and what was it that I treasured most.  Eventually I came to the conclusion that my most treasured items in these unusual times were the things that I used daily. I started writing a lockdown diary, I used my iPad to listen to audiobooks and much much more, I have taken part in numerous group Zoom meetings and courses, so my laptop was replaced for one with a camera which enabled me to join others online. My container or bag was designed to be just large enough to hold my daily ‘Lockdown First Aid Kit’, of the following items:-
Fabric roll of coloured pencils,
Diary and pen,
Neck craft light
And craft glasses with clip on magnifying lenses. 
As an avid recycler, my bag is stitched from things I already had at home,  an old linen shirt, trousers, blouses and skirts, 2 zips unpicked from a skirts, thermal curtain lining scraps and threads from my stash. All stitched by either hand or machine. It was great fun, so thank you Amanda, and I am so thrilled to  now have a  very personal daily ‘Lockdown First Aid Kit’. It certainly works for me, and will continue to be used daily even when lockdown is over.
Fiona's bag


Here’s my go at a memory vessel. Not quite to brief tho had great fun creating it. It’s a globe shaped papier mache candle holder so 2 images – front and back.

Stella 2 vessel challenge 1
Stella 2 vessel challenge 2


This is a found box, from a gift that was too nice to throw away.  I’ve always loved boxes.  I found the theme difficult to convey on the box but each little scrap of fabric applied or simple bit of sewing represents a part of the lock down experience that we have had.  There are photos of my grand children who have been sorely missed.  The words are from some thoughts shared by my daughter and daughter in law.  The words on the box are free motion machine embroidered, ‘Safe harbour’ resonated because that is what home feels like when the world feels dangerous with the threat of Covid. 
The swirls represent the short walks from home to take in the air and exercise and the long stems the crazy, rather chaotic planting we created in our new garden, unable to get to a garden centre, we planted what we could easily get hold of, putting it into this new blank canvas of a garden.  Inside the box I will store some photos of the family from this year, the text shared by my daughter and daughter in law and a face mask!  Its a rustically covered box, hand sewn but it suits me fine.


This first group of baskets I made from Sari Silks. I was inspired by Clare who generously gave me a 1 to 1 workshop on how to do this technique, I love doing it, its a very methodical process and inspiring when the colours come good.  They are only small baskets but as an obsessive collector of stones, shells and drift wood they make a perfect little container to hold those memories.  Not to mention being a great distraction during the long lock down months.  I believe I’ve made about 10 or more of them now, so this is a few of them.

Workshop challenge

Another set of vessels I made in the first lock down was these three, inspired by a workshop by Debbie Lyddon.  Made from scraps of fabric, painted with acrylic paints and the holes and edging are all hand sewn on pieces of cord.  I rather like the rustic nature of them.  They again hold a few found treasures like drift wood, shells and stones.  A bit of an obsession!

Amanda vessel challenge 4

Ann S

I have made a fabric book with some of the things which helped me get through lockdown. Collages with Labels from tea bags/ hand sanitizer/ seed packets/ gin label/ OS map of Marlborough to name just a few ! My front cover is a piece made at Lindsay’s workshop in October and back cover is a pocket from my sons jeans he threw away during lockdown . A cloth pouch made of painted and distressed linen to put the book in.

Ann S vessel challenge 1

Thank you to everyone who contributed and we look forward to seeing all this amazing work in the near future.