Going for Gold

Hanny Newton (standing on left) and about two thirds of our workshop group busy with their stitching.

I have just spent the day at an excellent goldwork workshop, here in Shrewsbury.

Hanny Newton is RSN trained. She produces beautiful work: combining technical excellence with fascinating simple design. Have a look on her website – although photography never does goldwork full justice. She’s a very good tutor: inspiring learning by experiment, rather than pedantic coursework, but able to give lots of tips and pointers.

I have never had a great urge to get into goldwork as such – although it is hard not to be a little tempted after today’s workshop. However, this day was focussed on couching, and knew I did need help with that! I’ve let myself down with bad couching when I have wanted to edge silkwork with metal thread (an effect I really love), so I went hoping for help and tips. I wasn’t disappointed. I have come home with lots of good advice about the thread to use (fine passing) and how to get it to sit neatly in place – and to stay there.

We were in a beautifully light room, in the barrel-vaulted attic of a medieval mansion house, part of Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery. We were one storey above the Corbett Bed, and I think that some benign influence from that feast of stitching percolated up to inspire us.

It was a relaxed and friendly day, everyone enjoyed it and learnt from it. My humble efforts are hardly worth showing here, but I was there to learn, and I hope that I can practice and do better. You can see rather wobbly lines of couching, some playing about with buttonhole stitch as a couching technique (one of the triangles is detached buttonhole stitch) and an attempt to couch down a big twisted cord, going from very visible stitches to hidden stitches. That one was not much of a success (I was getting tired by then), but all the experimenting was valuable.

Thanks to Hanny for an excellent day’s stitching, and to Shrewsbury Museum and Art Gallery for setting it up for us and providing refreshments. More please!

On Friday I am off to Sewing For Pleasure at the NEC in Birmingham. I will be touring the embroidery supplies stands looking for fine passing thread!

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6 Responses to “Going for Gold”

  1. Lesley J Lyon Says:

    Hello Sue, I, too, was at Hanny’s workshop and I found it liberating. Many thanks to Hanny. I’ve done only a very little trad. goldwork. I had a look at your triangles and was intrigued. I hope to attend the next one. Wish I’d known you were there, I would have said hello! Best regards, Lesley

    • suetortoise Says:

      I won’t be at the next one, Lesley. But if Hanny starts a monthly day group…. (Plus I go to STACS – although I will also miss next month’s meeting.) I am sorry you didn’t know me to say hello, although I am terrible at names and faces and where I know people from. The triangles were only buttonhole stitch, they just wanted to happen, so I let them.

      Liberating – yes, wasn’t it just!

  2. Golden Hinde is the place to go, if they are there. If not, they are online, and a very friendly, helpful bunch!

    There are so many aspects of goldwork that even if piles of purls don’t attract you, there will be somthing that will…

    • suetortoise Says:

      Oh, yes, I have heard good things of Golden Hinde. I also know your brain will get picked if I need more help with metal threads! For now, I’m not rushing into ‘yet another hobby’, just furthering my current interests. I have a good way to go with silk shading yet, before I have the amount of competence I want. And I am not giving up on the counted thread work either.

  3. go and see Sarah at Golden Hinde, she’ll sort you out with passing thread!

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