Free Hand Machine Embroidery

When setting myself a new project I never seem to start small but rather tend to launch in ambitiously large.  So when attempting to have a go at free hand machine embroidery (as I now discover it is called), I don’t settle for something simple like a house (square, small, simple), oh no, I have to go for something a bit more ambitious – a cathedral.   Truro Cathedral to be precise, complete with towers, spires, arches, flying buttresses and rose windows.

For personal health reasons I wanted to drop from full time to part time work and whilst working through this I had several meetings with my line manager.  She is an Archdeacon and usually works from her home, when at the offices in Truro she is based in a rather boring room with a couple of tables and a filing cabinet (the upside is a rather nice view over Truro).  So I said that when I had all this extra free time I would make her something to decorate the walls.  At the time I was joking about an embroidered Bible verse promising hell fire and damnation.

But inspired by a birthday present from my lovely husband I thought I’d give this style of embroidery a go.  As described here I struggled a little initially but perseverance and the internet helped me work out how to get better.  Finally, sometime after I started, I was able to finish the picture.

Archdeacon picture

The picture is meant to be our two Archdeacons (in their robes) outside Truro Cathedral.  I studied photographs of their installations and discovered that they had different styles of surplice which added to the complications!

Bill and Audrey

I am not completely happy with it.  I decided to try and give them faces but ended up giving Bill a ‘spock’ ear, and in trying to give the illusion of the fullness of the sleeves of Audrey’s surplice seem to have made wings instead.  The colours are a little bland but that was a bit beyond my control.  The robes are rather set and whilst the striped fabric for the cathedral helps to give the illusion of brick work, it would stand out more if it was a darker colour.  Putting in the sun and backing it with yellow card helps to bring some much needed colour.

I am quite proud of the cathedral but have a feeling if I was to do this again I may just stick to the west front and ignore the side view.

Truro Cathedral

Anyhow, I sneaked it into the office just before Easter and it was found by Bill this week, he tells me that it is brilliant and will cheer up the room.  Audrey is on holiday so I have yet to hear what she thinks of my stitched interpretation of her!

I am encouraged to give this form of embroidery another go, but think I’ll stick to less ambitious projects.  Any suggestions?

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