Tuesday, 16 September 2014

"thread" a festival of textiles 2014

Very busy this glorious early autumn with preparations for "thread" ... I am running a WORKSHOP ... details here and will be bringing some exclusive designs as yet unseen and soon to be on the website.  It would be great to see you if you are in or around Farnham 26th and 27th September. I will have all the kits and if I get time some of the interactive stationery too, the new cushion kits and the old favourites and as I said NEW ONES! My dear chums Vanessa from Hoop and Amanda who is a fab and wonderful part time girl friday are helping me out. Very happy to be part of this great event! Looking forward to my workshop, and seeing the other stands ... some great names there ...

It has all been rather intense this last few weeks as I have also been approached by the National Trust and now find myself supplying them too! A slight nightmare ensues as the volume of the order has meant going up a gear with my stock, the, up till now, humble production line. So an essential trip to IKEA for MORE little boxes to put everything in ... who can resist them? Managed to only spend £90 ... a small miracle in itself and only came away with one or two oddly named tea strainers and kitchen gadgets.  My obsession with storage and my inability EVER to actually achieve perfect order is a life long mystery ... it's ok, I know I am not alone. Anyway it all has to go SOMEWHERE before it is delivered to NT! And I am trying.

So Please come along and say HELLO! 
Thread at Farnham Maltings 26th and 27th September

Thread at Farnham Maltings 26th and 27th September

Monday, 18 August 2014

Joan Nicholson Portrait by Jehan Daly

Yesterday evening a small miracle happened .... I was in the garden attempting to pull up weeds as a break from the computer toil of the day, and ... the land line rang. I never use my land line and am always a little suspicious of it when it rings as everyone I know rings me on my mobile these days.

The message was faint but enough to make me curious to call the number back. The number I called was answered by a lovely gentleman, who back in the 1980s had bought a painting at a country house sale. The painting was by Jehan Daly of a Mrs Roger Nicholson, my mother. He found my number from the Royal Society of Portrait Painters. He was on a mission to find out who the woman in the portrait was, and I was so excited to see it ... he sent it to me in an email shortly after our conversation. Here it is (above), and it is quite lovely. Jehen Daly was a great family friend of my parents from after the war and he with John Ward and Gordon Davies painted together on various projects and my mother also sat for them. This portrait, though I have never seen it before, is so familiar as I have many sketches of that same pose in my collection, by both Jehan and my father, also oil paintings of her likewise. I know that chair ... it is an old friend ... he was also my sister's godfather and a sweet and gentle man. I have a photo taken by my father of him holding a tabby kitten, black and white, he in ubiquitous tweeds, very of the time ... I am just now rummaging around in the garage to find the old photos so I can scan it in to send to Bill the owner of the painting. I also have an oil painting of Jehan at his easel by my father. 
Then I was ferreting around online to see what there was on Jehan Daly and there is not a great deal but  found this site and went on to type in Roger Nicholson and found this beautiful painting (below) which again I do not remember at all, but would dearly love to know where it is now. I would love it as it is of a period of my father's painting that I particularly love. He was SO good at colour ... exciting, riveting colour ... I remember thinking as a child that the colours he used were entirely a new breed of unknown colour, nothing like the colours I was learning at school ....
It just kept me thinking of these personal things out in the world I have no idea of the places they have settled or the journeys they have undergone to get there, as my father did not exhibit much, only painting for pleasure he was and is relatively unknown. I would love to have the time to bring them both into the public eye but I have so little time. Anyone out there who would love to do this as a labour of love? Any information about paintings by Roger would be gratefully received ... nancy@nancynicholson.co.uk

Now back to the cobwebs and dead mice in the garage!

Later .... found them! so lovely to find so many and smile through these lovely but very stinky old photos and so many slides! Anyway here is Jehan, my mother and father, all taken around that the time of the portrait. Also the others mentioned ...

Photograph of Jehan Daly 1954
Jehan Daly with one of John Wards children I think it may be in Folkestone
where the Wards had a flat.

Photograph of Jehan Daly 1954
Jehan Daly

Photograph of Roger Nicholson about 1954
Roger Nicholson

Photograph of Joan Nicholson about 1954
Joan Nicholson with same kitten and my sister Naomi

Joan Nicholson by Roger Nicholson

This is the painting my father Roger did of my mother at the same sitting ...

Jehan Day by Roger Nicholson
Jehan Day by Roger Nicholson

Friday, 15 August 2014

Embroidered Bracelet Tutorial

The finished embroidered bracelet

Here I show you how to create the felt bracelet I have been teaching. It is a great way complete an easy project in a short time, so a quick and satisfying little thing to make, and can be as varied as you like ... experiment with different coloured felts and threads, and a variety of hand embroidery stitches ... even the simplest stitches look effective. I am so influenced by folk art embroidery so it was an obvious choice for a workshop/tutorial. It is perfect for children learning to sew and beginners new to embroidery. I will be teaching it at Hoop September 12th.


Felt in your choice of colour  2 x 22 cm x 2 cm  + another strip 21 cm x 1 cm
Coloured elastic 6 - 7cm long
Button of your choice
Stranded embroidery thread
Embroidery needle
Tacking cotton.

Embroidered Felt Bracelet Step 1
Step 1
Cut out a back, front and re-enforcing strip (red) I make them about 22 cm long then cut them to size later (you will see!) but at this stage measure your wrist and add a couple of cm.

Step 2.

Tie a knot in the elastic and pull tight. Snip to tidy ends.

Step 3.

Stitch in place onto the back section using a thread the same colour as the felt. Secure firmly.

Step 4.

Tack the re-enforcing section of felt in place (as shown) and tack in position.

Step 5.
I would advise taking some time to decide decide which stitches you are choosing and where they will go. A simple sketch will only take you 5 mins but will save you lots of unpicking! Even have a practise of your chosen stitches if needs be. Here I have used Spider's Web Stitch ... because as you may have realised it is a personal favourite, and Fly Stitch. Both are demonstrated HERE.  Always fold the fabric to find centre to start, and keep checking to leave enough felt to trim, rather than taking the stitches too close to each end (see below)
Step 6.

Once you have completed your embroidery get a stitch buddy to snip your bracelet to the correct length.

Ah! very pleasing ....

Step 7.

Put the three parts together and join using a simple little running stitch (or could be more elaborate like Whipped Running stitch, Stem Stitch, Laced Running Stitch ... Tutorials HERE and HERE 

Step 8.

I am hurrying now as my nut cutlets are ready ... Here it is, button sewn on and ready for parading around!

Many Thanks to my lovely friend Vanessa for doing the fabulous and very exhausting wrist modelling
and thread pulling for the kits. SO there you have it ... please enjoy this tutorial and let me see what you have been making by sending pictures into my Facebook page HERE or email me at nancy@nancynicholson.co.uk

Fly Stitch Tutorial No.2

Come up from the back with a knot to secure, and down the distance you want for your "stalk". Here about 5mm. As you go down turn your needle to come up to the side of where you came up. Pull the thread through and ...

down at the Right side of top stalk and, working thread under (as shown above) push your need up at the base of the stalk. Repeat all steps for the length of fly stitch you need. See HERE for further information and instruction on Fly Stitch tutorial 

Spider's Web Stitch

  1. Here I will guide you through the lovely Spider's Web Stitch. I use this a lot in my designs especially in the Pigeon cushion kit and here in there bracelet tutorial above.
Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

A detail of the Pigeon Cushion showing Spider's Web Stitch seen here with Buttonhole Wheel Stitch

Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

1. First with a knot to secure, come up through the back of your work and make a star using a simple stab stitch. I have used a five point star but it can be any amount of points you like.

Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

2. Come up at the centre of the star, to the right hand side of the base of a point (as shown).

Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

3. Take your thread behind and under the stitch to the right and then under the next stitch (as shown above) and drawn the thread through but do not pull tight. The thread should be a lovely close loop over that right hand stitch.

Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

4. Repeat this over lacing movement all around the star .... always going under two stitches .... 

Spider's Web Stitch tutorial

Until you have filled the star and formed the Spider's Web!

Tuesday, 29 July 2014

Here are the results of a great day's teaching at The Sewing Space in Hythe, Kent. We made bracelets out of felt, embellishing them with some simple but effective stitches. Great chatter was had and two of our company had travel at some unearthly hour from Holland to come to the course! The day , as always whizzed by and it was lovely for me to have a whole day to just sit making and completing a project calmly, just for pleasure! The photos are only taken with my iphone again as I always forget to take the camera.

Now ... I am turning this into a tutorial so watch this space for news when it is ready ... I still have not written about Berlin which I was captivated by but will do so soon.
Emboidery class, felt bracelets
Practice stitches
First we practise some of the stitches which will be used
The finished bracelets
The finished bracelets

The finished bracelets

The finished bracelets

felt bracelet being embroidered with chain stitch and spider's web stitch
felt bracelet being embroidered with chain stitch and spider's web stitch

Sunday, 22 June 2014

Sunday working in the garden

It has been beautiful, hot but a lovely breeze, all very well if it does blow all your newly packed label all over the garden ... but just to prove that all the kits are assembled if not by my own fair hand then by my much appreciated helpers ...

Here you can see what I have been doing today, making the needle cases and pulling thread for the new cushions. Some of these colours are for the yet to be assembled Stitch Cards (sorry they are taking so long but I am working on getting them die cut).

But the effort is worth it with an order going off to America tomorrow ... to The French Needle so if you are in US and want to buy a kit do go along to visit this lovely site. They will soon have the new cushion kits in stock.

Also some other news ... have a look at Creative Bloq for a little piece about some of the entrepreneurs on the School for Creative Start Ups course, including me.

So have a look at the the process ... it's not a bad place to work!
Thread colours all ready to be wound off for the New Cushion Kits
Gorgeous colours ... thread just arrived on the cones, ready to be pulled.

Thread colours all ready to be wound off for the New Cushion Kits
 Thread colours all ready to be wound off for the New Cushion Kits

Vanessa starting on LongTail Bird
Vanessa could not wait to start!

Pigeon Cushion Kit just freshly cut
Threads and first one off the roll ...

Labels and needle packs being produced for Pigeon and Long Tail Bird Cushion kits
Making Needle Holders and Labels for Cushion Kits

Thread Packs ready to go into bags for New Cushion kits
Thread packs ready to go into the bags

Cottage garden
The Cottage garden this late spring. A bit of a tangle ...

Wednesday, 18 June 2014

New Cushion kits

Nancy Nicholson new embroidery kit designs
The new Cushion kits, made up and photographed!

Nancy Nicholson new embroidery kit designs detail
Detail of above

Lovebirds panel made into cushion 50 cm x 30 cm
Lovebirds Panel (existing design) made into a cushion

Long Tail Bird Cushion kit by Nancy Nicholson
Long Tail Bird Cushion which I have made here into a cushion (60 cm x 40 cm), though the design will fit smaller 50 cm x 30 cm cushion also

Long Tail Bird Cushion kit by Nancy Nicholson Detail
Detail of Long Tail Bird

Pigeon Cushion kit by Nancy Nicholson
Pigeon cushion

Here are some first proper photographs of the new kits made up and photographed by William Lingwood from The Pixel Kitchen. The response so far has been really great! So glad they are well liked. A large order from Royal School of Needlework was so encouraging too. Now I am cooking up some more designs for later in the year.