RSN Diploma: Blackwork embroidery week 1

Having finished my Certificate in Embroidery at the RSN earlier in the summer – and nervously waiting for the result(!) – I returned to Hampton Court last week. I’m very pleased to say that I received a merit over all – getting really good marks for my Jacobean crewel work and canvas stitches and adequate for my silk shading and Goldwork – which were both fairly new techniques to me!

So now I’m back, the diploma is 6 techniques – I have to do Blackwork, advanced silk shading and advanced Goldwork. I thought I’d start with the blackwork as its the choice in the Certificate you can chose canvas or blackwork.. I felt I had a better chance at doing well with canvas and that blackwork would need a bit more experience on my part – lets hope that the last 12 months have been well spent!

I’ve had a while now to see what other people have done for their blackwork – I’m not sure if I’ve learnt lessons, but it’s given me plenty of inspiration! There have been faces – I did consider doing a photo of my son, but children are tricky as there’s less interest in their faces, from a stitching point of view of course! Architecture, plenty of ideas here – especially living in & around London for the last 15 years.

In the end this is the photo I went with:


On our honeymoon in Tanzania this lioness walked alongside our jeep through the grass posed for us and then crossed the road in front of us and took off. This was one of about 1500 photos from our 10 day trip of a lifetime and it feels nice to do a photo that means something so special to us.

So first things first and I zoomed in on the face and front leg to give plenty of scope for shading – the muscles on that front leg are going to be fun! Then I traced the major areas off and transferred that on to tissue paper. This has been tacked down onto my linen and I’m transferring the design on with small tacking stitches in a light machine thread – known as the trace and tack method of transferring the design.


(Excuse the bad photo – very hard to photograph shiny tissue paper..!)

I’m also doing a practise sample of stitches, so I can get an idea of how they work and how to do shading before I get started on the main piece..


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