Nina's Textile Trail

My OCA Textile Tales

Research Point – Textile piece

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This is a small embroidery, measuring 7cm x 9.5cm,  sewn by my Great Aunt.  It came into my possession approximately 29 years ago.

The embroidery is a picture of a bluebell wood and has been hand stitched onto a woven cotton.  The cotton has been lightly painted to give a background to the leaves and a hint of blue to the sky.  The stitches are tiny, delicate and very neat.   A single or double strand of 6 strand embroidery thread appears to have been used.

The leaves of the trees have been stitched with detached chain stitch in six shades of green, giving a light, airy, spring like feel.  The tree trunks and branches are stem stitch longways down the trunk in brown, stone, tan and grey shades resembling bark.  The pathway uses similar tones of thread and has been stitched with double and single seed stitch horizontally.  The bluebell leaves and grass are french knots and seed stitch in four shades of green and the flowers french knots in four shades of blue.

The picture has lots of texture giving a real feeling of  thick swathes of bluebells and the lighter shades of green and detached chain stitch with some of the background showing through beautifully illustrate the light filtering through the trees.  The eye is drawn by the path and the darker greens used for the foliage and vegetation in the background give depth to the picture.

I’m not sure when it was stitched but my mother thinks perhaps in the seventies and probably onto a transfer.

I didn’t know my Aunt well and she died when I was 18 before I had really developed my passion for textiles.   My mother was evacuated from London to live with her in Nottingham during the war and remembers her as always busy, sewing in the evenings, embroidering firescreeens, pictures, crocheting cotton lace edging and edging pillowcases, making curtains, clothes from her own patterns.  She sewed her daughters and my mother dresses, coats and hats.  Her children just asked her to copy the latest fashion.

She studied dress-making at polytechnic but didn’t like to tell anyone as it was regarded as ‘trade’ which was frowned upon in previous generations at her level of society.


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