Sunday, 31 July 2011

Sunderland Airshow 2011

This weekend is the annual Sunderland International Airshow. This has been running for about 20 years now and gets more popular each year, with hundreds of thousands of people attending over the weekend, making it the largest free event in Europe.

We went yesterday, and found a spot about half way along, on the cliff top at Roker.  Here's the view north up the coast, to Seaburn and Whitburn:

I don't know if you can make them out, but there were huge crowds all along the sea front.

There was plenty to see, as usual, and the weather was absolutely beautiful, as you can tell.

There were no serving military aircraft this year; presumably they're all otherwise engaged. My lack of knowledge about planes is total, so you'll have to forgive the vagueness, but here are a few highlights as best as I can remember.

This Cold War classic is the Vampire, though to me it looks for all the world like Thunderbird 2:

There were a few display teams, including this pair:

And these biplanes with wing-walkers:

I'm not sure of you can tell, but the people on top of the planes were upside down at this point!

This is think was a Hawker Hunter, but what mostly struck me was its jazzy paint job, which reminded me of the 'rocket' ice-lollies we used to get as kids:

This guy made me nervous - he kept going straight up, and then straight down again, in a rather jerky fashion:

This art deco beauty is a Catalina flying boat:

Isn't that just a gorgeous sight?

No UK airshow is complete without a Spitfire:

And finally, the star of the show, the Vulcan bomber:

You can really see its Concorde-like shape from the side:

A great day out, and I can thoroughly recommend you come along next year if you have the chance.

Sunday, 24 July 2011

Edging a milestone

For the first time, I've finished a part of the Banner.  Just a small part, I admit, but it feels like a major breakthrough - from now on, more and more things will be 'the last', until it's finally all finished. The end is in sight!

Well, it is if you use a very long lens, anyway.  Closer up, here's the various little flowers to the right of the panel edged in gold:

Then the three ferns:

And finally - hooray! - the last ever foxglove:

As its stem is already done, that's it finished - there's no more work to be done on it, and there are no more foxgloves to do.  Wow.

So, here's all the right hand bits and pieces together:

And all work so far - everything on the panel with the edging completed:

Stems next.

Wednesday, 20 July 2011

Central goldwork edging

Sorry for not having posted for ages.  I have been busy, though, and have finished edging the flowers in the central section of the panel.

Here are the ferns surrounding the cowslip:

The cowslip flowers:

And its cluster of leaves:

I remembered to take a picture of everything done so far this time:

I know there are some small flowers that look pretty central too, but I'll do them at the same time as the ones on the left.

Sunday, 10 July 2011

Goldwork edging

With all the flowers in place, I can now edge them with couched gold thread.  I like this stage - it makes such a difference, not just tidying but transforming the appliquéd shapes.  With the gold edging, they look a different colour to when they have the white linen fringe.

I started with the little flowers, the pearlworts and wood avens:

Then the (second last) foxglove:

And the three ferns surrounding it:

I'm afraid I forgot to take a photo of everything at this stage, so you'll just have to use your imagination!

Monday, 4 July 2011

Our embroidery ancestry

Slightly off-topic today, but I thought I'd share something I've been thinking about of late.

Recently, two of my favourite embroidery bloggers, Cynthia of California Stitching and Elmsley Rose, have been kind enough to cite instructions I gave here for lacing up finished embroidery onto a board, to stretch it and prepare it for framing or presentation in some way.

I've always found this a neat and effective way of lacing the back of an embroidery, but I didn't invent it myself.  I was taught how to do it by a lady who was one of the most highly respected embroiderers in the North of England, Dorothy Watson.  Although not one of its founders, Mrs Watson was a very early member of the North East Branch of the Embroiderers' Guild, later the Newcastle upon Tyne Branch, and remained a member of it for over 50 years, serving several terms as Chair, and was the Branch's Honorary President when she passed away a few years ago, when I was Chair myself.  She led the Durham Cathedral Broderers, and taught embroidery and textile crafts for many decades; her work spanned traditional and contemporary styles, and was always flawless, and the number of stitchers, including myself, she must have taught and influenced is huge.

But someone must have taught her how to do these things, and someone else would have taught her teacher, and so on, down the years and centuries.  Although there's no end to what you can do to express your own creativity through textile arts, the basic tools and techniques have existed for millennia, and have been passed on down the years.

Now, I'm passing on things she taught me through my blog to people all over the world, and other bloggers in California and Australia are passing it on too, to their readers, all part of a continuous line of embroiderers stretching from the far past into the future.  I wish Mrs Watson had lived to see that.

I think we should all take a moment to celebrate our own embroidery ancestors, whether they were our grandmothers or school teachers, authors of books or blogs, and remember that it's up to us to pass this wonderful art on to future generations.

Happy stitching!