Sunday, 26 March 2017

Day 27: Tambour at the RSN

As I had breakfast this morning, hundreds of people were jogging around the river and over the bridge next to the Mitre. I don't know whether this was an organised marathon, or whether this is what happens every Sunday around here.
I managed the daylight saving adjustment OK and got myself over to the RSN meeting place at Hampton Court Palace in plenty of time . There were a lot of people about - being Mothers' Day and Florimania at Hampton Court Palace
Our student guide was a bit late in arriving so I had plenty of time to examine the ecclesiastical banner in the RSN waiting room. It is decorated with flower motifs which appear to have been printed on fabric, embroidered by different people, backed with stiffener then appliqued (or glued) on.
Its a simple idea, but quite effective. It would have many possibilities for use by Guilds or Churches.

Our guide eventually arrived and we wound our way through the back corridors of the Palace to our classroom.

We wee in a larger classroom than the one we used last time I came to a class. It was light and airy and set up with hoops ready to either clamp to the table or attach to a seating frame.

There were 10 of us and we began by setting up our hoops with silk organza.

The view over the gardens was clear and vivid.

I had my own tambour hook - purchased from Alison Cole at BATB market day. I had tried it out, but didn't get very far.

We learned the (not so easy) technique of casting on, and then the basic stitch when working towards yourself and working away from yourself. I spent all day repeating the two mantras in my head -  "6 'O'clock, clockwise, 12 O'Clock pull through" and 12 O'clock,  anti-clockwise, 6 O'Clock pull through".

Carolyn Homfrey had designed a piece that gave us plenty of practice in changing direction and adding beads. We stitched using machine thread.

I managed to take a wrong turn and do it out of order.

I found working on silk organza difficult. I kept catching the fine organza threads in the hook. I could work up a rhythm, then I'd have a series of catches.  You also have to be careful that your  thread - which is still on the reel - does not unravel if you pause in your work. The weight of the reel can easily pull the chain of stitches undone.

I certainly feel I learned the basic techniques, which is all one can expect from a one-day course. I'd like to try it now on a light linen or cotton with perle thread. Beading, of course, would be more difficult with heavier thread.

 I did not spend much time wandering the Palace in the lunch break due to the crowds of people. I visited the RSN shop and bought three issues of Stitch magazine and a few bits.

I also had a bit of a look at a Crewel work screen in the entrance to our classroom.

The Palace may be less crowded next Saturday when I return for an applique class.

There is an interesting mural painted in the approach to the Palace, depicting some of the monarchs who have been associated with Hampton Court.

I still like the chimneys and shadows of chimneys

and there is the fine unicorn at the gate.

Across the road, next to the Mitre, the Mute Swan was doing a fine trade.

Back at the Mitre, my mate Christine from the Scottish Embroidery tour in 2015 rang me and we had a long chat and a good laugh. We had hoped to meet up for coffee hear St Paul's Cathedral across the other side of  London tomorrow but decided against it. Transport in central London is still disrupted in the aftermath of last week's attacks and there is continuing threat of train strikes.  It is a shame - but we had a lovely "pick-up-where-we-left-off" conversation anyway.

I think, however, this means I will not be able to get the photo I had hoped to get of the Altar frontal worked by soldiers in WWI for the ANZAC Day edition of our Guild Newsletter. Apologies Margaret.

I had gone without lunch so felt OK about having the special Mothers' Day roast for dinner tonight. Yorkshire pudding with Pork is a first for me - but I'm not complaining. The vegetables were especially good.

I was able to enjoy a great sunset while having dinner - that bit later because of daylight saving. It was an interesting comparison with the sunset experienced by my Adelaide family several hours before. Next Sunday I shall be flying away from the English sunset into the Australian dawn.

My London friend Christine had some good suggestions for things I should do around this area so I have plenty to keep me occupied in the next few days.

There are also my robins to finish.

I'm quite relieved to have made the decision not to chance the journey to St Paul's - as much as it is my favourite London church. Either I've become used to the pace of life in Cumbria, or I am showing my age, but I have chosen to stay relaxed.


  1. Hello Jillian. I am glad you had a great day at the RSN. There is a lovely Italian restaurant on Hampton court road, outside the side palace gates - near the maze. It's called Fiamma. If you request a table by the window you will be sitting right on bushy park with lovely views. Also Bridge Rd in east molesey has lots of lovely shops. It's just over the bridge from you. Including a lovely little quilt shop. If you're up for going further afield, the bus stop outside goes to Kingston for all the big shops and restaurants. Enjoy!

    1. Many thanks! I have just finished writing the next blog post - about Bridge Street! I shall look out for Fiamma.