Embroidered AAW monogram


AAW monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

UK Government advice exhorts us to think Hands, Face, Space before we do – well – almost anything. According to a Times letter writer (5th of October) should you feed these words into the global locator system what3words, this would direct the population of the UK to a 3m by 3m square of sea just off Llandudno, which, as the letter writer suggests, “will make social distancing difficult.” Should you ever need to be rescued from a certain spot in the middle of the South Atlantic, typing forgotten.previous.husband into the app on your phone should alert the emergency services to your exact whereabouts, while imaginary.future.husband would pinpoint your whereabouts somewhere in Russia. People with plenty of time to spare have great fun with this website, while people in dire need of help have been beyond grateful and even owe their lives to it!

Detail AAW monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

AAW is my last monogram for my friends in the States. For both this and the IPL monogram of the post before this one I tried using DMC’s Magic Paper to transfer my design and I must say it’s absolutely amazing (see below if you want more details.) With Hockney colours in my needle – burnt oranges, bright yellows and luscious greens, spikes of red and violet – my eye was caught by similar colours illustrating an article on Hockney’s latest work in a recent Saturday newspaper. Settled in Normandy during lockdown, in a “little seven dwarfs’ house in the middle of a four-acre field” he began to walk round his house, drawing as he went and producing the beginning of a 360 degree panorama, which like the Bayeux Tapestry will run the length of a wall in his upcoming show in a Paris gallery (about to open – or not – given the recent surge of the pandemic). He has become increasingly fascinated by the tapestry, which he admires for its narrative technique, like a Chinese scroll painting, and for its pictorial flatness – no shadows, no reflections and no perspective. At the moment he’s aiming to emulate that sense of time captured in pictorial space. It’s just wonderful and inspiring when a contemporary artist takes lessons from such a piece of venerable sewing!

Detail AAW monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Detail AAW monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Another amusing entry from The Times Diary. A reader who had worked on the Iraq Inquiry emailed the diary to say that one day she was asked by her boss to pass a message on to the chairman, Sir John Chilcot telling him to get in touch with Gus O’Donnell. The message, succinctly and with usual abbreviations read “For JC, please telephone God, yours, Mary”.

Drawing for AAW monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

More colourful children’s monograms blogged about:













Using DMC’s Magic paper:

Normally I mess around using a light box (drawing underneath, linen on top) and end up with a wobbly pencil line drawing of varying degrees of visibility. With Magic Paper, you quite simply copy your drawing on to the sheet of Magic Paper (using a small light box), peel off the backing paper, place the top layer with the drawing on to your fabric and then, when it’s in exactly the right place gently press this down. (Although stuck to your fabric now, there is some leeway for peeling off and repositioning.) The thin layer of fabric-like paper also acts as a stabiliser which means you don’t need an additional stabiliser underneath (which later must be torn or cut away). When you’ve finished your embroidery, gently wash away the magic paper with water. At this point I roll my embroidery in a couple of clean towels (one at a time) to remove as much wetness as possible, give it a gentle tug and lay it on a towel (another) on a not too hot radiator (or you could block it on a towel on a cork board and let it dry more gently). I then iron it carefully, not pressing on the embroidery very much at all. Magic Paper may well have transformed my life. It’s not cheap, £4-5 for two A5 sheets but it gives such a clear and firm image (and one that I can even see when the light is poor or at night under artificial light)  that I think it has saved me time and energy.

DMC’s Magic Paper applied to linen with embroidery design

DMC’s Magic Paper (2 sheets A5 in a pack)

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Embroidered IFL monogram

IFL monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

A floral monogram for a little girl born in the States a year ago, granddaughter to old American friends. The family, parents and three daughters had lived in the UK for a time 30 years ago. That both of us had daughters named Allegra, after Lord Byron’s little known and short-lived daughter, initiated our friendship which has survived over the years in spite of  us being an ocean and most of a continent apart for many of those years. I usually meet up with them once every couple of years when they bring groups to London to visit the art galleries and museums and we have long lunches and teas in lovely places, talking like billyo to catch up, sentences cut short by interjections one to the other in a sort of conversational shorthand which you can only ever have with people you know really well.

Detail of IFL monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Our American friends were due to come to London this summer – unsurprisingly that was cancelled. But then again, we have socialised with no one since we were in York at the end of February  and only with family twice in all that time. Gloriously, 10 days ago, just before infection rates took off again, friends from London stopped over in Cheltenham on their way to a short break to Portmeirion. To celebrate, they took us to our favourite pre-Covid eating place, The Ivy, in the wonderful Montpellier Rotunda. Built in 1809 as a place to take the spa waters, the building’s central domed space is modelled on the Pantheon in Rome, with almost identical proportions, though overall  much smaller. When we first came to Cheltenham, the building had long ceased to be somewhere to take the spa waters or even to be sociable as somewhat incongruously it then housed a branch of Lloyd’s Bank with cash points and cashiers booths  around the perimeter of the rotunda where in the Pantheon there are tombs of famous men, painters, Raphael and Annibale Carracci and the composer Corelli!  We love it that once more not only does the building look terrific but that has a social function reminiscent of its historic past. Our visitors love it too and go away impressed by a town often lampooned as dying and boring.

Detail of IFL monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

It looks as if socially distanced life will continue for another 6 months or more. We have been fortunate as, once we accepted we wouldn’t be seeing much of family, we have found our life with just the two of us very easy and even enjoyable. Being able to pursue an interest uninterruptedly is pure luxury and time to yourself is one of those things we spent much of our previous life wishing we had. (Beware, more begets the desire for more and I’ve caught myself feeling impatient, resenting time spent doing mundane things like getting the clothes washing dealt with or washing the dishes or cleaning. Coming out of our Covid cocoon may call for some re-education!) But we are the lucky ones, pity families with financial uncertainties and those who rely upon grandparent support for childcare and also the elderly who are confined to their own homes and with no one to share a meal with, have a chat to or even to watch the TV with.

Detail of IFL monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

The weather has forced us into premature confinement that can only get worse as autumn turns to winter. Overcast days followed by lots of rain have even forced my husband inside from his preferred garden work station. Yesterday, we braved the wet conditions to get flu jabs, our GP having taken over a local church hall for the afternoon – all done very efficiently with a certain amount of give in the system so that even if people (mostly very old and doddery) arrived ten or twenty minutes early for their appointment, they went straight in, got jabbed and out the other side without having to hang about in the rain. On the way home, I dropped into the local independent bookshop, The Suffolk Anthology  to order Tracey Chevalier’s A Single Thread which comes out in paperback in the UK on the 15th. The shop, is small but brilliantly stocked and I was delighted to come away with a couple more books which I was on the verge of getting from Amazon – and not doing that always makes me feel good.  I’ve also enjoyed listening to a dramatising of  Elena Ferrante’s My Brilliant Friend  (and the other 3 novels) on iPlayer. I had bought the book some time ago but couldn’t really get into it. Having it read to me while I sewed was just perfect and – shocking admission coming up – enabled me to enjoy it in a way I wouldn’t have if I’d had to plough on on my own.

Sketch for IFL monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

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