J & G Monogram

JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

A quick post to show you a simple monogram of 2 letters which I finished off when I returned home from my stint in London. Ever so slightly entwined, these initials look bold in red which I find I have become increasingly fond of for monograms – that is when I’m not doing whitework. I embroidered simple flowers on appliquéd satin. My original idea was to outline the flowers in a fine black thread which I would also use for the french knots in the middle of the flowers. This looked too heavy however so I opted instead for a few spidery curlicues in backstitch which looked better. French knots in the flower’s centre morphed from black, through off white to red which latter I thought worked best.



JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

My inability to get properly organised with sewing projects when away from home makes me wonder whether there are certain character traits I’ve never really overcome. When I was a little girl, I was often taken to see my older brother play cricket or rugby on a Saturday afternoon – home and away. I was much younger than my brother and in order not to be bored, I would weigh my father down with paper and coloured pencils, jigsaw puzzles, packs of cards, a doll in a carry cot (with a change of clothes and blankets) and the odd book or two.


JG monogram: detail of flowers (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

JG monogram: detail of flowers (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)


In fact I adored the long afternoons of cricket (in particular) which I would spend meandering round the boundary chatting to other parents whose picnics I would be invited to share, rolling down the grassy slopes at the edge of the ground covering myself in sweetly smelling newly mown grass or ‘helping’ the groundsman’s wife with the players’ teas – dolloping out jam from industrial containers or struggling with teapots the size of watering cans. As a child I thoroughly disliked tea as a drink and was not much keener on jam sandwiches but somehow in a cricket pavilion on a Saturday afternoon there was nothing that tasted better.

JG monogram: detail of flowers (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

JG monogram: detail of flowers (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

As an aside, now I think about it I’m sure my first fashion conscious moment came beside a cricket pitch (that is if you don’t count pouring through Ladybird books and scrutinising what ‘mother’ was wearing – usually variations on printed spots). Having made several circuits of the boundary rope I found myself sitting next to the Groundsman’s pretty elder daughter who, looking wonderful in a flowery dress with full skirt and petticoats, posed herself carefully, tossed her lovely fair hair and impressed me with the announcement that she was trying to look sophisticated. I was awe struck. (Slightly sadly I suspect that in my own life I have never come anywhere near to attaining such a peak of visual sophistication.)

Well, that interlude was a long way round to saying that, just as I packed for every eventuality to counter boredom as a child,  whenever I go to stay and help out in London I have a case similarly full of ‘what ifs’. I usually travel with a main sewing project, a backup and often a backup backup. And, just like my forays onto the cricket pitches of Nottinghamshire, most of my work remains untouched – except in this case for the piece that was technically finished and being returned to its owner.  You remember the feather embroidered cashmere jumper blogged about here, well perversely, I found myself itching to embroider more feathers  – and more never quite seemed enough even when the original 7 I blogged about seem to have increased to 24 (with perhaps 2 more still to do)!

JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

JG monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

In my case, the monogram remained unfinished through indecision as to the colour of the french knots, the curtain tie backs to be embroidered lay untouched because I couldn’t get excited enough about them and  the knitting – an inset shawl collar requiring circular needles – proved to be too taxing for the novice knitter that I am. More feathers just seemed like the easiest option. I don’t think I will ever be able to let myself pack nothing that needs sewing/knitting/mending but perhaps one day I will pack just one project which I will doggedly commit to. Here’s hoping.


This entry was posted in Uncategorized. Bookmark the permalink. Post a comment or leave a trackback: Trackback URL.


  1. Posted May 13, 2015 at 8:08 pm | Permalink

    I find it almost impossible to find light good enough to embroider by in any of the places we stay when we’re away, so I’ve learned not to take my embroidery with me unless I’m certain of both time and light…

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      I do agree that the right light is important. Fortunately staying with my daughter regularly I have worked out the best place to sit in terms of both comfort and the presence of a good light.
      I have recently come to appreciate knitting as being one of the easiest needle crafts to carry around and am delighted when the pattern says things like “carry on in stocking stitch until the garment measures 8 inches” as you can pretty much do it in the dark.
      For me – and for many women, I suspect – nothing is more stressful than sitting down to watch television with no work to hand!

  2. Katie
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 2:24 am | Permalink

    I love this one! I really do admire all of your work, but when I saw this one today an, “Oh my!” just slipped out. Very nicely done.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:42 am | Permalink

      Katie, how lovely to hear about your spontaneous reaction to my monogram. It is always such a joy to have such lovely feedback about my work. I’m sure it spurs me on to work faster. Many thanks.

  3. Posted May 15, 2015 at 8:12 am | Permalink

    Mary I love your story of your long childhood afternoons. X

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 11:46 am | Permalink

      Thank you, Penny. It always surprises me how I start to write a blog with one thing in mind and then find something else pops up half way through!

  4. Jane
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 8:38 am | Permalink

    love your latest embroidery the simple graphic quality and colours is really refreshing and simple, well done. I know what you mean about packing lots then not finding they are what you want to do. I do it all the time. Not sure if there is an answer, maybe pack something less taxing? One I will have to try myself! I have taken to packing a sketch book, small but useful for dreaming about new ideas, which I can do anywhere with nothing other than paper and pen, and a tiny watercolour box helps if I want to try out colours as well.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 12:01 pm | Permalink

      A sketch book is a good idea and a notebook is essential. But I still find my fingers long for a needle of some sort! I can get quite irritable if I haven’t sewn for a few days – then as soon as I pick up a needle and begin sewing I feel calm and at peace with the world.

  5. Penny Cross
    Posted May 15, 2015 at 9:23 am | Permalink

    Really lovely post, Mary, which has a dreamy stream-of-consciousness about it that makes one drift with you but then one is gradually brought back to your present day realities, some of which we share. But, sometime, please, could you think about making a photographic step-by-step workshop so we can follow the genesis of your monogramming projects from start to finish. There is no one like you on the Internet. And we must see those 24+ feathers.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 15, 2015 at 12:12 pm | Permalink

      Well Penny, thank you for these thoughts. I will try to incorporate some step-by-step photos in my posts from now on. I tend to get rather engrossed in what I’m doing and not really see it as a series of stages but now I am aware that people are interested in how pieces progress I shall make the effort to document things in more detail.

  6. Posted May 17, 2015 at 7:49 am | Permalink

    Mary, I was drifting by your blog and I just have to tell you that I love your red monogram today! So cheerful and full of life. I have also had a chuckle or two reading about the cricket afternoons for a little girl… how kind everyone was, and always tea and cakes…. summers seemed to go on for ever didn’t they? The sound of ball on willow…. the smell of green grass… and a girl in a frothy dress. Oh, how I longed for such a dress too… a sweet flowery cotton puffed up by layer upon layer of petticoats…. never to be of course.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted May 21, 2015 at 7:36 am | Permalink

      Lydia, I love to think of you drifting by my blog, especially when you are so many miles away.

Post a Comment

Your email is never published nor shared. Required fields are marked *

You may use these HTML tags and attributes <a href="" title=""> <abbr title=""> <acronym title=""> <b> <blockquote cite=""> <cite> <code> <del datetime=""> <em> <i> <q cite=""> <s> <strike> <strong>


  • May 2015
    M T W T F S S
    « Apr   Jun »
  • Photographs & Media

    Please attribute any re-uploaded images to Addison Embroidery at the Vicarage or Mary Addison and link back to this website. And please do not hot-link images!