AEHM monogram for a baby boy


AEHM monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

AEHM monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Embroidery very easily lends itself to being regarded as sweet or cute and this is especially true of that done for babies.  I run from the cute, sweet or twee as I would run from a serpent and I would be very fed up should anyone describe anything I had made in these terms. I come closest to seeing that serpent when I set to producing a monogram for little boys who are just about the best twee indicators ever. After lots of thinking and some experimentation I have come to the conclusion that monogram designs for little boys should stick to the less is more principle – either very traditional (no flowers, lettering minimally curly) or, if you want something a bit different,  geometric patterns with clear unfussy lettering.

AEHM monogram: detail

AEHM monogram: detail

This latest monogram is another out of the building block mould (like this) although here there is a touch of classical architectural building blocks as  both the little boy’s parents are in the business of conserving old buildings and  would be likely to enjoy pointing out primitive Ionic columns, triglyphs (vertically channeled tablets of the Doric frieze) and metopes (space between two triglyphs, the most famous examples being those in the collection of the Elgin Marbles in the British Museum which were formerly on the Parthenon). Across the bottom there is a  wave border which is also a classical decoration.

AEHM monogram: detail

AEHM monogram: detail

The sun cast its spell over us yesterday which was fortunate as we had another tea concert in church and a sunny afternoon almost always means a bigger audience. It’s a shame more things don’t happen in the afternoon in church as at that time of day, the sun slants through the three south facing windows to greatest effect – whitewashed walls turn Mediterranean and, like that ancient Ready Brek advert, the glow seems to come from within.

AEHM monogram: detail

AEHM monogram: detail

I rarely sit down without having a bit of sewing in my hands and on this occasion I had a bag of patchwork pieces for the altar frontal. I should mention here that on a previous occasion I had received a ticking off from the organiser for being distracting with my needle. Seemingly safe, at the very end of the row, behind everyone else and with my husband a shield for others  I foolishly whipped out my patchwork pieces a little too early … and was seen. Now Euterpe (not her real name of course) had not been a teacher for many years without learning a thing or two about the most effective way to tell someone off and I was curious as to how the blow would fall.  After explaining evacuation procedures in case of fire (“the emergency door is the one you came in by”), she requested mobile phones be turned off and knitting needles, etc, be put aside – we should treat live music respectfully, rather than casually as we might treat music on the radio at home. Euterpe then took her seat beside the pianist as page turner and it seemed to me that the audience between me and her parted ever so slightly to allow her heat-seeking missile of a gaze clear passage to the needle on my lap. Chastised and cowed, nevertheless a tiny stir of rebellion made me carry on sewing –  but  slowly and deliberately. As I continued the needle in my hand seemed to grew in both size and intrusiveness until no longer a needle, but  a light sabre. Ridiculous, I gave up. Euterpe had won … and probably quite rightly too.

AEHM  monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

AEHM monogram (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Last night it was very cold here. Benson (a couple of miles away) recorded S.E. England’s lowest temperature of the night at 1.4 degrees C. The field behind us had been harvested the day before which seemed pretty late to us as the wheat was looking ripe and ready at the beginning of August. But grain from this field was going for animal feed so there was no great pressure to harvest it rapidly as they would for wheat grown for bread flour. Now the straw in lying in ridges in the field and we are waiting to see how this will be baled up. We loved the sunlight on the golden corn, the dark earth will be a bit of a shock and a reminder that we are into autumn.

AEHM Monogram framed

AEHM Monogram framed

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  1. Posted September 8, 2015 at 12:14 pm | Permalink

    Oh, I am blushing , not for you but for the organiser who has perhaps never experienced the pleasure of active listening with active hands. The sewing/knitting seems to limber up the brain ready for appreciative listening. And how appropriate that the alter frontal should in part be stitched in situ to the beautiful sound of music….. x

    • Mary Addison
      Posted September 8, 2015 at 1:48 pm | Permalink

      Yes, but I probably should just sit and listen a bit more and I suppose it is more respectful to the soloist. I do feel I listen better with my hands occupied as I’ve done it for so long – but I can see others may now view it in that way.

  2. Penny Cross
    Posted September 9, 2015 at 8:00 am | Permalink

    Hello Mary

    You have, as usual, embroidered several forensically apt word pictures highlighting them with carefully chosen, colourfully depicted imagery. Hugely enjoyable for those of us not lucky enough to have witnessed your silent though scandalous rebellion…

    And the boy’s monogram is just stunning as has been all your work in the last few posts. Sorry to have disappeared for a while but we’re now almost In Recovery after an apocalyptic two-caravan week with our six shared grandchildren. In describing it to a friend, he said it sounded as though we were expected an Enid Blyton time but got Pulp Fiction. Yes.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted September 9, 2015 at 9:47 am | Permalink

      Hello again, Penny, lovely to hear from you again – and with such encouraging comments too. Well done, now you can return to your normal life with extra appreciation for dividing up your time as you wish it. The children will no doubt look back on it as one of their best holidays ever. You must be ready for a nice little cultural jaunt to a literary talk or an art gallery, I should think.

  3. Posted September 10, 2015 at 1:00 am | Permalink

    I love your new design for a little boy… the combination of columns and waves just perfect….

    I wonder why people do not realise that working on embroidery or handwork of any kind whilst listening to music or the spoken word actually intensifies your acceptance of the same… In fact, I find that a particular piece of music first heard whilst handworking something or other always reminds me of where I was and what I was doing… does that make sense?

    Spring time is here and the orchard is full of blossom and the Jarrah forests covered in wild flowers…

    • Mary Addison
      Posted September 13, 2015 at 6:54 pm | Permalink

      Thank you Lydia. I suppose the sewing and listening thing comes down to those who understand because they too do both.
      Strange to think of you entering springtime. I’d never heard of the Jarrah forests so I’ve just had to do a search. It sounds wonderful and I can’t help thinking it should be full of Jumblies or pobbles with no toes, though I dare say the creatures that live in it are much more exotic than I can imagine.

  4. Posted September 11, 2015 at 1:07 pm | Permalink

    I share your aversion to cute, and I think you’ve met the challenge magnificently. As for your rebellion – if it was a “coffee concert” type thing I’m sure the embroidery was quieter than the coffee cups, and you should have kept at it!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted September 13, 2015 at 6:59 pm | Permalink

      Glad you agree about cute.
      Tea cups and cake came afterwards, so no excuse there.

  5. Elizabeth
    Posted September 16, 2015 at 8:25 pm | Permalink

    I was really upset by your story of the sewing censorship. Listening to music is not a religious discipline, although anyone can apply that to their concert experience if they wish – but do they have the right to punish others who want to experience a concert differently? Knitting is distracting as needles click rhythmically, but how could silent sewing be a problem for other listeners?

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