An embroidered alphabet: letter A


Embroidered letter A (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

This is the second summer since my husband retired from his house for duty post as a priest to 2 Oxfordshire parishes and although I can claim the disruption of two house moves in that time, my lack of progress on the altar frontal for Ipsden church hangs heavily in my thoughts. With my husband’s first cataract operation due at the end of this month and with the grandchildren about to enjoy a  full month of attention from their parents, I’ve realised this is the ideal time to get down to a push to the end on the altar frontal.

Embroidered letter A (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Inspired by American type designer, Jessica Hische  and her “Daily Drop Cap ” project , I decided that, each week until the altar frontal is finished I shall embroider a single letter of the alphabet. (Let’s hope that it gets finished well before I go through all 26 letters of the alphabet, although I shall want to go on embroidering letters whatever happens.)

Various letter As -including beautiful AC monogram – sketched from online examples

I sketched various As I found online – and it’s a sadness that it’s not easy to find the origin of all of them – and settled on a favourite. This was then tweaked to make it work in embroidery and to avoid too slavish copying. This letter ‘A’  was padded out with chain stitch over which I embroidered smooth satin stitch. Each letter minus the flourishes is 3″ (7.5cms).

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  1. Posted July 21, 2018 at 7:59 pm | Permalink

    That is a lovely letterform – a perfect balance of simplicity and flourish!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 10:38 am | Permalink

      Thanks, Rachel – I wish I’d made the loop from the left foot to the middle bar a bit smoother!

  2. Anne Hill
    Posted July 22, 2018 at 2:50 pm | Permalink

    Your initials are always so elegant. Mine seem ragged by comparison.

    I am very excited to hear that the Ipsden altar frontal is moving on. It has inspired me to combine quilting (which I have done for many many years) with embroidery in which I am somewhat proficient – no more. Whilst practice has not, as yet, made perfect, nevertheless there is improvement.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 22, 2018 at 3:26 pm | Permalink

      Well, thank you Anne. Your words are very heartening, especially as I am at the moment grappling with what for the time being looks like a very raggedy B and which I hope with a bit of attention here and there will come to look to look rather more refined.
      So glad to hear you have enjoyed combining embroidery with quilting.

  3. Amara Bray
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 6:34 am | Permalink

    I am partial to your choice also. What a lovely type. Beautifully done.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 9:03 am | Permalink

      Such a lovely thing to say, thank you Amara.

  4. Lee Wittenstein
    Posted July 24, 2018 at 2:49 pm | Permalink

    Your work is always so lovely! How do you get the design onto the fabric? I don’t know the best way to do that so tend to stick with pre-printed embroidery patterns.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted July 24, 2018 at 4:58 pm | Permalink

      Lee, I draw the design on lightly with an ordinary pencil, either free hand or trace it using a light box. I then go over the pencil lines with running stitch in white thread and when I’ve done that I give the fabric a gentle hand wash (rubbing with a bar of Vanish if necessary). Sometimes I remove the running stitch, sometimes I don’t.
      Thank you for your kind comment.

  5. Anne Cleave
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:00 pm | Permalink

    I’d been trying to decide what to give my very good friend Ann, for her birthday. It’s on January 14th so I don’t have much time (this is the 18th December 2020!). I thought I’d have a pootle round on the Internet for ideas and you have come up double trumps! A lovely ‘A’ for Ann (the bottom one will work and I can do that in the time scale), and what is really lovely, the monogram of AC which is my initials! Some years ago I bought a lovely book on embroidered monograms but didn’t find anything to inspire me – I have today! Thank you very much.
    I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable 2020 Christmas and I’m wishing for only good things in 2021! Anne C.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:09 pm | Permalink

      So glad my blog has helped you.
      One day I’ll put time aside to index it, so it will be easier for readers to pick out all the embroidered alphabet entries from the mixing pot that bubbles up with knitting, mending and biscuit making!

  6. Anne Cleave
    Posted December 18, 2020 at 5:04 pm | Permalink

    p.s. I’ll be working the initial on tightly woven linen using Appleton’s 2-ply wools. Traditional crewel work stitches are likely to be stem, padded satin and maybe a French knot at the bottom of the loop.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted December 19, 2020 at 12:10 pm | Permalink

      You should be able to compete your initial quite quickly if you’re using crewel wools.
      Enjoy yourself. I’m sure your friend will treasure it.

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