An embroidered alphabet: letter O

At home for nearly a week, I’ve been getting down to knitting Fair Isle samples for C******** jumpers for 3 grandchildren (can’t bring myself to commit the word to paper during the second week in November), ordering the right amount of wool and trying to get ahead with the embroidered alphabet. Overtaken by sudden lassitude, embroidery and knitting have been a welcome use of time.

Embroidered letter O with roses (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

On Monday I fondly imagined the small person’s entourage heaving a joint sigh of relief as he returned to school after his 2 weeks of holiday. Later in the day I discovered the small person was in fact still at home having been diagnosed with chickenpox. Return to  school has been postponed for another week . Not being very badly affected by the virus, he had the more energy than ideal for parents and nanny who had all dearly been looking forward to getting back to the normal routine (walls and bouncing were frequently spoken of together.) “I suppose we want the very small person to get it too,” sighed his mother, weary after a difficult night.

Embroidered letter O with roses (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Meanwhile, back in Cheltenham, yesterday and today my husband led two more art appreciation classes for Cheltenham U3A. They are very much art appreciation rather than art history as he’s keen to get people to look at art and talk about what they see rather than what they think they ought to be seeing. People either get this sort of approach and come to enjoy it or they don’t like it at all and would really prefer to be lectured to (and these tend to not come again).  As people get to know each other and feel more comfortable, they become more confident in their comments and there is almost always a lot of laughter. What’s funny is how often people express a strong dislike of say a non figurative painting but 20 minutes later refer back to something about it that has, almost against their will, made an impression and stayed with them. Surprisingly often you can feel people changing their minds about a painting or a style as they speak about it –  trying out a new idea much like you’d try on a dress that didn’t look quite what you wanted on the hanger but suits you surprisingly well once on. If only such a tonic could be had on prescription.

Sketches of various Os found online

Sketches of various Os found online

But, to get back to embroidery, here is an O decorated with trailing roses, to remind us of a season now long gone. In fact cold as it has been recently, there is at least one rose blooming in our neighbours’ garden. Stalwart blooms, battered by rain but heads still held high, an object lesson in survival. It’s things like roses in November and tramping through a wet town to talk about what art’s all about that get us through winter – well that and family, friends, music, catch up radio and television, knitting, sewing, good food and a bit of chocolate from time to time that is (oh and reading …and all those other things I can’t now think of.) So for me this afternoon it’s catch up radio and a bit of embroidery.

Detail of embroidered letter O with roses (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

For more red roses, see here  and here  and for whitework ones, see here and here and for the funniest book I think I have ever read that takes Lewis Carroll’s painting of white roses red and runs amok with it, see here.

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  1. Posted November 11, 2018 at 3:43 pm | Permalink

    Love the trails of roses!

    You’re right about the art appreciation. Sometimes it takes a little while to make friends with a new idea!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:29 am | Permalink

      People are often not brave about their own ideas and need to be cajoled into voicing them; they also don’t realise what they already know, so once they feel no one will laugh at them, ideas and opinions tend to come tumbling out.
      Glad you like the roses, Rachel. Thank you.

  2. Bev S.
    Posted November 12, 2018 at 1:07 am | Permalink

    It’s a beautiful ‘O.’

    And good for you for 3 Christmas Fair Isle Sweaters! You must not be knitting them in fingering weight!

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 13, 2018 at 11:31 am | Permalink

      What is fingering weight Bev? I’ve not been knitting for too many years and am still learning.
      Thank you for liking my ‘O’.

      • Bev S.
        Posted November 14, 2018 at 8:38 pm | Permalink

        Fingering weight is thinner yarn than what you have knit sweaters on in the past, at least on your blog. Popular Shetland yarns which are often used for Fair Isle are Jamieson and Smith and Jamiesons. I admit to have quite the stash of both. The colors are amazing!

        • Mary Addison
          Posted November 16, 2018 at 12:18 pm | Permalink

          Thank you for enlightening me Bev. I shall look into the yarns you talk about. Are they soft and not itchy? Some of the Norwegian knits I’ve found are too scratchy and tickly for little ones.

  3. anne hill
    Posted November 13, 2018 at 2:41 pm | Permalink

    Love the roses. I have a fondness for the “pretty” late 18th and early 19th century embroideries.

    As for art, I know (I think) what I like but am easily persuaded that I am wrong. Too pliant a nature.

    • Mary Addison
      Posted November 16, 2018 at 12:15 pm | Permalink

      Sometimes pretty hits the mark, doesn’t it!
      I know what you mean about being “too pliant” – is it nature or nature though? Let’s call it intellectual openness – sounds much better.

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