Navy T shirt with turquoise sleeve embroidery

Navy T shirt with turquoise embroidery (hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Last summer I embroidered a T shirt for my husband’s granddaughter with turquoise flowers motifs borrowed from Chinese hair ornaments made from kingfisher feathers. I love the effect of turquoise on navy and as I wear a lot of navy, it was only a matter of time before the colour made an appearance on the sleeves of my own T shirts. This time I took elements from different hair ornaments to make a continuous band around the sleeve and added a base of hatched lines of sewing picking up the slanting bands often seen on ceremonial Chinese robes.

Navy T shirt with turquoise embroidery (m hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

I set out using the embroidery thread that worked best on navy. I had two skeins of the right colour and thought that would be enough but soon discovered that the end of a sleeve is a bigger area to cover than I’d anticipated. Several online sites selling the thread (Duchess colour 858) were out of stock and when I finally found somewhere with it in stock, wouldn’t you know it, the colour was sufficiently different from what I had to be clearly noticeable. So, I managed to finish one sleeve in the same thread, but for the second sleeve mixed it up with a DMC thread (3808) to lift the colour of  the new thread (using one strand from each skein). You can see the difference because I’ve photographed both sleeves side by side but I’m reckoning on both arms rarely being as close together as that, so comparisons won’t be made! Of course I shall undoubtedly find myself telling people, just as my father would wallpaper a room beautifully and then couldn’t resist pointing out the join down by the skirting board behind the chimney breast where he hadn’t matched the pattern very well!

Navy T shirt with turquoise embroidery (m hand embroidered by Mary Addison)

Like most of the world nowadays we are trying not to put the heating on if we can help it but it has been very cold even when the sun has been shining. Going for a walk helps as the house invariably feels really warm once you come back in but whereas I used to walk quickly and pull my husband with me, he’s now my support and I have to tell him he’s going too fast. I complained to my doctor that my arms and legs had been very painful since I’d had my tooth out and she said my symptoms sounded like long covid which got me wondering whether the bout of  what I thought had been flu in January really had been covid, though I don’t recall testing positive at any time. Who knows! Anyway, we’ve been out and bought one of these Revitive circulation boosters which the doctor thought might help the leg pain and arthritic knees and now our evenings are interrupted by the odd strangled shriek from me which sends my husband delving into the handbook to check whether the device is on too high a setting. I quite like it but make no judgement about its efficacy yet.

Sketches for designs for t shirt sleeve embroidery


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  1. Posted April 9, 2022 at 5:46 pm | Permalink

    I really don’t like the sound of the yelps of pain – that can’t be what it’s meant to do!

    And as for the embroidery – no, no one will notice, unless you tell them, but then you can make a little story of it and entice them into our world….

    • Mary Addison
      Posted April 12, 2022 at 10:01 pm | Permalink

      Still little yelps but getting more used to it – think it is helping, so … on we go.
      I know no one will know notice the different colour but somehow I’m not that bothered whether they do or not. We all have to make do with more and more not quite perfect solutions nowadays – and will be better for it, I think.

      • Posted April 16, 2022 at 4:50 pm | Permalink

        Indeed yes. And particularly with this sort of embellishment, which is meant to be joyous and a lift for the soul and the heart, the delight should trump exactitude!

        • Mary Addison
          Posted April 18, 2022 at 1:09 pm | Permalink

          Exactly, Rachel!

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