So glad I live now..

Photocopy Mosaic

Photocopy Mosaic

I have been working on my Azorean embroidery of late.

By this I do not mean that I’ve been actually using my needle and thread. No, I’m not there yet! Remember, what I bought in that enchanting little shop in Ponta Delgada was a pattenbook, in effect. It included no tracings, and no guidance for creating the design I will work from. The design isn’t drawn out, but simply photographed – in each case there is a corner of the finished article showing in the photograph, but not how each section joins on. What is more, I have discovered that there are subtleties in the way the designs are put together. I couldn’t simply run the design around the piece without paying attention!

Tracing Cutwork

Tracing Cutwork

In fact I have photocopied and traced, and retraced, and re-retraced(!) the design several times, trying several ways to create the complete circuit of the design, and it has reminded me of just how lucky we are now, with easy access (usually) to prepared designs, tracings, and computer software that can help us assemble the designs we create ourselves.

By the time I finally have the design drawn on that lovely cotton fabric I am so looking forward to embroidering, I will have drawn and redrawn each line at least eight times!


  1. Penny B says:

    Don’t have your discipline! I always want to get right to stitch. How much longer til you can thread a needle?

  2. Penny says:

    I so agree that we live in a wonderful time – to have all the advantages of printers and scanners and photo transferring. Things I might have distained at one time have made my craft so much richer. Punchneedle preparation is the same thing whereby it has to be drawn both front side and backside (since its punched from the back) and that prep time often takes longer than it does to actually stitch the design.

  3. Lady Fi says:

    That design is lovely.

  4. Jules says:

    I so agree! Especially now I am having to prepare my own designs (albeit very simple!) for others to follow. I have just purchased a professional light box, which is simply wonderful!

  5. Megan Hodges/Elmsley Rose says:

    I remember when a friend had a photocopier she’d bought from auction from the council at her house and I was soooo impressed!
    The design is lovely. The book sounds like a bit of a pain.

  6. Carolyn says:

    I agree with you about this pattern. A number of times I have reproduced old pieces and getting the dimentions and alignment right takes time. I am lucky in that I have an embroidery drawing program and have worked as a draft person in my husbands business so I know how to use Auto CAD. You have had to do it the hard way. I look at some of the embroidery from Japan and the older pieces are the same. Just an image, work the rest out yourself.

  7. Jane says:

    I find that the tracing, and re-tracing, process helps to clarify the fine details of the design. I often get ideas on which techniqes to use while I’m tracing.
    Lovely design.

  8. It’s a lovely design, and as always I am amazed at your great patience and perseverance!

  9. Ah, but it’s beautiful, so it will be worth it! 🙂

  10. Alex says:

    Not only the challenge of the embroidery but the challenge of working out how to do it in the first place! I really take my hat off to your persistence Rachel!

  11. karen says:

    yes we are fortunate in so many ways. I always think about the poor lighting there was in times past and how much damage must have been done to the eyes of an embroiderer with the strain…

  12. Susan says:

    What tenacity! I love you all the more for your effort. I find the planning often takes the longest. The stitching seems like the easy part!!