GETTING TO GRIPS WITH EMBROIDERY

Molly at the Wemyss School of Needlework

I’ve been wanting to have a go at embroidery for a while now, particularly after spying these amazing embroidery artists over on Instagram:

I also had a sneaky suspicion I’d love this challenge – particularly as my mum’s always been an avid stitcher, and a love of all things woolly runs in the family…

In 1877, my Great great great Aunt Dora started the ‘Wemyss School of Needlework’ up in Fife, Scotland.  Dora set up the school modelled on the Royal School of Needlework in London, but with a philanthropic emphasis.  The aim was to teach needlework skills to local girls to enable them to earn a living and have some independence.

Apprentices at the Wemyss School of Needlework

Fast forward 140 years and the school is now being run by none other than my mum.  When you walk in the door of the Needlework School you can’t help but be inspired.  She’s done an incredible job of modernising the school while embracing its rich history and the story of the girls who attended.  It’s now part museum, part shop.  The museum is home to an awe-inspiring collection of needlework from all over the world alongside pieces created by the apprentices.

Beautiful children's bed cover made in the 1930s at the Wemyss School of Needlework

The shop is amazing! The walls are lined with beautiful samplers to choose from, eye popping amounts of wool in an abundance of colours, beautiful kits to stitch, workshops to sign up to and much more.

Beautiful samplers stitched by mum, Fiona Wemyss, for the Wemyss School of Needlework.

So, as a Wemyss, it looks like I might be a little bit late the to the game, but better late than never!  I was up in Scotland this month, and my mum, aware that I was keen to have a shot at my own embroidery project, suggested it might be a good idea to sit in on their ‘Crewel Work’ Workshop before starting it.  All I can say is … lucky I did.   Who knew there’d be so many different stitches to learn?!

Molly taking part in the fabulous Crewel Work Workshop at the Wemyss School of Needlework.

In the workshop we worked a thistle design and Louise patiently explained how to fill each area of the design with a different stitch.  I loved it.  At the end of the day, armed with a little more confidence, some materials and the amusingly named ‘Crewel Intentions’ stitch book, I was ready to start my own piece.  Here he is …

Lion Embroidery Hoop by Molly & The Wolf

This furry chap is based on one of See Creatures lovely animal prints, and mum will be pleased to know that he features FIVE different stitches. He’s been great fun to make (except for when unpicking has been necessary), and has also been quite easy to make time for as you can do it in front of the telly and it’s a bit addictive.  So much so that I’ve also whipped up a flamingo and am looking forward to stitching the rest of See Creatures’ menagerie.

Flamingo Embroidery Hoop by Molly & The Wolf

If you’d like to give embroidery a shot this month there’s loads of inspiration over on our Embroidery Inspiration Board on Pinterest.  Supplies are easy to get hold of – either from your local habadasher, or instore or online at John Lewis.  My mum also sells lovely kits and all sorts of stitching supplies through the Wemyss School of Needlework website.  Goes without saying, but if you’re North of the border, do pop in – she’d love to see you.

I’d love to see what you make … share pictures of your stitching success using the hashtag #MadeWithMolly and tag us @mollyandthewolf.  Also i’m always on the hunt for inspiration and would love to know which embroidery artists, workshops or books have inspired you?

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