Tag Archives | inspiration

I am an embroidery teacher …. but I don’t really teach embroidery

Well, that’s not strictly accurate. Of course I teach embroidery, but it’s not the most important part of my job description. What I actually teach is confidence.

I have been running Beautiful Stitches for over 6 years and during that time I have taught workshops that run for just one day through to classes that have been running weekly for four years. With time and experience it has become very clear that the two most important gifts I can give my students are inspiration and confidence.

You see, at its most fundamental, embroidery is simply “needle up, needle down, repeat”. Of course there are a myriad of ways that this simple process can be varied to create a lovely range of textures and patterns. But in the modern world, you can find almost limitless tutorials online showing you how to stitch all these wonderful effects. There are countless books to inform and inspire. In fact, the choice and range of possibilities can almost be overwhelming.

And that’s where I come in. If you come to one of my classes, I will absolutely show you how to work a range of different embroidery stitches. And we will often look at all sorts of interesting techniques to complement those embroidery fundamentals – painting or colouring the base fabric first, manipulating layers of fabric, playing with colour choices and thread textures, adding embellishments, etc. But my main job is to make sure that the voice inside your head is saying “I’ve got this!”.
When you have confidence, you can have a lot of fun. And when you have fun, you can do amazing things. Joe Namath

Free stitching over silk paper layered on painted Congress canvas (by Helen)


In my classes, there is no “right” or “wrong” – rather there is learning, exploring, playfulness, and creativity. I want you to come away from my classes feeling confident to keep working on your own. I want you to be inspired to keep learning more. I want you to find a new idea in a book or online and say to yourself “I can stitch that!”

“It’s All About the Pants” includes surface embroidery, applique and beading (by Julie)


Last year I taught a workshop that ran over 5 mornings at the Albany Summer School. At the start of Day 2, one of my students said to me that she was finding the class almost too challenging. She didn’t have much experience in embroidery and the class was feeling like a very steep learning curve. I encouraged her to stick with it and give herself a chance to develop her skills so that she could start feeling more confident. At the end of Day 5 she gave me a lovely card with the following message:
Thankyou Ann-Marie for an enjoyable week of colour, beauty and challenge. Though not your best student, I have enjoyed the start of my journey into embroidery. You have been so patient with me. I now find myself counting more. The stitches make more sense as I find my rhythm. It will take me a long time to finish, but I will. You have given all of us the joy of colour, texture and creativity.

I cannot tell you how happy this made me. Because for me this is what it is all about. This is why I started Beautiful Stitches in the first place, and this is why I am excited to keep working on it every single day.

And I promise you that there is just a little bit of magic in this process. When you start to develop confidence, it has a tendency to grow. And the more it grows, the harder it is for external forces to dent it. And then you discover that it is contagious. What started out as confidence in your creative pursuits, finds its way into other parts of your life. Before you know it, you are scaling Mt Everest (figuratively speaking at least!) 😊

Through my education, I didn’t just develop skills, I didn’t just develop the ability to learn, but I developed confidence. Michelle Obama


In a few weeks time, I will be starting a new year of classes at Tresillian Arts Centre in Nedlands. If what I have written here feels like a good fit for you, I would love you to join us. In Term 1, I am offering two options:

Creative Embroidery in Colour, Friday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm, 7 sessions starting February 15: This class is for anyone who wants to play with embroidery. If you are a beginner, I will absolutely get you started with some basic techniques and simple projects. The “Creative” part can be as simple as taking an existing embroidery design that you like but making it your own by working it in different colours. For those with more experience, you can work on projects of your own choice. We will explore together a range of resources and ideas that will give you the confidence to start creating your own embroidery designs.

Introduction to Embroidery, Wednesday mornings from 9.30am to 12.30pm, 4 sessions starting March 13: This class is for anyone who wants to learn or refresh their knowledge of basic embroidery stitches. We will work on both evenweave and surface stitches so that you have some experience in these two main branches of embroidery. By the end of the four week programme you will be armed with the knowledge and confidence to tackle your next embroidery project.

You can find further details and how to book here.

If you want to find out where else I will be teaching this year, then you can find all the details on my Classes page. And if you would like me to come and teach a workshop to your group, then send me an email and I’ll be very happy to see what we can organise.

More textiles from Myanmar

My friend Greg has been allowing me to delve into his textile collection once again. Like the Akha cross-stitch I showed you earlier this year, these pieces were purchased in Myanmar. One is a modern piece, and the other is about 100 years old. Greg asked me to have a look at them and see what I could find out about how they were made.

First the modern piece.

A portion of the modern textile from Myanmar. The full piece is approximately 90x190cm. This view shows just a small portion of it.

Part of the modern textile from Myanmar.

This brightly coloured cloth is woven from black cotton with a rainbow style geometric pattern in rayon thread. It has been woven as a single piece and measures approximately 105cm wide and 190cm long. The colour palette cycles through green, yellow, orange, purple, pink, dark yellow, and blue, and the design is composed of zig-zags and diamonds. The colours are just lovely and I can easily imagine this piece of cloth hanging up in Bogyoke Market in Yangon where Greg purchased it.

Detail view of the front of the fabric. The long axis of each diamond measures 6cm.

Detailed view of the front of the fabric. The long axis of each diamond measures 6cm.

Detailed view of the back of the fabric. Note that this is the reverse of the pattern on the front of the fabric.

Detailed view of the back of the fabric. Note that this is the reverse of the pattern on the front of the fabric.

A clue to its construction can be seen in these detailed photos of the front and back of the textile. The diamonds on the back are a reverse image of those on the front, showing how the colourful rayon thread has been carried across the front and back of the black cotton ground. You can also see on the front of the design where the rayon thread is turned to continue working each row of the design (the angled “stitches” as opposed to the horizontal “stitches”).

The antique fabric is quite different to the modern piece. It was made by the Chin people who live in western Myanmar, northeastern India and Eastern Bangladesh. In the book “Mantles of Merit” by David W. & Barbara G. Fraser there is a picture of a very similar textile on Pg. 125 which is attributed to the Haka area in Western Myanmar and dated 1923-1933.

Antique Chin weaving, estimated to be approximately 100 years old.

Antique Chin weaving, estimated to be approximately 100 years old.

The detail of the design is very fine – breathtakingly so in fact. The fabric is made of a cotton ground with the fine geometric detail worked in silk thread. Hours and hours of work would have been required to create such fine geometric detail.

Detailed view of the front of the weaving. Each diamond here measures 1.5cm along each side.

Detailed view of the front of the weaving. Each diamond here measures just 1.5cm along each side.

And almost as fascinating as the front, the back shows the forest of starting and ending threads for each of the little geometric motifs.


Detailed view of the back of the Chin weaving.

Detailed view of the back of the Chin weaving.

Finally, close inspection reveals that this piece was worked in two loom widths and then carefully joined. Until I knew from the Fraser’s book that I needed to search for a join, I didn’t even know that it was there!

Close-up view of the join in the Chin weaving.

Close-up view of the join in the Chin weaving.

So, how were these gorgeous textiles made? They are both examples of discontinuous supplementary weft weaving. Basically this means that the pattern is woven into the fabric by the use of extra threads (supplementary weft) which are not continuous across the width of the fabric (hence discontinuous). You can see a great picture of this type of work in progress on Kay Faulkner’s blog and also find out more about how to do this type of weaving at Backstrap Weaving.

I found myself really fascinated by these fabrics because my background as a canvaswork embroiderer initially made me look at these fabrics as though they had been embroidered. The colourful geometric designs echo the shapes and colours that I love to play with in my own embroidery designs. I imagined someone painstakingly working the modern piece in much the same way as I am working on a piece of Kogin embroidery at the moment. And as for the Chin piece, the possibility of it being embroidered blew me away because it was just too impossibly fine. But then I felt the same about the Afghan embroidery I wrote about in February this year and that was most definitely hand embroidered – so anything was possible.

As it turns out, both pieces are woven and the skill required to manipulate the supplementary weft threads is just as daunting as embroidering complex geometric designs with a needle. Of course, you could embroider these designs if you wished, but at this scale it would be incredibly time consuming and impractical. But there is something eminently satisfying about learning from one craft to inform another.

Historically, needlepoint evolved to mimic large woven tapestries. I love the fact that these gorgeous textiles from Myanmar will provide similar creative inspiration for one of my embroidery designs in the future.


Haute Couture and why I have revised my opinion

I caught up with a fascinating documentary on BBC iPlayer this week called “The Secret World of Haute Couture” by Margie Kinmonth. It was produced in 2007 (so has been around for quite a while now) but I found it absolutely fascinating. And I now have a completely new attitude (and respect) for what had seemed to me previously to be something rather frivolous.

I confess to being completely ignorant on the fashion front. In fact, on our recent trip to Cairns my daughter bought a necklace at the Night Markets and she asked me if I thought the interlocking C’s meant something special. I replied along the lines that it probably meant something but I didn’t know what. Later that week, I was shopping with a friend in Brisbane and spotted the interlocking C’s – on the front of the Chanel store! I can’t tell you how stupid I felt realising that I actually hadn’t known the logo for one of the most famous fashion houses in the world 🙂

The Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter Collection in 2011

The Chanel Haute Couture Fall/Winter Collection in 2011.

So, the full extent of my fashion knowledge is derived from what I have briefly gleaned  from flicking through magazines in the doctor’s surgery. My knowledge is meagre to say the least. And I confess that I was pretty prejudiced. I would look at elaborate creations on the catwalk and think to myself, “Who on earth wears this stuff? What is the point?”. Until I saw saw this documentary…..

The “haute couture” label is protected by law in France. Of course, it is often used to describe “high fashion” in a wider sense, but strictly speaking the Chambre Syndicale de la Haute Couture includes only those companies who have been granted the designation “Haute Couture” by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris. The label is reviewed annually and depends on a rigorous set of criteria. The key points are that haute couture pieces are designed to be one-off garments, exclusively tailored to fit one person, and made by hand using the very finest materials. Qualifying fashion houses must also present a full collection of haute couture garments at two shows per year.

Some of these garments are exquisitely beautiful, others ugly, and some frankly quite bizarre. A price tag of US$100,000 (or a lot more) for a single dress is quite normal. But what I have come to realise is that each and every garment is a work of art, painstakingly created by highly skilled craftspeople who put hours and hours of hand work into each unique design.

An outfit from the 2010 Spring/Summer Collection by Khaled el Masri.

For example, the outfit pictured above by Khaled el Masri is at first a bizarre representation of a female fencer. But take a closer look at the skirt. The gold surface design is exquisite and will have been worked entirely by hand to perfectly fit the shape and fit of the skirt. There must be hours and hours of work in such a creation.

And so I have come to realise that “haute couture” is playing a very important role in preserving exquisite craftmanship in a world where it might otherwise have disappeared completely. Without the rigorous standards set by the Chambre de Commerce et d’Industrie de Paris, the ateliers that produce exquisite work for a mere handful of designers (and only a few hundred customers) might have disappeared all together.

And it is so important that we preserve these skills. I am passionate about sharing my love of embroidery because I love the simple rhythm of stitching and the joy of making something with my own hands.  But nearly all my contact with embroidery to date has been as a craft or in the realm of textiles from around the world. To my shame, I hadn’t really stopped to think just how important it is to preserve the very highest standards of the art too.

So, I have a new found respect for the world of haute couture. Long may it preserve the skilled art of embellishment with needle, thread and beads, as well as stretching the boundaries of what is possible!

If you would like to see a whole range of images related to embroidery on clothing, follow this link to have a look at my Pinterest board.


Some tropical inspiration

Well my little blog has been taking an unexpected holiday again. As school holidays approached my daughter went down with a nasty bout of pneumonia and all my efforts seemed to be concentrated on keeping her comfortable. And then my son had a school trip snowboarding at Mt Hotham so my daughter and I headed to Cairns and Brisbane for a week. We had a really lovely time and I thought I would share some of the inspiration I found there.

We were staying in a holiday apartment with my parents. We were on the 5th floor of our building, right on the Cairns foreshore. The views were stunning!

The view from our apartment balcony on the first morning - even the clouds were beautiful :)

The view from our apartment balcony on the first morning – even the clouds were beautiful 🙂

In the evening we would generally take a walk along the boardwalk to buy an ice-cream. It was so much fun to pass people of all ages and nationalities, just sharing the simple pleasure of an evening stroll.

Muddy's Playground on the baordwalk in Cairns. At night, it took on an almost fairy-like quality.

Muddy’s Playground on the baordwalk in Cairns. At night, it took on an almost fairy-like quality.

Sunset in Cairns - bliss :)

Sunset in Cairns – bliss 🙂

But the real surprise was the apartment itself. In this complex, each apartment is privately owned and decorated. We just happened to be in the apartment that had beautiful ethnic embroideries hanging on the walls, and splashes of colour and artwork everywhere. It was simply perfect for us because Mum and I are both passionate about embroidery. I felt surrounded and immersed in inspiration!

An ethnic cross-stitch hanging on the wall of our apartment (behind glass so please excuse the reflections).

An ethnic cross-stitch hanging on the wall of our apartment (behind glass so please excuse the reflections).

Another beautiful embroidery - this time in metallic threads and sequins.

Another beautiful embroidery – this time in metallic threads and sequins (again behind glass – sorry).

On Tuesday we took a trip on the world famous Kuranda railway. I love that spectacular hue of green you find in tropical rainforests. And we visited the Butterfly Sanctuary, which was simply enchanting.

Our train disappearing into the tropical greenery on the Kuranda railway.

Our train disappearing into the tropical greenery on the Kuranda railway.

This beauitful butterfly landed on my brother-in-law's arm - AND stayed there long enough for us to get a photograph.

This beauitful butterfly landed on my brother-in-law’s arm – AND stayed there long enough for us to get a photograph.

Wednesday found us on a boat to Fitzroy Island. We had such a lovely day just snorkelling and lazing on the beach.

The idyllic beach at Fitsroy Island.

The idyllic beach at Fitzroy Island.

The patterns in this old coral are wonderful.

The patterns in this old coral are wonderful.

And then on Thursday we went shopping. My Mum had found Vivienne Francine, a Cairns based designer on their last trip and she knew that I would love her clothes. Well I confess I had a ball! I tried on eight or so dresses and I could easily have bought about  six of them. But I had to get it down to two 🙂 Vivienne was lovely too. She has an amazing eye for colour – her fabrics are just stunning. I had sooooo much fun choosing – which is unusual for me because it is rare to find a shop where everything fits me so well and feels so right. In the end, Mum and Dad bought me one dress as an early birthday present and I bought one for myself. Now I just need the weather to get warmer in Perth so I can start wearing them!

The funniest thing about this trip was that as usual, I had carefully packed a supply of sewing to keep idle hands busy…..and I didn’t work a stitch all week! I also took my knitting, and I think I managed about three rows 🙂 But sometimes it is good to give your hands and eyes a break, and this week I am full of enthusiasm and motivation again.


Embroidery from Namibia

I cannot tell you how lucky I am to have a husband whose job takes him to different parts of the world, because whenever possible he brings back beautiful textiles for our whole family to enjoy. The latest trip to Namibia was no exception – just look at this magnificent tablecloth he brought back!

Beautiful hand embroidered tablecloth from Namibia.

Beautiful hand embroidered tablecloth from Namibia.

It is really hard for a photograph to do justice to such a large piece – it measures approximately 1.5m x 1.7m! So let’s look at some of the motifs in detail….

Woman killing a snake!

Woman killing a snake!

Traditional hut with fence and a bird.

Traditional hut with fence and a bird.

Wonderful elephant!

Wonderful elephant!

Aren’t they fantastic? I love them – they are whimsical, colourful, and naive and yet when all seen together they form this exquisitely cohesive whole.

But I love this piece even more for another reason. It is a simply wonderful teaching piece for my children’s classes. They can see in these designs that very simple shapes and lines can be stitched with a simple repertoire of stitches to create really fantastic pieces of embroidery.

My plan is for each child to embroiderer a cushion cover using these African designs as inspiration. And I really want them to see that the stitching doesn’t have to be perfect to be beautiful. The elephant’s trunk above is far too big for his body, but he looks brilliant nonetheless! And the giraffe below is not filled with exquisitely smooth satin spots, but he is still quite clearly a very elegant giraffe.

A delightful giraffe!

A delightful giraffe!

And what about this cool windmill showing the water being collected in a tank and trough – with just a few simple lines the stitcher is telling a whole story about the preciousness of water.

I love this simple water story!

I love this simple water story!

I will be sure to share with you some photos of the children’s own versions of simple embroidered pictures after we have had the class later this month. In the meantime, please be sure to let me know if you have a treasured textile that inspires you – I would love to hear about it:)


What makes you happy?

I recently bought Issue #3 of “New Philosopher”, a relatively new magazine in the Australian market (click here to visit their website). This quarterly magazine is Australian made, advertising free, and full of fantastic, well-written, thought provoking articles. Issue #3 is focussed on the question, “Are we happy yet?” and it makes for fascinating reading.

New Philosopher MagazineI love this kind of writing: ideas that are simply and clearly presented leading to a pleasurable few hours where you turn the thoughts over in your mind. But this writing has really got inside my head – for days now. Why?

Reading the magazine follows hard on the heels of studying a book called “The Desire Map” by Danielle LaPorte with my women’s group. I confess that I haven’t enjoyed the latter at all. For whatever reason, answering a series of questions about things that I want, crave, need etc makes me very uncomfortable. I have everything I could possibly want and so much more in my life. How self-centred it seems to ask for more when I already have a wonderful family, good health, safety, security and much more material comfort than I will ever need.

So, what makes me happy? Well it turns out that the writers in “New Philosopher” magazine have put it rather well. For me, it is all about something called “flow”.  Damon Young discusses this in his article, “Happiness is hard to find”.

A more helpful idea from Aristotle’s eudaimonia is that of so-called autotelic activity: things we do for their own sake, and not for the sake of something else….we are measurably happier when we are involved in skilful, challenging pursuits….the experience is what we seek.

And then further along in the same article…

If happiness is an activity, and often an autotelic one, then it is developed by doing. Anxiously stopping to ask ‘Am I happy yet?’ is a fine way to stop the flow.

Another contributor, Antonia Case, discusses a similar idea in “3 Ways to Happiness”.

Meaningful work involves doing something that you personally enjoy, where you can exercise and develop your skills and capabilities, and where the end result of your toil is to produce something useful and worthwhile (regardless of what others may think). One person’s meaningful work is not another’s, and with good reason – we can’t all be nurses and teachers.

I don’t need a Desire Map to identify my “meaningful work” – I know already – I love to sew. I loved it when I was a little girl, a teenager, a young woman backpacking around the world, a professional woman, a wife and a mother. And now I am so privileged because I am able to pursue my passion full-time. Rare is the day when I don’t experience a little bit of “flow”, even if it is only thinking about sewing whilst I wash up or drive Mum’s taxi.

So please excuse me – I have had enough of writing about “flow” and I am off to experience it – to spend a blissful afternoon with fabric, needle and thread 🙂

Sewing (the artist's wife) by Hans Heysen, 1913. This painting captures beautifully how I will be feeling this afternoon.

Sewing (the artist’s wife) by Hans Heysen, 1913. This painting captures beautifully how I will be feeling this afternoon.


Bead Embroidery by Shelley Cox – Beautiful Stitches Book Shelf

Do you love embroidery books? I am afraid that I have a complete weakness for them and thus I have an overflowing bookshelf. And of course it is not just embroidery books but anything that might help me be a better craftswoman. So books on creativity, architecture, fashion, scrapbooking, patchwork, design theory, art and world textiles all jostle for space on my shelves.

You can't have too many books can you?

You can’t have too many books can you?

I love reading books for ideas, inspiration, colour, technique, and design. And I love the insight it gives you into the author’s passion for his or her craft. Inevitably, some of the author’s personality shines through the lens of the projects they share. So I often find myself wishing I could meet a particular author and spend an hour or two stitching with them.

The funny thing is that I rarely work any of the actual projects out of these books – rather they help build my well of knowledge and inspiration out of which new projects grow. So this week I am starting a new weekly page on my blog. Every week I will choose a book from my overflowing bookshelf and share with you why it is an important part of my collection. And believe me, every book is important – even just for one idea or pretty colour combination.

I am starting with Bead Embroidery by Shelley Cox, published in 2013 as one of a series of Essential Stitch Guides from the Royal School of Needlework. Why this book first I hear you say? It is not a weighty, spectacular tome; it is not specifically about my number one passion – canvaswork; and yet it is a perfect example of the kind of book I love because as I read it I find my fingers itching to stitch.

Bead Embroidery - Shelley Cox

Shelley is a graduate of the RSN Apprenticeship scheme and now works as a freelance teacher and embroiderer. In this book she shows you how to use beads in a wide variety of embroidery styles from enhancing counted work and surface stitchery to working whole designs in beads, as well as finishing projects with beaded edging and fringing. Interspersed through the book are photos of beautiful projects, just like the one on the front cover.

The very first time I read this book I knew that my next canvaswork design was going to need some beads added. As Shelley puts it “beads are an embroiderer’s way of laughing” – they add fun to both the stitching process and to the finished piece. So, here is a little taste of a piece I have been working on with beaded reverse cushion stitch inspired by Shelley Cox.

Reverse cushion stitch worked on 18-count canvas and embellished with Toho Japanese Seed Beads 11/0.

Reverse cushion stitch worked on 18-count canvas and embellished with Toho Japanese Seed Beads 11/0.

Do you have a favourite book? I would love to hear about it and why it inspires you…


SPUN – The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint

I can hear you saying “The society for what???”. And as I browsed through the internet and stumbled across it, I too was initially tempted to chuckle and even gently scoff. But I have to tell you that I very quickly changed my mind – it is really rather cool!

Over on Facebook this week, I have been following with interest a discussion in the Needlepoint Nation group about unfinished projects. It has been so much fun to see how many of us have WIPs stashed in the cupboard – and all the different ways that we can justify them! And then in a moment of serendipity I stumbled across a reference to SPUN – The Society for the Prevention of Unfinished Needlepoint.

My initial reaction was to think that this was some kind of delightfully quirky joke. (I wonder if that is my irreverent Australian sense of humour taking over :)). But in fact SPUN is the brainchild of Mary Smull, an artist, writer, and curator living in Philadelphia, PA. This article from Needlepoint Now magazine gives an excellent overview of the project and Mary’s philosophy. Simply put, Mary and a group of volunteers collect unfinished needlepoint canvases and complete them usually only white thread. This has the effect of preserving the work of the original stitcher, whilst at the same time finishing the canvas. The result is a completely different kind of needlepoint which is simply lovely.

"Lute Player", Found unfinished needlepoint completed by Mary Smull using only white yarn, 20" x 21", 2011

“Lute Player”, Found unfinished needlepoint completed by Mary Smull using only white yarn, 20″ x 21″, 2011

This piece, “Lute Player”, is almost ethereal – and I love it. As an embroiderer, I know what it feels like to roam a canvas working small parts at a time. And here that process has been captured and preserved for all time. The original stitcher enjoyed working the solid black background, and perhaps enjoyed making a start on the beautiful gown. And then something (who knows what) interrupted the stitching progress. Maybe it turns out that those half-finished pieces tell just as much of a story as the fully completed ones….


Exquisite Afghan textile

A few weeks ago, I wrote about a beautiful Akha quilt that my friend Greg had bought on a recent trip to Burma and Thailand. Last week he lent me another beautiful textile to drool over.

White tunic with embroidered panel.

White tunic with embroidered panel.

This white tunic has the most exquisite panel of embroidery I think I have ever seen. It measures approximately 12″ x 18″ (30cm x 45cm) and is covered in fine, detailed, geometric stitching in silk thread.

Closer view of the embroidered panel.

Closer view of the embroidered panel.

Greg bought this tunic in Quetta, Pakistan and believes that it is the work of Afghan refugees. He wanted to know if I thought it really was hand embroidered. At first glance, you might think that it would be machined with so much detailed work over a large area. But I am convinced that it is completely hand embroidered.

Detailed view of floral motifs covering the central area of the panel. Each motif here measures just 1.5cm x 1.5cm.

Detailed view of floral motifs covering the central area of the panel. Each motif here measures just 1.5cm x 1.5cm.

In the foreground of the above photo, you can see that each tiny stitch is carefully worked between a warp and weft thread. It would be impossible for a machine to pierce the fabric with such fine precision, so this must be worked by hand. It is truly extraordinary – I am in awe and inspired all at the same time 🙂

More detail...

More detail…

...and more...

…and more…

...and more.

…and more.

I have done a little research on the internet and discovered this link about Afghan textiles at Eternal Threads.

This exquisite embroidery is solid minute stitching with silk thread. Girls learn to do this when they are very young because they must make the front of a tunic shirt solid with this embroidery for their future husbands.”

Whilst I can’t be sure that this tunic falls into the above category, it is certainly something very special that took many, many hours to work. It has clearly been worn as there is some wear around the collar and yet the embroidery is still almost perfect. Truly something to wonderful to behold – and another lovely piece of geometric embroidery to inspire me! Many thanks Greg.