Studying at The Royal School of Needlework

I have always been intrigued by the complexities of the traditional craft of needlework and early memories of mine are of raiding through my mum’s sewing boxes to find small samples she did.

In recent years my interest developed into more than a hobby and I enrolled at The Royal School of Needlework to study for a Certificate in Needlework earlier this year. The experience has been amazing!

This wonderful school set in the tranquil grounds of Hampton Court Palace dates back to 1872. First named the School of Art Needlework, it was set up to maintain the traditions of Needlework and to provide employment for educated women. Over the years it has continued to teach, practice and promote the art of hand embroidery and has contributed to history through the work of many important embroideries. One recent event was The Royal Wedding earlier this year, where Sarah Burton of Alexander McQueen commissioned the RSN for the intricate lace patterns on the dress, veil and shoes for the Duchess of Cambridge. 

One of first techniques I began using as a child and have recently studied at the RSN is crewelwork. This ancient form of needlework is over a thousand years old and is a decorative form of surface embroidery.

Recently I finished a piece of Crewelwork, which I designed and made as a sample.
Here’s me at the tressels with my frame working on the piece at home.

The piece incorporates a variety of stitches including french knots, buillons, stem stitch, seed stitches, whipped and woven wheels and trellis along with many more.

Crewelwork sample
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011
Wool yarn on twill linen
28 x 20 cm
Here's the final piece. The design was based on the traditional 'tree of life' design and adapted for a modern approach to crewelwork.

Hand embroidered Crewelwork butterfly
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011
               Raised stem band, french knots, stem stitch and padded satin stitch

close up of Crewelwork flower
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011
    some of the stitches: french knots, lazy daisies on laid, trelis, whipped stem

close up of a block shaded Crewelwork flower
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011
edged with a stem stitch and back stitch for the leaves

close up of snail in Crewelwork
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011
snail on the hillocks made from buillons

close up of whipped and woven wheels in Crewelwork flower
Sabrina Samsoodin, 2011

For those of you who are interested in finding out more please feel free to email me at s.samsoodin@gmail.com.

Click to find out more about Crewelwork from the RSN or to see more of my embroidery work please visit my website

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