I have always loved Edward Lear’s poem of the Owl and the Pussycat going to sea in their beautiful pea-green boat; it conjures up fabulous scenes and characters, and has the soothing rhythm of a bedtime story.
In this design, the Owl sings to his small guitar while the Pussycat closes her eyes as they drift through the Bong-trees by the light of the moon. Their money is safely wrapped up in their £5 note, and their jar of honey is stored in the bow of the boat in the form of a pea pod, with petit pois buoys.
The border, of Bong-trees and fruits, was inspired jointly by a vintage London Underground poster depicting paddle boats drifting under the silhouetted boughs of willows at dusk, and by the amazing tree ferns and other plants of New Zealand, which I saw on a teaching trip there.
I love the idea of embroidery being used to embellish usable items, rather than just being placed in a frame, and taking my lead from Elizabethan embroidered book covers, decided to create my Owl and the Pussycat as the design for the front cover of a book. The piece therefore includes a border of ‘bookcloth’, a traditional material for covering books, which gives both crispness and a vintage feel.
On a ground of duchess satin, the background is created using layered silk organzas and stretched metallic mesh ribbons, embellished with delicate stitches and featuring a twinkling mica moon. This design includes over 100 materials, many made and sourced specially for this project. The cat and owl are worked using delicate needlelace and silk shading, with specially-made spangles for the owl’s eyes. The sails and boats are made as detached slips using silk shading and digitally printed organza with wired edges. Also included are a tiny mica-covered honey pot, a miniature five pound note and a tiny hand-made (by me and my father) guitar, complete with strings.
Once the embroidery is completed, you may wish to purchase a hand-bound book created by the skilled bookbinders of York Bookbinding in the UK. These are bound in matching bookcloth, with gold leaf edges, decorative end papers, and “The Owl and the Pussycat, by Edward Lear” in foiled lettering on the spine. The poem is shown on a card to be mounted inside the front cover. The book includes an acid-free board on to which your embroidery can be mounted as the front cover. Alternatively, you may order a picture frame to fit the design, or display the design in your own way.
FREQUENTLY ASKED QUESTIONS
WHAT DOES MY KIT INCLUDE?
Your kit includes all the fabric, threads and needles required to complete the design, together with a highly comprehensive illustrated instruction manual, written and drawn by Jenny. All threads are carefully packaged and labelled to denote where they are to be used in the design. We suggest you have a look through all the components to familiarise yourself with the complete kit before starting work. Where relevant, kits also include the materials required to construct the completed embroidery.
WILL I NEED ANYTHING ELSE TO ENABLE ME TO COMPLETE MY KIT?
Yes, but only basic embroidery equipment. A list of the items required can be found in the front of your instruction manual. All items can be purchased from our website. If you have any queries about equipment, please feel free to contact us for advice.
HOW MUCH EXPERIENCE DO I NEED TO BE ABLE TO COMPLETE THE KIT?
Most of our kits are designed for embroiderers with some experience, but the instruction manuals are extremely comprehensive and will teach you all you need to know.
If you have any difficulties, or need advice on the difficulty level of a certain kit, you are welcome to contact us.
I FIND TRANSFERRING DESIGNS ON TO FABRIC DIFFICULT
Don’t worry, the designs are all pre-printed for you!
CAN I POST IMAGES OF MY KIT/WORK ON MY BLOG/SOCIAL MEDIA/WEBSITE?
We will be delighted if you wish to show images of this project on your blog/social media/website, as this often inspires others to have a go! However, as a courtesy, please do let me know if you plan to do this, and be aware that blogging of techniques, step-by-step or close-up images, either of the project in progress, the instructions, and the kit contents, is an infringement of copyright. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that those reading your blog can get in touch. Please highlight any infringements of this copyright which you observe from others.
I AM STRUGGLING WITH A SECTION OF THE DESIGN
One of the most important aspects of buying a kit from us is that you have direct contact to Jenny by email and she will be happy to assist you and provide advice. We cannot always answer within the hour but we will get back to you as soon as possible. If you are really struggling and need more help, we can arrange a lesson for you or to complete the section for you.
I AM MISSING A COMPONENT IN MY KIT OR HAVE RUN OUT OF A THREAD
We do our absolute best to ensure these situations don’t occur, but your kit is made by humans rather than machines and we do occasionally have a senior moment! Please feel free to let us know and we will be happy to supply more.
I AM NOT HAPPY WITH MY WORK AND WOULD LIKE TO RE-WORK
We totally understand this – most embroiderers incline to perfectionism! While we sadly can’t provide more materials for free, please just let us know what you require and we will be very happy to supply more.
MY DOG/HUSBAND/HOOVER/SOFA/CAT/GOLDFISH ATE MY THREAD!
It happens! Not a problem. Just let us know what you need
and whilst we can’t send these for free, we are more than
happy to supply more.
MY THREAD IS DIFFERENT TO THAT IN THE PHOTOGRAPH OF THE DESIGN
Thread colours may vary somewhat due to dyeing processes and can appear different in reality due to photographic distortion. Due to limitations posed by suppliers, we also reserve the right to substitute project materials with suitable alternatives to those illustrated if absolutely necessary.
HOW CAN I FIND OUT ABOUT NEW DESIGNS?
Please go to Jenny’s website where you can join the mailing list to find out about all new releases. We promise only to send you relevant embroidery-related news and not to pass your details to third parties.
CAN I SUBMIT MY WORK TO A CRAFT SHOW OR COMPETITION?
We are delighted if you have enjoyed working the project and would like to submit your piece to a craft/country show competition etc. Please do let Jenny know if you are doing this as she would love to hear how you get on. Please always credit the design source and always include Jenny’s website and contact details so that people viewing the piece can get in touch.
CAN I TEACH THE DESIGN TO OTHERS?
If you have enjoyed working the project yourself and would like to share this with friends or wish to work the design with your students, you are welcome to contact Jenny for more kits. The kit and accompanying instructions must otherwise not be copied, reproduced or taught in any form without prior permission. This will otherwise infringe copyright. Multiple kit orders are welcome and can be supplied on a wholesale basis by arrangement. Please contact Jenny for more details.
I WOULD LIKE HELP WITH THE CONSTRUCTION OR DISPLAY OF MY FINISHED WORK
Excellent news. We hope you have enjoyed the journey and are delighted with the finished result! If you would like help with mounting or finishing the design, please feel free to get in touch. If you would like to order a frame, box or similar for displaying the finished piece, please visit the webshop.