a look inside the back of a gold work piece completed as part of the RSN Certificate

Hello from Australia! An update and what’s coming up

So, what’s been going on?

RSN Certificate update

My final module – Goldwork

I somehow, just, managed to get my final piece for the RSN Certificate finished! There were some late nights and sore fingers, but I got there in the end. I wasn’t completely happy with my gold koala for a few reasons. I’m not sure if it was the technique, the other things on my mind, the rush to finish it, or my design. Or perhaps a combination of everything!

I know those of you who haven’t seen the finished koala are eager to see him. So, the first thing that will be caught up on will be the gold koala!

a look inside the back of a gold work piece completed as part of the RSN Certificate


Silk Shading Module – Wild Rose

I know it seems like an absolute eternity ago, but at some point in the past few months I have got my assessment back on the silk shaded rose! I was not particularly happy with my results, or it would seem from comments received, the teaching of, the technique. So we will probably have a somewhat candid discussion on some points on technique and teaching methods!


A Look Back through my experience of the RSN Certificate

Since I’ve now ‘finished’ the RSN Certificate, I thought it would be good to share a bit of a ‘wrap up’ of all the pieces I’ve completed.

We will have a look back at the pieces completed, what I’ve enjoyed and not enjoyed, and I’ll give you more insight into some of my thoughts on the Certificate, the way it is taught etc.

Catch up on Delectable Morsels packs

Since coming back, I’ve now had the time to stitch something other than an RSN piece! It feels like a long time (although I have managed to stitch a couple of little pieces whilst doing the Certificate), that I’ve had the ‘freedom’ to do this.

I was a little short on embroidery supplies when I first arrived due to a somewhat foolish decision on my behalf to have everything except the gold koala packed away on the ship. But when I arrived there was waiting a couple of Delectable Morsels packs from Alison Cole. And so my first couple of pieces were working through those packs and exploring the different materials she provided us with!

I’m still not ‘caught up’ with these packs. After working two, I felt I needed a little break. Whilst I love playing with these ‘new to me’ threads and materials, I do find it a little difficult, and at times restrictive, trying to use them all in the one design. That aside, I do enjoy the challenge, so will probably work another one up soon enough!

Part worked textile art piece using Delectable Morsels pack


Part worked textile art piece using Delectable Morsels pack


Other current pieces

One of the ideas I had as I was drawing to a close on my final RSN piece, was that it would be beneficial to actually ‘redo’ the Certificate. Not in the sense of getting pieces submitted, but more to re-do the techniques, learn and develop more. It’s all well and good to do a technique once, but I believe if I want to reinforce what has been learnt, and extend myself, I need to actively practise the various techniques.

Revisiting Crewelwork

initially, I thought for Jacobean, instead of going through the process of designing and stitching my own piece again, I would stitch up the kits I have of some of Nicola Jarvis’ birds. I’ve now started one of her birds, and whilst stitching these up is still a valuable experience (when is learning from those more experienced not valuable?!), she doesn’t use a great number of stitches within these birds. So, in time, I may well design and stitch another piece that is similar to ‘Fruitful Abundance‘ in that it uses a slightly wider variety of stitches. Though not the twenty odd required in the Certificate – I don’t think I need to use that many different stitches in the one design again!

Revisiting Canvaswork

This one may surprise a few of you, given I wasn’t a huge fan of the technique the first time round! But, I know there is a lot more to this technique than what I executed in my first piece. There is actually so much to this technique I’m not sure you can really ‘fully explore’ it. My big challenge here is going to be choosing a design that will allow me to use these different techniques. I have a few photos which might be ok for this purpose, but I’m keeping my eyes peeled for other images or photo opportunities that might work better for my intended purpose.

Revisiting Silk Shading

I would like to stitch up another flower, including rain drops! Why raindrops after they gave me such grief last time? Because I’m not convinced I was given the best instruction on how to stitch them, and would like to explore another idea I have on how to stitch them. The big key here will also be to stitch it up over a couple of weeks, as I think that is a real factor in the success or failure of this technique.

Revisiting Goldwork

And lastly, gold work! I am shortly going to be starting stitching on another of Jenny Aiden-Christie’s designs – the Pheasant. Whilst this ticks the box of gold work, I would like to use the same brief again, and stitch another design using the brief.

Hindsight is a brilliant thing, and one of my original designs which I was told would be too much work, I think potentially would have worked better than my gold koala. There would at least have been less plunging, which is perhaps distorting my opinion! My husband also really liked this design idea, so it would be nice to get this worked up as a birthday (or if I miss that, Christmas!) gift.

So, lots more stitching in the works!

And, there’s a few other plans and ideas I’ve got going on in the background which I will share with you when they are more concrete and worked through.

I still have every intention of also completing the RSN Diploma, despite the rather long ‘commute’. That will not be starting this year, so I have a few months to get lots of stitching and refining done before (hopefully) embarking on the Diploma next year.

So stay tuned for lots of stitching!

38 thoughts on “Hello from Australia! An update and what’s coming up”

  1. Great to hear that you have now settled back into Australia Catherine. I am keen to see your Goldwork and will be very interested in your comments regarding the type of design that might be best for this module. Interesting that you are considering ‘redoing ‘ the modules and I do agree that it is with repetition and practice that we get better, so I can see why you would do this. Sorry to hear that your Silkshading results were not what you had hoped for, and I really look forward to your discussion on this. Thanks very much for the updates. Regards, Sally

    1. Thanks Sally, I’m a little surprised at the ‘cultural adjustment’ of moving home. But, it is home!
      Good luck with your intensive period over there. I look forward to seeing your piece and hearing your comments on the intensive course. As for the silk shading, it is what it is!

  2. Glad to read you have settled in your new home in Australia. Don’t keep us in suspense much longer, especially not after this post, as there are so many cliffhangers! Can’t wait to see your gold koala and read about your silk shading. I totally understand about being happy to stitch something else besides the certificate. I am a bit like that myself. I just don’t want to start many different kits as my canvaswork is coming up in two weeks! Arghhhh! It is scaring me a bit, hopefully I will be allright during the intensive. Looking forward to seeing your pheasant. Do ask if you like to know how I approached some stitches when I was doing mine, or have a look at my posts about him. Have fun stitching!

    1. Thanks Marlous! I’m just getting back into the swing of things so didn’t want to give too much away! ☺️ I’ve also got to remember how to find the photos and things ?
      Good luck with the intensive- I’m interested to know what you think of doing it that way, since that will be my approach moving forward! Stay tuned!

  3. Yaaaaay! It’s great to see you back, Catherine! And it sounds like you’re settling into life at home nicely… I bet it helps that you arrived in autumn/winter! I can’t wait to see all your finished goodies – and what a great idea to go back over the techniques you learned in the RSN course and reinforce them a bit, especially the things that irked you the most first time around. Happy stitching! ?

    1. Thanks Helen! It is most definitely a good thing we have arrived in the cooler part of the year – which is like summer in the UK! Heaven help us come summer!

  4. Yes, “revisiting” is definitely a good idea, while you still have all your insights and ideas from the Certificate. It will also feed into the Diploma when you start it. You’re such a thoughtful stitcher that I suspect you will find you’ve made a lot of progress just from the thinking!

    1. Thanks Rachel. I also wonder if the lack of time for thought played into my hesitation in the gold work piece. Time will tell! And it’s always good to be able to look back and see your improvement over time in general and in specific techniques.

  5. Pleased that the relocation went well. I have thoroughly enjoyed seeing your progress through the certificate and look forward to what comes next!

  6. Glad to hear you’re all settled. I think it’s an excellent idea to “redo” the certificate program. It will give you a chance to improve using what you learned the first time around (especially with plunging). Although, I can’t believe you’d want to do canvaswork again. I can’t even imagine wanting to do it once 😛

    1. I think I will probably get the most out of redoing the goldwork and canvaswork pieces. A lot of people really love canvaswork so maybe I missed something first time round! Let’s just hope I finish it ?

  7. Welcome back Catherine – so glad to hear that all has gone well and you are now settling in. Looking forward to seeing your goldwork piece and all the other projects that you have planned. It must be lovely to have the time to do some non-RSN sewing and I know what you mean about revisiting techniques.

    1. I’m enjoying not having to think about RSN pieces continually ?. Quite refreshing really, though redoing them means I’m kind of only doing RSN pieces, just more on my terms!

  8. Glad to hear you are settling in and your stuff has arrived so you can truly be home! Hope you come back to the SAL too!

    1. Thanks Kathy, a bit of adjusting to do which is a little odd, but it’s also a good feeling. Will definitely be returning to the SAL in the next update! Though I’m not sure yet where my piece for it is! ?

  9. I learned a lot from this post. For example, you’re from Australia and you weren’t there. I had no idea you were doing the RSN certificate. I think you have accomplished a great feat. Many people start it and never finish. I have no idea if I could “redo” that type of course. So many types of embroidery! I can definitely understand why you’d want to repeat the modules for yourself to keep your skills up on all the embroidery techniques. I also think this is very admirable and ambitious!

    1. I’m glad it was a bit of a fill in the blanks post for you Tony! We’ve been in the UK for about five years, so the move back home has been a big one on a few different levels. There are a lot of people who unfortunately don’t, for a variety of reasons, finish the Certificate. I managed to just squeeze it in! Fingers crossed I can get the Diploma finished quickly too, even if it does involve a lot of miles, and jet lag. I think it’s important to practise what is learnt, so re-doing the pieces seems like a sensible idea. Just maybe a little more on my terms!

    1. Thanks Margaret. It’s good to be getting back to some kind of ‘normal’. The birds are a nice project I’m finding. Hope you are enjoying yours too

  10. So pleased you are settled in your new home. The silkwork still is the piece that speaks to my heart, I have always loved this kind of thing with the soft looking texture and the ability to make it look as though it stands away from the fabric just with different shading. I wish I had learnt to do these things when I was young too. Now you no longer face the restrictions of your course it will be fun to see what you come up with and I look forward to seeing you back on Sal Sunday.

    1. Thanks Helen. Despite the silk shading not being the piece the RSN liked, it is still my favourite piece. I can of course see where improvement can be made, which is why doing the pieces again is so appealing. I’m looking forward to developing my new skills further!

  11. Good to see you back, Catherine, and settled in your new home. I look forward to reading about your silk shading and goldwork. I’ve finished the certificate too, though this morning I am attaching the sateen to the back of my silk shading and will be submitting it for assessment in the next couple of weeks and will then await the results with some trepidation! I totally understand how nice it is to have time to do other things than RSN pieces – lovely as it is to learn the techniques there is a certain amount of pressure as well, so I am looking forward to a relaxing time trying other stuff (lace making, spinning, weaving, and yes, I’ll probably try some of the diploma techniques as well – then I will have some idea of where my major challenges will be) before embarking on the diploma – I’ll probably take the next two terms off and start again either in the summer or winter term next year. Eager to hear your updates – so don’t keep us in suspense too long!

    1. Thanks so much for stopping by Rita! It’s lovely to hear from you, and a huge congratulations on finishing the Certificate too! Best of luck with your silk shading. I’m not holding high hopes on my final piece. Fingers crossed it gets across the line. Your future pieces sound like a lot of fun! It’s quite a liberating feeling I’m finding being able to think about what I want to do, without the RSN restrictions, but also using what has been learnt. I like your plan of taking a couple of terms off. I’m not sure when I will be able to start, there are a few extra logistical jumps now, but fingers crossed it won’t be too far into next year before I’m back. Good luck with the sateen and assessment, and enjoy your time to explore other techniques!

  12. So much fun for all of us to have shared your journey toward your RSN certicate through your blog! You gave us interesting details of each project. Nice to know your are settled in your home. I didn’t know either that you were from Australia! I look forward to reading more of your needlework adventures!

  13. How exciting Catherine! You must be so proud of yourself for finishing the certificate. I’m looking forward to seeing you revisit the different techniques, I’m sure it will be very interesting 🙂 And also welcome back home!

    1. Thanks Emma. It is good to be finished the Certificate, and whilst initially I was a little upset at not being able to continue on with the Diploma straight away, I actually think it is a blessing in disguise!

  14. Congratulations on getting settled back in Australia! It was fun to see the beginnings of the koala since first I looked at the more progressed version. The rose embroidery is amazing!

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