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Penelope Siddons - The Millennium and Forget-Me-Nots

Penelope moved to Cromwell Way, Pirton 16 years ago (in 1983). Then in 1991 she moved to their present cottage in the High Street where she now lives with her husband Edward - a move of 500 yards and 500 years. Penelope is a Systems Analyst and computer software developer.

Penelope's comments:

I decided to make the border of plaited straw because Pirton, like many rural communities, has a long history of straw plaiting. The design was adapted from the carving of the Village Sign which stands on the village green.

The lettering was produced on a computer and then transferred to squared paper to provide a pattern for stitching. The initial letterdesign was inspired by illuminated Mediaeval manuscripts and I used gold metallic thread to try and reproduce the rich and vibrant effect often found in such work.

The ivy leaves were chosen to provide both a contrast with and a link between the lettering and the straw plaiting by overflowing into the border. I collected ivy leaves from the garden, arranged them on the squared paper beside the lettering and then drew around their shapes and coloured them in to provide a rough idea of the colour scheme. As the sewing progressed I chose the colours which best provided a contrast between different leaves and also which made the leaves stand out from the border.

The peacock butterfly is intended to provide a kind of 'punctuation mark' between the words and was chosen because these are frequent visitors to our garden in the summer.


One of the good things about the Sewing Bees was the opportunity to see other people's work and to gain inspiration from their ideas. Somebody produced a collage using beads and I immediately wanted to use beads in my own work. Our garden is an ever-increasing mass of forget-me-knots in the spring and multi-coloured beads seemed an ideal way represent to the tiny flower heads of these plants. 

I sketched a design from nature and then cut the leaf shapes from fabric and attached these to the calico with Bondaweb before completing the work with a mix of embroidery stitches and beads.