Of toadstools…

Of toadstools…

I went to Centre Parcs in Sherwood at the weekend, like I did last year. It’s later in the year than last time, so not so many Autumn colours, less leaves on the trees etc.

But lots of toadstooly suprises!

Then I spotted this!

I’ve never seen one in real life before, and you KNOW how much I LOVE Fly Agaric mushrooms, right?

It wasn’t even hiding or anything – just sitting there in the middle of a patch of grass. I was so excited. Later on the next day I found it had been stomped on. Bastard whoever.

Autumn colours

Autumn colours

Just had a week off and took the opportunity of the lovely location to go all Jane Brocket and take some lovely inspiration photos for colour and texture source material.

Oh how I love Autumn, let me count the ways…

And then, like buried treasure, I found  one of my favourite things:

Now indulge me as I tell classic English botanist’s poetry:

Ivory Funnel.

Destroying Angel.

Fools/Deadly/Splendid Webcap.

Fly Agaric.

Devil’s Bolete.


Deadly Dapperling.

Autumn Skullcap.


I get all excited just thinking about them. The toadstool has always held a place of special dark inspiration for me; their legendary status within my beloved fairy tales, always there in the background, part of the scenery, yet holding sentry, ready to ensnare any foolish traveller into psychedelic nightmares or even death. Lovely.

And all this is spurring me on with (finally) my latest work in progress. I make no secret that my embroidery up until now has been virtually exclusively cross stitch. I’m fine with that now, I need to teach myself freestyle stitches. So, the perfect muse:

The classic, perfect, magickal mushroom of myth and legend.

Here’s the pattern I made of it, basically just delineating the colours and shapes.


Then using my bag of floss, selected my cotton colours. I’d given up buying expensive fabrics and canvas specifically for embroidery when I found a huge offcut ream of lovely greeny flax coloured linen, perfect for my intentions, for £6! It will provide for tens of projects, and easily for my, now intended, Toadstool series of samplers.

Sorry for the blurry photo – taken myself with the sewing on my lap:

I drew/traced my pattern onto the linen, then began satin stitching the stem. Not really happy with this to begin with. I have this horrible compulsion to fling away in disgust anything I try in which I am not completely accomplished in about ten minutes. Dreadful.

But, stitch stitch stitch, learn learn learn. Having done the white bit and found it baggy and uneven, I realised my constant obsession with being economical with my thread was the culprit for this, and when I did it properly – looping the full length of the stitch around the back of the canvas – lo and behold, it all started to be a bit more like it should be.

When I’d finished that bit I did tiny back-stitch to mark out the underside of the mushroom, and its lovely frills, then, following my tutelage at the knee of my guru (Mum) a couple of weeks ago, I added texture with lots of french knots.

I did some seed stitch too which has ended up being slightly pointless as I’ve actually covered it all over with more french knots now.

More soon.