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For the last two weeks I have been having a short break from taking RSN classes.  The RSN doesn’t schedule classes during the assessment periods (there was an Assessment week at the end of the last of the summer Intensive classes) and the late August/ early September period is also their Summer break before classes start up again in mid September. I know that my RSN tutors have earned their break, and I think after 8 intensive weeks I really needed to focus my eyes somewhere else as well.

I have used these two weeks to get in a little travel, starting with five days in France and, after a short trip back to our U.K. base, another 5 days in Iceland. These trips were not meant to be anything more than relaxing sightseeing however I have not been able to resist a couple of thread and fibre related excursions.

In Paris, which was mostly hot and sunny,  I used the Metro to get around and managed to visit a few haberdashery shops – you can see which ones in the photo of business cards attached. Some beautiful silk and linen threads, some plain handkerchiefs ideal to Monogram, interesting beads, along with a couple of small kits from Sajou made their way into my luggage.


During our short break in Iceland, during which we experienced rain, sleet, freezing temperatures, blowing winds and hot sunny periods, my fibre explorations were limited to fondling Icelandic wool products, with some lovely felting to be seen in many shops. There were so many amazing sights to enjoy – waterfalls, tectonic plates, lava beds, and northern lights –  that each day was filled with excursions and exploring.


On both of these trips I took along recreational stitching in the form of a Rachel Doyle Canvaswork kit called ‘The Wool Rack’ that I had picked up in the RSN shop. Rachel has intended this small kit to be made up onto a pincushion and each stitched square is about 2cm square.


Rachel Doyle – Canvas Stitches ‘ The Wool Rack ‘

My reasons for commencing this kit included using it as an introduction to some basic Canvas stitches before commencing my next RSN class in Durham on the 7th September, and as a lovely reminder of the wool rack that can be found in the RSN studios at Hampton Court Palace, which I managed to get a photo of during a special studio tour.


The wool rack in the RSN Studio at Hampton Court Palace


I decided that to give myself more practice in Canvas stitches I would extend the stitching area of this small project out to 10 columns of 5 stitches. This gave me room to practice some of the additional canvas stitches that are recommended in the RSN brief for the Canvas Stitches Module. Rachel had allowed plenty of extra canvas around her design so it was possible to extend the grid of squares reasonably easily. I intend to make up my stitched piece into a Needlebook.

We have arrived back at our U.K. base tonight and currently I have 4 columns of stitches remaining on this project. After a couple of days here catching up on washing etc we will then head north by car aiming to reach to the RSN satellite site in Durham ready to commence my next class. My next update should be about the Canvas Stitches class.