Roses and Old Lace by Alison Cole

15th June 2018

Alison Cole is the golden girl of goldwork. Over her many years of stitching, designing and teaching this intricate technique, she has wowed and dazzled us all with her passion and skill for the fine art of goldwork.  When combined with her other great love of stumpwork, she consistently creates truly beautiful pieces as is aptly demonstrated by her latest project in Inspirations #98 ‘Roses and Old Lace’.

In between her hectic teaching schedule and running her own newly finished design studio and shop in country Victoria, Australia, Alison kindly caught up with us to have a chat about Roses and Old Lace.

Hi Alison, thanks for making the time to catch up, we hear you’re crazy busy!

Yes, crazy busy indeed! I’ve just been away having a wonderful time in the UK teaching for Phillipa Turnbull’s Lady Anne’s Needlework Retreats, then off to teach in Canada for their seminar ‘Bridging Stitches’ on Prince Edward Island in July, then looking forward to seeing everyone from Inspirations at Beating Around the Bush in October.

Clearly no rest for the uber talented! Now, we’ve been admiring your project Roses and Old Laces in Inspirations #98 and would love to know a little behind your inspiration for the design.

In the lead up to me teaching at the ‘Stampeding Stitches’ in Calgary a few years ago, I designed this piece specifically for that event and as the rose is the Provincial flower of Alberta, Canada, it provided the perfect inspiration.

Can you talk us through some of the intricacies of the piece, the aspects of the design where you added some of your trademark inventiveness… we know they’re in there!

Well one of the unusual techniques I used was where I wanted to use Gilt 4 Ply Bright Gimp for the stems, but also wanted the stems to taper, so I decided to separate the plies of the thread and take two down earlier than the remaining two to make the stem appear to taper. This is not something that is usually done with this thread, but worked out well. 

Also, the stamens have been created using a goldwork thread in an unconventional manner by couching and stretching the Rough Purl rather than sewing it on like a bead.

Very nice! It all looks amazing. Now one can’t help but notice the exquisite piece of lace behind the rose, where did you find such treasures?

The original lace used in the project was a vintage lace purchased from a passementerie shop in Paris that was closing down.

I bought the whole card and was disappointed that there wasn’t more. When I was coming to the end of the card I contacted the store L’uccello in Melbourne and they managed to track down some more vintage lace that was exactly the same which was wonderful!

Now we have to ask… we noticed the rose is in the form of the letter C, do you try and sneak in your initials A or C into as many designs as you can?  Kind of like how rappers are now adding their names into the lyrics of their music whenever they can!

LOL! No – that is not a letter C as such, it’s just a C scroll shape, not done for ‘Cole’ but it did tie in nicely with ‘Calgary’ who I stitched it for!

Thank you, Alison for sharing the back story to this wonderful design, we are huge fans of your work and can’t wait to see you at BATB in a few months.

Make Your Own Roses and Old Lace

Step 1 – Purchase Project Instructions

Roses and Old Lace by Alison Cole is a dainty combination of raised silk embroidered roses highlighted with goldwork and gold lace.

Step 2 – Purchase Ready-To-Stitch Kit

The Inspirations Ready-To-Stitch kit for Roses and Old Lace includes everything you need to re-create these stunning pink roses: Fabrics (unprinted), felt, kid leather, metallic gold lace, paper-covered wire, embroidery threads, metal threads and needles.

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