A Stitch in Time: A Day of Embroidery

Cornelia Parker at work on Magna Carta An Embroidery – Photograph by Joseph Turp

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A unique day celebrating all things needlework.

Join us for a unique day celebrating all things needlework.  Aimed at all ages and abilities you’ll be sure of a great day discovering and exploring the world of stitch craft.

Free Drop-In Workshops
11.00 - 16.30 – Entrance Hall

Join this fun workshop to learn the art of making applique bunting.

The World’s Longest Embroidery
The Guinness World Record-breaking embroidery from The Embroiderers’ Guild , which has been stitched with the help of over 7,000 participants of all ages and abilities from all over the world, comes to the Library so that you can help it get even longer.

Stitching Surgery
Bring along embroidery projects you may not have finished or need a little help with. Leading embroidery expert Anthea Godfrey to have a look and offer advice.  Anthea is a fellow of the Royal Society of the Arts, and has a detailed and passionate understanding of the world of embroidery.  She will be on hand to help with your problem stitches. 

(IMAGE: Anthea stitching Magna Carta Embroidery)

Stitch a Word
In this creative workshop, run by The Embroiders Guild, you will learn some basic stitches to help you replicate key words and phrases taken from Magna Carta.


Workshops cost £10.00 payable on the day.  Places are limited and not pre-bookable.  Early arrival recommended to avoid disappointment. No prior knowledge of embroidery required.

Blackwork FanAn Introduction to Blackwork
11.30 - 13.00 – Learning Centre
Blackwork is a technique that originates in the 16th century which is often seen in paintings by Holbein who gives his name to the main stitch.  The technique creates counted geometric patterns with straight stitches (Holbein Stitch).  This charming design will give you the chance to gain an understanding of Blackwork and the way it can be used to create tonal effects to help achieve a 3-dimensional appearance.  The fan design shows how this can be achieved by changing the weight of the thread and by deconstructing the pattern.

This workshop is facilitated by the Royal School of Needlework.

Jacobean Crewelwork FlowerAn Introduction to Jacobean Crewelwork
13.30 - 15.00 – Learning Centre
Jacobean Crewelwork is a 16th century embroidery technique which is worked in fine wool known as crewel wool.  The designs are based around the tree of life which usually sit on hillocks and includes extravagant foliage, out-of-proportion animals and insects.  It uses a range of stitches, most common being the trellis stitch, which can be varied to fit with the designs.  This simple Jacobean inspired design will introduce you to the traditional technique of laid work along with a variety of popular surface stitches.

This workshop is facilitated by the Royal School of Needlework. 

15.30 - 17.00 – Learning Centre
The ancient technique of Goldwork is traditionally used for ceremonial, ecclesiastical or military garments. It provides an instantly dynamic aesthetic and glamour. Using metal bullions in an array of colours, embroiderers can give their garments a rich luxurious finish adding weight and sophistication. Learn how to transfer the design, create relief and embellish in fine bullions. 

This workshop is facilitated by Hand & Lock.


Royal and Ecclesiastical Embroidery
14.00 – Learning Centre

There are long histories for embroidery in both royal and ecclesiastical garments. This short talk by Dr Susan Kay-Williams, Chief Executive of The Royal School of Needlework, will illustrate some of the most important pieces in this country and includes work done by the RSN for every British coronation of the 20th century.

Fine Cell Work
15.00 – Learning Centre
Founded by Lady Anne Tree in 1997, Fine Cell Work trains men and women in prison to do high-quality, paid needlework in the long hours spent in their cells. The aim is to enable them to acquire new skills, to earn and save some money and to acquire the self-belief to stop offending. Here an ex-prisoner talks about his experience of being involved with Fine Cell Work.

06 June - Gaby Vidlickova-Kennedy's Goldwork HatWith Just a Needle and Thread
16.00 – Learning Centre

So you think embroidery is just twee work by old ladies?  This short talk by Dr Susan Kay-Williams from the Royal School of Needlework, will force you to think again as you see the vibrant variety of uses to which stitch can be put in the 21st century, illustrated by examples from recent RSN students.


Name: A Stitch in Time: A Day of Embroidery
Where: Entrance Hall
The British Library
96 Euston Road
Show Map      How to get to the Library
When: -
Enquiries: +44 (0)1937 546546

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