Passementerie (/pæsˈmɛntri/, French pronunciation: [pɑsmɑ̃tri]) or passementarie is the art of making elaboratetrimmings or edgings (in French, passements) of applied braid, gold or silver cord, embroidery, colored silk, or beadsfor clothing or furnishings.
Styles of passementerie include the tassel, fringes (applied, as opposed to integral), ornamental cords, galloons,pompons, rosettes, and gimps as other forms. Tassels, pompons, and rosettes are point ornaments, and the others are linear ornaments.
Galloons, pompons, gimp. I love the words used in the textile industry, many out of use today.
I'm sitting in front of the fire this afternoon whilst the rain lashes down outside. It's the sort of rain you really do not want to be out in. I love rainy walks ... sometimes.. but today isn't one of those days so Rosie & I have only been out for as long as we've (she's) 'needed' to be. It's one of those days where I am grateful to be able to do some work in the comfort of home and hearth. No need to be in studio or workshop.
The Sew Creative course includes an embellishment element, during which we will be doing some hand embroidery. Working on small pieces, combining fabrics and trims, detailling with buttons or beads, using ornamental stitches as well as structural stiching. For use as small brooches, pendants, or necklaces ornamental pockets.
These type of small acourtrements fall under the french term 'Passementerie', and I'm stitching some samples and examples. It feels a terribly ladylike activity this afternoon. A pot of tea, some lovely old reference books and a little gentle genteel embroidery.
My parents live on, apparently, 'the second highest hill farm in Argyll'. The views from the top are super, there is a lot of open space, and wind & rain, but sometimes glorious sunshine too. They used to do self catering and bed and breakfast, but stopped a couple of years ago when dad became ill. So there was a wooden cabin, sitting all empty and alone, and there was I just recently moved in to a little house with no spare room to sew in, it seemed like a match made in heaven! I use the little wooden cabin as my sewing studio & I love it. It is full which should really be written FULL of fabric and wool, and Stuff. Anything and everything I could possibly want - although I always find room for more - to be creative with. Dad is getting concerned about floor joists under the weight of all my fabric boxes!
There are two bedrooms: One stays as a bedroom for late night sessions and overflow guests from the house, the other is my sewing room, with shelves and drawers full of haberdashery items, buttons and beads, ribbons and feathers, fabric paints and inks and stamps, books and paper, sewing machines, threads, embroiderys silks and wools, and two tables at which to work. A shower room & loo: very useful that shower cubicle .... I keep all my felting equiment in there, but also hanging on it at the moment is a vintage Episcopal Priest's Surplice, and my wedding dress!
In the galley kitchen, where I make felt as well as a lot of tea, you're more likely to find a cupboard full of candle making equipment and wax than food.
I can no longer call the 'sitting room' area anything to do with sitting .... there often isn't any room on the sofa, and Rosie the fox terrier has the only other chair! Literally floor to ceiling, it is full of boxes of fabrics. And I know where everything is, although that often isn't believed! There is a corner with a book shelf and baskets of wool and yarns, and another bookshelf holds baskets of string, upholstry tape, pots of seaglass and china, an old toy sailing boat waiting for a new pair of sails, a bag of wine corks and a box of old thread bobbins from a mill waiting for inspiration to strike. Should I have an idea, a 'vision' a hankering to make a 'thing', at any time, I can usually find something, somewhere to make it from, and if I can't find it in my studio then dad's is just up the lane and is full of saws and hammers and nails and paints.....
I made a decision at the start of this year. I was going to stop making 'things' to sell, as, due to husband's and parent's ill health I'm unable to travel to the sort of Fairs I needed to go to, and to sell 'myself'. I accidently became a tutor in sewing, and upcycling fabrics last year and, it seems, I'm good at it and, most importantly, I enjoy it & people want to come along to the classes. So my busisness direction has changed, and I am delighted to have a new focus for a New Year.
I was asked to take a Learn to use your sewing machine and fabric upcycling course at our local Community Centre for Argyll & Bute Council's Adult Education Department, both during the day and an evening class. Then I rented the space for my own courses, a Summer Sewing School & Stitching Time after School Club. Sometimes though it's hard to get the room/day one wants as it is so well used by the community for groups and meetings. So I looked around for another location. One where I could perhaps leave the machines up, one where I could make an insipring creative space. And the Studio Barn was the answer, it's standing 'empty' out of season. Yes it's a little out of the way, but that makes it all the more interesting to get here, the journey starts when you turn off at the Canal and start going up hill, then you turn off the road on to a track and carry on going up hill, then you arrive at the top there's a house and barns and views, and sometimes sheep and cows, and the scruffy little bantam cockerel, Urk, yells a welcome that belies his diminutive size.
So choose a course and come and see for yourself what delights await you at the Studio Barn Argyll the home of Needlesmiths Creative Sewing Workshops.
I had a hankering to change my name. My business name that is. I no longer felt like 'Calico Kate'. My work was heading in a new direction and I felt that my business was growing up. I had no idea what to though. I knew what I didn’t want, it wasn’t to be my name (although others have used theirs’ with great success ~ ‘Emma Bridgewater’ and ‘Cath Kidston’ are two perfect examples), or the pseudonym I use for my art work (‘Frin’ a childhood nickname). I didn’t want it to be located anywhere, although I momentarily considered ‘Sew Fyne’, and I didn’t want it to be a limiting word. I wanted something ‘comfortable’, a single word for preference; I wanted it to be easy to say, so anything Gaelic was out. I was looking for something with the right ‘mouth feel’, something comfortable, thin ‘Toast’ and ‘Nest’. I looked around the kitchen for inspiration but realized I was in the wrong room I’m not doing catering! I went to my studio and dismissed Threads & Threadz, although the floor was strewn with them!
‘Stitch’ hung around for a while in different guises, ‘Stitchkin’ was invented on a dog walk with my father, growing out of Rumplestiltskin somehow, in the way that rambling walks and conversations have a habit of doing. ‘Stitchsmith’ followed and I thought that that was ‘it’. The dictionary definition of a ‘~smith is: a worker in metal. I make my stitches with metal implements. But, I don’t always ‘stitch’. I don’t always sew felt for example. So, that had to go.
I looked at what tools I used, and realized that everything I did used a needle, and most of the time the needles are metal …. I was back to ~smith then added ‘needle’.
Maybe it isn’t.
Still not quite right.
Mulling it over an ‘S’ appeared at the end of it. Needlesmith-S. Needlesmiths.
Now that’s better.
That IS. IT!
I looked at it from all angles, slept on it for a couple of days and was still happy with it. The only other ‘Needlesmith’ is an American company that sells knitting needles. The UK website address was available. And that seemed to clinch it. So ‘Needlesmiths’ I’ve become.
A new name; a new direction. Less making and more teaching. I’m thoroughly enjoying planning new workshops, discussing new classes with new clients. Keep an eye on the Facebook page and the Workshops page for new dates and details.
All that's left to do now is launch this website .... and have a celebratory tea party in my new workspace.
More next time
Fabric hoarder & sewing stuff accumulator; Tea drinker & cake eater; Artist; & Carer; Teacher of things made with needles ...