In June I traveled over to Halifax to Fabbadashery for a workshop, it takes about 1.5 hours to get there on buses or trains, but they have some pretty good embroidery courses, so having worked out how to get there for 10am, I’ve been on several!
Harold the Hare is a gorgeous embroidery which I first saw at an Embroiderers Guild area meeting, I seem to remember it won the competition! It was in mixed media and I think it was free machine embroidered. The designer was Anne Brooke and she now does workshops based at her home in Brighouse. As soon as I saw Harold the Hare on Fabbadashery’s workshop list I booked a place! We were stitching a hand embroidered version of Harold.
We started off with a pre-printed panel, this gives the effect of the mixed media background but makes it much easier to hand sew. The basic outline and a few details of the hare was given too.
The hare is embroidered with long and short stitch, with stitches in different directions to give texture. We’re using just four shades of brown, stitching with 3 threads at a time. Anne is a great tutor, demonstrating the different areas and giving individual help and encouragement where needed. We started off with the darkest shade and worked each shade in turn, the hardest bit was the eyes, I haven’t quite finished those, I’m tempted to put a little bit of amber in as I think hare’s eyes are a fairly bright amber. When I left the one day workshop my Harold looked like this…
I’ve since taken him to my embroiderers guild meeting a stitched a little more but Harold isn’t quite finished yet, I want to do a bit of stitching in the background too, maybe a couple of stalks of cow parsley and a few tiny french knot flowers in front amongst the stems of grass.
A couple of weeks ago I went over to Halifax again for a workshop by Deborah Mullins called An Introduction to Tahriri. Deborah came to talk to us at my Embroiderers Guild meeting at the beginning of the year. She studied Palestinian embroidery, in particular Bethlehem embroidery, when her husband went there for a three month sabbatical. Her work was beautiful and I came home and booked myself on two of her courses, this was the first one.
Tahriri embroidery is the bands of mainly couched thread which are used to embellish the traditional dress in Palestine. Couching is very economical with thread and the patterns are designed so the outline is made in one continuous thread. We practised couching first with the straight outlines, stitching on some hand dyed cotton. Deborah had a wonderful array of threads for us to choose from, many dyed by herself.
The central wiggly line was next, the stripy effect is made by couching with two colours of threads. We practised the filling in pattern for couching by drawing it on paper first, a bit like practising a quilting pattern first, getting the movement into your brain and your hand before trying it in thread. We’re making a bookmark size piece, I started the second side during the one day workshop. To finish it I need to fill in the flowers and hearts with satin stitch, I chose a very colourful thread for couching so I think I’ll either go very pale or very dark for the satin stitch. Deborah was a great teacher, giving us the history as well as the techniques. I’m looking forward to another workshop with her in September.
At the end of June I ran my first quilting workshop, it was based at B&M Fabrics in Leeds and called Quilt in a Day. The idea was that they would make a lap size jelly roll race quilt, piece it, sandwich, quilt and finally bind it. This would mean they learnt all the basic techniques of quilt making and went home with a quilt pretty much finished.
Jelly roll race quilts are very quick to make. For those of you not into quilting, a jelly roll is a pre-cut set of 20 (half size) or 40 (full size) different fabrics, a 2.5″ strip of the width of fabric (about 42″) Sometimes jelly rolls have several lengths of the same fabric, this quilt works best when each strip is a different fabric.
Well I think it went pretty well, I had six students which really was an ideal number for the size of the room, as you do need a bit of space between sewing machines. They varied enormously in sewing experience, one lady had only started sewing three months before, but everyone went home with a quilt pretty much finished, they just had to hand-stitch the binding down.
A friend I’d not seen for nearly 30 years came up to do the course, she stayed for the weekend so we had a great time catching up. Hopefully it won’t be another 30 years before we meet up again! She gave me some lovely hand-made gifts before she left, she has clearly got me sussed as one was me to a tee, it’s now on display in my sewing room…