Baby Steps in Embroidery……

I have been learning to do chain stitch – well actually three different types of chain stitch – normal, twisted chain and another that I can’t remember the name of….its what I used for the leaves in the picture anyway – a sort of single chain stitch that is locked off (except there are several one inside another here so you can’t really see them.

Last week in class we only got as far as running stitch and whipped running stitch so there wasn’t much to show.

Glad that the teacher decided against a sampler with rows of each stitch and let us draw a picture to embroider instead!  I think rows with no purpose apart from to learn the stitches might have driven me mad…..I do like to see some sort of result.  I suppose felting where you get results relatively fast has spoiled me a little for the something as slow and painstaking as embroidery….

But I’m sticking with it and attempting to learn patience!!

Creative Embroidery

I am about to embark on a course of Creative Embroidery at The Institute in East Finchley. 

At the end of last year I made a wall hanging for a play which involved stitching / embroidering rats onto the border of a curtain (!!) and really enjoyed the absorbing nature of the sewing.  So when I was looking around for an evening course at a time and place that was practical to get to after work this presented itself.

My Grandfather was an embroiderer. He learnt in the First World War when he was an orderly in the Medical Corps.  (When I get a chance I will take some photos of the beautiful tablecloths he embroidered and post them.)  I inherited his box of embroidery threads – maybe more at the time because I liked the colours but I still have them. 

I also have ‘Una Stubbs – In Stitches’ and ‘Erica on Embroidery’ amongst my craft books from youthful dabbles into stitching… and the Creative Textiles course I went on in 2010-11 led me a bit further into the subject.  I can do a mean French knot – it’s about the only embroidery stitch I can do well but it’s a start!  I steered clear of the embellishing machines owing to my sewing machine phobia, but hope that this course might convert me.

I was told by my original felt teacher that felt makes a great surface for embroidery.  (In fact that was the reason she learnt to make felt in the first place).  Anyway we shall see tomorrow night….watch this space.

Style Africa

On the 8th September the Scotsman and I visited Birmingham to see ‘Forests’ at the Rep Theatre.  We also paid a flying visit to the Birmingham Museum and Art Gallery and saw an exhibition called Style Africa – A Journey through the textiles of West Africa..

A room full of fascinating African Textiles, mostly from Ghana, many handprinted.  I loved the use of figurative objects to form pattern – see the flying laptops and discs or the strange tree stumps in the photos.  Also a form of resist printing using cassava flour paste in the way a batik would  use wax – an example of using what you have to hand – to make the beautiful blue cloth with intricate patterning.

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