Goodbye to East Finchley

On Thursday I went to the last Creative Embroidery evening class for this academic year. I won’t be going to the class in September as I’m signed up to do Contemporary Millinery at Morley College for at least the Autumn Term. With a full time job two evening classes a week is a step too far!

I shall miss it. I’ve learnt a lot, but really what I will miss most is sitting round a table with a group of women quietly stitching and listening to the highs and lows of other people’s lives – lives which are often very different from mine. There have been deaths and births, illness, holidays and work issues – and along the way a lot of very beautiful and skilled stitching has emerged.

I’ve included the two main pieces I’ve worked on over the last two years here as they never appeared in this blog in their finished state. Velvet stitch nearly killed me at one point…. 20140716-074145-27705321.jpg

 and I confirmed my love of the French knot with my tribute to Gustav Klimpt….


I can’t say definitely that I’ll be back next year as heading off into the depths of East Finchley every week isn’t my favourite thing in the world. But I may….

Peacocks and a leap out of my comfort zone

In an attempt to master the dreaded sewing machine I am making my latest project in my embroidery class at least partially machined….so I am constructing my own ‘fabric’ using disolveable material and machine threads.  It is to be a peacock like this (although with different colouring – not sure where this came from in my drawing..)

Peacock Design full

So there I was last night teeth gritted, trying to remember to breathe, and hoping that I could get through what I needed to do quickly and without tangling myself up too many times. 

‘You’re going too fast!’ said Isobel, which apparently explained the strange loopy quality on the back on the stitching.  Although it doesn’t really matter for what I want.  The embroidery will be constructed in several layers – as below:

Peacock layers

Peacock layers

I started on the yellow piece yesterday – the amount of machine stitching I will end up with is debatable and may depend whether I stop wanting to throw the machine out of the window!!  Roll on hand sewing…. !

I keep telling myself it is a useful tool if I can master it so for the moment I persevere….

This is the end….

I am saying this very quietly so that my subconscious can’t hear.  I think I may have become a person who finishes creative projects…!  Sshhh….

For years I would get close to the end of a project, sometimes a gnat’s whisker away, and then for no apparent reason just stop.  My life was full of semi-finished projects (and books that I’d stopped reading a couple of pages from the end!)

However, on Thursday in the last embroidery class of the term I finished my Klimpt embroidery.

And then this weekend I not only finished the poppy book cover I started on the Scrumptious Stitch course, but I also attached it to a book…and started using the book to sketch ideas for my next project….

Sketchbook Front

Sketchbook Front

And the Sunday before that I finished the felted vessel I started on the Saturday in my ‘Felting Ideas and Techniques’ class at the City Lit with Heather Belcher.

Sketchbook Back

Sketchbook Back

This is getting to be a habit…!


Scrumptious Stitch

On Saturday I am off to the Mary Ward Centre to do the first Saturday of a two day course called ‘Scrumptious Stitch’.  I did a course there before Christmas –  a partner to this one called ‘Subversive Stitch’ which looked at what subversive means and has meant in the history of stitch with lots of practical exercises.  We used text in a sampler style for a phrase that appealed to us.  I picked ‘Oh what a piece of work is a (wo)man!’  which was the first thing that shot into my head .  (It was only after I had finished stitching it that the Scotsman commented that I was misquoting and not in the way I meant to.  It should be ‘Oh what a piece of work is (wo)man!’) 

We also stitched into a postcard – mine was a Magritte postcard of clouds.  I cut out and collaged some fluffy sheep in amongst the clouds and then sewed over with white thread…an idea which, if I ever find time, I will consider adapting to make greetings cards with… How to ‘add value’ using embroidery without spending hours stitching.

Everyone on the course was agreed that two days wasn’t enough for a hand embroidery course – particularly for the novice stitchers – it used to be three…we were also pretty much all agreed on the deliciousness of the food in the Mary Ward Cafe….I used to go there for lunch regularly when I worked nearby.

Anyway I have sorted out a whole load of bits of silk and velvet, beads, sequins etc and look forward to the chance to make something of them.