Having finished all three stitched models for the Counted Wishes Festival (the two Windows on the World bookmarks, and – finally – Windmills) I decided to spend my spare time this weekend to do some teaching preparation. Not that I write step-by-step lesson plans or anything like that; I meant more down-to-earth preparations, in the form of kits and models. Putting kits together is a very relaxing occupation, I find, especially when it’s several identical ones. There is something oddly soothing about laying out 12 sets of instructions, and 12 pieces of card, and sticking 12 pairs of needles into 12 pieces of felt, and taking 12 lengths of perle #5 from the thread ring, and measuring out twice 12 lengths of perle #8, all accompanied by a mug of tea and Hugh Fraser reading a Hercule Poirot story on CD. And then there is the satisfying moment when there is a neat stack of 12 mini matchbook kits, ready for the Knitting & Stitching Show.
I’ve put them all in one of my 12″ square plastic project folders, together with my own supplies and squissors and needle threader and so on, and a tiny stapler to finish the matchbooks with. Mind you, together with the 12 pairs of squissors which the students can borrow for the workshop, and my overnight things, I’m going to be quite heavy-laden on my arrival in London! I usually have a nice walk round the various parks and perhaps a museum before heading for my sister-in-law’s who kindly puts me up for two nights every year, but I may have to cut down on my roaming a bit this time.
My other preparations are for this term’s Guildhouse course; when I was about to hand in my course overview I was told this term the short courses would be six weeks rather than five, so I needed an extra class. I’d worked out more or less what I wanted to do but hadn’t actually charted the project for it yet, so that was my first task. Then there is stitching the models. One has already been done: the mini kit bookmark, stitched on 28ct hand-dyed fabric using three thicknesses of perle.
That leaves another four (the last week I always leave for finishing off projects and asking questions), and the first thing to do was getting all the materials together. Two of them will be done on Lugana using standard perles, Caron threads and some beads, and the other two use standard perles and beads on some scrumptious Sparklies hand-dyed Hardanger fabric. Aren’t the colours just rich?
In the evening I finally got down to some actual stitching, starting with the project for the first week. This is based on Flora, but has been adapted to include all the things I want to address in that class: a re-cap of the basic stitches we’ve tackled in the first course (Kloster blocks, woven bar, wrapped bar, dove’s eye and square filet) plus one new stitch/technique to keep things interesting, in this case the double-sided Kloster block. Like the other three that still need stitching, this project is suitable for making into a card, and as the last project is a bookmark, everything the students stitch can be used, not just completed and then put away.
If you live near Rugby and you’d like to join, do contact the Guildhouse; enrolment has started, and there are 10 places available.