Model stitching and students’ work

The Guildhouse course has ended by now, but there is one project I haven’t shown you yet. Unlike the others, this was not a counted technique. The students were given a piece of satin dupion with a few outlines on it, and a diagram showing the outline and the various stitches worked on and around them. It included shisha stitch and some paisley and peacock feather motifs, and the idea was to produce some fairly free-hand Indian-style embroidery. I’d managed to get some very reasonably priced little round mirrors for the shisha stitches, but I decided to work mine using two fivepences – just to show that you can, really! The other stitches included French knots, chain stitch, couching and buttonhole stitch.

Shisha stitch using a five pence coin The whole Shisha project

When I teach a course I like to give suggestions for finishing the projects we stitch. Some methods only require a bit of sewing, for example a humbug scissor fob or biscornu. If the budget allows I include some finishing materials in the course material pack, such as cards, coasters, sticky-back magnets (for fridge magnets), felt (for needle cases) or in one case a silicone cupcake mould to make a cupcake pin cushion.

A cupcake pin cushion

Sometimes, however, the finishing item would be too expensive to include, or too much a matter of personal taste. I mounted the silk gauze miniature peacock in a silver locket I happened to have, but I didn’t think I could include one in every material pack! It works well as a suggestion, though, and it helps if I can point students to shops which supply finishing items such as pendants and brooches.

Miniature peacock mounted in a locket

It also helps if the shops in question don’t suddenly stop stocking things *exasperated sigh*. I’d mounted the Shisha model in a satin-covered box by Rajmahal which used to be available in a range of sizes and colours from Debbie Cripps. But as I tried to find the right web page so I could put it in the handout for that class it turned out that since I last looked the boxes have disappeared – and the people from Debbie Cripps haven’t replied to my email about them. They are still available from some Australian sites, but unfortunately with the postage that may not be worth it.

The Shisha project mounted in a Rajmahal box

But some students show great initiative, and are not to be discouraged by retailers dropping things from their catalogues. One lady simply made a fabric-covered box herself!

Margaret's hand-made box

I’ll finish by showing you three more projects. One student decided that she wanted her Silk Sampler to be useful as well as pretty, and remembering some of the finishing items from previous courses mounted it in a coaster.

Heather's silk coaster

And probably my star pupil was a lady who had only recently taken up stitching, and so far had stuck to cross stitch on aida. I’m not sure she quite realised what she was letting herself in for when she joined the course, but she took to it all with relish, from blackwork to Shisha to Hardanger with ribbon work – and she produced some of the most regular buttonhole wheels I have ever seen! Unfortunately I didn’t take a picture of that, but here are her blackwork card, and her Hardanger.

Janice's blackwork Janice's Hardanger

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