Finishing up, and a festive robin

In previous FoFs I have showcased some of my students’ work as they progressed through the course, but before showing you their last project here’s what I’ve been stitching all those weeks – not nearly so nice as theirs, but I like keeping these demonstration/doodle cloths as a record of classes and workshops. They are actually quite decorative in their own messy way!

Demonstration cloth

But how did the students do? Well, I got to see some impressive Quatrefoils – here are two of them:

Quatrefoil stitched by one of the students Quatrefoil stitched by one of the students

And quite a few projects already made up into cards!

Finished student project - Shisha flower Finished student projects - Quatrefoil and Shisha flower Finished student projects - Butterfly Wreath, Quatrefoil, No Place Like Home and Wildflower Garden

The 6th session had no project of its own planned; it was meant for the students to work on anything they hadn’t finished and ask questions about whatever they’d like to know about embroidery (I didn’t promise I’d be able to answer everything…). But as some of the students had got on so well, to the point of having already mounted some of their finished work, I thought it would be nice to have a bonus project. For each of them I put together a square of cotton sateen with the rather seasonable Robin freebie transferred onto it, and a bundle of stranded cottons consisting of black, two shades of red, and three shades each of green and brown, which I gave to them at the end of the fifth session. And then I encouraged them to just have a go using their newly acquired skills, stitch it any which way they like and have fun!

Materials for a Robin The Robin freebie mounted in a box

As I had a spare transfer (I drew one of the legs too long, so I kept that one back) I decided to follow my own advice, going for the naturalistic look by giving him a battlement couching chest – not such an inappropriate choice perhaps, seeing that they are fiercely territorial little birds smiley.

A battlement-chested robin

That encouraged a few of the students to have a go at that stitch as well, and although they found it tricky to get the spacing right, a little more practice should easily sort that (the student whose robin is shown below has also taken to blending with enthusiasm). Other students asked for some help with kits they had bought, and after getting into the rhythm of the raised stem stitch one practically finished her Christmas Wreath.

One student started her robin in class Another worked on her Christmas Wreath kit

I’ve really enjoyed teaching this course. Encouraged by the positive feedback from my students, and having been asked about a follow-up course, I’m busily thinking up class ideas for next year. Keep an eye on the Workshop page to find out when this materialises!

An unexpected meeting and an impromptu class

You may remember (from the long Saga of Isobel’s Door Hanger) that we visited my husband’s parents a little over a month ago. My mother-in-law would be at her monthly embroidery class when we arrived, and I said wouldn’t it be interesting to see what they were all doing there, and promptly got invited to drop in. We’d be arriving about half an hour before they finished, so just enough time to have a look without disrupting the entire class!

There was some gorgeous stitching there – a beautiful photo album cover using various badges which all had a family significance, and a lovely doorway surrounded by flowers, which was all done in shades of cream and peach, and contained at least half a million French knots. I stood in awe of all this skill and creativity.

And then I saw a familiar sight; surely that was the latest Stitch magazine, and that lady was stitching my Tulips! I can’t tell you what an odd feeling it was to see someone stitching one of my designs – to see that familiar shape in someone else’s hoop, the stitches formed by someone else’s needle. It may just show me up for the rookie designer I am, but I found it quite exciting!

It also gave me an opportunity to be useful. You may remember seeing a notice on Mabel’s Fancies saying that unfortunately a stitch diagram had been left out of the Stitch article, and that people could contact me for the missing part should it cause them problems. Being on the spot meant I could show Karen the stitch, rather than emailing her the diagram. I got out my stitching folder and borrowed a few of her beads, and set about speed-stitching four Kloster blocks so that we could get to the problem, which was the beaded square filet.

Very few stitchers can resist having a look at a new stitch – who knows, you might be able to use it yourself some time! And so the afternoon ended with an impromptu mini group tutorial. You have no idea how tangly threads become when four people are watching your every stitch; and don’t even mention the cutting!

Impromptu Class

Karen has since finished Tulips, and has very kindly sent me a picture of her beautifully stitched and mounted piece, which you can see in the Gallery.