There were many interesting needlework elements in the day, not the least of which were those little tips and habits that individual teachers impart. Heather Lewis was no exception. The thing I loved most was her repeated " Be brave!" - continued encouragement to take risks and have a go with a stitch or a technique. I might find a way to embroider it, I found it so compelling.
Of interest to me also was her insistence on always starting with a knot in the thread, planted from the top, secured by two small stitches that are stitched over before the knot is cut. It is a form of waste knot within the work itself. Heather attributes this habit to the amount of work she did as a student at the RSN working on huge frames that could only with difficulty be accessed from underneath.
We learned to construct filled wire petals, a free-standing wired needlelace leaf, wired horns and a stuffed sheep.
I got into strife with the needlelace leaf because I assumed the corded needle-lace would be worked around and around instead, as it is, worked back and forth. Always dangerous to make assumptions. I did read the instructions - but my assumptions got in the way of understanding. I managed, after the class, to adapt what I had done - a lot easier than undoing it, and I didn't have enough wire at hand to start again from scratch.
Another useful technique was placing strong tracing paper under the needlelace leaf so that it can be stitched without danger of attaching it to the underlying fabric by mistake.
Perhaps most useful of all was Heather's insistence that French knots only ever have one wrap. If you want to make a fatter knot, use more thread. So our sheep are made with 6 strand French knots. The six strands are a mixture of two colours - giving that lovely mottled sheep effect. So simple - but I would never have thought of it.
I spent a few hours the day after the class working on my piece. This was partly because I am an obsessive finisher, but also because I wanted to reinforce the learning. I thought I'd forget if I left it until I was home.
The background fabric was green quilting fabric backed with white cotton.
So I constructed the daisy - pushing the wires through and stitching them down - and added the leaf.
I then cut out and attached the sheep, in the marked position, adding the tiny face in felt and constructing the horns from wrapped wire and adding bullion knot legs.