I am interrupting my account of my beading adventures to record my experience of last weekend. when I spent a fantastic two days attending Christine Bishop's Punto Umbro class at the Embroiderers' Guild. It was an energetic and friendly group, including quite a few country members who had come down for the class.
Christine had designed a mat - about 30cm square - that requires five stitches for the embroidery, two of which were likely to be familiar, and a couple more for the hem, once again demonstrating her ability to design a project to fit the time and capacity of her class. It was a challenge but possible to learn the stitches and complete much of the work in the two days. My first challenge was to get my Palestrina stitch sitting with the knots in the centre of my line, not to one side like railway tracks.
I eventually got the rhythm. I then had to work to get coverage I wanted on the 'elephant tusk' arms. My spacing needs some work.
I really loved working the needlelace bits - which is where we got to at the end of Saturday. Some of the country members were planning to enjoy a night socialising. I was by now hooked - and couldn't wait to bunker down to complete most of the outline that night.
On Sundaywe began on the curly bits. I really enjoyed this stitch and the challenge of getting the mirror images right. It was so satisfying to see the pattern take shape.
While it wasn't finished at the end of the two-day class, it was very well advanced. We had also been through the steps for blocking the finished piece and practiced the stitch to finish the mat edge. I was highly motivated to finish it and went home to work on the last curls.
I was able to block the piece the night before I left so I can finish the edging on my return. I tightened the piece just before I left. It was looking very smooth, promising a nice straight edge without ironing.
It's been a most satisfying and enjoyable little project - achievable, lots of learning, great company and an elegant product to reflect the experience.