Search This Blog

Wednesday, September 13, 2017

Hems and Finishes class at Embroiderers' Guild of SA

When the Embroiderers' Guild Class program for the second half of this year came out I debated whether to enrol in Gay Sanderson's class on Hems and Finishes for counted thread work or whether to launch into completely new territory with Glenys Leske's Seascapes - creating scenes with layers of fabric and embellishment. I decided I should push my boundaries and go with the Seascapes. However, when I received the requirements for the course I chickened out. It was the sprung hoop for machine  embroidery (plus the machine itself) that decided me. I didn't want to go there. So I swapped my enrolment for Hems and Finishes.

This is a challenge of a different kind for me. I have done a reasonable amount of counted thread work over the years and enjoyed it. My eyes, however, find it a challenge, and the level of accuracy required is not my natural inclination. On the other hand, I love the effects achieved and I also love the history of various kinds of counted work.

So I took a deep breath and got on with the preparation work for the two day workshop - four pieces of even-weave linen to be tacked up in colour-coded machine thread - tacking to be three fabric threads under and over.

At the same time that I was doing this, I was also preparing a piece of linen for Project 5 of Basics to Beyond - a counted thread sampler (more in another post).  I figure this is reinforcement and will maximise my learning.

The class is over two Sundays, and I am writing this after the first of the two days. I simply loved it- which is just as well, because in attending I missed my grandson's Under 12 football team win their Grand Final and my grandson being awarded Best on Field!

 Gay is a great teacher - clear, organised, experienced and knowledgable, disciplined and pragmatic. I respond to her capacity to adapt within the framework of her skill and knowledge - which is huge.

Her projects are also really well designed. They teach specific techniques in a logical way, with completion of discrete steps. We worked a sample of pulled and drawn stitches on one piece of fabric before putting them into practice on a second piece, providing us with both a complete example and a sampler of the stages for future reference.

Some of the techniques we learned were hemstitch, antique hemstitch, creating an internal selvage  and mitred corners.

Even though I find the tacking preparation tedious, I love the way the tacked lines turn into the framework for the edges. It is so purposeful and rewarding,

I also enjoy the company of a group of embroiderers focused on the same task, sharing their struggles and triumphs. This is only possible because the project is well designed and Gay's methodology allows for learners of various skill level. The class then becomes a learning community and we all thrive.

Although our only homework was preparing a couple of very small pieces for next week's class, I couldn't help myself, and finished the edge on the second piece. It has the calming effect of a meditation.
I also blocked it. This seemed a better
proposition than ironing.

 I'm looking forward to the second day of the class next Sunday.


margaret said...

I too wold have taken this class, love counted work your mitred corners are very good enjoy next Sunday

Jillian said...

Wouldn't it be lovely, Margaret, to be able to do the class together? Somewhere, someday, maybe!

Lyn Warner said...

Those tacked lines are very boring to do but I find the payoff well worth it. The way the folds are just where they should be for the hem seems to fall into place makes the hemming so much easier. Enjoy day 2 of the course.

D1-D2 said...

I just had to teach myself how to do that from pictures online. How lucky you are able to take a class on it.

Monica said...

Congratulations to Fionn! I'm sure the opportunity to tell you the whole story again was equally fun for him.

There is something so lovely and logical about these counted hem stitches. And your sample turned out beautifully! Enjoy Day 2. :D

Jillian said...

Thanks Lyn. You're right about the lines and I'm glad I persevered. It's a bit of magic - and feels like a reward.

Jillian said...

Thanks Monica. Yes, he did enjoy the telling and he had a lot of other support. Pity, though. Lovely and logical is right - it's a bit like fluid Maths.