I’ve just spent the day at Resist Gallery in Model House Craft Centre at a free machine embroidery workshop led by Lisa Porch and I have had a wonderful time.
By the end of her introduction I was almost beside myself with impatience to get onto my sewing machine to start creating the wonderful samples that she had described. She promised machine embroidery with the feed dogs both up and down, and that we would create lace by machine embroidering on netting and on dissolvable fabric.
My first piece from the day was made by building layers of different fabric and stitching them to each other with the simple straight and zigzag stitch on the sewing machine, with the feed dogs up and normal sewing foot in place.
The fabric pieces I chose were in shades of blue which, as I lay them against each other, wanted to be the sea, so I went with it. It was extremely freeing to just stitch forward and back, forward and back with my foot firmly down on the pedal. I experimented with changing the stitch width as I sewed, and felt like I could go on all afternoon. The fabric was initially light and fluid, but due to the dense stitching, pulled in on itself and warped and became a satisfying, robust, tactile canvas.
The cord which frames it in the photo above was made by twisting a length of fabric and zig-zagging over it. So quick and easy, beautiful and useful!
Lunch was very civilised. We enjoyed a sunny picnic of sandwiches from the Butcher’s Arms on the green next to the castle.
A picnic lunch in the shade – it was far too hot today to venture into the open!
Lisa smiling obediently for the camera! You can just about make out in the back, one of the goats in the castle compound enjoying our scraps.
After lunch we played with free embroidery. Using images of antique textiles as the initial inspiration, and layering fabric, vintage lace and other embellishments to create our canvas, we went wild with the feed dogs down and quilting feet (or embroidery hoops) on!
I had taken a suitcase of fabrics, trims and assorted bits that I had recently inherited from my Anti Elizabeth. Some of the items in this suitcase are just fascinating, such as the ancient yellowing lace, fabrics intended for different projects and incomplete WIPs.
I used some of Anti Elizabeth’s lace and trims in this exercise, and a chunk of a beautiful old tea tray mat provided by Lisa, which I was reluctant to be the first to cut, so let somebody else have first dibs on!
As it came together I felt this was a very homely, cosy piece of stitching that I wanted to keep for inspiration in my workroom. I suspect that having some of my aunt’s old scraps in it has made it feel more special to me, so I was moved to incorporate a little secret message under the fringe: ”Melys”, meaning ‘sweet’, from “Cartref Melys Cartref” (Home sweet home).
Our final example of the day was to create lace on a piece of doubled-up netting using free machine embroidery. This was great fun, very quick and very satisfying. I had to leave mine unfinished as the day had come to an end, but I suspect I might pop it back under the sewing machine for a self indulgent half an hour or so the next time I’m in my workroom.
We didn’t have time to look at making lace using dissolvable fabric, much to our disappointment, but we have been promised of another session devoted to free machine embroidery on dissolvable fabric, including its 3D applications. Sometime from September, it was suggested … I can’t wait!