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Sunday, 14 October 2012

Stitching workshops

I know it's been a while but my excuse is that I've been away stitching. A group of friends and I spent a whole wonderful week in mid-Wales at my needlelace tutor's studio. A truly inspirational place! The countryside is gloriously lush (especially after all the rain we've had in the UK this summer) and her studio walls and every available surface are lined with pieces of her work and then there are the threads - box after box of Oliver Twist and Stef Francis hand dyed threads, the full range of Finca Perle 16, machine embroidery threads, and I didn't even look at all the mixed media materials!

My purpose for the week was to learn how to do needle lace grids. I'd painted six small squares on each of two pieces of calico fabric and outlined them in tea-dyed cotton tape in readiness. They're destined to become covers for my sample books when they're completed. Want to see?

This one is complete now (just finished this morning) and is my attempt at a more abstract and less  traditional style of lace.  

And this is the traditional one, still on the pillow which I'm using to keep the tension even. The two centre squares are complete but the others all still need quite a bit of work.

This is another fun piece of lace which may well end up as a hanging ornament I think. The original plan was to turn it into a hot air balloon for the Guild of Needle Laces competition but I lost momentum on that and didn't get it finished in time so I don't think I shall bother to make the basket now. This was fun to do once the polystyrene ball was finally covered with single corded brussels stitch!

I finished the bargello needle case from the Saturday workshop, which I told you about last time I wrote I think.

And then this last week I went to Gawthorpe Hall in Lancashire for the first of two day workshops to learn how to do Casalguidi embroidery. First introduced in a tiny village in Tuscany of the same name, this style of embroidery seems to be enjoying a bit of a revival. I was interested to learn as it uses some of the same techniques as needlelace, but also borrows from pulled thread work, needleweaving and stumpwork.

We began by stitching the pulled threadwork background. Here I've just started to lay the coil of threads which will form the basis for the raised bar which is one of the main characteristics of this style of embroidery.

and here's my sample piece of the satin stitched raised bar. This will be covered next week in raised stem stitch and we're also going to learn how to make wrapped threads and needlewoven picots and triangles.

Oh, and last but not least, I'm still working away at my sampler book.

These are the pulled threadwork pages - still a bit of work to do on the bar sampler on the left hand side, as you can see if you enlarge the photo. Two more pages and the cover and this will be finished!


  1. This was such interesting reading, you have some lovely projects on the go. I think your sampler book will be fabulous.

  2. This kind of stitchery is completely new to me and very interesting. Beautiful samples. Thanks for sharing.
    Hugs, Drora

  3. what beautiful minatures you have worked here, so fiddly to do but oh so well worth it.

    Love the casalguidi technique and what a wonderful place to be stitching in, used to visit Gawthorpe Hall a lot when I lived nearby.
    Wonder if you are going to the lace fayre in Leeds saturday, I am thinking of dropping in, also going to the show on thursday at the Royal Armories not much stitching think it will be mostly papercrafts but the quilters guild and various other interesting stands will be there, maybe I will see you at one of these?You can check this show out at scc shows on the internet

  4. Oh Gillian, I am so excited to actually meet someone I( have met through blogging. On thursday I will bw with my daughter Catherine but saturday I will be at the lace day on my own. Do not know what you look like as like me you do not have your photo on your profile, if we do not bump into each other on thursday I will get in touch re saturday, it will be easier to find each other then I think as it will be a much smaller show, loke forward to seeing you.Not sure how I found your blog but glad I did.

  5. sorry Judith who is this Gillian?!!!! up to early and not awake properly when I called you Gillian. Your followers will think what or who have we here, been on other sites to try and check where I found you in the first place but so far no idea but will see you either thursday or saturday or maybe both days.

  6. Hi Judith saturday is fine but no email address to email you, have now changed my profile picture, have been trying to put my photo on for ages and just found out how yo do it my email address is fionamargaret47@gmail.com