I really enjoy my weekly machine embroidery class at The Letchworth Settlement but it is not without its challenges. About half a dozen of the ladies have been coming to the class since I started teaching there but each term we also have another half dozen new ladies, some of whom are complete beginners. So my challenge is to come up with something interesting enough for those with experience but not so difficult as to put off the newcomers.
I usually start with some sort of sampler of free machine stitches and this year we have appliqed strips of coloured fabric to a felt backing and worked a variety of free machine patterns over the surface. Plenty of opprtunity to practise! We have then used the resulting fabrics to make a simple bag consisting of two circles based on the petal bag in Jenny Rolfe's lovely book of Embroidered Bags. Making bags has also given us the opportunity to make cords and tassels.
I made a couple of samples...one large bag from circles about 6" wide and then a second smaller bag from 3" circles.
The ladies in the class then set about making their own with these fantastic results. Not all of them were finished when I took the photos but you can see what a brilliant job they have done. I thought I would remember whose was whose when I took the pictures... but now I'm not so sure!
I'm pretty certain the collection above are Jean's but everytime I look at the following five photos I change my mind as to who made which bag. Sorry ladies... they are all fabulous!
Just remembered that the one below is Jan's... maybe?
And this one is definitely Margaret's...
Because she also made these very clever scissor keepers from her smaller bags.
And this gorgeous multi- coloured bag is Di's because she also made a very clever beaded button closure as well as a beaded tassel.
And Marian made this one with a beautiful twisted and beaded cord (all done on the sewing machine)
One of the other "challenges" of this class is they like to come up with things for me to do while they are busy stitching. Someone will casually throw out a suggestion... and before I know it I've taken the bait! This time someone thought that the smaller bags would look good as little gift bags for the Christmas tree... and then someone suggested a collection of then would be rather nice as a Christmas garland...
So here they are... I made six mini bags, finished off with beads rather than tassels...
Just waiting for a suitable cord from which I can string them.
I did however, resist the suggestion that I might make twenty four of them as little Advent bags. A step too far even for me I think!