Today is the first day of term for my regular ten weekly machine embroidery classes at The Letchworth Settlement. I think this will be my sixth year teaching this class, two terms a year. It is a lovely relaxed class with more of a feeling of a gathering of friends who meet for a bit of stitching one afternoon a week, than a formal class.
Many of the ladies (it is only ever ladies) have been coming to the class since I started teaching it but also every term we have a few new people join as others leave. And very often those new people are complete beginners which presents me with quite a challenge.
How do I introduce free machine embroidery to beginners whilst providing enough stimulus for the regulars? I always start as though everyone is a complete beginner because I feel it doesn't hurt to refresh skills and get a bit of practise in. So they usually have to make a sampler of free machine patterns. They need to get so familiar with free machining that they could do it with their eyes shut... although not to be recommended... I'm not so good with needles in fingers!
But once they've made their sampler I like to think up a project that will provide plenty of practise for the beginners whilst offering a bit of a challenge and interest for the others. Yesterday, in my usual last minute approach I was wondering what on earth I could do with them... then I was suddenly inspired by the graffiti like qualities of the sample above and whilst working on a book jacket for another class this week, came up with the idea of a notebook.
A page of loose scribble with the needle in black thread on a cream calico background... and this is what I came up with... quickly converted into a book jacket.
The addition of a cord, a button and a splash of red fabric paint...
and this is the result.
Of course now I'm wishing I had thought of this weeks ago because I can see the same technique adorning bags and cushions and all manner of things. But I suppose that can be the challenge for my class. It will be interesting to see what they come up with.
And meanwhile I can see a whole load of these becoming presents!