Wednesday, 17 January 2018

Machine Embroidery Workshop at The Eden Workshop: January 2018

Work in progress during the workshop

Last year I ran a couple of Machine Embroidery and Applique workshops at the lovely Eden Workshop in Plumpton, just outside Penrith. It's a lovely place, Jane has made it feel really welcoming and cosy but the work space is light and airy at the same time. I like running workshops here as it has a very friendly, relaxed atmosphere and Jane makes sure everyone is well looked after. She runs a whole range of workshops so if you're looking to try a new craft or art technique I'd recommend you have a look at her website. 

The view when I arrived

About half an hour later the snow started

I'd been a little bit nervous in the morning as the weather forecast wasn't great and driving isn't my favourite thing but I arrived safely and was enjoying a nice cup of coffee when the snow started coming down. The day before I had been moaning because we almost never get snow in Carlisle and I love snow, unless I have to drive in it so it's true what they say; be careful what you wish for! Fortunately everyone arrived safely and by the time the workshop finished there was barely a trace of snow but at one point it really was coming down so thick and fast you could barely see.  

Practising embroidery with the sewing machine

Creative mess
My trusty Bernina 

Despite the challenging weather first thing we had a productive and enjoyable day. The workshop is based around the way I create my bird portraits and uses simple applique and machine embroidery to build up an image. It's a great way to get to know your sewing machine and we spent most of the morning practising using the machine as a drawing tool. I always find this bit of the workshop really interesting as I like seeing how different machines cope and figuring out how to adjust them if they're not behaving. The best machines for this type of embroidery are the really basic mechanical models, the fancy computerised ones have so many different possible adjustments that they usually take the longest to get set up and performing. I use my trusty Bernina that my Granny gave me, it's solid and weighs a ton and is a great deal older than me but stitches beautifully! 

Work in progress

Work in progress

Work in progress

Once everyone was reasonably confident with embroidering with their machines we started to create our designs. This bit is really fun as you can play around with different fabrics to get the effect you want. I usually just choose one or two sections to applique and use embroidery to add detail and bring all the parts of my design together. I had several templates for people to use and one person had brought her own design as she wanted to create a Staffie. We used fusible webbing to hold the appliqued fabric in place as it makes the stitching so much easier. Once all the fabric had been bonded in place it was time to start stitching! 

Work in progress

Work in progress

Almost finished

This is the part where peoples individual creativity really has a chance to shine. Even when people use the same templates they always come out differently as each person has their way of putting things together and stitching is a bit like hand writing-everyone's is a bit different. I'm always so impressed with what people create, I love that I can show people something and they can take it and make it their own, creating something unique to them. One of the people on the workshop today had done the same course with me last year but since then had got a new machine so wanted to have another go. As with everyone on the course it was great to see her confidence grow throughout the day and I hope everyone went away pleased with what they'd created and keen to carry on.

Finished piece

Finished piece
Finished piece (detail)

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