When I am asked to tutor workshops at various groups or organisations, I usually come up with a design following the request from the group facilitator. It can be fun to come up with a design once I have been given a theme or guidelines.
Back last year, I was approached by the local branch for Girl’s Brigade to teach needlework to a group of girls ranging from 13-18 years. The request was for a simple embroidery design that can be displayed in an embroidery hoop featuring the Brigade’s motto. It was quite daunting coming up with something simple enough and yet challenging enough for the group of girls. I came up with the simple round design featuring leaves, roses and bluebells, with their motto in the centre of the wreath.
It was a fun (and challenging) 3 classes to share the skill of needlework to the class of girls, many had never threaded a needle, and none had done needlework before. Many enjoyed the process and really immersed themselves into the needlework.
When I shared photos of the design on Facebook, I had many messages from parents of other Girl Brigadiers that were interested in purchasing the kit for their daughters. I emailed the Head Office to seek guidance in selling the kits to other parents, but it was not forth coming. I could not offer this kit on my website. So in order to make the embroidery design available to the general public, my original design needed to be adjusted. I needed to put on my thinking cap.
It was a lovely embroidery design, and it seemed a shame to see it put away and never to be seen on the website as a kit or pattern. This is when the concept of ‘In Your own Words’ came about. Why not create the pattern/kit of the embroidered floral wreath and let YOU add in your OWN words! This would then allow you to really personalise the embroidery design.
In recreating the design in this way, really opened up so many possibilities. My testers had fun writing in their own favourite sayings or even using one of the sayings that were suggested in the pattern. What would you put into your design?
The second embroidery design to be created for an upcoming workshop was Folk Embroidery. I was approached by the organisation that they had had enquiries about Folk Embroidery and would I be interested in designing something and taking the workshop. I love a challenge, and this definitely was one. I had never really thought of Folk Embroidery, so I did some research online to get some guide lines. I then sat down one afternoon and did up some rough sketches and came up with the bird. At first it was slightly out of my comfort zone, as I had never really drawn up anything whimsical before. I have to admit it was fun to do, once I realised that the bird was NOT meant to be realistic, and I could play with colours and embroidery stitches.
This definitely was a FUN design to embroider, and I loved using the Appleton’s Wool Embroidery threads for my design. These threads are finer than wool tapestry threads and the colours are just amazing. The wool thread is what is normally used in creating Crewel Embroidery, but they were also perfect for creating this Folk Embroidery. They are the threads that are included in the kits.
In coming to display my design samples, I was of two minds. The original designs for the workshops were designed to be displayed in the embroidery hoop that is used to stitch the design. The hoops make for a quick, practical and even cost effective way of displaying your finished embroidery. But sometimes it is even nicer to have your work framed to give it that touch of elegance (& also protect it behind glass).
So, I decided that in making up the kits, I would have several kit options available. The fabric, threads and patterns for the designs are in one kit and sold as is. There would also be options to purchase the Hoop/Backing kit or a frame. This allows the purchaser to choose what they need or want. Many have hoops at home or wish to finish it in other ways. So why purchase a kit which includes the hoop and backing felt if you are not going to use it to complete your design? Just trying to give everyone as many options as possible….
I am hoping this new way to offer kits for sale will work and open up the options for everyone. It was hard for me to decide if I wanted to create different designs that were to be displayed/framed on hoops or to have them in frames. Personally I prefer frames, so my work is protected behind glass, but then again, a hoop finish is easily done, and a collection of designs grouped on a wall make for a lovely display.
I have also released the patterns (in both PDF and printed format) for both the Folk Embroidery and ‘In your own words’ in case you want to use your own materials to create these lovely designs.
So, I hope you like my latest embroidery designs and maybe they will start you onto your own needlework journey…..