How fortunate we are to have access to an abundance of creative spaces, communities and learning opportunities here in West Yorkshire. Whether you’re interested in stained glass, weaving, spinning, printing, bookbinding or blacksmithing, it’s all here on your doorstep. I know because I’ve had a go at all of these and many more in recent years.
Textiles are what really float my boat though and Textile Artist Anne Brooke has a fantastic program of workshops at her delightful studio.
I may not have had an overseas holiday this Summer but who cares when the UK weather is glorious and you can find solace at the shed. Three inspirational weekends stitching with friends to look forward to!
Vintage Fabric Embroidery was up first, tutored by Anne herself. We each chose a little colour themed pack containing a selection of fabric and lace to add to any bits we’d brought from home.
Our first step was to hand dye threads and any scraps so that our piece would look harmonious. Why buy expensive variagated thread when you can make your own?
Everyone has their favourite stitches but we were keen to try some new ones after Anne did demos. She has posted a great video series this year showing how she makes the hand stitches often seen in her own work. These are especially helpful if you’re a leftie like me struggling with reversing instructions in a right-handed world. Look for Instagram posts by @hannemadebyanne #sew4thesoul or on her YouTube channel.
We discussed displaying our work, whether it was to hang or stand and how. I decided on a long thin format to coil around a little bobbin. I liked that it would wind up small and neat when I’m not working on it and how the stitching would be gradually revealed as it’s unfurled.
And so we enjoyed the therapeutic process of slow hand stitching that is mindful in it’s nature, enjoying the rhythm of the needle while we chatted, ate biscuits and built up our designs with delicious textures. All very chilled – until your thread gets a pesky tangle that is, or you’re still failing after multiple attempts at a bullion knot!
Back home I’ve added a little more, including some little motifs I crocheted with my dyed thread. This little piece feels accomplished now but it maybe finished, maybe not. At any time I can add further strips and stitch. With two more stitching weekends coming up though, it’s a wrap for now.