Recently I have been enjoying myself with some new embroidery projects. I have long wanted to improve my free machine embroidery but never really known where to start :( However, a few months ago I had an opportunity to watch classes with Wendy Dolan and Pat Archibald which were the perfect opportunity to kickstart that wanted improvement.
As it happened I already had Wendy Dolan's book Layer, Paint and Stitch and just before lockdown last year had purchased a Pat Archibald kit, so having the chance to take a class with both of them (albeit remotely) was too good to miss.
The Pat Archibald kit was called "Twilight on the Moor" and was really straightforward to do. As you can see it involved piecing the strips of fabric together and then some wavy line quilting to attach the pieced fabric to the backing. You can just see at the bottom of the piece the beaded embroidery embellishment. The kit also contained metallic foil and glue granules to add a bit of shimmer. I wasn't overly happy with how that turned out as it took a couple of attempts and the glue granules seemed to be concentrated in the same spot so the shimmer is not quite as light and random as I would have liked! Overall though I am pleased with it and would definitely give the metallic foils and glue granules another go. After I had completed this I came across a video tutorial in which Pat Archibald recommends using an old salt shaker for scattering the glue granules and I think that would probably have solved the problems I had with the granules clumping together.
It was possible to buy a kit for Wendy Dolan's class too but I decided to go with what I had on hand. The background is painted calico and the sea is free machine embroidery with various threads and scraps of organza. I really enjoyed having a go at this. I used a mix of metallic and polyester threads for the machine embroidery and scraps of whatever organza I could find. It was difficult at times to get the tension right with all of the different threads being used but I got there in the end.
Here on the West Coast we are lucky enough to experience some amazing sunsets so I would like to have another go at these techniques with a palette similar to the above sometime.
Emboldened by the classes I have been using free machine embroidery in the Embroiderers Guild Artist Trading Card swap I am taking part in. The theme for the first one was January brings the Snow, and I used FME for the bare trees in the foreground.
February thaws the frozen ponds again was the theme for the second one. The ripples in the puddle are hand-embroidered with beads for the splashes and the boots and legs are Free Machine Appliqued. I really enjoyed this one :)
March brings breezes was the theme for the latest one. I could not get my head around this one for ages so it ended up being very last minute :) I had lots of ideas about dancing daffodil fairies but in the end went for a pieced background with a hand embroidered wind when I ran out of time!
Whilst this swap was in progress the Embroiderers Guild pulled the rug out from under the membership by freezing all the Branch Bank Accounts and advising members that Branches would cease to exist! As you can imagine tensions ran high with legal challenges being proposed and petitions being set up. It has been an interesting few weeks :)