Who could say no to ‘a gentle sewing day, using vintage patterns and traditional embroidery stitches’? Not me! Today I spent a wonderfully exciting and relaxing day in the company of a dozen would-be embroiderers at Country Threads in Bath.
Teacher Jan set the scene with vintage embroidery, 1930s ceramics and collectables and even period music. To welcome the class, name badges were set out in mini crinoline lady place holders. Heaven!
Most of us had some knowledge of basic embroidery stitches, so while Jan brought the complete beginners up to speed, we started the tricky business of deciding what to stitch. There were piles and piles of incredible old embroidery transfers to choose from. Some very British and some very French. It was fascinating to see how differently the ladies of these two countries were using the same skills around 80 years ago. The French monograms were stunning but a bit complex for our ‘gentle’ day. (I would love to know more about how these elaborate 3D confections were created. Please share if you have such know-how.)
I have to confess to being rather overwhelmed and it must have taken a good half hour to decide on the rather modest little chain of forget-me-nots you can see in progress below. I envisaged creating a vintage shelf edge but as you can see, I still have some way to go. It only uses three simple stitches, so I will persevere.
Jan was kind enough to let us copy any of the transfers we wanted to take home, so I’ve stored up a dinky cut-work oak leaf and acorn, a cheeky little deer, and a 1930s house with hollyhock-packed garden for when time permits.
Many of my fellow stitchers also brought along inherited pieces for a lovely show-and-tell session. It was heartening to see that so many hours of work were so treasured and even half-finished pieces were being given new life as the stitchers of today took up the challenge to complete them. If my work is passed on in this way, I can promise to keep future generations busy for quite some time!