Tuesday, January 21, 2014
Hand embroidery: Yes I can! I mean, I will!
I just could not resist any longer. Creating beautiful embroidery is what I am dreaming of doing during those quiet evenings when children are in bed and I finally get time to listen to music or watch a movie. My husband is an avid collector of antique Chinese embroidery, and I feel I ought to finally sit down and learn how to create embellishments inspired by those extraordinary pieces.
At some point last year I even went to Purl Soho in New York and bought some embroidery floss, a pack of needles and a reference book. But as time passed, it was all packed in a small box and put on a top shelf sharing the fate with my leather sewing tools, knitting magazines, and a few rather obscure what-was-I-thinking-type-of objects and books.
Whole past year, every time I logged in to my account, I was hoping to find a hand embroidery class. In vain. All they offered was machine embroidery classes. And then, this January, it happened: Design It, Stitch It: Hand Embroidery by Jessica Marquez.
It is a perfect class for a beginner. The stitches are conveniently grouped in lessons, and after each lesson you finish a 4" (10cm) square with about a dozen of sample stitches. Here is the first sample I made after a lesson on flat stitches.
WHAT I LIKE
I enjoy Jessica's teaching style. She is very precise and concise, has all her tools and thoughts in place and, what's most helpful, she anticipates most of the beginner's needs.
The samples she prepared for the class are very neat and can be used as a reference, especially when assembled in a small quilt, as suggested by Jessica.
There are quite a few inspiration materials that Jessica shows to class participants demonstrating the use of the stitches covered in a lesson
WHAT I DIDN'T LIKE
The following remarks may sound negative, but they don't change the fact that I really like the class. My criticism is not about the contents, but rather about a few small glitches.
It was unclear at the beginning what transfer methods will be used during the class. Only one is introduced at the beginning, and another one is showed in one of a later lessons. I wish there was a brief intro at the beginning of the class on what is going to be covered besides the samples.
The same refers to the tools and materials. It would have been nice to have some options, or a suggestion for a most-essential tool kit. I'd prefer not to buy all the materials listed in the resources as I am only a beginner and easily succumb to the urge to buy all the existing tools, materials and resources for a new craft, which I may or may not pursue in the long run. For example, for practice purposes, I was at the end able to transfer the sample design to muslin with a simple pencil, rather than an iron transfer pen, which I may purchase later if needed.
Finally, maybe it was an exception, but it took Jessica almost two days, longer than in other classes, to answer my questions. I hope this will change as the class goes on - quick feedback is extremely important for a steady learning progress, especially in an online class.
SOME TIPS TO GET STARTED
Before beginning with stitching, I watched the entire class while cooking, or sewing. Three days later I was able to do my first stitches without buying any extra tools or materials. That's my first!
To stay motivated, I collected a few inspiration images or pieces and pinned them on a wall in my studio, and on my Pinterest board.
As you see above, I managed to get my stitches somewhat straight and somewhat consistent. I will continue posting about the class as I complete the lessons, and when I am finished I will try to stitch those cute fishes above. I want to use them to embellish a skirt, or something else. However, this week I got to practice looped stitches. One of them - the couching stitch - is used for the scales and the outline of the fishes. I'd better post the image in the class and ask Jessica. Will keep you posted.
Do you use embroidery, beading or other crafts to compliment your sewing?
Disclosure: I am a member of the Craftsy Affiliate Program and receive a commission for sales that are generated through links to Craftsy classes from my blog. However, the class I review here was purchased by me, and the review is not a commercial endorsement but my honest and unaffected opinion. I count on your understanding that the commission generated through affiliate links helps support this blog and share with you thorough information, tutorials, reviews and learning resources.