I can’t remember if it was through my friend Bec of Sew.Be that I discovered Fleur Woods, or if I had come across her myself on Instagram. Bec had taken an in-person workshop with Fleur on Embroidery collage. I was instantly attracted to this idea of combining bits and pieces of fabric, be them vintage or modern, pieces of cut up doilies, vintage embroidery’s, beads and threads.
When I was much younger, I loved to created scrap books. I used to use an A4 visual arts diary, and I would pull out images of my favourite actors and musicians, but I’d also tear out pictures of flowers, nature, the beach, surfing, funky graphics, anything that appealed to me and brought a sense of joy and pleasure. It was in my teens that I became an image junkie. I just loved a pretty image.
My twenties saw the invention of Pinterest, and, well I mean I feel like that was just made for me! Now I could create digital mood boards full of pretty images. Just like I enjoy collecting pretty images, I now also enjoy collecting pretty fabrics, both vintage and modern, always floral! I’ve started seeking out and finding vintage embroideries, tapestries, crochet doilies and pretty trims and buttons. I wasn’t sure what I was going to do with these pieces, then I discovered Fleur.
When I learnt that she was doing an online course all about how she creates her embroidered works of art, I just new I had to join. So far, I have completed part one of the course which involves learning some basic embroidery stitches and creating a stitch sampler. I have also done observational drawing and I’m currently working on a floral embroidery composition piece.
In this Joyful Embroidery Journal Entry, I wanted to share my first finished piece for the course, my Stitch Sampler.
The first thing we had to do for the course was create a mood board using pieces of fabrics, trims, and threads that we had at home. Fleur talked to us about colour, composition, and texture. This was super fun, and I grabbed one of my pretty baskets and began filling it with vintage fabrics, linens, doilies, embroideries, yarn, and different threads.
Next, I worked on my flat lay. Creating mood boards or inspiration boards have been a bit of a forte for me as I have created so many in my career as an Interior Designer. But creating a mood board with pretty fabrics and trims, well that was like heaven!
In the course Fleur next took us through the processes and techniques she uses for painting fabric. I had previously experimented with painting water colour on to calico fabric, so for my stitch sampler I took one of these pieces to stitch on.
I worked on my sample while watching Fleur’s wonderful stitch tutorials. Most of the stitches I had already learnt, but couching and turkey stitch were completely new to me. Creating this piece was very freeing. I would pull out a thread or yarn, choose a stitch technique and let my needle be guided by the rhythm of the stitching. I didn’t plan the stitches, their direction, their size, I let it flow out from my heart and through the thread.
The whole piece evolved very organically. I had fun adding in little elements of beads and sequins, a tiny button and even a little Suffolk puff or yo-yo. I loved experimenting with different weights of thread, and yarn and particularly enjoy what the metallic threads bring to the piece.
Stitches used in this piece include back stitch, split back stitch, whipped back stitch, kantha stitch or running stitch, blanket stitch, satin stitch, couching, weaving, French knots, seed stitch, lazy daisy and turkey stitch.
Next in the course I’m working on my Floral Embroidery piece which involved doing some observational drawing, something I have not done since my teenage years! So far, I’m loving it! Until next time friends, I hope you can find time for some joyful stitching, no matter what kind of stitching that is. Miss Leela x