Wednesday, 30 January 2013

Embroidery Course 2012 in review - Surface Embroidery

I'm about to start the second year of the Basic Course offered by the NSW Embroider's Guild, and I thought it was time to review the first year here on the blog.

The first subject we did was Surface Embroidery, which is a difficult category really as it includes so many stitches, and in some way can be defined by negatives (not counted, not on canvas, etc).
Most countries have their own embroidery traditions, so identifying surface stitches can be challenging, as the same stitch can have multiple names. With the growing impetus towards professionalisation and categorisation of needlework at the turn of the 20th century, particularly in Britain, there was a push to create standard names and examples of stitches. They were allocated into four loose groupings - chain, knot, loop and straight.

The classes for this subject were largely learning and practicing specific stitches as well as general presentation and finishing tips. We talked a little bit about how colour and thread choice can dramatically change the way stitches look. Most of our work was carried out on a 'doodle cloth' for experimentation, so we wouldn't worry about mistakes.

My doodle cloth
Our class assignments were to create samplers for each group of stitches.

Flat and Loop Stitches

Knot and Chain stitches
I didn't have any grand plans for my sampler designs, so I kept to a relatively small colour pallette and decided to use the name of the stitch group as a feature in each one. The point of a sampler, of course, is to give yourself a reference for the future, so all the samplers have been scanned and the scanned copies clearly labelled.


  1. I love the way you say "of course". I had actually did not know what samplers were for. I had given it no thought before now! They are just an accepted part of my universe :)

    Also "doodle cloth" is a great expression.

    Also your sewing is awesome :)

    1. Well really it is one point of a sampler - they are also to demonstrate that you've learned a lot of stitches and can execute them. But yeah, a lot of samplers are there to be, effectively, a pattern for the future. Hence the alphabets - for future marking of linen - and symbols that could be used to decorate other items.

    2. I had the same thought! Never really thought about what samplers were 'for'.

      Hehe doodle cloth.

      Also yes, very awesome sewing! So.. a lot of the same thoughts... :) :)