Textile work such as canvas embroidery is being taught and encouraged less and less in our digital age. Hidden in the back of a cupboard I found a canvas embroidery kit, unfinished, with a wonderful selection of tapestry wool. So what better way to make use of the wool than to encourage others to experience the wealth of textures available through the practice and use of canvas embroidery.
Select a Stitch
There is a host of canvas embroidery stitches to enjoy, each with its own name.
Algerian Filling – a quick and easy stitch used as the name suggests to fill large areas.
Algerian Plaited Stitch – a rich textured stitch with overlapping crosses
Brick Stitch – a small stitch worked across two canvas threads building a dense surface
Chequer Stitch – a combination of working alternate squares of Cushion Stitch with Tent Stitch
And the one I chose to work with recently – Florentine Stitch in Green
This week I will be running my first canvas embroidery workshop. I will provide a printout of all the different stitches without examples of finished pieces. Attendees will select one stitch to work with. I will make available all the lovely wool I have sourced which has lain dormant in the back of the cupboard for a long while, some tapestry needles and some canvas.
There will be no pattern to follow. Just an opportunity to select a stitch, some wool and repeat it over and over again. Filling the canvas without a worry about the final outcome. Selecting the colours as the piece is worked. Relaxing and enjoying the rhythm of the stitch and knowing it has been used for many centuries by many skilled needle-workers. And enjoying the simple pleasure of working with wool.
Keeping Skills Alive
We must make every effort to keep our making skills alive. Regardless of ability the essence is in the activity of making. Switching off the television, mobile phone and computer gives back time to make. A time to source and organise our materials, to make decisions, to think, to problem solve and relax. Drawing on our inner resources and accomplishing something of our own making. A good counter balance to the digital age is being in the company of wool. It has a lot to say if we just take a moment to stop and listen.