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Saturday, September 13, 2008

Louisville 2008: Tudor-Style Purse class

My four-day class in Louisville was fantastic! I took the Tudor-Style Purse, taught by Chris Berry. Chris is the chairman of the Embroiderers' Guild in the UK, and has obviously done oodles of research on historical English embroidery. In our class, she focused on the silk-and-metal scroll work typically done in the Tudor period in the 16th and early 17th century.

The class started off with two days of working sample stitches to put in a notebook. We learned several variations of detached buttonhole stitch, as well as trellis stitch, detached up-and-down buttonhole stitch (both corded and non-corded), ceylon stitch, filling in shapes with all of these, and making tassels and two types of braids. Chris provided us with pictures of these stitches used in historical pieces.

I really liked Chris's idea for the stitch notebook. She requested that each of us bring a small, unlined journal. We could then write our comments about each stitch, paste in the historical pictures, and stitch in our sample stitches. I found a spiral bound journal that was a little longer than specified (at 70 pages), but I'm glad I did. I'm actually pasting Chris's instructions in it, along with comments, pictures, and my samples. Since the stitch samples make the book a bit thicker, I'll be able to rip out the unused pages and it will still fit nicely within the spiral binding.

The second two days were dedicated to the purse. Each of us decided upon a design, out of 6 options (or we could design our own, if desired). I chose to do a scroll design of peapods, partially because I liked the idea of doing an open pod, and partially because I didn't really want to do a purple flower on purple fabric. Each of us only had purple background fabric (wonderful stuff called silk noil), purple and green cotton threads, and gold metallic threads. I wanted my design to stand out, not shrink into the fabric. I was able to get all of the green done on the design before the end of class. This design is not very big - only about 3" across. Chris provided all the instructions we need to construct the purse (or sweet bag). It will probably never be worn, but I do intend to complete it!

I cannot speak highly enough of Chris Berry as an instructor. She was great, answering individual questions, checking on each student in turn, and explaining some things multiple times. When asked on Friday, she even revisited the slides she showed us at the beginning of class so we could have a better appreciation of where some of the stitches we learned were used in historical pieces. I was concerned that I would not have enough of the green thread to finish my peapods, and mentioned this to her. It turned out I did have enough, so I didn't go back to her to get more thread. She remembered, though, and mailed some more thread to me before she left Louisville! I thought that was very classy.

Thank you, Chris, for a great class!


Anonymous said...

Sounds like a great class! Your notebook will be a great resource. Love your completed peapods - they are wonderful - the green stands out beautifully against the purple ground. Lovely!

Karoline said...

Sounds like a lovely class, your peapods are looking gorgeous

Susan said...

It sounds like a wonderful class. Your work is beautiful - very even stitching. Look forward to seeing it completed.

Elmsley Rose said...

oh - I would SO loved to have gone to that class (but I'm not even in the right country!)

It sounded wonderful!

I love your peapods! And the stitch journal!