Last week I went to an ‘in real life’ workshop at the wonderful Tea and Crafting. It was so great to be back in a class with other people who are as excited as me about crafting! The workshop was an evening session running from 7pm-9pm and we were making a beaded ice cream brooch. I’ve been eyeing this workshop up for a while now as I’ve recently got into using beads again and it seemed like a good way to get some good professional tips on how to apply beads to a textile piece.
When we arrived there was a place set out for each attendee including all the things we would need to complete the brooch. A piece of felt with the ice cream design drawn on was already fitted into the embroidery hoop. There were three needles, two different sized embroidery needles and a beading needle, alongside bugle beads, sequins, backing felt, cardboard, and a brooch back. We could then choose our own seed beads, embroidery thread, berry bead, and ice cream topper sequins from a selection on the table.
The tutor Daria was really great at explaining each of the techniques and the correct needles to use for the beads and thread. In order to cover all the techniques throughout the evening she showed us each one and then let us have a short go before moving on to the next one. This meant that we didn’t finish the brooch during the workshop, but we had the skills to finish it at home. We covered bugle beads, seed beads, sequins, french knots, and satin stitch.
At the end of the session Daria also demonstrated how to finish the back of the brooch using cardboard to stabilise it, adding the pin so it is hidden, and then applying the backing felt to the embroidered front using glue and a blanket stitch to give it a neat finished edge.
Even though I knew a few of these techniques already I definitely learnt some new tips and tricks and I really enjoyed myself chatting to the other attendees and being out and about. Although Zoom is great you really can’t beat learning and meeting other people in real life. I’m already checking the calendar of events on the Tea and Crafting website for another class!
The Autumn Craftpod was a box of two halves for me. One project I really enjoyed and the other one not so much! I did, however, really like working in the autumnal colours. Yellow and orange are my favourite colours so it was great to open up the box and see all the gorgeous coloured threads inside.
In the box was:
Cotton tote bag
Piece of calico
Piece of yellow felt
Copper craft wire
Two brooch backs
Seasonal cardboard thread holders
Ceylon black tea bag
The first project was embroidering a tote bag. The picture was made up of various seasonal vegetation such as a pumpkin, mushrooms, nasturtium and oak leaves. It made me think of being at school and going to harvest festival! The embroidery was very fine, using only a single strand of thread. I usually enjoy this kind of needlework, but I wasn’t a big fan of the design, so it felt a bit laboured to get it finished. Large sections of the design were done in long and short stitch which I really hate doing, but that’s just a personal preference! What I did really like about the project was that it was done on a tote bag. There was a piece of calico provided so you had a choice to do either the bag or an ornamental piece. A lot of the kits I have completed have been to make a wall hanging, so it was great to embroider something that I will use on a daily basis and is practical.
The second project was to make an oak leaf brooch. I really liked this project as it was a bit different and I hadn’t done anything like it before. I also really like brooches, although this one might be heading to my mum as I think she would love it and would wear it more regularly than me. The brooch was made of felt and craft wire. The idea was to shape the craft wire around the oak leaf template and then sew it to the felt so that it is completely hidden. You then add the veins and cut around the shape, ending up with a pliable leaf shape, giving it movement and a 3D effect which I love. The brooch back is sewn on the back.
So, the Autumn Craftpod was a bit of a mixed bag for me, but as usual I’m pleased with the finished products. Even when I’m not really enthusiastic about a project, I always think that it was worth the effort and hard work in the end, and it’s always worth giving something new a try because otherwise you never know if you’ll like it or not!