On Slow Stitching and No Stitching

This is an odd title, but was the best I could think of to summarise two classes I did this week at the Dias Quilters’ Guild Spring Show, held in Port Elizabeth.

On the first day I did what teacher Chiquita Vosloo calls a basic embroidery class. Oo la la (as my granny would have said), it may be basic to Chiquita who creates remarkable embroidered pieces, but to us it went way beyond a refresher course in chain and lazy daisy stitch. We learnt so much more than this and  even made up a few stitches along the way (euphamism for mistakes). But we had much fun, practising an array of new stitches.

Chiquita Vosloo relaxing with her work at the Dias Quilters’ Spring Show

I was so engrossed during the class that I did not take any action photographs. Instead I spent the time trying to master the ins and outs of back stitch, stem stitch, chain stitch, fly stitch, Pekinese stitch, Portuguese stem stitch, Palestrina stitch, Montmellick stitch, Rosetta chain stitch, Vandyke stitch, French knot, pistol stitch, colonial knot, lazy daisy stitch, buttonhole stitch, blanket stitch, etc. If you have read to the end of the (incomplete) list I hope you are impressed!

Chiquita supplied us with the design drawn onto a front for a zipper pouch and a comprehensive key. But we would have been lost without her patient tutoring. She used fabric in a giant sized hoop and double ply wool in bright colours to demonstrate how to do the stitches, and cheerfully repeated them until we got our heads and needles around the twists and turns. I wish I had taken a photograph of that hoop of bright colours.

Here is an after-the-class photograph of my attempt to master some of the stitches.

When we voiced despair at our clumsiness, Chiquita told us to take heart, for there is always U-tube. She referred us to Mary Corbett’s website called needlenthread.

That was the slow stitching. The next day I did a bead making class with Angie Weisswanger, where there was no stitching, but plenty of glueing, cutting, wrapping, burning, varnishing, folding and fun.

Angie Weisswanger and her companion whose name rscapes me but who wears some of the beads that Angie has created

Angie does not believe in throwing away anything that can be turned into a bead — from fabric scraps to waste paper to old books and newspapers to teabags to chip (crisps) packets, to plastic bottles, to olive pips. Rumour has it that after this class she is going to try her hand at turning old pantihose into beads.

A close up of some of Angie’s beads

She shared all her secrets and taught us how to make paper and fabric beads by pinching and rolling the strips around a stick or knitting needle and then glueing and varnishing them. She showed us how to make cylindrical, round, and wedge shapes. She showed us how to use a candle flame to melt synthetic fabrics and other materials to turn them into gorgeous beads. She showed us how to plan and string a necklace from the beads. She even showed us how to fold pretty paper to make a presentation box.

The necklace I made during the class,

We left the class thoroughly inspired and vowing to upcycle all sorts of things into beads.

A handful of beads, waiting to be strung. They were made from the selvedges of African waxed prints

What a wonderful week

12 thoughts on “On Slow Stitching and No Stitching

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