Friday, 14 September 2018

And we're off level 1 and 2 City and Guilds 7161 Hand and Machine Embroidery.


Busy Bees Patchwork
City and Guilds Hand and Machine Embroidery
Tutor - Beccy Paget

Wonderful news, the registration date for this course has been extended to 2021

Since I spoke to you last, City and Guilds have extended their registration date to December 2021, which means that this wonderful qualification will continue for the next 3 years in it's present form.  A diverse and comprehensive course that teaches you how to turn your creative thoughts into reality.  The course is accredited which means that you will gain a qualification that is known and respected in the industry the whole world over.

There are not many places now in the Uk and certainly not Wales where you can take this course and I feel as a tutor very privileged to deliver this course to you through my Business who I run with my partner Ann Stuart here at Busy Bees Patchwork in the beautiful grounds of the National Trust property of Tredegar House Newport South Wales.

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Ann is on the left and I'm on the right, we run a happy ship, but take our work very seriously,
both of us have had many years experience in the trade but opportunity knocked for both of us in 2014 having not even met each other, we hit it off straight away and have not looked back since!
We keep each other on an even keel and sometimes I wonder how we manage it all, as both of us have such creative minds, but each has their roles to play and we have only to look forward now and grow our business into a center of learning excellence for textile lovers. We offer many courses through our shop, day classes and weekly classs some we teach ourselves and others by talented local and international tutors. Needless to say we are very proud to be an accredited center for City and Guilds, so if you are still thinking of doing this course then there is still time to join in, I am a very giving and generous tutor and will help you to catch up if you decide to take the plunge!!!

The new roundabout layout at Junction 28 is nearing completion and is a big improvement on the old roundabout.  Follow the A48  Cardiff road west to the traffic lights and turn left onto Pencarn road, at the roundabout take the first exit and you will arrive at the car park for Tredegar House. Busy Bees shop is located in the row of craft shops in the car park.

We run some of our smaller workshops in the shop itself but we also have a studio where we run larger workshops such as the City and Guilds courses. The studio has all the facilities you would expect plus great disabled access for wheelchair users and disabled toilet facilities too.
To get to our studio from the M4, follow the A48, Cardiff road west towards Tredegar House at the traffic lights turn left onto Pencarn road. Take the second exit on the roundabout and continue to the next roundabout. Take the second exit and travel about a quarter of mile and take the next left Tredegar house drive. Follow this road until you come to a dead end, drive to the right and you will see a news agents, you can park here and walk or you can drive through the metal gates and park directly outside Busy Bees Studio, perfect when you have lots of equipment to bring to class like heavy sewing machines.

Our first meeting of the year for those returning to level 2 and our new level 1's went very well yesterday! Level 2 girls have had a little rest over the summer and are raring to see what level 2 has to offer and those taking part for the first time are probably wondering what on earth they have let themselves in for, but all is calm in the studio after the initial hello's and greetings and we're off to a good start!

Level 2's task this week was thread sketching or making marks with thread and needle instead of pencil and paint. Using only a couple of stitches straight and chain I have asked them to draw a 2 inch square and to fill that square with a stitch, using all kinds of threads and yarns. To layer, distort and generally use the stitches in a completely random way, totally against the grain when you are so used to certain stitches looking or having a function that are not normally for.

Straight stitching for many is a utility stitch, a stitch which holds seams together or if you are a quilter it is used to hold the layers together in a quilt generally in linear form, You also see it on the outside of garments, on jeans pockets or around a collar. In embroidery the use of straight stitch can be seen in many forms, in Kantha work, Japanese sashiko work, quilting and others but if you break it down in to single random elements it becomes a seeding stitch. The act of taking the needle through the back of the fabric to the top and then placing the needle at a new point on the top of the material and then through the back is I suppose a straight stitch. How you combine them from there on is what makes the difference. Also the type of thread and fabric you stitch into also gives this, the most basic of stitches it's appeal. From time and memorial this utilitarian stitch has featured in nearly everything we make from those who first sewed with bone needles to the very latest computerised machine we just love this stitch. No matter who you are, everyone appreciates it's qualities, top fashion designers to fisherman, builders to sailors if you look that straight stitch is in every garment we wear, and it hasn't changed much from when it was first invented way back when!

I have often joked that I could teach a whole day on just straight stitching, but the more I think about it would/could take a week to review the qualities of this fundamental part of our lives.
The chain stitch not to be undermined has also a long history, and perhaps some of you will know this but I am assuming that many don't, that the first mechanical sewing machines invented made a chain stitch and you still see it today on tops of potato bags, carrot sacks and other feeds that come in hessian or net bags. the advantage of this stitch for the industry is that it comes undone very easily if you cut the right end and locks when you don't. A very strong stitch when locked but for garment making as you can imagine not really suitable, seams would be unraveling all over the place and that would not be a good thing at all !!! There are still some domestic machines that do a chain stitch and that is the cover stitch machines that look like an overlocker/serger, also those very cheep hand held machines which break almost when you take them out of the box.
A different story for the embroiderer the chain stitch is held in quite high regard and if you are of a certain age one of the first stitches you would have been taught at school. I remember using chain stitch for a snail shell and trying ever so hard to make the stitches as neat and as uniform as I could to impress my teacher. Although she was impressed, my hard efforts were dashed when I had to unpick all my work as I had stitched it to my skirt as well :( (no laughing please I was bereft) I don't know how much that day affected me, but to this day I detest unpicking anything and do my level best not to.  My friend said to me once, you never make any mistakes well I believe in preparation and then I find I don't have to unpick, I am bit like a tortoise slow and steady wins the race!

Here are a few samples of some stitching the ladies did, taking these two lovable stitches out of context and layering them, distorting them and using all sorts of threads too.

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I am interested to see what they come up with next week!

Level 1 ladies were set quite a different task of mark making with pencils and marking pens, a little lesson in how different the pencil can make marks when held in a different way eg. at the top, in the middle and near the tip. The amount of pressure and control is very different and consequently makes either light or bold marks on the paper. Using different hardness of pencil again creates unique marks either fine with a very had pencil such as a 4H or thick with a 4B pencil. Did you know that on the graphite scale H stands for hardness and B stands for blackness, well now you do!
Making marks in a random way is very satisfying long, short, dots, all these elements go towards your first lesson in drawing. Horizontal lines, vertical lines and curved lines indicate direction in your design even if they are broken. They help to travel your eye around a picture and lead you to the most important features, the basis of any good picture. Although some students struggle with this part of the process because it seems too simplistic it is good to strip back to the basics to see your design in it's simplest form. Later when choosing a subject to depict in stitches, it is impossible to put in every detail and we need to lose some of the peripheral elements and pair back so that the main parts are shown. It is surprising how our eyes fill in the rest.

Lines are everywhere in our daily lives, learn to look around you and see from where you are sat how many lines you can see! Edge of curtain, the curtain pole or rail, on a t shirt or a garment your wearing, doors, walls, wallpaper every where you look horizontal, vertical and curved lines.  They have been used in decoration in different ways since forever!

As we progress the ladies will become more aware of line and how to appreciate it's in importance in design not only the visual lines we can see but the also the suggested line in a picture that helps the viewer to keep focused on the subject.

I think that's enough for this week, I hope they are doing some homework and next week I'll bring you some more pictures of what they're up to. For myself I 'm still working on my miners, I haven't had a great deal of free time but that's how it goes sometimes.

Best stitches

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