I have wanted to try free machine embroidery for so long. I love its sketchy simplistic quality coupled with the use of colourful fabrics and threads. I also adore the work of Lara Sparks who I discovered at a craft fair a couple of years ago, her gorgeous embroidered birds and wildflowers are something to behold - those florals and feathers strike again! So you can probably guess how excited I was to find out she runs workshops for beginners from her home in West Sussex.
Despite my desperation to have a go for myself, (time for a confession here) it's a craft I've been quite scared to try. My sewing machine and I have a relationship based on mutual apprehension; if no one makes any sudden movements we can both just about run up a cushion or a curtain without any hitches. Free machine embroidery involves adjusting the tension, taking off the foot and other things that sound like they might test this relationship. Taking a workshop was the perfect way to overcome this fear and I’d really recommend it if you have any crafts you’d love to try but can’t bite the bullet on your own.
The workshop day was brilliant we had a short introduction and demonstration from Lara whilst enjoying tea and biscuits. Then set off to have a go ourselves, playing first with simple lines and shapes, then following a line drawn wildflower sampler. Finally we could choose either a cushion or lampshade and make a final piece. I chose a lampshade (as you can see) and stitched this gorgeous blue tit, I can't claim anything on the design as it's a copy of Lara's but I'm absolutely thrilled with it!
It's currently in my craft room (a fitting place to remind me to face my craft related fears). And I'm looking forward to having another go as soon as I've brought some colourful machine embroidery threads. I’m thinking of trying some daffodils next and stay tuned for a how-to post once I've had a bit more practise!