Mastering Traditional Hand Embroidery

Develop your skills beyond the basics of cross stitch embroidery, master the counted thread and free embroidery techniques and learn skills and stitches which you can take forward with confidence into your future projects.
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Tutor Name(s): Alison Larkin
Level: Intermediate
Programme: On Demand Masterclasses
Duration: 3.5 hours
About

Allow historical embroidery specialist, Alison Larkin, to develop your skills beyond the basics of cross stitch embroidery. Master the counted thread and free embroidery techniques and learn skills and stitches which you can take forward with confidence into your future projects.

Throughout this Masterclass Series, Alison will guide you through five embroidery projects, developing different methods of stitching in each and covering a range of traditional styles to give you a flavour of the variety of opportunities within the hand-stitching world.

Perfect for embroiderers with some experience of stitching who want to elevate their skills beyond basic cross stitch. Each project in this Masterclass can be presented individually or framed together to showcase your learning journey.

 

Key Learnings:

·     Understand & explore different styles of hand embroidery

·     Develop skills in both counted thread and surface embroidery

·     Work with different embroidery materials such as cotton, crewel wool, beads and metallic threads

·     Learn key embroidery stitches such as stem stitch, satin stitch, long-and-short stitch, and couching

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Session Overview
Session 1
Cornucopia I: Blackwork infills

In this opening session, you will gain valuable skills in edge stitches and diaper infills, techniques used in traditional Blackwork Embroidery.

 

Key Learnings:

• Stitch on Evenweave linen

• Stitch Blackwork diaper patterns

• Work Whipped Back Stitch

 

Materials: 

• Hoop/Frame and scissors 

• Piece of white/antique white Evenweave linen 25 x 25cm minimum

• DMC 310, 904, 550, #24/26 tapestry needle, marking pen

 

Preparation:

• Download the Session 1 Masterclass Pack

• Trace and mark out the design on the fabric (from the pattern in the masterclass pack)

 

Session 2
Cornucopia II: Silverwork and sequins

Following on from your learnings in Session 1: Blackwork Infills, discover how to couch metallic threads and stitch sequins using beads.

 

Key Learnings:

• Surface couch Jap Thread and Twist

• Couch Jap Thread in a circle

 

Materials: 

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Work from previous lesson

• Silver Jap, silver Twist, large-eyed needle, grey sewing thread, silver sequins and beads.

 

Preparation: 

• Complete the stitching from Session 1: Blackwork Infills.

• Download the Session 2 Masterclass Pack

Session 3
Hardanger I: Kloster blocks and Eyelets

In our session, acquire the necessary skills to work the foundation satin stitch blocks used in Hardanger embroidery, as well as how to stitch Eyelets.

 

Key Learnings:

• Work Kloster Blocks 

• Stitch Eyelets and Satin Stitch shapes

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Piece of white/antique white evenweave linen 25 x 25 cms minimum

• Coton Perle Threads, #22 tapestry needle

 

Preparation:

• Download the Session 3 Masterclass Pack

Session 4
Hardanger II: Cutwork and border

Overcome the challenge of hardanger cutwork and infills and master the stitch of a Four-sided Stitch border.

 

Key Learnings:

• Cut and withdraw threads from fabric

• Work Woven Bar infills

• Work Four-sided Stitch and large Eyelets

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Coton Perle #8 Threads, #22 tapestry needle

• Stitch created in Session 3

 

Preparation: 

• Complete the stitching from Session 3: Hardanger I: Kloster blocks and Eyelets 

• Download the Session 4 Masterclass Pack

Session 5
Crewelwork I: Line stitches and Bayeux Stitch

Use the skills you’ve gained in the course so far to accomplish simple line stitches such as Stem Stitch and Chain Stitch and discover how to work Buttonhole, Blanket and Bayeux Stitch.

 

Key Learnings:

• Work Stem Stitch and Chain Stitch

• Work two variations of Buttonhole Stitch

• Work Bayeux Stitch

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Piece of fine linen/cotton, piece of backing cotton/calico; both at least 30 x 30cm

• Crewel wools, #7/8 crewel needle

• Sewing thread, marking pen

 

Preparation: 

• Mark out pattern on the main cotton/linen fabric

• Baste 2 layers of fabric together

• Download the Session 5 Masterclass Pack

 

Session 6
Crewelwork II: Filling stitches

Learn the art of Filling Stitches in Session 6 of this masterclass series. Alison will provide you with the skills to create Satin Stitch, Trellis Stitch and French Knots.

 

Key Learnings:

• Work Satin Stitch, both Straight and Slanted

• Work Square Trellis Stitch

• Work French Knots

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Work created in Session 5

• Crewel Threads, #7/8 crewel needle

 

Preparation: 

• Complete the stitching from Session 5: Crewelwork II: Filling stitches

• Download the Session 6 Masterclass Pack

Session 7
Georgian Flower I: Silk Shading and stems

Translate some of the line stitches you have produced so far into work with cottons and come to know how to do Silk Shading with cotton!

 

Key Learnings:

• Work Stem Stitch and Chain Stitch with cotton thread

• Work Long-and-Short Stitch

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Piece of fine linen/cotton, piece of backing cotton/calico; both at least 25 x 25cm

• DMC stranded cottons, no 10 Crewel needle

• Sewing thread, marking pen

 

Preparation: 

• Mark out pattern on main linen/cotton fabric

• Baste 2 layers of fabric together

• Download the Session 7 Masterclass Pack

Session 8
Georgian Flower II: Goldwork

Complete the cotton embroidery you have been working on in previous sessions and begin to work with gold passing threads to make various goldwork stitches.

 

Key learnings:

• Work an interlaced knot stitch

• Work Reverse Chain Stitch

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Work created in Session 7

• Gold Passing Thread, yellow sewing thread

• DMC cottons 552, 726, 904, 906

• Crewel needle, #9-10; Crewel needle #7-8 (big enough to take the Passing thread); Tapestry needle #22

 

Preparation: 

• Complete the stitching from Session 7: Georgian Flower I: Silk Shading and stems

• Download the Session 8 Masterclass Pack

Session 9
Dragonfly I: Padded Embroidery

Understand the technique behind using felt and string as padding to make raised embroidery and thereafter how to create projects on this material. 

 

Key learnings:

• How to use felt and string to pad embroidery

• How to work raised embroidery

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Piece of fine linen/cotton, piece of backing cotton/calico; both at least 25 x 25cm

• DMC stranded cottons, 904, 907, 729, 830, 827, #10 crewel needle

• DMC Metallic thread E334

• Small piece of green felt, soft cotton string, sewing thread, marking pen

 

Preparation: 

• Mark out pattern on main linen/cotton

• Baste 2 layers of fabric together

• Download the Session 9 Masterclass Pack

 

Session 10
Dragonfly II: Beading and Couching

In the final part of our Masterclass Series, Alison will lead you through the process of Couching with metallic threads, Feather stitch, and stitching beads.

 

Key learnings:

• Work Feather Stitch

• Stitch with beads

 

Materials:

• Hoop/Frame and scissors

• Work created in Session 9

• DMC threads 729, 830, 827, E334

• Crewel needle, #9-10

• Rainbow seed beads, rainbow bugle beads, gold seed beads, bronze seed beads

 

Preparation: 

• Complete the stitching from Session 9: Dragonfly I: Padded Embroidery

• Download the Session 10 Masterclass pack

 

Materials & Preparation

Materials

Equipment: 

• 20 cm (8”) embroidery hoop or similar small embroidery frame

• Embroidery scissors with sharp points

• Needles: 

- Tapestry needle about size 22

- Crewel/Embroidery needles sizes 10/12 and 7/8 (approx.)

- Large-eyed needle for taking metallic threads to the back of the work, such as a chenille or tapestry needle

• Water-soluble marking pen or similar

 

Fabric: 

It is important that your fabric fits the hoop or frame you will be using, so adjust the sizes if needed. 

• 2 pieces of Off-white or Antique white even weave linen, 28 count (28 threads to the inch), size approx. 25cm (10”) square

• 3 pieces off-white or Antique white fine linen or cotton, size approx. 25cm (10”) square

• 3 pieces plain white cotton or unbleached calico (US – Muslin) the same size 

 

Threads: 

• Stranded Cotton embroidery threads: DMC 310, 550, 552, 554, 726, 729, 825, 826, 827, 830, 904, 907

• Cotton Perle Thread: Number 5 – 336; Number 8 – 121

• DMC Metallic: E334

• Appletons Crewel Wool: 482, 486, 543, 547, 607. (1 skein of each thread will be ample for all the projects.)

• Light Grey and Yellow Sewing cotton

• Silver Jap Thread, approx. 2m

• Silver embroidery twist, 1m, or a skein of a silver DMC thread

• Gold Passing Thread or Tambour thread, either No 4 or 6 will be fine, approx. 1.5m 

 

Other Materials: 

• Small piece of black or green felt, 5cm (2”) square is enough

• 1m Length of soft cotton string or dishcloth cotton

• 6-8 Silver sequins, both 4mm, flat and either flower-shape or cupped, 3-4 of each

• 6-8 clear or silver seed beads

• About 20 each amber and bronze seed beads

• About 12 rainbow/petrol seed beads

• About 4-5 rainbow/petrol bugle beads

 

Preparation:

• A basic understanding of hand embroidery

• Download the masterclass packs ahead of each session

• Gather the materials needed ahead of each session

 

 

 

Meet the Master: Alison Larkin

After 30-years of teaching Biology, Alison Larkin left teaching in 2013 to work full-time in embroidery and costume. 

Based from her home studio in Hull, Alison applies her specialism in historical and hand embroidery techniques in her roles as a lecturer, teacher & workshop leader and she continues to develop her own knowledge through her regular research into the history of embroidery. 

Alison’s particular interest is in embroidery of the Georgian period and she collects 18th and 19th century embroidery patterns. She has made several replica items as well as costume items for herself using authentic 18th century techniques and patterns. 

In 2020 she published Jane Austen Embroidery with Jennie Batchelor, published by Pavilion Books in UK and Dover Publications in USA.

 

Find out more about Alison Larkin:

www.alisonlarkinembroidery.com  

www.instagram.com/alisonlarkinstitcher 

www.facebook.com/alisonlarkinembroidery 

www.twitter.com/larkinstitcher 

 

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