Wednesday, 26 February 2014

Swete Bag Class – Day One

Back in August I did a two day class at the Ashmolean Museum. I had read on a forum that Lynn Hulse (Ornamental Embroidery) would be offering a swete bag workshop together with Nicola Jarvis and Jacqui Carey. I put my name down on the mailing list and waited for what seemed an eternity to hear about registration. In June I received news from Lynn that registration was open on the Ashmolean website. For some reason I, and a couple of others, did not received the original mailing but Lynn received some bounce notifications and resent the message to us the following day. I happened to be working on my computer when that message arrived so, knowing that places were limited, I immediately tried to sign up – only to find that it was already fully subscribed. I sent a message to Lynn to say how disappointed I was to miss out on the class and to wish them luck with it. It was fortunate that I did because Lynn contacted the Ashmolean only to find that there was a glitch with their booking page and there were in fact a few places remaining – one of which I was able to book.

I was rather excited about the class for several reasons. Although I had not previously heard of Lynn, I did know of Nicola and Jacqui and had in fact done a one day workshop with Jacqui a few years ago. I was looking forward from learning from these very knowledgeable and talented ladies. Secondly, I knew that several embroiderers that I have 'met' online were also taking the class and I was looking forward to meeting them in person. And thirdly, Micheál and Elizabeth Feller were to visit the class, bring with them a couple of swete bags from their collection.

On the first morning, after we had spent a little time introducing ourselves to one another, Lynn kicked off the class with a short lecture on swete bags, illustrated with a slide show of some very fine examples. Once we knew a little more about the history of swete bags it was time to get stitching. The design was printed onto the fabric and the threads were pre-cut so as soon as we had framed up we could get straight to the fun bit – the stitching.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

The original is worked in silk threads on linen using tent stitch over one and this is how I chose to stitch mine. I have done tent stitch before but never the basket weave variation so Lynn gave me a tutorial before I tried it for myself. We were advised to begin each motif by working the outline, then 'colour it in'.

© Ornamental Embroidery/Carol-Anne Conway

As promised, Micheál and Elizabeth Feller visited the class and brought with them two swete bags. One was the small bag with floral motifs that was the inspiration for the piece we were stitching in the class. It was wonderful to see ‘in person’. Unfortunately we were not allowed to photograph the piece, even for our own use, but there is a picture of this bag on page 115 of The Needlework Collection: volume 1 by Micheál & Elizabeth Feller. Pictured on the facing page (114) is the beadwork bag that they also brought for us to see.

Apart from the basket weave variation of tent stitch, I did not really learn any new techniques on day one but I still enjoyed the day and was really looking forward to day two.

Happy Stitching

1 comment:

Rachel said...

Basketweave tent is a good, sturdy stitch. I much prefer it to Continental tent stitch!