final course sample

The last part of the final module of Sue Stone’s course focused on building on the repetition of shapes from the previous class. I went with simple shapes, a limited colour range, and only running stitch in different weights of thread. Some pieces were fused to the background or other pieces, some were not. It was well received by the Facebook group so I took that as a sign that I had met the brief. For me the course is all but over but if you might be tempted to sign up for a future course and wish to know what I thought of it, read on …

When I began the first module of this course it all seemed a bit too easy. It would be concentrating only on a few simple stitches and I would be making small samples with no major piece of textile art produced by the end of the course. As I had been sewing for most of my life and felt that I knew a fair amount about things stitch-related, I seriously wondered if I had made a huge mistake in signing up. How wrong I was. I’ve had fun. I’ve been challenged. I’ve had a few Eureka! moments. I’ve made contact with lots of lovely like-minded people (and will continue to do so as long as the FB group exists). I’ve discovered why my former method for planning a project didn’t always result in a satisfactory outcome and what to do about it. I have re-discovered the pleasure and usefulness that can result from sampling, keeping notes, sketching design ideas, and then keeping them all for future reference. In the past I rarely made notes about anything I was working on and any samples were usually discarded once I’d finished. This course required me to make notes for every sample and I found myself additionally sketching ideas beforehand and sometimes I even did a test sample before making the proper sample required! I also had to answer questions when each sample was completed (not always easy to do but very useful). Everything related to this course has been labelled as to module and class and is now stored in a box file or on my computer so that I can refer to them at any time.

A few of the goodies for the course included the Facebook group; a private online members’ area containing lots of useful resources; a workbook and video for each module; access to webinars run by Sue, links to other textile artists’ works for inspiration and much more besides. is the website of Sue’s sons, where I first found out about the course and it’s worth a look even if you’re not interested in the course.


having fun with stitches

These two little portraits were for a drawing class in the online course, using back stitch or running stitch instead of pen or pencil. A photo is traced and the outline is stitched through the paper and the ground fabric with the paper gently torn away when all the stitching is completed. Tissue paper is more flexible than tracing paper and easier to stitch through but you have to ensure that your stitches are fairly tight. My first portrait using mainly running stitch wasn’t tight enough and I ended up with lots of raised stitches but I like the resultant shadow/loop effect in unexpected places. In the second portrait I used back stitch mainly and tightened the tension and the final look is different again. I was really surprised when my camera automatically recognised these as faces. If any family members recognise these two portraits I’ll be delighted!


Exploring Texture and Pattern

I’ve been reading lots of articles on lately and some of the content really resonated with me – particularly this one! The website is run by Joe and Sam Pitcher whose mother is Sue Stone (Woman With a Fish) and after signing up for and watching Joe and Sam’s free video training sessions several times, I registered for Sue’s online course, Exploring Texture and Pattern. (Enrolment is possible until Friday 23rd June if you’re interested.)

Amongst other things, the course will involve making a stitch sample book so I thought I’d prepare the book cover fabric in advance. I used another of my rubbishy painted fabric pieces, wrote the course title with Inktense blocks, and outlined the letters with free machine stitching. The image makes the text look huge but it’s only roughly 14 cm (5.5 ins) square.