I’ve just returned home from the most wonderful weekend with Amy Mitten and a group of women who were so supportive!
About a month ago, my friend Deb and I gave a presentation to our EGA group about samplers. It was such fun to research the samplers I own and to hear all the information Deb had to share about the history of samplers and see ones that she and others have embroidered.
When Deb and I first talked about doing the presentation together, she mentioned that she was going to go to a workshop with Amy Mitten in Madison, Wisconsin in March. When I got home from the meeting, I looked online and decided I would take the plunge into counted work and go to this workshop. I love collecting and studying samplers, but never had tried to create a sampler. As many of you know, counted work is not my strongest skill!
After looking at the Lynn’s of Madison website, the shop hosting the workshop, I decided to take the plunge and try my hand at counted work. The worst that could happen was that I would find that I really couldn’t count and would fail; the best would be that I would learn tips to help me and would succeed.
Well, I’m happy to report that I succeeded!
For those of you who don’t know who Amy Mitten is or what she does, here is a link to her web site. I met Amy years ago when we were on a needlework tour together. When she told me she wrote mystery stories about samplers, I was intrigued! The class I took in Madison was entitled “Tour Van Holland”. The mystery is based on a trip to The Netherlands by a group of stitchers and what happens while they are there.
Amy structures her workshop to include reading the mystery story, extensive slide presentations that go along with each chapter of the story covering information about the kind of sampler we are stitching (in this case, Dutch samplers), stitch instructions and, of course, stitching time.
We began with Chapter 1, read beautifully by Cathy. Then Amy showed us slides with information and details of the samplers, followed by stitch demonstrations, individual help and stitching time. Each chapter covers a particular section of the sampler. The instruction and stitch diagrams etc. are organised chapter by chapter. This helped me from getting overwhelmed at the amount of stitching to be done to complete this piece.
Amy brought many of her samplers with her for us to see. Everyone loved to look at the wide range of work she’s produced! I particularly love the threads she uses in her kits. She dyes all of them and they are just lovely to embroider with!
Thanks to the Amy’s teaching and the encouragement of my friend Deb and all the others in the class, I learned enough to feel confident to work on this beautiful sampler on my own. I was the only one in class who had never done any counted work like this. We had an interesting discussion about how difficult I found this kind of embroidery compared to how difficult some of the ladies found surface embroidery. They said they just didn’t know where to put the needle when they weren’t doing counted work!
This is as far as I got during the weekend. It wasn’t easy – I took out one row of stitches twice and was VERY frustrated before I got it right! And then I suddenly saw the threads as squares and got the hang of counting and I was on my way.
It’s such fun to learn and be able to do something new!