Wendy Dolan – Free Machine Stitched Flowers

Some of the work in progress

Some of the work in progress

18th February 2016

I have done some free machine quilting but never tried embroidering so I looked forward to this workshop with Wendy, who produces wonderful machine embroidered pictures and flower portraits.

She supplied us with drawings to work from and we transferred these onto plain calico and then dyed the areas we were to stitch. Our fabric was backed with ‘stitch n tear’ and stretched tightly into an embroidery frame. We were instructed to remove the presser feet from our machines – no darning foot allowed, and we threaded up with rayon machine embroidery threads, which come in beautiful shiny colours. Feed dogs were dropped, stitch length set to zero and tension adjusted as necessary. Nervously gripping my frame I then started to stitch. My first attempts at straight lines for flower stems were distinctly wavy but once we started working the flower petals it became fascinating, moving the frame under the needle as though drawing with a fine pencil and building up the colour in long and short stitch.

Wendy gave stunning demonstrations of the ease with which she ‘paints with thread’ and was a helpful and encouraging tutor. While my first attempt (at a poppy) was somewhat imperfect I am inspired to do more and find ‘painting with a needle’ exciting. Other members produced a variety of flowers and no one got a needle through their finger, despite the lack of protection!

Heather Downie