Master Classes Blog

With my confined status due to my ankle fracture I am fortunate in having my needlepoint stitching, my finished pieces and an extensive out of print book collection around me. Time to reflect on all this and my many years of stitching has introduced a new series of one day classes Master Classes, each in a particular needlepoint technique.

Various Tartans
The idea for each day is to study the technique, Florentine, Basketweave Tent and Backgrounds, Patterned Darning etc with some historical background, making a personal stitched sampler and learning many tips and special techniques associated with that form of needlepoint.

The days so far offered are available at the end  of the blog.

Basketweave & Backgrounds.

I know everyone thinks they ‘know’ Basket weave Tent but there are many tips to help you get the best possible smooth and hard-wearing results.  Also, how to avoid kits that only allow for Half Cross that won’t wear satisfactorily.

Autumn mill where water and sky
where important stitch decisions
Backgrounds can be solid, covering the canvas with interesting textures to give hard ware or more lacy stitches for decorative pieces.  Samples of a selection of both are given and can be worked.   Personally I have needed stitches suitable for water, skies and vegetation and ideas for these are also included.
Fabulous Florentine

Florentine, Bargello and Hungarian Point are all names associated with these beautiful patterns and photographs of wonderful antique bed hangings and upholstery are examined. 

14 Mesh, pulled thread
It is such a vast subject it is offered in two levels. I recommend Part I for those with little prior knowledge and gives basic curves and spires as well as 8 or more patterns for experiment that can be used for cushions, chair seats, bell pulls and much else.  Part II for those of you who have either extensive knowledge, done Part I or wish to create your own Florentine designs, mix different motifs in stool tops or rugs and explore Florentine with Pulled thread.

Pulled Thread

18 Mesh, pulled thread
The canvas threads are ‘pulled’ not removed (that is called drawn thread as threads are withdrawn) and the sampler you work to record the stitches makes a charming small panel or cushion.

In this case some pre-class stitching of cross stitch frames is needed;  the canvas, thread and charts is sent out on receipt of the class fee so these frames which are needed to anchor the  pulled thread stitches are done, ready for the class.

Patterned Darning

Spot sampler of Pattern Darning
to be worked by students
This can be offered in two forms; a ‘spot sample’ can be worked (as this photo shows) or as another ‘panel’ to be made into a cushion or small picture.   Only in the case of a panel is some pre-class stitching needed – similar to the details given for Pulled Thread.  Patterned Darning is particularly suitable for backgrounds, gives ideas for Shadow Stitching – when a painted or sprayed canvas is allowed to show through the stitches.   Many traditional stitches can be worked as Patterned Darning and this will be explained.

Spectacular Stitches

Example of  a Dramatic Stitch
One always needs a wow facture on a piece, especially a picture or cushion for an elegant position. With the instructions, charts given and your sampler you will have a working, useful record to refer to for countless future projects.

Tartan & Gingham

This Huntly Tartan makes a good
choice for upholstery
It would appear that a vast number of surnames entitle one to a tartan and besides working a panel with 8 different tartans, full details of working out your own tartan or gingham is given. Both, in different ways are fun to work but also give excellent wear so besides cushions they make good upholstery items, rugs and backgrounds; ginghams are particularly good for children’s designs.

On payment of the Class fee each student will get pre-class notes, listing the options for the materials  (canvas mesh/colour and colour scheme) and a set of helpful ‘Techniques ad Tips’ for downloading and future reference.  This is in order that we can have things ready on arrival and to enable everyone to get the most out of the class.
I just love the colour, I should really finish it!

I have already held three of these days during the last few months, the students have found them instructive and useful so there are more in the Autumn class programme.  If you should be planning a trip to England with some fellow stitches we can always arrange a special day for you.

I should love to hear from you with thoughts, ideas and hopefully see you.
Master Class Dates:
Wednesday 25th September (Florentine)
Wednesday 9th October (Pattern Darning)
Wednesday 13th November (Spectacular Stitches)
Wednesday 11th December (Florentine Part 2)
Please email me for any more info


  1. You are amazing to be getting these classes ready while you are nursing a broken ankle - my work and other responsibilities prevent me doing things on Wednesdays, very sadly.
    Happy stitching! xx

    1. While it is nice to be able to have some time to stitch and plan classes with a fractured foot, I am rehabbing a shoulder replacement (non-dominant hand) with needlepoint. Since I do not stitch with my foot, it is a little but more challenging. Day by day, I regain strength and dexterity with my stitching. Needlework, in its many forms,is so very therapeutic!

  2. Thank you for you comments,


    I can do personal or small group classes as well if Wednesday doesn't suit you.


    Hope you feel better.
    All the best


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