Needlework Classes

One Day Workshops

Mayan Lightning

1-Day Intermediate Course

Bright and bold, the rich tradition of Guatemalan textile design combines traditional Mayan icons with explosions of color to create stunning woven fabrics.  In this intermediate piece, you will use woven stitches to form a Mayan zigzag pattern symbolizing the energy-giving lightning bolt.  Learning the Herringbone Stitch, Waffle Stitch, Sprat’s Head Stitch and Point de Tresse Stitch, you will have an opportunity to understand how these woven stitches are constructed. We will include variations of these stitches to show the impact of subtle differences in color and composition.

The impact of bright colors on the black background will make you want to do more with this eye-popping combination. We will have helpful tips and suggestions for achieving success with black canvas and rayon floss so that you have confidence in selecting them for other projects.

We will provide guidance in compensating stitches, and in turning or mitering corners in a border design. In the last part of the class, the teacher will give instructions and options for finishing the piece.

Two Day Workshops

Fire Walk With Me

2-Day Basic/Intermediate Class

Lava pours over the earth as a volcano erupts near the sea. Its red-black burning coils flow over the land and the restless dark waves await the plunge of the hot coals. Using Florentine stitches along diagonal lines, you will use a variety of sparkling threads to create the volcano’s crimson lava. Waves will follow in a blue-black shaded pattern. A coil of cooled lava will add interest to this turbulent scene.

This class is for the intermediate stitcher who wants to learn how to use a diagonal line to create a Florentine pattern and to use threads to produce subtle shading. Creating and placing a variety of threads coiled around a core will create the design’s unique focal point.

The Herald Angel

2-Day Basic/Intermediate Class

Hovering in the sparkling heavens, trumpeting her message and “breaking the sky apart with light,” this angel is inspired by a piece of Guatemalan folk art. Stitch her garment and wings in serene colors using traditional canvas stitches. The Florentine pattern that forms the brilliant night sky magically creates a textured background that references a classic Guatemalan zigzag motif.

Yabal: Wall of Hope

2-Day Basic/Intermediate Class

With her backstrap loom, a woman in a painting weaves a pattern for YABAL, a Fair Trade Shop in Guatemala. The name YABAL comes from a K’iche word that means “hope”; what I saw in the painted image was “Weaving Hope”. With YABAL: Wall of Hope”, the square blocks covered with weaving from the original painting are interpreted through squares of traditional needlepoint stitches.

Two rectangular canvas pieces, each called “Yabal: Wall of Hope”, use these square needlepoint stitch patterns as the basis for a stitched design. One of the samplers is in the same earth tone colorway as the original painting and one is in the more traditional bright Maya color palette on black canvas.

Students will learn several basic canvas stitches from a variety of stitch families. Compensation, coverage, and color choices will be emphasized.

Quetzalcoatl, the Feathered Serpent

2-Day Intermediate Class

Bringer of wind and rains, patron of learning and the arts, the vibrant Quetzalcoatl is a familiar bird in Guatemala. This feathered serpent and the accompanying Mayan motifs take their inspiration from an antique huipile, the common woman’s blouse woven in Central America. Because these patterns are typically woven, we can readily interpret them with Florentine stitching techniques. The 4-way Bargello motif interprets the Guatemalan universe symbol, with the path of the sun from east to west as it moves through the day. Single stand thread blending creates shading in the curve at the neckline. Learn several colorful Florentine patterns, including how to use Hungarian point to create a background pattern as you stitch this bold design.

Amanda’s Garden

2-Day Intermediate Class

Stop and smell the roses as you stitch this relaxing garden scene. Summer flowering morning glory, coneflower, hibiscus, sunflowers, and lush pink roses entice a young girl to stop and enjoy their fragrance. Using a variety of canvas and surface stitches, you will create this secluded garden and trellis that give structure to the beds of flowers. Surface stitches include Bullion and French knots, spiderweb ribbon roses, blanket stitch in a circle, and lazy daisy. More structured canvas stitches form the path and the underlying green foliage for the flowers. Students will have the option of changing Amanda’s hair or face color.

Your Roots are Showing!

2-Day Intermediate Class

A very untypical basket of vegetables rooted to the earth awaits your creative stitching. By employing traditional needlepoint stitches alongside three-dimensional work, you will create stylized vegetables in, and under, their basket. Using wire, padding techniques, stranded floss, and a variety of other interesting threads, you will learn needle weaving, how to attach stumpwork slips, and how to pad and stitch for effect and dimension. We will discuss perspective and placement of individual elements in the design. Trellis patterns in the border and background finish off the design. Stitched on 18-count canvas, this piece will intrigue intermediate students who would like to expand their stitching repertoire.

Crewel Calavera

2-Day Intermediate Class

Decorated sugar skulls for the Day of the Dead represent departed souls and honor the return of their spirits. Update your embroidery skills by creating a Calavera (skull) in variations of chain stitch. We will transfer the basic skull design onto your choice of fabric, and then choose from several chain stitch variations to create a unique and colorful icon. Chain stitch variations include Wrapped Chain, Feathered Chain, Broad Chain, Twisted Chain, and Open Chain. Use of metallic threads and beads will add interest to the finished design.

Four Day Workshops

Diamond City Lights 

4-Day Intermediate Class

Glittering at sunset, the buildings on the city’s lakefront light up as the sky goes dark. Stitch the diaper patterns of windows in the buildings against the sunset glow of the sky. Create the reflections of the sunset hues in the water, and include a ribbon of traffic lights at the water’s edge. This study in diaper patterns in a split complementary color scheme of blue, red-orange and yellow-orange will include lessons on making and compensating with diaper patterns, establishing proper perspective with stitches, using single strand thread blending to create the shaded sunset sky, and making stitch and thread selections to create reflections in water.

Night Owls

4-Day Advanced Course

Silently perched on a branch in the deep forest, this owl family invites you to glimpse their moonlit home. The curvy trees and darkness of the scene get their inspiration from a French Gobelin tapestry. In this advanced class, you will play with light and dark and near and far to create a forest scene with these three mysterious owls. By using a variety of threads in related color values, you will learn to differentiate foreground and background objects. You will use appliqué of Penelope18/36 canvas to the ground canvas to make the watchful owl that is the focal point of the design. To capture the moonlight, we will work with establishing areas of light and shadow in the design. We will include a variety of traditional canvas stitches as well as those more typically found in surface embroidery.