Sunday, 9 April 2017

Painting With My Needle

For several years now I have been an avid admirer of Caroline Zoob’s beautiful creations. I had visited her stall at the Country Living Fair on a couple of occasions; purchasing her Faded Flowers fabric and lovely little handmade paper bags.

However, it was Caroline’s embroidery work that really inspired me and impelled me to pick up a needle and thread and start sewing. 

During the renovation of La Petite Maison, my sewing machine had whirred endlessly as I devoted my time to sewing length after length of floral linen curtain drapes, tablecloths and cushions. Now that these were all complete, I was at last ready to turn my attention to finer, more detailed and less exhausting sewing.

Closely studying Caroline’s book (The Hand-stitched Home), I began by embroidering little key fob heart on scraps of linen. Immediately I became hooked! Instinctively I remembered some of the embroidery stitches taught at school, but aside from the basics, I found that I was just letting my needle do what felt right.

My collection of embroidered hearts and pictures grew,

 but even with more practice, I felt they still lacked the finesse of Caroline’s exquisite sewing.

So upon discovering that Caroline was now holding embroidery workshops, I was determined to attend one to progress my technique. This week I realised that goal and on Tuesday, accompanied by Laura we set out to Bramley in Surrey for a “Painting with Your Needle” workshop.

Miranda’s light and airy garden room provided a spacious workspace for the eight of us.

The table was covered with boxes of threads, fabrics and most excitingly – samples of Caroline’s work.


I loved the embroidered wildflower meadow

and the still to be completed country scene.

Caroline wore a beautiful apron;
 that she had made from a vintage linen curtain, 

boldly embroidered with bees, butterflies, ladybirds, cobwebs and wildflowers.

During the introductions and as we all got to know each other, Caroline asked if any of us had embroidered before. Laura and I exchanged looks, 

(my latest heart embroidery)

but I was a bit bashful at showing the others any pictures of my work – feeling rather inadequate after seeing Caroline’s stunning embroideries.

We spent most of the morning learning the basic stitches – it was the first time I had embroidered using an embroidery hoop and it definitely helped to improve the neatness of my work. After a delicious lunch, (I must get the recipe for those vegetable pasties); Caroline showed us the technique for embroidering a wildflower meadow, including the use of paint.

She demonstrated the fishbone stitch on Laura’s sampler,

adding in more grasses and daisies.

My wildflower meadow was rather on the petite side and could definitely do with a lot more work - (looking rather pathetic compared to my previous embroidery attempts), but most importantly, I spent the time watching Caroline sewing so that I learnt several techniques that I hope will add that extra bit of texture and definition to my next embroidery projects.
It was a lovely day; Caroline Zoob is an excellent tutor; so talented and such a nice lady – Laura and I both enjoyed ourselves and came away full of ideas and inspiration. I cannot wait to begin my next embroidery to put into practice what I have learnt. I am sure there is a lot more that I could learn from Caroline, so I will continue to follow her on Instagram and eagerly await any future book releases.
Thank you for your encouragement and help Caroline and also to Miranda for your hospitality. 

(My handmade embroidered embroidery bag)


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