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Monday, September 10, 2012

Crafting With Sue

I had great fun yesterday going to the Sue Spargo class.  It was a great time to drive an hour north.  Sunday morning there is no traffic.  I got there with Google directions, no problem.  When I went into the classroom the front was full of Sue Spargo stuff like she has for sale on her website.

Sorry the pictures aren't great.  But there was a lot of good stuff to choose from.  I loved seeing all the threads.  I didn't know Thread Gatherer made so many different threads. Sea Grass?  Overdyed pearls? Chenille?  Sue's favorite thread is Valdani pearl #8.  I have a thing for thread anyway.  This is some of my stash enhancement:

There were tons of overdyed wools and velvets.  Many of Sue's kits were there.  Just lots of nifty stuff.  So I shopped a bit and got some fun stuff.

Sue had many of her quilts on display.  It was great to see them in person. I had seen many of them on her website but they are more impressive in person.

We got some more parts to our bird kit: lining fabric, wool for needle pages, labels and pearl cotton.  What was missing were the written instructions.  So through all of our class time, Sue would tell us what to do next.  It was nice to see the completed piece as we opted for this class without knowing what we were going to be making just that it was a needle book.

 The first step was to backstitch around our bird using a chenille needle.  I didn't have a chenille needle with me but Mary, who sat next to me gave me one.  It would have been nice to have one in our kit, but whatever.  I know how to backstitch so that went well.  Trying to get the stitches even is a trick as the stitch turns out smaller than you think.  The material is kind of squished together with each stitch.  But this is a folk art style so it is not supposed to look perfectly even.

 We used the back stitches and turned it into a Pekinese stitch.  It makes an interesting woven edge.   Then we put some french knots on the legs.

 No big deal, I know how to do french knots.  Then came the eye and bullions.

  I'm not as good with bullions.  Barbara Jackson taught me how to do bullions and they aren't too hard.  Actually, with just a couple of hints, it's easy.  Using pearl cotton makes it even easier.  Also, using a milliner needle makes it easier as well.  The lady across the table, Amy, gave me one of her milliner needles.  (Again, it would have been nice to have a milliner needle in the kit.)  I don't really like the yellow eye, looks like he's been eating too much curry.  The next stitch Sue taught us was the drizzle stitch.

 It is a variation of the cast on stitch.  They are the on his tail.  Then we had lunch.  I was hoping they weren't just going to have a big salad, as I can't eat salad.  I actually was hoping they would get the pick two lunch boxes at Panera.  But some guy made hamburgers.  They were good and there was potato salad and slaw as well.  Then they had cake and ice cream for dessert.  That was outstanding.
So in the afternoon, we concentrated on the eight circles that added texture to the bird body.  Each circle was a different stitch.  I learned how to do a double cast on.  I did some familiar stitches:  spider web rose, whipped rose, bullion rose, pistol stitch and fly stitch.  I was amazed that I am almost done.  Lastly, we wove the bird's beak.  I was so happy with how it turned out.  I thought it would be harder than it was.  At then end of the day, Sue explained how to put the needle book together.

Sue has a new book coming out soon.  I put my name on the list.  She is very talented.  She can take six wool circles and embellish them and put them on a small bag and it is darling.

I had a really good time.  I just love making stuff.  It was good to learn some new stitches.  I'm afraid I still think the bird is ugly and I hate the colors and fabric for lining it.  The needlebook is way bigger that I would like.  After the teeny tiny things I made in the Merry Cox classes, this seems huge.  It is surprising to hear that Sue has only been embroidering for eight years.  I got to see some of the things Sue taught in past years.  Very interesting.

This is Sue signing one of her books.
I had a great time and wish I could go to classes everyday.  But then I wouldn't get anything done!


  1. Great post!
    How wonderful for you to take the classes and learn all those stitches, sounds so fun.
    Love the stash you bought, looks yummy with the blue & green colours.
    funny with the "curry-bird" LOL!
    Thanks for sharing!

  2. Hi Amy,
    It was delightful to read your description of the class! I like the bird -- but I understand he is just not your style because he is primitive/folk-artsy/quirky and you love more formal/traditional/beautiful things. You definitely loved your experience, learned some things and appreciated someone else's talent and eye for design even if it is not your thing... Sounds like a great day! -your BFF :)