Wednesday, July 29, 2020

Hand Stitching Moves Online: Theme #1-- Line

Susan T.: Interpreting lines drawn with ink on paper

Update: Please join me for the Fall 2020 Hand Stitching class! Five 2.5 sessions starting on Wednesday, September 30. For more information and to register:

Sometimes circumstances give you that little extra push (or kick in the you know what!) you need to try something new. When things started shutting down here in Virginia back in March, I figured that was going to be it for me for classes. The school where I often teach was trying to work out some version of socially distanced in-person classes. The protocol seemed overwhelming. I could already imagine that other teaching opportunities such as The Textile Museum Muse Project class would be postponed indefinitely. And with retail shops starting to shut down-- my teaching gigs at local places such at Artistic Artifacts were also vanishing.

Martha P: Interpreting wood grain lines.

Well thank goodness for Zoom. Who knew that it would become such an integral part of everyday living!  And who knew that using it would finally give me the confidence and opportunity to move to online teaching....something I'd thought about for years.

Jill B. : Line Stitch sampler
My beginning Hand Stitching class at The Art League School made a quick transition to online. A very seat-of-the-pants operation to start. I set up shop on Google Classroom so that students would have the opportunity to show their work and interact. It was also where I could add links, material and recordings. By the end of five weeks, I had the mechanics down!

Jill B.: Stitch for Five and Change
I also had one other thing down. Something I wasn't sure I was going to be able to pull off...fostering a sense of community. I encouraged the 18 students from all across the US plus Canada and even post their works in progress and to leave comments. I put together weekly Power Points of their assignments. And gradually I could see a community starting to gel with respect and appreciation for each others' work.

Barbara B: Black and White
The stitched work that emerged from this class will be the subject of the next few posts. My approach to hand stitching is very experimental. I enjoy exploring the types of marks and patterns basic embroidery stitches can make by changing just a few basic elements. I limit the size and color palette of students' work to encourage looking at the stitches as marks and not as making "pretty pictures".

Susan T.: Interpreting lines drawn with ink on paper
 I divided the class sessions into themes: Line, Pattern and Rhythm, Texture and Layers. I chose  stitches and stitch techniques that I felt reflected the themes. I also gave weekly Journal Prompts and encouraged the use of a journal to continue a "dialog" with one's stitching. I provided students with a choice of Stitch Challenges that focused on some aspect of the weekly theme and the stitches. I  encouraged students to keep exploring on their own just to see what they could discover.

Journal prompt by Jude J. based on photo of coral.
These next posts will follow the class themes and will feature a selection of Stitch Samplers, Journal Prompts and Stitch Challenges. My hope is that you might consider picking up needle, thread and fabric and take a "stab" at hand stitching too!

Coral by Jude J.
Judy P. : Plant growth lines.
Kristin A.: Line Sampler
Mary K.: Line Sampler
Myania M.: Journal Prompt: A Line Can Be
Myania M: A Line Can Be Circular
Pauline S.
Roberta A.: Journal Prompt: A Line Can Be
Roberta A: A Line Can Meander
Carolyn L.: Stitch Sampler
Heidi O: Stitch Sampler and Challenge
Irene C: A Line Can Be

I will be teaching this Hand Stitching class in the Fall 2020. Check back here for more information about dates and times.

Wednesday, July 22, 2020

Welcome to the Virtual Studio 2020

Thread Born "Virtual" Studio Fall Update
Zoom workshops will be continuing into the Fall. Some workshops are already on the schedule including a brand new workshop: Boro-Style Clutch Bag on October 31!

Here are the workshops presently on my schedule that still have space. Please email me if you would like to join a workshop or work with me to set up one (

Saturday, September 26 (1-6:30 PM eastern US time): Fabric Stash Cloth Book

Saturday, October 3 (1-6:30 PM eastern US time): Stitch Mandalas

Saturday, October 17 (10 AM - 3:30 PM eastern US time): Talisman Pouch

Saturday, October 31 (10 AM - 3:30 PM eastern US time): Boro-Style Clutch Bag

Welcome to summer in Thread Born's definitely not a typical summer where I'd be welcoming small groups of you into my home studio to hang out and learn something new. This year, everything's been a bit different!

For the past couple of months, I've been teaching hand stitching classes online via Zoom. I wasn't sure how I'd feel about it...could I continue to build a sense of community even when I had 18 people in my class? Would students get the full benefit and learn without my seeing their work in process? Turns out that the answer is "Yes"! I had a very successful and satisfying five session beginning hand stitching class through The Art League School followed by a three session hand stitching continued class. This has given me the confidence to hold summer workshops via Zoom this August.

So how does this work? First you will want to contact me to get on my mailing list. You can either leave a comment here or connect with me on Facebook (Julie Basseches Booth) or Instagram (boothjb4757). I will send out information about how to schedule a workshop starting tomorrow, including costs, available dates and kit options. For now, I will explain how I put a workshop group together and a list of workshops that I'm happy to teach.

Below are descriptions of three and five hour workshops. Since we can't be in the actual studio this year, I'm only teaching stitching classes (no painting and printing). If you see something that interests you, get in touch with me with some dates/times that are good for you (and me!). I will then match you up with others who want to take the workshop too. I need at least three people to run the workshop and I'm limiting the size to six (so we can keep it more intimate). You could also get your own group together with a date/time-- that will guarantee that the class is a go. Once the class is scheduled, I'll send a receipt for payment and a supply list. If the workshop has a kit option, you can decide if you want to  purchase a kit and have it mailed to you (separate cost) or if you live in the Washington DC area, we can arrange for curbside pickup.

Here are this summer's workshop options:

Introduction to Boro-Style Stitching: Running Stitch/Sashiko Patterns (3 hour workshop)
Explore the possibilities of using Boro-Style patching and simple Running stitch to create intricate designs. Julie will show you how you can combine rows, columns and diagonals of stitch to design patterns. Students will stitch a small sampler. Kit option available.

Mending sampler
Introduction to Visible Mending (3 hour workshop)
Mending clothes has become a socially-conscious endeavor and an artistic statement. Students will have the option to work on mending a piece of their own clothing or work on a mending sampler. Julie will show you some approaches to visible mending (mending that's meant to stand out!) and enhancing including different patching techniques, reverse applique and surface darning.

Cargo shorts with decorative patches.

Hand Stitching Primer/Refresher (3 hour workshop)
Here's an opportunity to start your hand stitching adventure or refresh your memory about certain stitches. Julie will teach you a small selection of stitches and give you tips on how you can modify them for different effects. Students will create a small stitch sampler.

Stitched Word Sampler (3 hour workshop)
Starting with a short phrase or saying, learn how to use simple stitches and stitch combinations to design a stitched word sampler. Julie will suggest the best stitches to use and guide you as you design your piece.

Wrapped Stone Talismans (3 hour workshop)
Do you have a collection of stones from a special place? Learn how to turn your precious finds into one-of-a-kind talismans with the addition of waxed linen, fiber and beads. Julie will show you a number of wrapping, stacking and embellishing techniques to make them even more special. Kit with small selection of waxed linen threads and beads available.

Talisman Pouch (5 hour workshop)
Design a beautiful hand-stitched pouch to hold a special object (maybe your Wrapped Stone Talisman!). Combine layers of fabric, cheesecloth, silk sari ribbon, yarns and tulle with hand stitching to create a rich, tactile art object. Add shell embellishments and a bead closure for finishing touches. Kit available in select colors.

Fabric Stash Book (5 hour workshop)
This project was originally inspired by a small swatch book of Japanese fabrics. Different-sized swatches made for interesting combinations of pattern and color. Create your own version showcasing treasures from your fabric collection. The book cover features a textural layered variation of reverse applique with the option to add a Trapunto element. Complete your book with a stab stitch binding. Kit available for covers in select colors.

Sample book spread.
Itty Bitty Boro Book (5 hour workshop)
Similar to last year's offering but even smaller (and cuter!). Design a small format (3" squares) accordion-style cloth book using special fabric scraps from your own collection. Arrange your scraps on wool fabric squares and embellish with Sashiko-style Running stitch patterns for a beautiful and rustic book. Two kit versions available: felt backings/ribbon/buttons or that with the addition of interesting fabric scraps.

Stitch Mandalas (5 hour workshop)
Spend the day in meditative stitching creating a series of Stitch Mandalas. Learn a selection of stitches and a variety of approaches to stitching in circles.

NEW WORKSHOP: Boro-Style Clutch Bag (5 hour workshop)

Create a Boro-Style Clutch Bag by collaging your favorite fabric scraps onto a wool felt base. Add beautiful stitched details with Running stitch/Sashiko-Style patterns. Fashion a buttonhole or loop closure with a special button to add the finishing touch! Option to add a twined yarn strap (I will demo how to make one). Optional kit in two different sizes (large and small bag): includes felt backing, fabric scraps, button (option to upgrade to a vintage Czech glass button).

Hope to see you in the Virtual Studio! -- Julie