I have been looking at some of my teaching projects with an eye to updating them. I don't like to teach the same thing for anymore than 2 years and it is a good mental exercise for me to develop different projects in each technique. The only exception to this is my Basic Stitches class. Of all the classes I teach I think that this is the most important. I don't get paid for my time teaching this class. I do it because I love embroidery and would like to share this with others.
Later in the year I am teaching a Basic Kogin class followed by an advanced class for the Embroiderers' Guild.
I have updated the major project but I like to start on something small to give students a chance to learn the skills on an unimportant piece. It is a needle book and although the design isn't a traditional Kogin pattern it is a darning pattern design in the Kogin style for getting started. I used this some time ago and since then I have learnt a lot about working with hemp fabric.
One thing that I have discovered is that this fabric works best it you make it up by hand and not on a sewing machine. It makes sense when you think about it. From the time it was developed in the 1500's till the 1920's all the pieces would have been made by hand. It was only after this date that sewing machines became available in this region of Japan.
Before completing the embroidery, each piece needs to be tacked out and then one thread removed on the sewing line. As this type of stitching begins in the centre of the design you need to get this position right. (This looks slightly off centre but I have allowed for the fold of the seam on the edge.)
On the reverse side I tacked my iron on Pellum to fit inside where the threads were withdrawn.
II used a crepe fabric with a bit of stretch in it for the lining, this I placed with the right side facing the right side of the needle book.
I then back stitched around the edge in the space left by the withdrawn threads, counting 2 threads for each stitch and leaving an opening to turn the piece through. I then slip stitched the opening closed.
Because the lining fabric had a bit of stretch when I ironed it in place it became a bead around the edges. Much easier than piping the edge.
There is a difference between the hand and machine pieced pieces.
HAND STITCHED MACHINED
The hand sewn piece has sharper edges where the machine piece has rounded lumpy corners.
The other difference is that the machine finished piece has been washed and the hand sewn one hasn't. Once the stitching is washed that cotton thread shrinks just slightly and fluffs up the thread and lays the strands flat. This also means that you can not see where the new threads have been introduced. In addition I have stitched one design on the straight of grain and the other on the weft. Even though the fabric is an even weave there is a difference in the size of the designs. You can talk about these things but It is even better having the 2 samples to illustrate the differences.
Now that was the simple one. The other class projects are going to take a bit more work.