Prior to my foray into the wilds of the North-East last week, I ventured through a pea souper fog into the heart of the Somerset Levels to meet those jolly nice people at Jolly Red for a day's Beginners' Tapestry course. These types of courses are hard to find, so it was no surprise to find a mixture of 3 locally based participants, plus 2 other fellow 'incomers' who also drove over 60 miles to get there. We were a comforting mix of complete beginners through to experienced needlers, all wanting a day just for ourselves in convivial company.
I'm completely self-taught and consequently employ a number of techniques to complete my work. I have singularly failed to understand even the most helpful of diagrams supplied with tapestry kits and design books. Kelly, our tutor for the day and designer extraordinare of Jolly Red, very quickly dispelled all difficulties. She's improved things vastly on her diagrams by showing numbered stitches and work direction, thus enabling woolly heads such as me to finally work in a consistent manner - yippee!
A sampler showing good and bad techniques was quickly dispensed with and we progressed to stitching a very cheerful hen called Nerys, an exclusive design to Kelly's courses not to be found in the current catalogue. The brightly lit working environment with us all perched around a giant worktable surrounded by wool, swatch cards, plus sneak previews of Kelly's latest designs, made for a thoroughly cheerful and relaxing day. It was NOT a 'Dickensian Scene' as described by a gentleman caller to the shop that afternoon. The shop itself is a colourful warren showing off the completed designs, plus other 'must have' trinkets - a hefty 15% discount on kits on the day proved to be too much of a temptation for most of us.
We were joined by a previous participant from the Design & Stitch course. Her fantasy tea cosies and current mermaid project were a good advertisement, so I suspect I shall be heading back again in the New Year.
Thanks to Jolly Red for letting me use their logo from their website.