The second day was devoted to sewing. Once again, Alison gave a demonstration, this time of her sewing technique.
One thing that I had never done was to take off the foot and just sew with the needle. I thought I would find this hard but Alison was clear on how to do it safely (hold the hoop and that keeps the fingers safe) and it worked really well.
We set up our work and began the sewing. Despite mine being a very small image, it took all day to complete and I still haven't quite finished.
Alison demonstrated choosing the colours you want - by laying the whole reel of cotton on the picture, not just a thread, and matching it as best you can. To move from one shade to another, you put the colour in both the bobbin and the top, then you choose your next colour, put it in either the bobbin or the top. The next gradation uses the colour in top and bobbin, then change one or the other, and so on. It was remarkably effective.
Of course, I forgot to be that careful all the time but Alison was always moving from person to person and would remind me.
We started with the darkest colour and gradually added lighter shades.
I discovered that sewing over already sewn parts made the thread break. I discussed this with Alison and she said that she uses cotton rather than polyester or rayon as it holds up much better with her technique. I will have to try it again and a) not sew so densely in the dark parts, leaving some room for the lighter shades, and b)use cotton rather than the odd selection of fibres I took with me.
It was sometimes easier to turn the image and the work sideways so that you would look at what was actually in the image rather than what you assumed was there.
By the end of the day I was getting rather tired, I'm not used to all that concentration over two days anymore. So I decided to stop and leave the sewing of the grass and the plant that overlaps on the right till another day. Or I might just decide that this is a good workshop sample and not do any more work. I'll see.
One good thing about using such a small image was that it all fitted inside the hoop, no maneuvering the piece.
I am determined to try another soon, it is always good to repeat what you learnt in a workshop before you forget too much. Luckily, I knew quite a few of the participants and will be able to confer with them if I need their help.