If you love embroidery and you want to learn embroidery – all different types of embroidery – one of the best places to find accessible, clear, thorough instruction in a variety of needlework techniques is Berlin Embroidery Designs.
Tanja Berlin was one of the first fine needlework teachers in North America to establish a thriving online business offering contemporary goldwork kits and supplies, needlepainting kits, fine whitework kits and supplies – all kinds of kits and supplies for fine needlework techniques that were just beginning to enjoy a resurgence of interest in the mid-1990’s. I remember just seven or eight years ago, searching up and down and all over the place for a good selection of goldwork threads available in one shop, and Berlin Embroidery was the only place in North America that I could find a really good selection of supplies. And since then, her selection has grown by leaps and bounds.
Tanja’s a well-known needlework teacher (you can check out her credentials and teaching history here) who graduated from the RSN in the 1990’s. I had the pleasure of meeting up with her a couple years ago at an event – she’s fun, funny, laid back, a great teacher whose experience shows through in her easy confidence in what she does.
And she likes dogs and chocolate mousse, so we know she can’t half bad!
Her expertise in teaching comes across in all of her kits and printed instructions – she really writes the most thorough, clear instructions for her embroidery kits, making the techniques that she covers completely accessible to beginners and beyond.
Her latest kit – a Carrickmacross Lace Sampler kit – is no exception. I just took a close look at it last week. I’m itching to work this sampler!
Carrickmacross lace is a type of appliqué lace originating in Ireland (influenced by Italian lace), involving the appliqué of a sheer fabric onto a net ground, with the excess fabric cut away and the appliqué and net ground further embellished with needle lace stitches.
Although I’ve worked needle run laces on net ground, and I’ve done some Italian needlelace, I’ve never actually tried Carrickmacross lace. I’ve wanted to for a long time! I went through a research and book spree about seven years ago on the subject, but I never took the plunge. Tanja’s new sampler is just the thing to “sample” the technique.
The kit comes with a 30-page instructional booklet, needle, organdy fabric, tulle, and the two types of threads involved – a couching thread and DMC Cordonnet.
The instructional book covers the entire sampler (each motif, and all the techniques in general) with step-by-step photos, diagrams, and written instruction. As typical with all of Tanja’s kits, you’re guided every step of the way, so you really learn the basics of the technique. This comprehensive covering of the essentials gives the beginner in any technique an excellent foundation for further exploration.
There’s no guessing about her diagrams, either. They’re large and clear.
The various circle elements in the sampler can be arranged according to your own whims using the templates provided in the kit to make up your own arrangement, or you can follow Tanja’s layout. Within and around the circles, you practice the techniques of Carrickmacross lace, and again, you can do this with each circle as they are demonstrated in the kit, or you can mix and match the techniques.
If you check out Tanja’s Carrickmacross Lace sampler page, you can see the various motifs up close, and you can also see the really neat way she finished and framed her sampler.
So there you have it – this is going to be my “I’ve Always Wanted to Try This” project! I’m very excited about it!
And just in case you’ve always wanted to try it, too, I’ll surprise you a little later this week and have a give-away!