I have a little secret.
I’ve been indulging in a very agreeable diversion the last couple days.
Yep, I’ve been totally glued to the screen, watching videos in the middle of the day.
No, no. I haven’t been torturing myself with a Netflix marathon. It’s much better than that!
Craftsy has a launched yet another excellent hand embroidery class for those who want to extend their embroidery skills in an affordable, easy, self-paced way. Remember the goldwork class I reviewed a while back? It’s the same concept!
Only this new one is a stumpwork class – Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials, taught by Celeste Chalasani.
Today, I’m going to review it for you. I’ll tell you what’s in it, who it’s for, what you can learn from it, and the general pros and cons. To top it all off, if you want to take the class, I’ve got an early (and deep) discount for you at the end of the review.
So, Stumpwork: Raised Embroidery Essentials! Right off the bat, I’ll tell you this: it’s a good class, and a great way to learn the basics of stumpwork and to acquire the skills you need to advance in your hand embroidery pursuits.
Celeste is an excellent teacher, and her cool, calm, matter-of-fact approach to stumpwork will go a long way to make you a confident stitcher. She knows what she’s doing, she’s experienced in teaching – this all comes across very clearly in the class.
The class covers exactly what it promises: the essentials of stumpwork. And it does this through walking the student step-by-step through a beautiful stumpwork project.
The Stumpwork Lessons
The class is divided into seven video lessons, and you also get downloadable printable class materials for further instruction.
1. Introduction to Stumpwork, where you learn a bit about the background of this embroidery technique. You’ll also learn about the supplies used, setting up your hoop or frame, transferring the design, and all the stuff you need to know to get the learning project underway. This type of information from a skilled teacher is gold, because most of it applies not just to this technique, but to any embroidery project you undertake.
2. Dimensional Stitches – Here, you’ll learn all about the order of work, what stitches to work first on any stumpwork project, and the like. You’ll also learn several stitches. The class assumes, though, that you have basic knowledge of embroidery. For example, it’s expected that you know the most basic stitches, like split stitch. At the same time, you’ll see the instructor work those stitches, so if you don’t know them, you can figure them out right from the lesson.
3. Padding with Stitches – Just exactly that – how to work stitched padding for to raise satin stitch and other stitches. The take-away in this lesson, I think, is the direction of stitching.
4. Padding with Felt – Just exactly that – how to use felt to add higher relief to stitches. Here, the take-away is layering to get just the right effect for the type of stitches you’re using.
5. Wired Slips – Ok, here’s the meat of the matter. The really dimensional effect of stumpwork comes from the wired slips that are attached to the fabric at the end of the project. These are often flower petals or leaves. In this lesson, you’re going to learn how to do them correctly and beautifully using long and short stitch for a filling.
What I especially like in this lesson is that Celeste shows the student not only how to do work the wired slips correctly, but then she shows you some of the common mistakes that are often made in preparing wire slips. If you’ve tried stumpwork and your slips don’t look all that great, you’ll see why with the examples she gives, and you’ll learn how to improve.
This lesson is also an excellent lesson in long and short stitch shading, and what you learn here about long and short stitch can be applied to all kinds of other embroidery projects, too.
6. Transparent Wired Slips – this lesson concentrates on using sheer and transparent fabrics for wired slips, for creating bugs’ wings and other “ethereal” elements.
Transparent slips are a little trickier, because you have to keep the ends of your threads (the starts and the stops) completely hidden, which is hard to do on transparent fabric. You’ll learn the tricks for that, here.
7. The final lesson is Cutting and Applying Wired Slips. This is Solid Gold! This is one of the most noticeable areas of stumpwork that can make or break a stumpwork project.
Celeste shows you, in details, how to cut the wired slips cleanly from the fabric (so you don’t have fabric shards messing up your edges), and how to apply them for a beautiful finish.
There’s a lot to take away from the whole class, that can be applied to other embroidery techniques, too. For example, if you like cutwork, this last lesson will come in handy for cutwork embroidery pursuits, too.
Pros and Cons
The pros are numerous:
1. The class is affordable! Often, it’s on sale for just less than $20, which is less than the cost of a book. But even at it’s regular price ($39.99), it’s super affordable.
2. Once you have it, it’s yours, and you can access it anywhere, for as long as you want to. It’s self-paced – you can take as long as you want over each lesson, you can skip ahead, you can go back and watch again.
3. The instructor interaction on this class is really good. Even though it’s new to Craftsy, the teacher is right in there, already answering questions, providing feedback, and so forth.
4. The project is gorgeous. It alone is worth the cost of the class.
5. Seeing the basic techniques worked out by an expert is a great way to reinforce what you learn in books, in kits, or in other classes. Video can go a long way to clarify things that might not be as clear, when written or diagramed. It also allows you to brush up on the things that you saw in person in other classes, but might have forgotten.
6. The class is geared towards beginners in stumpwork and beyond. It assumes some basic knowledge of embroidery. If you’re comfortable wielding a needle for basic stitches, you can handle the class.
1. I wanted more. I know. I’m greedy. The class is really good – I didn’t want it to end.
I would have liked to watch Celeste stitch long and short stitch on every single one of the six petals for the poppy. She stitches so very neatly and calmly, and every stitch seems to go in just perfectly, right where it should.
Signing Up for the Class
When you sign up for any Craftsy class through a link here on Needle ‘n Thread, I do get a wee kickback (it’s an affiliate link), which helps me keep things running here.
But that’s not why I’m telling you about the class. There are a lot of classes on Craftsy (a lot!), and I don’t review them all. But this class – and the goldwork class – are exceptionally good, and they’re an exceptionally good value. You could never attend a face-to-face class with this level of instructor, for this kind of price. In fact, you couldn’t even buy a kit from them for this kind of price. So, yes, it’s a good value!
If you have any interest in these techniques, I think the classes are an excellent and affordable way to learn from experts!
You’ll find the class here:
See you there!
Or All the Craftsy Classes?
Update, 2018: Craftsy is now part of a program called Blueprint, which gives you access to all Craftsy classes for as long as you’re subscribed, at a fixed low monthly price. You can try a 7-day free trial here. It’s definitely worth checking out, especially if you’re interested in running through all their hand embroidery classes!
This post contains affiliate links, which means that Needle ‘n Thread receives a small kickback for any purchases made through those links, at no extra cost to you.