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    Permalink 11:28:29 am, by dtirico Email , 406 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: News, Background

    I have just returned from Sackville NB, Canada where I was fortunate enough to be on the faculty of the Embroiderer’s Association of Canada’s Annual Seminar sponsored by the Maritime Region. My class consisted of a talented group of stitchers with amazing skill in their hands and minds. I had a wonderful experience teaching them my Harvest Penny Rug.

    One of the joys of teaching is when a student adds to or improves your methods or brings a new way of “getting there” to the class. This happened in my class as one of my students improved on the way the underleaf appliqué was stitched. I will change the way I do this now and was more than pleased to share the innovation with the class. Another student taught me the proper word for a pumpkin stem … a peduncle … I mean this is good stuff and the reason we attend seminars and classes … to learn from each other.

    Another joy of teaching is to meet colleagues and learn from them. I was fortunate to meet a fellow teacher from Calgary Canada, Jeannette Douglas and share our love of design and teaching. We laughed and became instant friends as she taught me a bit about samplers, her specific area of emphasis. I am determined to complete one of her samplers before the year is finished.

    Sackville was a charming college town with plenty of historic buildings and churches. The Mount Allison University was a comfortable complex and the classrooms were large with plenty of light and table space … we were in heaven among our own. Kuddos go to the organizers as they did a magnificent job.

    During class I was pleased to present my favorite tool, the Famore scissors that I use and recommend for the cutting of small pieces. These scissors have large comfortable handles and a short blade making the cutting of small pieces a breeze. Always remember to hold your right hand still and steady (elbows down) and rotate the piece you are cutting towards the blade, never allowing the connection between the scissors and the fabric to break. Using this method to cut eliminates what I affectionately refer to as “the jaggies.”

    I look forward to teaching in Canada again … and I have joined the EAC (Embroiderer’s Association of Canada) so I can follow the news of all my Canadian friends.


    Sackville, NB Town Hall


    Permalink 04:11:29 pm, by dtirico Email , 328 words   English (US) latin1
    Categories: Background, Tools and Techniques

    The right tool for the perfect job … that’s my motto and each time I teach a class or even sew with my friends, I promote this idea. The first tool of hand sewing is a good pair of glasses, maybe you are ok with sewing through the bifocal portion of your eyeglasses … well, not me! I have a more than a few pair of the really “mean” drug store glasses and use different magnifications for different tasks. I use 3.0 when I hand sew and appliqué, I use a 2.5 when I am at the sewing machine … and a 1.50 when I’m cutting. Yes, the glasses are all over the house and studio, but to see well is to sew well.
    Let’s talk about lighting. I find that lighting your hand sewing is critical in providing the ability to stitch well, stitch even and to develop rhythm. I use an Ott High Definition Task Lamp when I am seated at a table sewing or embroidering. It is a great light for 2 reasons; one, it lights only your work and can be adjusted lower or higher to eliminate reflections on your eyeglasses or other light sources in the room; and two, you can easily close it when it’s not in use and the florescent bulb seems to last forever. When I move from the studio to the living room to sew, I have a great task floor lamp with a halogen bulb and a movable snake neck that I am able to position perfectly to light just the fabric I am sewing, not above my head where the light would reflect off of my eyeglasses. In addition to these lights, I have a portable Ott lamp that is light weight, fits in my stitching bag easily, and I take it when I travel or stitch with friends to be sure I have adequate lighting.
    Ott lights are available at JoAnn stores in a variety of sizes.

    As always … Happy Stitching!

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    About Deborah

    Deborah Tirico is an avid quilter, needle artist and instructor. A serious student, Deborah has taken classes in embroidery, piecework, appliqué hand and machine quilting. In 2006 she launched originals designs in felted wool appliqué with embroidery embellishments under the name Pemberley House. Her area of specialization is the creation of a sculptural look to felted wool appliqué by using needle tilting techniques and the layering and stuffing of wool pieces. Unlike the primitive felted wool embroidery popular today, Deborah’s designs feature matching and overdyed wool threads and embroidery embellishments which enhance and define the clarity of her subject.
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