Last Saturday the monthly workshop for the Guild's Graduate Certificate Course was on Dorset Feather Stitch and taken by Deidre Clarke, a member of the Gawler Branch of the Guild. She had brought along examples - some from the Barossa Branch and some from the Guild Museum.
They were all bright and cheerful. There are also plenty of examples on Pinterest.
Dorset Feather Stitch appears to be a style generated by the Dorset Women's Institute in the middle of the twentieth century. The style uses button hole, feather and chain stitch, mostly whipped, with the addition of satin stitch and often incorporates stitching over ric-rac braid.In 1957 Olivia Pass, one of the Women's Institute members, published a book called Dorset Feather Stitchery which has become the Dorset Feather Stitch Bible. The book is now out of print, but available second-hand.
We were able to select a piece of fabric with a pattern printed on it to use as our sampler for the day. I chose a small mauve piece that I thought I could finish within 24 hours and turn into a little mat to use as a coaster. The fabric piece was about 6" square and the pattern about 4" square. Variegated thread worked quite well with the design and I experimented with various, mostly perle, threads.
Our notes suggested the stitches to use and I followed the suggestions. The trickiest bit was whipping the feather stitch - a bit more difficult than whipping buttonhole. The whipping gives the work a nice firm line, dimension and adds considerably to the folkloric look of the work.
I found the most interesting bits to be the paisley-like medallions in the centre of the piece. I used a padded satin stitch in the centre in a bIue DMC stranded.
I then used a colour way of Cottage Garden Threads' variegated stranded around it.
I finished my little mat off at home, backing it with some heat-proof wadding and a piece of slightly darker cotton, and button-holing all around the edge.
This was a great workshop - and I am very grateful to the Guild for allowing any member who wants to attend the Graduate Certificate workshops, and to Deidre Clark for teaching this one. Here's to the Guild!