This afternoon I'm taking the third and final of a three class beginner Tambour embroidery workshop. Also known as Luneville embroidery, this is the form of embroidery used by the Haute Couture houses. The instructor is Sarah Cownley who completed an apprenticeship in Paris, France and earned a certificate in Professional Couture Embroidery and Beadwork at Lesage (an atelier owned by Chanel).
I find I get a huge creative burst by exploring other mediums beyond knitting. The additional knowledge never hurts either. As a teacher it's very instructive to go back and be a student. Learning the basic stitch is challenging, new muscle memory has to be built after you understand the technique. I practiced everyday between the first and second class and I'm still feeling like I'm wearing thick gloves as I manipulate the needle and try to hold a tiny bead or sequin in place. I'm taking the class with two other knitting teachers and we all observed how teaching new skills is often more a matter of coaching and encouraging students to get past this awkward stage. Sarah has been doing this work for more than six years and must slow it way down to demonstrate the techniques. As always, I realize while watching her, the answer to building skill at any needle art is practice, practice, practice and repeat 1000 times more at minimum.
Here's the tiny little hook we use to chain stitch attaching beads on the underside of the fabric.
You can see more of Sarah's work here.
You can also look on Youtube to see the method.
If you'd like to see more examples check out this Pinterest board.