Drawing with a Needle, Thelma Robinson

Tuesday 9th July 2013  


A wrapt audience of thirty Bafa members were drawn together with the threads of Thelma’s narrative. The overhead projection worked like a dream and we could all see and hear clearly and were encouraged to ‘approach the bench’ in the second half for a detailed demonstration. Very professional.

A member of the Core group, Thelma has regularly exhibited her work at Buckingham’s Chantry Chapel during the two weeks of the Bucks Open Studios:


Free needling is setting up your sewing machine so that the foot does not engage the bottom teeth thingies that constrain the fabric to move in a straight line. Set that to zero so that the cloth is not automatically pulled forward and move the fabric yourself, drawing or tracing a picture or design, rotating the fabric where appropriate and off you go.

Thelma shared various wrinkles (geddit?): using metallic threads, sewing onto sweet wrappers, metallic foils, plastic, sheer fabric and explained how to use a dissolvable support material.

The subject matter was crows, grasses, seed heads, the sea, trees and branches. These seemed to suit the medium well. Later Thelma showed us work from other free needlers one of which was 1.5 x 3 metres and the subject matter here was more figurative and narrative.


Art Van Go is an art supplies business in Hertfordshire, runs workshops and supplies materials:


Thelma recommends tuition by Gina Ferrari: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Y8b-GZswBO8

And Gina produces a DVD that you get from here: http://www.colouricious.com/shop/craft-tv-free-motion-stitching-machine-embroidery-design

Obviously we will all want the same machine that Thelma uses? (It threads itself!!!!)


although she points out that you can use your existing machine to start with. See if you can buy a ‘darning foot’ for it as this gives a target to know where you are sewing…


Everyone who attended had a good time. The coffee was good and hot and the raffle raised valuable funds for the group.

Thanks, Thelma, keep on needling.

John Credland


Photos by Emily Pool