Indigo Dyeing workshop

Ever wanted to learn to dye indigo fabric? Get into embroidery or perhaps craft your own tonics? Then Vancouver’s inaugural Watch & Learn Festival, held over the weekend at Queen Elizabeth Plaza, was your spot to shine.

Watch and Learn Festival-32 Live painting for silent auction Live painting complete - for silent auction bidding
[Live painting demos for silent auction]

Once through the entry gate, festival attendees had a choice of grabbing a refreshing beer, water, Dickie’s cocktail or green tea kombucha, perusing Etsy Vancouver’s Marketplace, listening to live music or taking part in one of eight workshops (all sold out through online pre-registration).

Varinicey Pakoras Say Hello Sweets/dairy-free ice cream Watch and Learn Festival-12
[Varinicey Pakoras, Say Hello Sweets, Stiegl on ice]

On Sunday, three food trucks helped fuel the hungry crowd (Chickpea, Varinicey Pakoras and Say Hello Sweets, serving up vegan ice cream) in between music sets, workshops and general browsing for cool Etsy finds.

Etsy Vancouver Market entrance A Cagey Bee Designs Riding the Pine handcrafted homeware Birch Street Studio
[A Cagey Bee Designs, Riding the Pine handcrafted homeware, Birch Street Studio]

I was happy to be part of El Patcha’s sweet Botanical Embroidery Workshop presented by East van Arts & Culture Society.

Botanical embroidery workshop 7 Botanical embroidery workshop 5

Our group of 12 stitchers met with El Patcha founder Jackie Haug, a wiz at all things embroidery (check out her awesome Instagram feed to see some of her cool creations).

Botanical embroidery workshop 3

Shielded from the afternoon sun by red umbrellas, our two-hour workshop got underway with Jackie explaining the basics of transferring images to undyed organic cotton (what we worked with during the workshop), four basic stitches, working with an embroidery hoop, fixing problem stitches and pretty much anything that we had trouble with along the way.

Botanical embroidery workshop 4

The goal? To fill in an adorable pattern of a woman’s hand holding a bouquet of flowers. We were already given the heads up that there’d be no way we’d finish before the end of the workshop.

Botanical embroidery workshop 2

There were numerous colours of embroidery thread on the table to choose from and we were invited to grab what we needed to finish the design later on.

Jody Glenham and band
[Jody Glenham and band]

Strange Fellows Brewing
[Strange Fellows Brewing]

With live music on the stage nearby and a cool shade to keep us covered, this was a fine way to wind down a weekend in the city. I learned a couple of new stitches (and fell back into a couple I already knew from childhood).

Botanical embroidery workshop
[Embroidery 101: Split stitch, satin stitch, chain stitch]

El Patcha botanical embroidery workshop

Here’s my finished piece! A big thank you to Jackie for helping me thread that darned needle at times (forgot to take my reading glasses along)!

C Yarn Hut crocheted designs

I hope this festival gets carried through into next year; I saw a lot of content faces in those workshops — getting creative with others is a great way to share conversations, discover a hidden talent and learn something new.

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