Stitchers are the best. The best at telling stories, listening to stories, and the absolute best at sharing stories. I like to think that people learn something when they come on one of my workshops but in reality, I learn so much from them. We ladies of a certain age have watched our mothers and grandmothers sew and have grown up listening to their words of knowledge and absorbed their ramblings quite sub consciously. It’s many years since my mum passed away but still I hear her words in my ears at certain times- unlike fabric, those sayings never really fade do they?

 

 

My mum always made her own curtains so I learned to match patterns and use ladder stitch from a very early age. There’s something very rewarding about putting 2 edges of a pattern together so well that no one notices a seam at all. Exact measurements and correct cutting is crucial when making curtains. Like so many others of my generation, we  recycled and up-cycled long before it was fashionable to do so. The curtains that hung for years became cushion covers then dolls clothes or peg bags. How many do that now? In this ever changing world we live in, we throw away and re buy, changing the look and style of our surroundings at the drop of a hat, no second thoughts.

 

 

Why are needles so hard to find? I keep meaning to buy an extendable magnet, genius idea. I also try to use a weighted thread catcher on the side of the settee when I’m stitching yet those shiny long things still manage to escape. After a workshop, I roll around on the floor with a magnet (no one sees, thank goodness!) and am always staggered at how many needles I find. My hoover is grateful. I try and encourage stitchers to use different types of needles for different stitches so can completely understand how they go astray, whilst hiding under fabrics and the inevitable creative chaos on the tables.

 

This phrase can apply to anything I know but it really does ring true with some embroidery stitches. French knots, bullion stitch, satin stitch, just all of them really. The more you do, the better they get. I wouldn’t say that any of my stitch repertoire is perfect, I am still aiming for that! When I was younger I used herringbone stitch quite a bit and remember struggling for ages to get the tension just right with that one. I don’t use that so much now, but still find it useful if I’m stitching a hem by hand.

 

Really? Who looks? If your friends are looking at the back of your work and commenting then either they should get out more or you need to be more selective when choosing your friends. Yes I know that it really does depend on the background fabric, so if I am using a thinnish white fabric, I will try and sew my beginnings and ends in as I don’t want knots and tails to be seen through the front. Some people never use knots to start, but most of the time I confess, I do, but I nearly always trail the threads through other threads on the back and try not to have long tails  between the stitches. Mine are neat-ish and thats fine by me. Its what’s on the front that counts.

 

 

My mum never said this one but it’s my fave. How true. If I feel down at all, I pick up my needle and create. It doesn’t matter what it is, no one sees it, but it makes me happy. I can lose hours becoming totally absorbed with my needle going in and out. I love the repetitiveness, the rhythm, the process. It’s predictable and I am in control. Sometimes we need to feel that. Go away busy life- just let me be. In the moment. In my space. In my happy place.