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11th March 2022

Threads, Thanks and Thoughts

Our inbox was overflowing with emails this week, but there seemed to be three clear categories: threads, thanks and thoughts!

Kathy’s method of laying the threads side by side

Starting with threads, we received more wonderful ideas from readers about thread substitutions. Kathy Coulter told us about her experience from when she worked in a needlework shop. If she was asked to create a new colour palette, she would pull all of the colours out – the original and the new ones – and lay them side by side. 

First, she’d stand back to see if the new group ‘flowed’ like the original one did.

The photo of the threads converted to greyscale

Then she’d take a photo, convert it to greyscale and check that nothing jumped out as different. This would ensure the darks and lights flowed seamlessly too.

Kathy’s finished project with the new thread palette

Ann Frazier has been very busy substituting thread colours, and the magnificent results speak for themselves. She worked Jacobean Leaves by Anna Scott in pinks, blues and greens using stranded cotton, while the original design was in blues, yellow and greens in crewel wool.

L | Anna Scott’s original Jacobean Leaves R | Ann’s version

Ann also completed Hazel Blomkamp’s Midnight Meander in purples and greys rather than the original black and grey. She even substituted iridescent purple beads in place of the black beads called for in the original design. Both of these amazing projects show how effective colour substitutions can be.

Ann’s version of Midnight Meander designed by Hazel Blomkamp

Thirdly, Gill Richards shared with us her very fortunate thread experience. Recently, a friend arrived at her door with four shoeboxes stuffed full of brown envelopes in hand.

Gill’s wonderful gift

They had been given to her friend to pass on to a stitcher, and Gill was the lucky choice. To her delight, Gill discovered that in each envelope was at least one full skein of stranded cotton, with some envelopes holding up to three! Gill was anticipating many happy stitching hours ahead, saying:

‘Oh, I am a happy bunny!’

In terms of thanks, we received two emails thanking our community for the book recommendations that have come in recently. Barbara Wilson said thank you for the recommendation for The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan. She said she learnt so much from it about the design and manufacture of fabrics.

Kathryn Molitor also asked for The Coat Route for Christmas and wanted to say thank you as it was a wonderful read that she didn’t ever want to finish. It seems this has been a very popular book amongst the readers of our community!

Finally, we had a couple of thoughtful emails arrive this week. Margrethe Randall agreed that each day we live is a gift, and that it needs to be valued. Margrethe was about to start some new crewel kits, when her chiropractor advised her that, due to her serious neck issues, she perhaps shouldn’t begin. The hours of neck bending that would be required could be catastrophic.

This news led Margrethe to remember a conversation she had had with a very nice sales lady about stitching. She packed up all her kits, books and knitting supplies, and mailed them to the lady. The lucky recipient was so excited to start to learn new skills, facilitated by Margrethe’s generosity. Margrethe left us with a thought, saying:

‘Now, I will focus on my piano and my photography. But I know that good has come into another heart’.

Emma Baumann thanked us for reminding everyone that we need to hold tight to those we love, not sweat the small stuff, and remain aware that life as we know it can change in an instant. She says:

Be present: turn off all devices and immerse yourself in an experience.

Use presents: don’t put things away for a special day as every day is special.

Give your full presence: be entirely with someone when you are together. No distractions.’

Emma then shared three experiences that exemplified these gentle rules.

She had been to the theatre and sat beside someone with a ‘smart watch’ that constantly beeped and illuminated throughout the performance. It was distracting to Emma, and she was sure the wearer must have missed much of the show due to the constant interruptions.

Emma also recently had to pack up the study of a relative who had gone into dementia care. She found so many lovely things that had been given to the relative as gifts, all tucked away in their original wrappings. They had never been used. Although they were passed on to extended family, the original recipient never gained the pleasure out of them.

Fortunately, the family pledged to make use of the gifts and to think of the relative when they did so.

Lastly, Emma was out for dinner with her husband and they watched another couple, one of whom spent the entire time, from ordering to eating, on the phone. Emma wondered how the other person could sit there while their partner refused to give them any attention.

Emma’s email helped us to reflect on our own behaviour, reminded us that moments do matter and encouraged us to consider presents and presence far more carefully.

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