Have Your Say

25th March 2022

So Many Conversations…

Way back in All Stitched Up! issue #291, Jan Jones wrote telling us about an embroidered map of Nauru that had been stitched for her mother in about 1953. She asked whether any of our readers could offer advice on how she could clean this historic piece of embroidery, and our generous community provided several suggestions.

Jan followed the advice, soaking the tablecloth in Napisan for several days and was thrilled to discover that most of the brown staining disappeared. She shared some photos of her beautiful embroidery and how it has turned out. It looks as fresh now as it would have when it was first stitched some 70 years ago. Thank you to everyone who offered advice.

Jackie Williams wrote (somewhat tongue-in-cheek) about a way to speed up the ‘tedium’ of stumpwork. Her suggestion was to cut the desired shapes out of appropriately coloured fabric, drench the reverse with PVA glue then, as it dries, shape them into the correct curves. Voila! Instant detached elements, which just require stitching on with a bead or French knot to embellish. Never fear, Jackie herself described this as a most horrendous idea! It isn’t one we’d endorse, but it did give us a laugh.

While musing on horrendous ideas, Jackie shared with us another – namely the idea her daughter-in-law had to ‘tidy up’ Jackie’s house. Luckily it was just her kitchen, but Jackie just can’t find anything anymore and can’t seem to reach those items that are now on shelves too high. But Jackie was quite insistent:

‘She is NOT allowed into my sewing emporium.’

Teresa McAuliffe shared with us an innovation born out of necessity that her local stitch group has implemented. The group has a collection of books that members can borrow. Records were kept the traditional way – with a paper and pen. However, the advent of the pandemic encouraged the group to start using a digital book catalogue so that members could search online and record loans electronically.

Teresa’s group now have their own version of ‘click & collect’. The software has also allowed members to add their own books that they’re happy to lend out, creating a far larger library of wonderful resources for the group to share.

While on the subject of books, Margaret Mathers wrote in to endorse Bunny Goodman’s love of The Stitches of Creative Embroidery by Jacqueline Enthoven. When Margaret was learning embroidery, she used this book constantly. Now that she’s in her 80’s and unable to stitch, she has given most of her books away. However, this book is one she simply cannot bear to part with.

Anne Johnson asked for help on smocking resources in the USA back in All Stitched Up! issue #318. We received some responses that we sent to Anne, but we wanted to share the information as well in case anyone else could benefit from it.

Val Reece told us that the Embroiderers’ Guild of America have some smocking instructions for members, including an individual correspondence course in English Smocking that you can learn about HERE. They are also developing a group correspondence course but that may not be available until the latter part of 2022. Val also suggested the Smocking Arts Guild of America, which has groups around the country.

Finally for this week, Nancy McElroy was thinking about the editorial in All Stitched Up! issue #314 that discussed waiting for the perfect conditions to begin. It reminded her of the book The Hiding Place by Corrie ten Boom

Corrie, her father and her sister, had hidden hundreds of Jews during WWII, as well as performing other acts of resistance. Eventually, they were caught and sent to prison. Whilst in Ravensbruck concentration camp, Corrie wanted to embroider but she only had a needle. 

Using what she had to hand, namely a towel, she withdrew threads and stitched to pass the time.

Although she tragically lost both her family members, Corrie was released and went on to live a long and fruitful life. But what a lesson to us all – we should take up a needle no matter what the circumstances as any conditions are the perfect conditions in which to start.

Thank you to everyone who took the time to write to us. We appreciate all your thoughts and ideas and hope you all get as much pleasure out of being a part of our little family as we do.

Join our FREE weekly newsletter All Stitched Up!

Back to top