Have Your Say
7th April 2023
Casting Back II
You may recall in All Stitched Up! issue #371 that we asked you to stay tuned as we promised to continue the continuing conservations. Well, this week we’re making good on that promise as we share some of the many emails that have come across our desk in recent weeks.
In ASU #367 we unpacked some thoughts on how we judge the results of our time with needle and thread. Realising that we’re often our own harshest critics, we encouraged each of us to take a gentler approach going forward. The thoughts we shared inspired a number of responses from the Inspirations Community.
Before sharing her thoughts on judging, Cristina painted a beautiful picture of where she found herself reading and replying to that issue of the newsletter.
‘It is snowing here today, and I am very happy. A cup of hot chocolate, the house wrapped in warmth, the sleeping cat, the husband busy with his hobbies and I with my embroidery and with you.’
Cristina then went on to share that when a project is finished, whether embroidery or otherwise, she’s rarely completely satisfied with the result. Over many years, however, she’s learnt that time between the completion of a piece and the judging of it can often help soften her response.
‘After a long time, the criticisms have settled down and I can look with a more objective and sometimes compassionate eye. Then a miracle seemingly takes place and I find myself pleasantly surprised at my work!’
As Maddie thought about how we’re often our own harshest critics, it got her thinking about a piece she recently finished.
‘It took me such a long time to finish. Then, disaster struck. As I was washing the finished embroidery, the red thread I had used for the flowers bled into my fabric. I was so upset as I’d put so much work into it, but luckily my wonderful boyfriend reminded me that it was a ‘happy accident’ (as Bob Ross would declare it) and that it was salvageable.
So, I got out some watercolours and turned the red dye into a lovely sunset as part of the background. It turned out that this was exactly what it needed, and it is now one of my favourite pieces! I called it The Wizard’s Tower.
I definitely fall into bad habits of criticising myself too much, so it's nice to have this permanent reminder that I can love my work and should do so after putting so much time and effort into it.’
Mary and Ann both hold the same view on why it is we might be ‘not so gentle’ critics of the work we produce with needle and thread.
Like many of you reading this newsletter, they were taught from a young age not to boast about their own achievements. Mary did wonder, though, how many of us though outwardly modest, might just be willing to praise our achievements with a ‘Yes. I like it. It is good.’ when alone and out of the earshot of others!
After reading our thoughts on judging, Jackie found herself laughing.
‘Many years ago a friend and I were delegated to help with the catering tent at our local show. The previous day we realised there was no bread submitted for judging, so we both went home, unearthed our ‘Delia Compendium’, and proceeded to make bread. On the day of judging, a very auspicious judge, deemed our efforts inedible. Whilst there was not a kind word in sight, being mothers of farming sons, we retrieved our loaves which were eaten with much delight and laughter despite their inedibility!’
Reading our piece struck a very personal chord with Mieke who recently lost her home of 35 years to a house fire. Not only did she lose all the usual items a home that’s raised four children contains, as well as sentimental objects that had been passed down to her by family, but many of her stitched pieces were lost as well.
‘This is a photo of one of my Christmas pieces that I always look forward to taking out for the Holidays and had just put up before the fire. I had signed it with a piece of metallic thread that had been left to me by my grandmother.’
‘What is disappointing to me is that as far as the insurance goes, they have judged that none of my pieces are valued beyond the worth of their parts – the price of the linen, threads and framing.’
Whilst an event such as what Mieke has been through would challenge even the most resilient amongst us, we were heartened by her outlook to her time with needle and thread:
‘I had hoped that family and friends would continue to appreciate my stitching in years to come but that is now not to be. It is a very good thing that I always enjoy my stitching time for its own sake and would never consider it a waste. Although I have to admit that the views of the insurance company are disappointing, they will certainly not stop me from stitching or enjoying my time doing so!’
Next week we’ll be sharing the responses to Marcia’s struggle with needle and thread after cataract surgery left her far sighted. We think you’ll find it ‘eye opening’, so be sure not to miss it!