Have Your Say

2nd June 2023

Fixings & A Formula

Every mouth-watering meal starts with the right ingredients, and this week’s Have Your Say is no exception. We’re starting with a conversation about ingredients and ending with a ‘meal’ of canvas stitch!

In response to our Welcome in All Stitched Up! issue #377, both Betsy and Ann continued the conversation we started about how the ‘ingredients’ we use in our time with needle and thread are paramount to the final product.

When Betsy Morgan – yes, ‘the’ Betsy Morgan! – finished reading ASU #377, she was reminded of something she frequently said to her students, ‘My feeling about stitching is the same as my feeling about cooking, and I’ve always loved to cook.

If you are going to take the time to do it, you should always start with the very best ingredients available.’

To Betsy, some of those ingredients include silk threads, silk lining fabrics and the best linen that she can find – ‘yummy’!

Ann found herself intrigued by the ingredients we listed for some projects from the second volume in our Design Collective series, ‘Zips, feathers, paper covered wire and even PVC piping?!

The mind boggles as to what the subject might be, but I’m looking forward to finding out what it is!’

Ann also agreed about not taking any shortcuts in her time with needle and thread and reminded us of what Pippin says in Lord of the Rings, ‘Short cuts make long delays’.

As Ann so eloquently went onto to say, ‘If we try to take short cuts, we’ll almost certainly find that what we were trying to do hasn’t worked out as we’d hoped and will need to be redone’. Perhaps a lesson some of us have learned the hard way?!

From ingredients to a recipe for a Canvas Stitch Sampler… Once again, Jane has taken the time to share one of her many recipes for needle and thread.

‘This is a project that frees you to lay out the design as you stitch and take notes about your stitch choices and threads. There is no right or wrong placement, and not only will you practise canvas stitches and have a great piece to look at, but it will also become a reference to help you choose stitches and threads for future projects.’ 

Canvas Stitch Sampler


  • Choose a variety of threads to see how they work together.
    (‘I chose cottons and silks in solids, hand-dyed, and variegated threads.’)
  • A canvas with the outside perimeter marked.
  • Books, magazines, or websites that depict canvas stitches and motif patterns. 


  1. Pick a variety of different motifs to incorporate in your sampler. (‘I chose trees and birds.’)
  2. Stitch the motifs and/or text first, then enclose them in rectangles using different border stitches.
  3. Stitch groups of different canvas stitches in the empty areas around your rectangles. (‘I like experimenting with variegated threads in these areas.’)
  4. Use compensating stitches to fill your sampler to your outlined perimeter. 
  5. Note in your journal the names of the stitches and threads you enjoyed using in case you want to refer to them for your next project.

Just like Jane, we too ‘hope this practise sampler encourages you to try more challenging projects and helps you choose stitches and threads for your next project with canvas, needle and thread.’

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