Have Your Say

23rd June 2023


This week’s Have Your Say sees us taking a walk through some recent issues of All Stitched Up! as we share some of the conversations that were continued by members of the Inspirations Community, closing with a stroll Phyl is taking through all things needle and thread that she’s hoping we might be able to help her with.

We opened ASU #378 with some thoughts on focus and how it can help us to navigate obstacles we may find on the path before us. Denise joined in on the conversation by sharing what she uses to remind herself to focus on her focus.

My friend, who has now passed away, used to tell me to focus. We both had gold hoop earrings, so when I need to remember to focus, I simply wear my earrings and think of what she would say. This is particularly helpful when I am designing a new project.’

Denise, not only do the earrings remind you to focus, but they provide an ongoing connection to someone who was integral to your journey with needle and thread – who could ask for more from a simple piece of jewellery?!

ASU #380 saw us looking for more time to put needle and thread to fabric as we shared some of the ways in which Debbie Preissinger makes the time to put stitching at the top of her To Do List. Our conversation encouraged many an idea to be shared.

Whilst Darcy has tried the ‘wake up earlier’ method Debbie suggested, she quickly came to realise that she’s not a morning person! Her solution? Zoom.

Darcy has taken to Zoom, holding stitch-ins that are anywhere between 90 and 120 minutes long. Her Zoom Calendar now includes two stitch-ins for her EGA region – one fortnightly and one monthly, as well as follow up stitch-ins to classes she’s taken with her ANG Needlepoint Guild that encourage her, as well as the other attendees, to finish what they started. She also attends a Zoom stitch-in, sponsored by another group, every Sunday afternoon.

The relatively low cost of Zoom allows Darcy to host and attend stitch-ins as often as she likes for as long as she likes. This means she has scheduled numerous additional hours for her stitching each week, all whilst enjoying the company of other stitchers.

Her advice? Absolutely find a stitch-in if you’re able!

Gillian reminisced about her time spent stitching at Bustle & Bows in Warrandyte, Australia that meant an entire day was spent with needle and thread each week.

‘When I lived in Melbourne, I attended embroidery classes at the wonderful Bustle & Bows. Spending a whole Saturday with other amazing stitchers was a real joy, and to have Ana Mallah as our teacher was wonderful as she was so encouraging. I really miss those classes but thank you for including Ana’s designs in Inspirations, I have bought some of them as future projects – for when time allows!’

Bustle & Bows (source)

Gillian, we’ve had the absolute joy of visiting Bustle & Bows on more than one occasion and think it’s one of the most idyllic places to while away the hours with needle and thread, and to do it under the expert guidance of Ana Mallah – oh my!

After following the discussion about making the time to stitch, Lindsey shared her solution.

‘I have a storage trolley, and whilst mine was from IKEA they’re also available in places like Kmart, that had been idling its time away in the shed, unused and unloved until I had a bit of a brainwave.

I have tried lots of ways to store my embroidery – boxes, bags, baskets, but this for me ticks all the boxes! Top shelf: needles, books, and threads in use. Second shelf: a variety of optional threads to choose from. Bottom shelf: hoops, completed panels, stabiliser, and such.’

‘How does this give me more time to stitch? Everything is at hand so while I drink my morning coffee, it’s beside me. Afternoon tea out in the sun, my trolley wheels out with me. Off to our TV room in the evening, it’s beside my chair. I can indulge in five minute blocks of time, or maybe a little more while dinner cooks or my husband gets ready for an outing!

It has honestly changed my life. My husband has Parkinson’s and stitching is my meditation which now I can just pick up anytime. Thank you for a wonderful magazine and all the lovely items you sell. I have quite a collection of tins that are useful for threads, needles, and thread organisers – as well as one that holds my nest of threads!’

Lindsey, we love that such a simple solution has had such an impact on your time with needle thread – we even have it on good authority that you would take it to the hairdresser if you were able! Who knows, maybe stitching while getting your hair done might just encourage those around you to pick up needle and thread too?!

After reading issue #380 of the newsletter, Carol appreciated afresh how ‘too much work can slow you down just because you are worrying about all the work, all the time.’

This was a lesson Carol learnt while working corporately, and the solution she came up with then, Carol now applies to her time with needle and thread.

‘The problem is not the work, it’s the time. When I decided to allocate my time for everything that needed doing first thing in the morning, I found out that I had time left over. When I have a finite amount of time to finish one piece of a project, I can focus on that, knowing that all the other work for the day is going to get done and I don’t need to worry about it. It’s magic! 

I use this system today except I have attached a place to the time slots.’ 

‘My first time slot is coffee in bed while listening to the news, with a stitching project that lives on my bedside table. I have paper pieced a couple quilts during this time. My second slot is scheduled after I am dressed and ready for the day. So, I wake at 6:00 and by 8:00 I have stitched for an hour, gotten dressed and had breakfast.

Using this system, while the place itself may change, I can still complete the allotted activity. I also have a project in my car so that I can stitch while I wait to pick up the grandchildren or am assisting others with transport and running errands. It’s amazing how much I can get done while living life with family and friends.

So, I live with my alarm set each day in the knowledge that my stitching gets stitched, my grandkids get picked up, my bills get paid, my grocery shopping gets ordered, my lunch and dinner gets made, and my present and future stitching projects get planned.’

All that and stitching to boot! Sounds like you’ve found the system that’s just right for you Carol.

Meg wrote in with a simple note of thanks for our reminder to make the time for needle and thread.

‘Thank you so much for the snippet on making time to stitch. I too have been struggling to find time to stitch. By the end of the day, I am exhausted both mentally and physically after caring for my husband with Alzheimer’s and our three dogs. I now know though that I need to carve out some me time as I have a long journey before me.’

Meg, we hope you’ll take the reminder to heart, and perhaps some of the suggestions put forward in today’s newsletter will help to ensure needle and thread become a part of your tool kit for navigating the journey before you.

As mentioned, we’re closing this week’s Have Your Say with Phyl who has a task before her that all of us have either already experienced or will have to tackle at some point in our journey with needle and thread.

‘I am in an emotional quandary. I am attempting to pack up 60 years of wonderful stitching and collecting of embroidery memorabilia. It is an extremely emotional journey as I have always had a dedicated sewing space, with my current one having lots of bookshelves, so there is also a lifetime of collecting wonderful books.

We are downsizing and although there is an extremely active Embroiderers’ Guild Branch in my town, they cannot take all my books, so the local Rotary Book Fair are taking many of them off my hands. I do so love that someone is going to have a lot of good reading ahead of them.

Whilst many of my patchwork fabrics have found a new home, it has been very hard to let them go. This sorting is taking quite some time as I mull over what should stay or go, and I’m finding it all quite hard.

I have a full set of all Inspirations magazines from the very first issue but am keeping all of these as I love looking through them for inspiration, as do my small stitching group which has inevitably become smaller over the years as the oldest member is now 96, with the youngest ‘just’ 70 years old.

I’m hoping someone in the Inspirations Community may have some suggestions to make this clearing out simpler, I would love to hear from them!’

If you’re able to point Phyl in the right direction as to how she can tackle the task before her, we know she’d appreciate your thoughts. Simply email us, and as we know Phyl isn’t alone, we’ll look to publish your responses in an upcoming issue of the newsletter so we can all benefit from the pearls of wisdom shared.

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