Have Your Say

17th November 2023

Joy in Responses

Have Your Say this week features a collection of responses we’ve received over the past weeks. Spanning eight different issues, we’ve loved putting these together and revisiting our continuing conversations!

In All Stitched Up! #392, we looked at the power our stitching has to transport and inspire. Leanne was compelled to share her own experience of transportation while stitching. 

‘I spend a lot of my stitching time in front of the TV, sometimes just to keep my hands busy while resting, other times it just provides background noise while I focus on my stitching. The remarkable thing I’ve discovered is that when next I come to pick up a piece that I was working on while some TV show/movie was playing, no matter how long ago it was, and no matter what else is going on, I’m always reminded of that particular program. I can sometimes even ‘hear’ the dialogue playing in my head but at the very least I remember the storyline.

The really strange part is that if you’d asked me outside of my stitching, I would have barely recalled the TV program, since it was my stitching that I was focusing on. It just goes to show our brains absorb a lot more then we realise.’

Wow that is amazing maybe this can be your special skill, Leanne?!

We opened ASU #394 with some thoughts on choosing happiness in our stitching and packing away projects that are joyless. Adrienne emailed to let us know she was chuckling to herself by the end of the segment and here is her ‘choose joy’ story: 

‘I have, frequently, put a project into ‘hibernation’ because I just wasn’t having fun. But almost as frequently, when the project was then taken out of hibernation I had, at most, just a couple of hours of stitching left to complete the work. I always wonder why I do that – and then I shake my head, laugh at my goofy habit and find the joy in finally… finally… finishing the project, or at least finishing a part of a project that lets me move onto the next phase of it.’

We also heard from Jackie after reading ASU #394. She has an interesting self-discipline technique that helps her complete projects. ‘I confine my work to a 15cm (6″) hoop and finish my designs in the space of four weeks. Then a friend will visit me for a day of happiness, with our needle and thread from the previous month completed!’  

What a wonderful way to celebrate your stitching accomplishments each month, Jackie!

After reading the opening to ASU #395 about maintaining our momentum with needle and thread, Donna wanted to add another suggestion. She says getting a simple egg timer and setting it for 15 minutes each day helps her make time for her daily stitching. She adds, ‘Sometimes it’s not so much about motivation (although it’s a mix) but about finding a time when you’re motivated.’

ASU #396 had another theme of joy, looking at Ingrid Fetell Lee’s workbook of joy. We received a wonderful passage from Lalah who is 89 years old. She is finding joy in things that don’t require action and wishes to share the feeling with everyone.

‘For nearly 80 years I have found joy in embroidery and sewing. As the years rolled on, I have picked up other enjoyable hobbies like knitting, needlepoint, fabric painting, lapidary, silver smithing, gardening, playing my dulcimer, even a couple of years of sports car racing.

Now that I am pushing 89 with arthritis in my hands advancing and sight in my eyes getting dimmer, I find that my joy comes from things that don’t require as much agility, but I still sew and even embroider. It seems that joy can be found in many places. For instance, a gentle summer rain that cools the air and makes plants grow, or the sound of one of my cats purring as it sleeps in my lap. 

After a spell of bad health and everything seeming to go wrong, I am finding joy in so many small things. 

Joy does not require action on my part other than to just relax, observe what is going on around me and taking the time to appreciate it.’

This is a lovely message Lalah, we even found joy in your words and hope everyone appreciates your sentiment of slowing down and enjoying the little things.

In response to ASU #398, where we looked at obligations and chores, we heard from Ann. She says she and her husband tend to put off jobs that need to be done but that are not ‘run of the mill’. 

This is because, she says, ‘we are anxious that we are not sure we know what we are doing or worried that we’ll get it wrong. Usually, when we eventually force ourselves to get on and do it, we find that our worries and anxieties were unnecessary, feeling that the chore/task was a lot easier than we expected it to be. Mind you it’s not often that we remember this lesson and tell ourselves to ‘just get on with it’.’

In issue #393 Elizabeth posed a question, asking what reactions people get when they say they are an embroiderer. We heard from Mary in ASU #399, who said she had attended a class where the teacher said asking a quilter to hem your pants was equivalent to asking Picasso to paint your garage!

Elizabeth smiled at Mary’s comments and wanted to add to the conversation: ‘I suppose it doesn’t help that embroidery is often referred to as ‘sewing’ when it really isn’t. I’ve taken to saying they are very different, even though the two things use broadly the same set of materials – needles, thread and fabric. I always make sure to add that neither one is better than the other, although each uses very similar materials, the skillsets are very different indeed.’  Elizabeth hopes other people might share their ‘I am an embroiderer’ reactions and stories to keep the conversation going.

Embroidered Slippers by Susan O’Connor from Inspirations issue #1

Finally, we received a lovely message from Lee who had just read the Busy Bees article from ASU #401 which featured some of Susan O’Connor’s extraordinary portfolio. ‘How I remember those beautiful slippers in Inspirations issue #1. I have been a follower of Inspirations since that first edition, and have drooled over so many of your designs, and have even finished a few of them. Thank you for so much joy and inspiration over 30 years.’ 

We are so glad to provide you with joy and inspiration, Lee. Thank you everyone for your words – we wouldn’t have this wonderful segment without you! We look forward to seeing what might spark the next conversations…

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