Have Your Say

26th January 2024

Welcome to Have Your Say for 2024! We’re so glad to be back with a bumper segment featuring conversations from travel to TV film sets. So settle in and enjoy some of the tales we’ve received from your fellow stitchers…

Laurie wrote in with a tale of caution after reading the Stitch ‘n’ Travel welcome in ASU #407. She came home recently from a needlework convention to find she had inadvertently left some belongings on a train. Laurie’s wallet containing important cards and even the notes were returned intact, however a small bag of stitching remains misplaced.

‘The bag was a simple drawstring handmade gift and held some crochet and a pair of scissors. The scissors were my mother’s Gingher embroidery scissors featuring a beaded fob I had recently finished with effort, in an embroidered sheath that was a Christmas gift from a dear friend.’

We’re so sorry to hear of the loss of your precious stitching Laurie, we hope your story will caution others to be especially diligent with their treasured cargo.

Talk of travel also compelled Jane to share her enjoyment of a travelling needlework project. She visited Canada last August and while her thread cutters needed to be stored in her checked luggage she was able to carry a small pair of folding scissors in her hand luggage for all her cutting needs!

In response to the stitching stories shared in ASU #408, Lalah was reminded of her first stitching attempt. She quite clearly remembers being 5 years old, sitting on the front porch of their farm watching her mother hem handkerchiefs for her father.

‘I begged her to let me do one and, even though she knew it would waste a piece of linen, she patiently showed me how to make the stitches. I remember trying so hard to make the neat little stitches she did. When it was done, I was so proud of it that I could hardly wait for daddy to get home to show him.  That was the first of my sewing attempts and he actually took it with him and used it in public. 

I was enamoured with sewing from that time on. My dolls had a lot of clothes made with mother’s left-over scraps. I was seven before my legs were long enough to reach the treadle on our Singer sewing machine and I made my first dress. It was white cotton with blue flowers and I was so proud of it. Needless to say, it was much neater than my father’s handkerchief. 

It was about that time mother taught my sister and I the basics of embroidery and I have been hooked on it ever since.

When I got married I started smoking. When I got divorced, I decided to take up Karate. Not a good mix. After my first lesson I knew it was one or the other, so I quit smoking. Left with nothing to do with my hands, I went back to embroidery. I learned stitches beyond stem and lazy daisy. I got a booklet of embroidery stitches and went nuts. Almost everything I wore had embroidery somewhere. I made placemats for gifts and of course had to embroider them. 

I have gone through a lot of different crafts, some briefly and some extensively, but needle and thread has never lost its attraction and I will probably be found dead in my chair with an embroidery project (and a cat) in my lap. At least I think that would be the best ever way to go.

In ASU #409 we continued the Why’s and How’s conversation, which was of great interest to Sylvia and prompted her to share her experience. Similarly to many others, an elderly relative taught her needlework. She started with running stitch, lazy daisy (detached chain) and stem stitch on precious scraps of material.

I lived in London and was 4 years old at the time. The aunt who taught me held our lessons in our air raid shelter, to distract me from all that was happening around us. She certainly succeeded; I remember those lessons with great pleasure.’

Also responding to ASU #409, Ann sent us her stitching tale.

‘I was taught plain sewing and embroidery about 70 years ago by the headmistress at my Junior School. The first thing I was required to make was a pinafore in white cotton. Of course, all the stitching was by hand, and I kept being told to undo what I’d done because I was incapable (and uninterested) in making neat small stitches. Eventually I lost patience and dumped it in the school dustbin.

 After my first year at Secondary School, we were able to choose some of our ‘practical’ subjects. I chose Art but I wasn’t allowed to do Art, I was required to take ‘Dress’ (garment making) instead. And, you’ve guessed it, I hated that too.

We had to sit the GCE O Level in Needlework, which actually entailed working out what some unprinted pattern pieces were and using them to construct part of a garment.

The irony is, I was the only one in the class who passed the exam!

The one thing I enjoyed about that class was learning to use a treadle sewing machine. I would still prefer one to an electric, much easier to control.

It was not until I was about 25 that I started becoming interested in embroidery. I was entirely self-taught from library books, and journeyed through needlepoint to pulled thread, whitework and thence to needle lace of various types. I have diverted into all sorts of other crafts and can happily spend all day doing any of them, mixing and matching, for whatever my current project is, but I do have to have something to keep my brain occupied while my hands are working so audio books are for me!’

Finally, for Have Your Say this week we had a delightful update from Anne about her granddaughters who appeared in Inspirations issue #72 on page 5. Emma and Giulua were four months old then but became teenagers in 2023!

‘I went to Italy in October 2023. Whilst there we went to Milan for the filming of The Voice Kids Italy 2023. The girls were selected out of 3000 entrants. Finally, after three days their turn arrived. I was at the side of the set with my daughter, son-in-law and his parents. The girls were selected for the second round. Boy, were we a proud bunch. They were eliminated in the second round, but what an experience.’ 

As for her stitching, Anne sat in her hotel room and stitched when it wasn’t her turn to be on set.

We look forward to another year of stitching conversations with our wonderful All Stitched Up! community. So, if you have something to add to what was shared this week or a conversation you’d like to start, simply email news@inspirationsstudios.com

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