Have Your Say

28th June 2019

In All Stitched Up! issue #186 HERE we wondered if, like us, you’d ever noticed that when something piques your interest, suddenly you notice it everywhere. We also questioned whether this phenomenon has a name and it turns out that not only does it have name – or two – but we are not the only ones who’ve noticed this phenomenon, especially when it comes to all things needle and thread related!

Annie Webster

‘The answer to the question posed in the welcome in your recent newsletter ‘Details’ is The Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon or, probably more accurately, Frequency Illusion. Very interesting and a happenstance I’ve observed often over many years. Who’d have thought a newsletter on embroidery would have sparked such intellectual interest? Well done!’

Bonnie Stenstrom

‘The reticular formation of the brain is responsible for this phenomenon with an example of this being exactly what you described – an owner of a new car noticing similar cars on the road. This useful aspect of our brain gives us the ability to screen out competing stimuli and focus on what is important to us at that time. I enjoy the beautiful creations of your readers and am heartily impressed by the skill and devotion it takes to fashion, stitch and create these items.  Thank you for a wonderful newsletter!’

Elizabeth Fewer

‘I absolutely suffer from this phenomenon!

For instance, while eating breakfast in a Mexican cantina in Las Vegas, I spotted an old surface embroidery from 50 feet away in semi darkness.

Also, when I was at the hospital at the time my first grandson was on his way, I left family behind to check out a large embroidery of tiny people down the hall. On a related note, I walked an extra mile in Cuba because a vendor told me there was a woman down the street who sold her own embroidery, and while travelling in Las Vegas when people asked me what shows I had tickets for, I was honest and replied, ‘I don’t know who’s performing, but I did look up the bus route to a local embroidery store!’

Lesley-Anne Read

‘I find that during historical dramas on TV all I notice are the samplers on the walls, or the way that the ladies who are supposedly stitching have obviously never held an embroidery hoop, needle or thread in their hands prior!’

Roberta Ellis

‘I always manage to find the interesting needlework pieces in print ads, movies, TV shows and commercials as well as in Art Galleries and have even watched several bad movies more than once just to see the quilts and costumes again! My family teases me about this talent all the time, especially when we travel.’

Vivien Thornton

‘Several friends and I watch programmes on TV, like ‘Place in the Country’ and ‘Your New Home Abroad’ and get excited when any of the homes featured have quilts on the beds, embroidered wall hangings or stitched cushions. In fact, one of the BBC channels had an opening sequence of layered fabrics, so the content or adverts became irrelevant as we were focused only on the textiles!’

We also heard from Heather Cawte, Sandra Forsythe and Sz who referred to this phenomenon as the Baader-Meinhof Phenomenon as well. Whilst Diane Tompkins suggested it is known as Reticular Activating System and Sheila McCoy suggested it could be referred to as serendipity. We thank everyone who joined in on the conversation, and like Annie, we too were somewhat surprised by the interest we sparked with a simple observation!

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