Have Your Say

17th July 2020

Sharing Your Stories

When we wrote our introduction for All Stitched Up! issue #239, reminding us all that everything we do has a story behind it, we were overwhelmed by the number of responses we had from people who wanted to share their story with us. Every one of them was so personal, it was such a joy for us to read, so this week we wanted to share just a few extracts from them for everyone to enjoy:

Lana Lipsett

‘It is both a virtue and a vice that I have endless curiosity and drive for knowledge in all areas of my life. Embroidery is no different.

Currently I have kits for at least eight different embroidery techniques. I don’t know what possesses me except my curiosity and available funds. What I may not have is sufficient time and eyesight.’

Lana, we are quietly confident that your drive is definitely more virtue than vice! The drive to try new techniques is why we all constantly improve day by day. It is the story of who you are, and something to be very proud of.

Evelyn Little

‘I started this project back in February 2019, and finally finished it during lockdown. My passion is stitching, but I wrote a poem to express this moment and this project.’

‘Cos friends and I can’t get together
Been stitching here, hell-bent for leather.
Have sewed every day
So now I can say…
“I’ve done it. I’ve finished the feather!”

Design’s by Jen Goodwin, my word
To think of more talent. Absurd!
With needle and thread
I just did as she said
But I’m glad it was not a whole bird!’

Such talent you have Evelyn both with needle and thread and with words! Expressing one’s story in poetry is something people have been doing for millennia, and it is as impactful now as it was in the past.

Nancy Duncan

Nancy has also written her story in the form of a wonderful poem, here are some extracts: 

‘Beads, bones, seeds, and stones
Beauty borne out of necessity
Ivory, shells, pearls, and quills
So began the World of Embroidery!

A symbol of wealth, a voice of history
The Needle and Thread reveals
But in the heart of the maker, there’s no escaping
A sense of wonder she feels…

She holds in her hands the Passage of Time
And stitches with each breath she takes.
A world perhaps not so different from then.
Because Beauty is what She Makes.’

Just like Evelyn you really have a way with both needle and thread and with words! You have truly made something beautiful with each and we thank you for taking the time to share them with us.

Sue Dawson

‘When I was about six years old, all I wanted to do was dressmaking. The day after my fourteenth birthday I started work, hand sewing beautiful gowns.

I worked for ten years, until we started our family. Then I worked from home, specialising in wedding and bridesmaid gowns.

In the 1980s I could no longer lift the weight of a wedding gown so I turned to embroidery. I have enjoyed it so much I can’t imagine not being able to pick up a needle.’

We love that the ebbs and flows of one’s story reflect those of life, but as Sue’s story shows, one true passion threads through it all.

Robyn Wright

‘In mid-April my adored husband died from a massive stroke, so while I am stitching Trish Burr’s Charleston there is a constant narrative of our lives quietly writing itself as my backstory.’

We’re so sorry to hear of your loss Robyn, it’s comforting to know the repetitive quality of stitching encourages us to meditate on our story, and can be of huge benefit through all kinds of moments, especially times of grief.

Trish Burr’s Charleston from Inspirations issue #72

Carol Meadows

‘Like many others, I learnt to sew at the feet of my mother and grandmother.

My mother made most of my dresses, which had large hems that could be let down annually. Usually that was my grandmother’s job when she came for Christmas.

My Grandma would also do any other sewing that my mother saved up for her like turning the sheet sides to the middle or reversing the collars and cuffs of my father’s shirts.

My other Grandma taught me how to embroider. She had been a court dressmaker in London, and although I don’t think she made anything for the Queen, she had an amazing wardrobe that she had made for herself.

I wish I had asked more about her life and her job, but although I didn’t know much about her past, I remember her message: ‘If a thing is worth doing then it is worth doing properly.’

This usually meant ‘perfect’ or it had to be unpicked!

But she also insisted that being yourself, having your own standards and beliefs about life was the most important gift your life gives you. Copying what your friends do was not good enough.’

Such a fascinating and rich introduction to needlework Carol, it’s also fascinating to see how one’s personal story often includes the stories of many others who have influenced us or touched our life.

Thank you to everyone who sent in their stories. We feel honoured to receive such personal narratives and hope that in sharing them we can encourage others to think about their own stories too.

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