Have Your Say

26th March 2021

Stitch-alongs, Emillie Ferris and the Value of Noise

The subject of Stitch-alongs (SAL) turned out to be a popular one after we wrote about them in All Stitched Up! issue #270. Particularly during the trials and tribulations of 2020, lots of stitchers enjoyed the challenge and community offered by online stitch-along groups.

Sarah Kerkin’s Peppermint Purple 2020 Blackwork SAL

Sarah Kerkin was one of the many stitchers who was involved in the featured Peppermint Purple blackwork stitch-along last year. She had wanted to try blackwork for a while and felt that the small requirement of a block a week didn’t seem too daunting.

Sarah’s experience with the group accompanying her on the SAL was uplifting, especially with all of the lockdowns and border closures. It allowed like-minded stitchers to come together over their shared love. But Sarah states that it went beyond simply stitching. 

‘All of the members involved offered respite from stresses and provided support for those who needed it at particularly difficult times.’

She felt that her experience over the year gave her a huge amount of confidence in her blackwork, but it also opened her up to the vast range of creative ideas that her fellow stitchers shared so generously within the group.

Although she didn’t quite get the 2020 stitch-along project finished, she’s still working on it along with several other SALs this year. It seems that Sarah is definitely a convert!

Trudy Pohawpatchoko had never stitched a SAL before as she wasn’t sure about stitching something without knowing what the finished piece would look like beforehand. But she was captivated by the colours on the first month of Lesley Teare’s Birds and Blackwork Flowers SAL and soon found herself hooked.

Birds and Blackwork SAL by Lesley Teare, stitched by Trudy Pohawpatchoko

Trudy loved the sense of accomplishment she experienced as she finished each month’s square. As the year went on, her feeling of anticipation grew along with her eagerness each month to see the new chart. She couldn’t wait to see what the whole piece would end up looking like. By the end of the year, she was literally counting the days until the final chart came out. She found it immensely rewarding.

If you have any experiences from participating in a stitch-along, it’s never too late to jump in on the conversation, we’d love to hear from you.

Moving onto a different subject, we received an email from Annie Bowers from Canada who was delighted to receive her copy of Inspirations issue #109 with Emillie Ferris’s ‘Helena Gum Moth’ design on the cover. She had encountered Emillie’s work before through a seasonal subscription company called Craftpod.

When you sign up for Craftpod, each season you receive a pack filled with lovely stitching projects and surprises in the post. In Autumn 2020, the project was by Emillie and Annie had loved working it. She’s now a lifelong fan, and eager to start stitching her own Helena Gum Moth.

Has anyone else signed up to a subscription service like Craftpod? There are a lot of them around, covering all kinds of crafts from embroidery to crochet, quilting to knitting. Especially nowadays, receiving something wonderful in the post is a very rare treat, so we wonder how many of you have tried these services? What have your experiences been and are there any which you’d recommend?

Finally, Jackie Williams wanted to make a comment about noise and stitching, following on from our article in All Stitched Up! issue #268. She took issue with the idea that stitching brings quiet and eliminates noise. She stated:

‘There is nothing in the world as good as the sound of a needle taking thread through a tightly framed fabric. It is a joy to listen to above the birdsong.’

We completely agree, Jackie. The glorious sound of thread through fabric is something many of us find soothing. Sometimes, turning off the TV, radio, music or audiobook, or finding a quiet space away from other people, can bring a sense of calm punctuated by nothing but the timeless sound of our craft.

Thank you to all those amazing people out there who take the time to write to us – receiving your emails each day is like receiving wonderful treasures in amongst the daily routine. Please keep them coming!

If you’d like to tell us about your stitch-along or subscription service experiences, or even just any thoughts you have about needlework, email us at news@inspirationsstudios.com

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