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10th September 2021

Caravans, Kaleidoscopes and the Best Time of Day

We weren’t surprised when our welcome from All Stitched Up! issue #294 titled 48 Minutes, about the best time of day to stitch, inspired quite a few of you. We all have a favourite time and a favourite place that is particularly precious and allows us to be creative in effective ways.

For some people, such as Bunny Goodman, the mornings are best, before everyone else wakes up. Bunny likes the fact that it is quiet and she can gather her thoughts without being disturbed. Also, her eyes seem to be better first thing so she can get more needlework done, which is always valuable!

Bette Kelley is also a morning person. She likes to wake up before she has to get up so she can lie quietly and think about what she has to do that day or, better still, what the next step of her latest project is. Bette says she also enjoys a similar form of relaxation and mental planning in the evening, especially doing activities like walking her dogs or sitting outside and enjoying the sunset. It all sounds wonderfully calming.

You’ll also find Debra Dawson awake between 5.00am and 6.00am, brewing a cup of coffee and planning her creative pursuits. She then gathers her materials together for the day and sits down for the morning to work on detailed or challenging sections of her stitching that require precision. This goes until 2.00pm, after which time she starts on the more repetitive stitches. We can but envy Debra being able to devote entire days to her passion and can only imagine what a wonderfully prolific output she must have.

Pat’s bag, produced under strict time pressure!

Rather than a specific time of day, Pat Armour finds that the best time for her to work is under pressure – especially when she has a deadline to meet. Her deadlines can be self-imposed, or they can be external but they all help her to push herself creatively. Pat says:

‘Deadlines get my creative juices flowing!’

Pat does admit she’s lucky enough to have her own craft room to work in and a patient spouse who understands when she gets ‘on a roll’. She also enjoys the luxury of retirement that allows her to devote most of her days to her stitching.

Finally, Jackie Schallert says that any time is the right time for her to stitch. Needlepoint is her life, so much so that she’d happily give up eating to have more time to stitch! We are grateful that Jackie took a few minutes away from her needle to email us as it sounds like she’ll get so caught up in her stitching that almost everything else falls by the wayside.

Also from All Stitched Up! issue #294, a question was asked about caravan storage and we received a fantastic response from none other than needlework artisan extraordinaire Alison Cole. Alison said that when they bought their caravan, she commandeered three of the four cupboards over the dining table for her stitching. She asked her brother-in-law, who owns a cardboard box factory, to make a series of bespoke boxes to fit exactly into the cupboards. Each box will hold a project including its 8” hoop and she can stack them three high in the cupboards.

Alison can stitch anywhere! Lucky her caravan storage solutions are so good.

Alison’s craft room at home is set up in a similar fashion as it ensures that nothing gets shoved to the back and ‘lost’. But when they go on holidays, she’ll happily take 6 to 8 projects with her to work on rotation. 

In fact, a recent five-week trip saw Alison either finishing, or almost finishing, four projects. One of these included a 20+ year old canvas UFO that was stitched mainly while her husband was driving. Although she didn’t have quite enough thread to finish the canvas in its entirety and recognised that the likelihood of matching the threads after all this time was very doubtful, Alison is more than pleased to have completely finished just over half of the original canvas, now having a smaller version of what was originally painted. Alison, we love that you didn’t allow perfect to be the enemy of the good and now have another completed UFO to show for the many hours you and Steve must have spent on the road during your recent trip!

Kaleidoscope by Debbie Shepherd from AS&E issue #71

You might remember that also in All Stitched Up! issue #294 we wrote about the release of the lovely little smocked dress called Kaleidoscope as a digital pattern. When Paula Wilson saw it, it immediately reminded her of when she made the same dress for her granddaughter, Celeste. 

Celeste was 7 years old at the time, and they started making the dress together when Paula’s family had come to visit. Celeste even put in a few stitches of her own. When the dress was finally finished, Paula sent it to her granddaughter who proudly wore it for photo day at school.

Celeste is now 23 years old and has asked Paula if she would make another version of the dress for when she has children.

Paula, who is a proud collector and conservator of all her old AS&E magazines, said she would be thrilled.

Finally, a little erratum. Cristina Casoli pointed out that we had made a mistake when referring to a town in Italy. We had called it ‘Fermi’ but in fact we should have said ‘Fermo’. Please accept out apologies and thank you for being so eagle-eyed.

Keep the messages coming! Although we know that writing to us might take you away from your precious stitching time, we love it and we are always grateful for everyone who takes the time to send us their thoughts and stories.

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