Have Your Say

22nd October 2021

Of Books, Designers and Men

In many cases, if you find someone who loves stitching, you’ll also discover that they love reading as well. Perhaps it is the fact that both needlework and books bring a sense of peace, both require focus and concentration and both spark imagination, creativity and joy. And in the same way we love receiving recommendations for new needlework designers or new projects, getting book recommendations is equally as good.

A couple of readers have already recommended The Coat Route by Meg Lukens Noonan and it has now been endorsed by two further readers. Jenny Capper read it a few years ago and highly recommends it. She said it has so much information about the history of the garment industry, it should be a must-read for anyone interested in textiles. Margaret Mathers also sang its praises. She found the story enthralling and was fascinated by the descriptions of how the fine wool was gathered, how the coat itself was made, even how the buttons were produced.

‘I can recommend it to all stitchers!’

It sounds like this is a book we should all read!

Jillian Farrer mentioned another book which she was reminded of when reading our article about Dorset Buttons in All Stitched Up! issue #299. In ‘Burning Bright’ by Tracey Chevalier, the main characters are a family who move from Dorset to London in the 1790s. Both the mother and the daughter make money by making buttons! Apparently, Tracey Chevalier has done a lot of research and has included descriptions of all of the different styles of buttons, so this sounds like it might be an excellent read as well. 

Recently we asked for favourite designers you love to stitch, and a couple of readers wrote in enthusiastically to share. We love hearing about your favourites as we too derive such joy whenever our designers send in their new projects for upcoming publications. We do sometimes wonder how we were lucky enough to get the best job in the world…

Crewel Creatures by Hazel Blomkamp

Mendie Cannon simply loves Hazel Blomkamp’s work, both the Jacobean designs and Hazel’s animals. Mendie stitched Maureen the Owl from Hazel’s book Crewel Creatures, although she included her own touch by adding some Brazilian embroidery to it. Her completed Maureen won a blue ribbon at her local state fair as well! She’s now working on Roger the Rhinoceros and can’t wait until the next Hazel Blomkamp book comes out.

Margaret Jessel’s favourite designer is Jenny McWhinney. She loves Jenny’s adorable, precise and humorous drawings and has thoroughly enjoyed stitching the characters over the years. Her absolute favourite is Monet the Mouse, although she loves Jenny’s clowns too.

There were a few reminders about how many men are involved in the world of stitching as well this week. Geraldine Melrose wrote to us from Zimbabwe where she had been watching the TV series The Great British Sewing Bee. She was surprised and pleased to see that some of the competitors were men who stitched as a hobby. It’s great that not only do they do it for fun, but they’re willing to get out there on TV to do it too!

The combination of men and sewing was something Lena Napier was thinking about as well. She was inspired to write in after reading that many sewing machines were sold by men (usually to women!). Lena’s Uncle Ken used to work for Singer Sewing machines and he even spent time living in Singapore while he worked for the company. Although Lena never really took to sewing when she was at school, some 50 years later she bought a very old Singer machine that brings back memories of her Uncle Ken.

We close Have Your Say this week with a couple of your thoughts. Whilst hunting around for ideas for her next project, Elsa Gresham came across this little joke:

A woman told her husband: ‘See, I can fit all my craft supplies into one box’. To which he replied, ‘Stop calling our house a box!’

And Sheila Southwell shared that each night before she goes to sleep, she tries to think of something that has given her pleasure during the day. More often than not, it is something connected to embroidery.

What a wonderful way to fall asleep.

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