What Are You Stitching?

21st October 2022

Insects. Do you love the way they creep or do they make your skin crawl?! No matter how you feel when Mother Nature offers you the opportunity to get a little up close and personal with a creepy crawly, we think this week’s Featured Project presents the insect kingdom in what could only be considered it’s finest and most resplendent glory!

From the beauty of Balthazar to the intrigue of insects in general, this week we’re sharing the ways in which the needles of the Inspiration Community have been put to interpreting insects.

Anne Hefford

I was very taken with the Jarrah and Grass Blue Butterfly in Inspirations issue #114. However, as I live in the UK, I wanted to stitch something more local. Having decided against the more commonly seen Red Admiral, Small Tortoiseshell and Peacock butterflies, which seemed too much of a challenge, I settled on stitching a Brimstone butterfly on Buckthorn.’

Digging through my bookshelves I found my aged Reader’s Digest books on Butterflies and Trees and came up trumps! With input from well renowned embroiderers Kay Dennis, Jane Matthews and Kay Leech who helped with the layout and design, along with many happy hours stitching the various components, my piece has come together.

Image Credit | Reader’s Digest

Anne, your piece has come together beautifully! We love that you took inspiration from a project in the magazine and found a way to truly make it your own. One of the sayings that’s often heard at Inspirations HQ is ‘none of us are as smart as all of us’ and your piece is evidence of that concept. 

Inspiration from Denise Mackey, reference images from Reader’s Digest, help from Kay, Jane and Kay and the work of your needle and thread have all come together to create something that’s not only personal, but thoughtfully designed and skilfully executed.

Bunny Goodman

After reading about the passing of Peggy Kimble in All Stitched Up! issue #344, Bunny wrote in with her very personal connection to Peggy’s work:

Peggy was very skilled and knowledgeable in embroidery. I only met her a few times at the Island Stitchery Guild in Nanaimo, British Columbia, Canada when I first joined the Guild in the mid-1990s. I instantly recognized her passion and proficiency in embroidery and her kind and helpful spirit.’

‘In 2016 I was digging around in a donation bin in an embroidery shop and came across a piece of crewel embroidery that Peggy had taught years go. Unfortunately, it didn’t have a date on the instructions but you could see it had been typed out on a typewriter and had notes here and there in handwriting before being photocopied so I knew it to be old, maybe late 1980s to early 1990s?

‘The fabric was a nice twill and because it had been a class of maybe only one or two days, not much of the embroidery had been completed, just a spot here and a spot there to try out different stitches. I removed the stitches and started fresh.

‘The butterfly and the floor of this crewel piece needed a bit of fixing in the design department so I did that too! I kept the colour scheme Peggy had intended but changed up some of the recipe of stitches in the instructions. That’s me, I can never stick with the intended instructions – gotta change things!’

Bunny, what a treat to find a kit from one of Peggy Kimble’s classes! It was always our honour to hear from Peggy and share her work through the pages of All Stitched Up! She was a skilled and prolific embroiderer whose absolute joy was to pass on her passion and knowledge of needle and thread to all who knew her. 

Peggy has left an incredible legacy that you’ve been fortunate enough to be a direct beneficiary of Bunny. Your piece will always be a fitting reminder of her.

Carolee Fields Withee

‘I like to use samples of vintage handmade needlework in my wall hangings. I’m always pleased to obtain an old, crocheted doily, but it’s even better when I discover a crocheted heart, butterfly or six crocheted birds – such fun to design a scene around those shapes! 

I love how colonial knots make realistic Golden Rod and Queen Anne’s Lace blossoms and have added pieces of vintage tatting and my tatted dragonfly, all stitched into a Crazy Quilt.’

Carolee, your dragonfly has the most delicate of wings, and is that a caterpillar we spy making his way up the stem of a flower?! Your piece has a delightful whimsy about it, and we love the richness myriad fabrics and stitches have brought to it.

Cristina Casoli

‘I remember as a child, the basket without a lid that my mother used for sewing. I also remember the story of how, as a little girl, it had come into her possession. It was a rectangular basket that had once contained dried fruit that was given to her once the contents were exhausted. On the outside of the base ‘Japan’ was stamped and it was from an era when products of oriental origin were exotic and not as common as nowadays. 

The lid, which I have never seen, was attached to the base by means of two brass hinges of which only a fragment remained. She told me that with much use it had broken and had been thrown out.’

‘The basket is linked to the memory of my mother, who from an early age always sewed what she needed for us children and for the house. Inside are kept scissors, a tape measure that has aged by its years of use, a thimble without which, unlike me, she could not work, needles and the ‘pirone’ – the spool of thread to baste fabric.

Upon her death in 2009, the basket passed into my custody and in 2020 I decided to pay homage to her many works, carried out for us with love, patience and sacrifice, by creating a lid to replace the one that was lost.

I have a lot to be grateful for, but a special thought goes to my mother, when I embroider each stitch it is like a prayer for her.

My mother’s favourite colour was pink, so I made a design with roses and her initials for the outside of the lid and a bouquet of violets, her favourite flower, linked to her name, year of birth and that of her passing inside.’

Cristina, when gathering projects for this week’s What Are You Stitching? it was the tiny butterfly on the lid of your sewing box that caught our attention. However, it’s the story behind your stitching that will remain with us. 

Your stitching is an incredible labour of love that pays tribute to your mother in the most fitting of ways. She would be so incredibly proud of your work with needle and thread.

If Mother Nature’s creepy crawlies make your skin crawl, we think today’s All Stitched Up! might just help you find them a little more endearing than perhaps you once did! Whether you love the Insect Kingdom, including them in your stitching each time you pick up needle and thread or loathe them to the extent they’d never be seen in your work, we’d love to see what you’ve created.

Simply email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com  

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