What Are You Stitching?

17th February 2023

This week’s What are you Stitching? rounds up the work of stitchers who, in different ways, have made their projects their own.

Elza Bester de Jager | Elza'z Embroidery

‘Here are a few pictures of projects I have finished. This piece was based on a drawing of Evelyn Nesbit by Charles Dana Gibson. In the early part of the 20th century, Nesbit’s figure and face appeared frequently in mass circulation newspapers and magazine advertisements, on souvenir items, and in calendars, making her a celebrity.’

‘I was so fascinated by the beauty of Evelyn I decided to embroider her face. I put some colour highlights in her hair, coloured her eyes and lips and gave her an earring. She was the first supermodel of her day.’

‘My next piece is based on a painting by artist Maureen Christie from Australia. As soon as I saw it I knew I wanted to stitch it, so I ordered a panel from Maureen and here is the result.’ 

What amazing pieces, Elza. Your stitching and attention to detail absolutely bring your pieces to life! Thanks for sharing with us.

Jane Page

‘I thought I would share one of my favourite gadgets, my very treasured thimble keeper/tape measure/pincushion. When I was a very small child, I saw it at a jumble sale but must have been re-directed to the children’s stall. I still remember the absolute delight I felt when it appeared in my Christmas stocking and have treasured it for over 55 years since.’

‘In terms of stitching, I have been working in a heart/bee theme, having seen a picture of a tattoo that inspired me. I had this fabric in my stash and did not know what to do with it until I realised it was perfect for my very simple embroidery.’

This sounds like a fantastic gadget Jane, with so many uses all in one and we’re sure your lovely memories of receiving it add to the pleasure every time you use it. Also your bag is beautiful, we love how you have combined the cat motif and heart shape with the paw prints!

Lorrie Lafrance

‘My stitching life started when, at six years old, I received a stitching kit at Christmas. In a pretty blue box were three handkerchiefs printed with teddy bears, and floss of three different colours. My mother taught me to stitch and when I had finished the three handkerchiefs, she taught me how to unstitch them carefully so I could stitch them again.

Sixty-five years later, both lessons have stayed with me and I’m never as happy as with a needle in my hand and a cross stitch project nearby. Here are some of my stitched pieces, each has its own story.’

‘The ivory-billed woodpecker was stitched for a bird watcher friend when he turned 75 a few years ago. This bird inhabited the bottomlands and swamps in the south-eastern United States and is now critically endangered if not extinct. 

The stitching hangs in my friend’s front hall and is much admired by his birdwatching buddies who remember the bird and deplore its probable disappearance.’

‘These bookmarks were made for some friends who are avid readers and birdwatching/nature lovers.’

‘Many years ago, I sold second-hand books at a flea market. Other vendors knew that I stitched and stretched/framed my own pieces and would sell me all kinds of old picture frames and window frames for pennies. I would restore the frames and re-use them. This frame seemed appropriate for my feathered friends.’

One of our favourite sayings here at Inspirations is that every stitched piece has a story and all the back stories to your needlework, Lorrie are fascinating to hear. Your birds are beautifully stitched and that re-claimed frame suits the designs perfectly. We love that your needle and thread has kept the spirit of the ivory-billed woodpecker alive for those to admire and we’re sure it makes your friends smile every time they turn the pages of their books. Some very lucky friends you have!

Kay Bartlett

‘I thought I would share my first piece of Casalguidi. I belong to the Penzance branch of West Country Embroiderers and we have a lovely tutor Jenny Tregathon, who taught a two-part lesson in Casalguidi. 

I had not heard of this style, mind you I had only joined a few months previous to learn embroidery.’

‘We did this ring and then she showed us other stitches. I ended up adding a dragonfly and sent it to my mother-in-law in France.’

Kay, we would never have guessed this was your first attempt at Casalguidi! We love the addition of the delicate dragonfly, we’re sure it will be a gift that is treasured.

Do you stitch gifts for your friends or family? Have you got any faithful stitching gadgets? Or do you like to make your projects your own by adding elements?

Whatever your stitching story, we’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve created with needle and thread along with a few details about the project and your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com 

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