What Are You Stitching?

12th April 2024

Carol Bristow

‘I was reminded of my introduction to needlepoint when visiting a most beautiful, unique stitchery shop called ‘The Silver Thimble’ once located in nearby Oakville, Ontario, Canada. Joan Phillips and her knowledgeable staff introduced needleworkers near and far to the finest of needlework wares with many of us becoming dear friends over the years.’

‘On my first visit there I was drawn to a display of exquisite hand-dyed silk threads. Equally rich, blended colours of cotton threads; even suedes cut slim enough to fit through the eye of a needle. I couldn’t resist choosing a number of these threads to bring home despite the fact I hadn’t decided on a project.

An idea arose to utilise the front portion of a vest pattern, traced onto a piece of fine needlepoint canvas. I began to fill in the vest shaped panel randomly playing with colour, texture and stitch combinations letting the designs evolve as the sampler grew.  

There was no pre-designed plan, which kept each day’s stitching lively and free flowing. Silk threads of golden yellow, turquoise, sunset pinks, lavender blues, willow greens and velvet black suede highlights were eventually surrounded by a background of royal blue cotton thread woven into the needlepoint canvas. The completed variety of stitches subtly referenced aspects of my life.’

‘This stitch sampler, titled ‘Partial Investment’, brought about such enjoyment!’

What started as threads has turned into a beautiful project, Carol. We love your idea of using the pattern outline from a vest to contain your dazzling array of colourful stitched patterns that all complement each other beautifully. Your story is a great example of what wonderful outcomes can be achieved from simply giving into the impulse of purchasing gorgeous threads on a whim!

Abby Roane

‘I fell in love with the dragonfly and butterflies in the project Burst of Colour from Inspirations magazine issue #118, so I decided that I must wear them and share my joy. These pictures show the journey I took to add more embellishments as I worked on the WIP.’

‘I put the finishing touches on the jacket and I shared the journey with members of my WDC EGA chapter based in Washington D.C. I explained how I was able to trace the insects from a scan of the pattern and increase the size slightly for my use. I used Paper Solvy by Sulky to place them on the jacket and then used Anchor floss as well as DMC floss to embroider them in bright and bold colours.’

‘I was visiting my family in New York City and of course, wore my jacket. I always find something in your magazine that I put on my wish list for my ‘next’ project. The list keeps getting longer!’

‘Here is another photo showing more of my wearable art jacket, this one I  completed in March 2022.’

Wow Abby! These jackets are amazing. We’re so pleased that that you were inspired by Laurence Lieblich’s design and we’re sure she too will enjoy seeing how you’ve adapted her piece, Burst of Colour, into wearable art. We love the colourful sequins you have added on the denim, they look like glistening sprinkles! Also, we can only imagine the number of hours of work that went into your remarkable 2022 jacket. It’s great to hear you’re getting good use of them all, wearing embroidered art like this is a fantastic way to inspire others to stitch.

Alissa Cook

‘My stitching journey started many years ago as an older teen. My grandmother and mother were both talented stitchers, knitters, sewers and crocheters. I pursued nature photography, after having children and deciding to leave my job in science/pharmaceuticals.’

‘In the first lockdown I had the idea to stitch onto my photographs, and I ‘tested the water’ by including three photographic embroideries in my first exhibition (amongst my nature photographs) and they sold immediately!’

‘I stitch on linen, canvas or paper. In the linen works I use higher density stitching than I do in canvas or paper. I use a lot of long and short stitch using 3-6 strands of cotton, fishbone stitch is great for leaves and bird tail feathers, turkey stitch for eucalyptus flowers and French knots to represent leaves on the foliage of gum trees. I also enjoy using seed stitch, couching and a spot of needle weaving.’

‘I am currently working towards an exhibition in Sydney, May 2024, entitled ‘Forests to Foreshores’ and will be showcasing about 15-18 photographic embroideries using photographs I have taken in various parts of Australia. Two of these projects are part of the exhibition. The circular works, which I thoroughly enjoy doing, were from past exhibitions. My Instagram profile is @alissa_cook_photoembroidery and Facebook is Alissa Cook Photography.

Alissa, you’re a double act! Not only are your stitched pieces stunningly beautiful, but your photographs are incredible as well. This is a wonderful way to mix your two favourite hobbies, you’re a ‘natural’! We’re not surprised they sold immediately. Hopefully some of our readers are able to see your work in person at your Sydney exhibition. All the best with it! 

Have you purchased the threads, before the project? Stitched yourself some one-of-a-kind clothing? Or tried joining two of your favourite hobbies together?

Whatever you are stitching, we’d love to see it! 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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