What Are You Stitching?

7th June 2024

Joan Wilson

In ASU #394 we highlighted some of the World Embroidery Day celebrations that were had in 2023. Members of The Embroiderers’ Guild of Queensland were set a challenge to upcycle a second-hand kit into something usable and pleasing.

We received an email from Joan who wanted to share a bit more about her group’s entry! 

‘In December 2022 the Guild decided on a recycle challenge for 2023. For fun, Chris Evans suggested the Southside Group put in a group entry. Chris was asked to co-ordinate and come up with some ideas. Before receiving our kit, the group discussed various options we might create such as lampshades, quilts, fan poles and perhaps a Christmas hanging.’

‘Due to time restraints and having 14 members with differing experience, it was decided to go with a fan pole as each member could work independently on their fan to eventually make a cohesive whole.’

‘What is a fan pole? Think of a tree in a pot with removable fans as branches. The fans would then be slotted into holes in the pole. The fan pole is to be donated to the Guild for the use of the fans by all members to cool down whilst in the Guild building.’

‘The concept of fans arose when Chris noted our President at the half yearly meeting using a sheet of paper to cool down despite all ceiling fans and floor stand fans being on.’

‘March was spent deciding on what to make, a pattern, colours, stitches, dye, paint, and whatever structural elements may be required to make a pleasing cohesive ‘thing’. This then gave April, May and June to work on a pleasing, recycle/upcycle, useful article with a wow factor. If we were to work on a single article, for example a tablecloth, each member would only have approximately a week to complete their contribution. Hence the suggestion of individual pieces, giving us each about 10 weeks to work our magic.’

‘It was decided to make static fans (Chinese style) rather than folding fans. The two layers of fabric would need support – suggestions were template plastic, old X ray films, a wire outside frame. We tried very hard to incorporate old cutlery for the handles of the fans.’

‘Jill Gillespie’s son Douglas offered to make fan shapes (including a handle) using recycled wire from his work sites.’

‘From the ‘give away’ table at Spinners and Weavers, Chris claimed a box of Coates 20 crochet cotton, which we used for construction and for the tassels. In Chris’s stash of leather, she found some old gold leather suitable to cover the fan handles.’

‘The 14 of us had a lot of fun making this together and special thanks go to Jill, Chris and Joan for co-ordinating us all.’

Joan, thank you for providing the words behind the stitching! We loved the idea of the fan pole to allow everyone the extra stitching time and for each individual to bring some of their own creativity into the project. The piece is spectacular – testament to the many hours and helping hands that have given the recycled materials a brand-new life! We look forward to seeing what stitching you get up to this World Embroidery Day!

Do you stitch with reused materials? Have you stitched a fan? Or have you completed a group project? 

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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