What Are You Stitching?

27th September 2019

Of the many subjects the Inspirations Community put their needles and threads to, there is often a focus on botanical studies and this week we’re sharing some of these with you. We hope you enjoy a walk through our Botanic Garden…

Flowers for Elizabeth | Kim Spry

‘Well what a delight, I have finally finished Flowers for Elizabeth by Susan O’Connor from Inspirations issue #51! I started this piece on 9 March 2010 and somewhere along the way it was placed in the to-do cupboard. I took this piece up again on 25 July 2019, and finally finished it on 8 August 2019, so nearly 10 years later, that must be a record!’

‘I used mostly the DMC version of stranded cotton, as I had many leftovers from previous work. I enlarged this piece so that I could frame it – although that might take another 10 years! As I was closing Inspirations issue #51, I flicked through and noticed that I had also completed both Cockatoo Apple by Judy Stephenson and Leaps and Bounds by Rae Wilson in 2008. I might just go back through all the Inspirations and see what else I need to embroider!’

Kim, we love that you came back and completed the stitching you started in 2010! It’s never about how long a piece takes us to complete, but rather the joy we find in laying each stitch along the way. We look forward to seeing what Inspirations project you put your needles and threads to next.

Irises | Lilian Muir

‘I started my journey in embroidery when I was very young. At school in Zimbabwe, my siblings were all good at sport, but alas I was the girl who always came last.

My enjoyment and successes were in art and needlework. My grandmother was an accomplished seamstress, where I learned so much.

After school, I moved to live on a farm, where life was hectic and full of ups and downs. My three wonderful children took up most of my time, so there was not much time for serious embroidery. In 2001, my family moved to the UK, where I am now retired and living in Yorkshire. Here I have a whole new life – I have stitching, art and fabulous grandchildren to fill my days with joy! I have joined a group of ladies in Stamford Bridge, who are currently making a Tapestry/Embroidery of the battle of Stamford Bridge. It is stitched in the style and spirit of the Bayeux Tapestry and there has been a lot of interest expressed in our progress. Shirley Smith designed the Iris for which I won the competition at our Embroiderers Guilds Region Day, where the category was to complete a flower beginning with the letter I.’

Lilian, we can think of nothing better than our days being filled with stitching, art, grandchildren and most importantly, joy! We love that you found success with needle and thread at such a young age and that it’s accompanied you on life’s journey all the way from Zimbabwe to the UK.

Tulips | Edna Sanabia

‘I was born on a farm in North Dakota but have lived my whole adult life in Santa Barbara, California. I clearly remember my first embroidery – one summer when I was about eight years old, I was getting under my mother’s feet, so she handed me an embroidery kit and showed me how to do an outline stitch. The entire motif was done in one color and one stitch. I worked for hours at a time and after a few days brought it to my mother finished. She was impressed and entered it in the local fair.

It felt great to be recognized but that’s not what kept me stitching, I just loved it from the very beginning!

I have eight sisters, grandmothers and lots of aunts. There was always quilting, crochet, gardening, knitting and much more making going on, many of which I learned, but embroidery was always special to me. My favorite technique is surface embroidery and needle painting and I love the freedom of design.’

Edna, we love that from the rich history of making you were surrounded by as a child you found the discipline that suited you most – embroidery. It has served you well over the years and we think your tulips are simply stunning!

Vintage Flowers | Sue Cork

‘I live in rural Lincolnshire in the UK and have been interested in embroidery since 1964. I was 10 years old and saved my Great Aunt’s embroidery stash from a bonfire when my family were clearing her house. Over the years I have dabbled in all kinds of techniques, mostly self-taught from books and magazines. Until Inspirations magazine came out, most magazines in the UK confined themselves to cross stitch and although I have done plenty of that too, I wanted something more complex. I started doing lots of Hardanger and moved on to other Whitework, Blackwork, Crewel, Freestyle and Needlepainting, Stumpwork, Goldwork, Samplers and Silk Embroidery – in fact if you name it, I have probably given it a go!’

‘This piece is about 9 inches (24cm) square and was a vintage silver iron-on transfer by Deighton’s dating from about the 1960’s or 1970’s. These silver transfers were designed to be used on dark fabrics. The choice of colours and stitches was mine and uses DMC or Anchor stranded cottons and a mix of stitches, really just a needle painting, mostly in long and short stitch some of which are padded with stitches rather than felt. I do feel that there are lots of lovely old designs out there that could really come to life using modern threads and techniques.’

Sue, it’s amazing to think that your journey with needle and thread started with saving an embroidery stash from a bonfire. It proves that great things really can come from small beginnings! With your flowers bright contrast against dark fabric, your stitching reminds us of the work of Helen M Stevens.

Have you put your needles and threads to a botanic study? We’d love to see it! Email photos of what you’ve created along with a few details about your stitching journey to news@inspirationsstudios.com

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