What Are You Stitching?
21st February 2020
The tree of life symbolises a connection to creation, but trees themselves are also bringers of shade, comfort, sustenance and remembrance. In fact, there is very little that a tree doesn’t offer up in our world, so we thought we would bring you some beautifully stitched trees from our readers.
‘This silver birch is a Jo Butcher design which I stitched for my husband for his birthday this year. As a school principal he planted silver birches at every school he worked in as well as at our various homes.’
‘When we downsized a few years ago he discovered the trees wouldn’t grow well in our seaside environment, hence this picture. Now he can have a silver birch wherever he goes.’
Robyn, your silver birch is beautiful and a fitting reminder for your husband and the work he did. How wonderful that he left a botanical legacy at all his past schools – we’re sure he enjoys seeing this wonderful piece on the wall each time he passes by.
‘I completed this wall hanging for the San Francisco School of Needlework and Design challenge, entitled ‘Healing and Reflection’. The artwork, designed by my sister Christina Baldwin, was scanned into the computer and printed onto fabric.’
‘I then used watercolor pencils to color and shade the image. I crazy quilted the background using various cotton fabrics. Eyelash yarn was couched down to give a grassy feel. The treetops are done with a needle punch, and the tree trunks feature different colored hemp cord twisted and couched down. Sloppy French knots, stumpwork, ribbon work and ribbon embroidery, various stitches, some mushrooms, turtle beads and vintage flower beads completed the picture.’
What a wonderful interpretation of your sister’s artwork Nina. The way you have incorporated so many different materials and techniques makes this a truly unique piece.
‘Here is an embroidery I have recently finished – Roger the Rhinoceros by Hazel Blomkamp. I am a self-taught embroiderer who hasn’t stitched many things before.
My mother said that she was going to learn to knit when she got older, but she said that when she was 80!
You can see that craft didn’t loom large in her life which meant that I didn’t have anyone to show me how to do crafty things.
I am 68 and have been thinking about starting embroidery for several decades now – you can’t rush these things – a bit like my mother! I have to admit that I am not the neatest person in the world and all the embroidery in your magazine is so pristine I felt a bit intimidated.’
‘My embroidery seemed to resemble a car wreck at times, however, I decided that I would have a go at enjoying myself regardless of the end result. I am too old to wait for perfection.
Having said that, I decided to try something really ‘easy’ like Hazel’s rhinoceros – never do anything by halves, that’s my motto! ‘How hard could that be?’ I thought to myself. So, off I went on a spectacular journey.’
‘I found that I spent some time prior to sleep each night doing my embroidery as it was a time when I could totally focus on the stitching.
I did find myself getting rather stressed when I started to do the fill-in embroidery for Roger. But then I thought to myself, ‘it doesn’t matter what stitch I do as long as I am using a stitch that I think fits into that particular space.’ This helped me relax and enjoy the journey even if it took me down quite a few side roads and dead ends.
I also gave him a new name – Kifaru which means Rhinoceros in Swahili
It has taken me about 6 months to complete, which was just in time for Christmas to give to my granddaughter as a special gift.’
What a magnificent achievement, Jill. Your embroidery is wonderful, and it sounds like your journey was worth every moment. We look forward to seeing more of your stitching as you explore further.
‘I began stitching in primary school. I was lucky that the curriculum contained handiwork. Since then I have enjoyed various types of embroidery.’
‘Since retiring I’ve joined the Embroiderers’ Guild branch in Merseyside UK, which is a lively group of likeminded people.’
Vicky, your Jacobean crewel work is lovely, and we’re glad you get to enjoy your needlework with a group of likeminded stitchers as it is certainly an important part of the stitching experience.
As always, we love showcasing the wonderful work from everyone in our community… however our cupboard of photographs is beginning to run short! So if you’ve been thinking about sending us a picture of your stitching, now is the time! Email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with a couple of photos and a few words about the piece so we can share it with all the other needlework fans out there – after all, your needlework might be just what someone else needs to inspire them to keep on stitching.