What Are You Stitching?
27th March 2020
We all know how wonderful and therapeutic stitching can be, and most of us have experienced how encouraging and supportive the stitching community is. It’s all part of the reason we love what we do and can’t seem to get enough of our passion.
So today, we wanted to bring you three inspiring stories from readers who have made connections and helped fellow stitchers through their work.
Maggie Ziehl | Quilt Swaps
‘In 2000/2001 our quilt guild took part in a miniature quilt swap with the Missouri Quilt guild. We each made a miniature quilt to send, giving them all a unique number before they were sent. Each of their members drew a number from a bowl to determine which quilt they would receive. The same process occurred at our end.’
‘All of us wrote a bit about ourselves and it accompanied the little quilt. My swap partner, Lynn and I still write to each other and have become friends over the years, even though we have never met in person. So, we ended up with so much more than just a mini quilt.’
‘She was the perfect match for me, my son has autism and she was an occupational therapist in special needs. She understood our life and challenges without us having to explain it to her. We both quilt and both love the colour blue, and our regular letters to each other were filled with chat.
We met as strangers and left as friends for life, even though we lived continents apart.
It was the start of a journey and a friendship which has lasted 20 years.’
‘Here is a photograph of the quilt I received from Lynne, as well as my quilt I ‘swapped’ (I created an identical copy of the quilt I had sent).’
‘Two years after the first swap, we did another miniature swap between Quadrille Quilters and the Missouri Quilt group. With this swap, I ended up with two miniature quilts, as their Guild had one extra person who joined after the initial number of participants.’
Thank you, Maggie, for sharing your experience – craft swaps are a wonderful way to bring together people with the same interests from all over the world. Your long-lasting friendship with your swap partner is testament to how stitching of all kinds can unite us.
Karen Coleman | Stitching on Jeans
‘In my youth a great aunt introduced me to embroidery, then recommended I find a library book to further my education. For about 8 years I embroidered on whatever garments I could find that needed some repair.’
‘I then stopped stitching for about 35 years. On becoming a widow, a lot of help was needed.
I rediscovered the value of needle and thread, so it is now a near constant companion.
I often find denim jeans in second-hand shops. Loads of blossoms are added, sometimes over foliage, some getting stems and leaves after stitching the flowers.’
‘A friend with a fine arts degree has suggested some modifications. Other friends find threads at estate sales. Over a year can be spent stitching one pair of jeans as I do most of it in waiting rooms.
I give the jeans to the poor, my theory being that having a pair of pants that fit might be appreciated. The bright blossoms are meant to offer a bit of cheerfulness in less than ideal situations. Each flower helped me smile.
Occasionally my stitching is seen walking down a street, so more warm thoughts then soothe my soul.
The price is right. The therapy is positive and easy to generate with minimal effort.
Without using patterns, anything goes. If something looks wrong, I stitch next to or over the ‘error’. Lazy daisies are quick, easy, and cover a lot of ground. Loads of stitches get added into the mix, but the lazy daisy keeps winning my favour.’
‘One to two threads are common, to allow for tiny blooms as well as two thread colours in the same needle. Only recently have I added heavier perlé threads, which allow for bigger blossoms to cover more territory quicker.
When a good portion of the fabric is covered, I know I’ve finished. I then gift them to someone with the right waist size. I purchase another pair of jeans and the next stitching adventure begins.’
Wow, what a beautiful example about how needlework can provide so much – peace of mind for you, and a wonderful, handmade gift for someone in need. Thank you Karen for sharing your experience, which is sure to inspire others.
Rion Asahina | Embroidery Therapy
‘I live in Chofu, Tokyo with my husband and 3 kids.
Last year, I held a workshop named ‘How to Start the Easiest and Cutest Embroidery’. Twelve people joined the workshop. It was very fun. Then, last summer, I held a workshop making buttons and collage with fabrics at an elementary school as a volunteer.’
‘I’ve just started as an Embroidery Therapist and while I don’t have much experience with needle and thread yet, I want to grow with the customers as I do my work.’
‘I hope that my embroidery therapy makes world peace come true.’
We hope so too, Rion, and we’re sure that if anything can, it will be the healing and connecting power of needlework.
Do you have any stories of how you have used your needlework to help others? Or how needlework has brought you together with someone else? Or any other needlework stories at all – all are welcome! Just email us at firstname.lastname@example.org with your story and pictures of your work.