With thanks to Inspirations Magazine
ISSUE 104 | AUGUST 25, 2017
Time to Stitch…
Your time is an extremely valuable commodity. Companies invest billions of dollars each year to try and grab your attention and divert your time towards their products and services.
Tech companies have teams of people creating ‘persuasive technology’ that they build into apps, websites, videos, newsfeeds, social media experiences, all designed to draw you in and steal your time.
Then there is your poor needlework. All your needles and threads just sit there waiting, wishing, hoping, that you’ll pick them up and start stitching. No voice, no tricks, no gimmicks, no proactive way of getting your attention.
Yet needlework has the most powerful tool of all – transformation.
One of the richest, rewarding and satisfying activities we can do with our time is stitch. It transforms us in a way few other endeavours can, but it does require something from us in exchange – it requires we give it our time.
So next time someone, or something, is trying to compete for your time ask yourself the question, is it as good as stitching? Our vote is probably not!
During my recent working craft cruise one of the “makes” was a wall clock. I have done this project on a previous cruise and it always proves popular. We used vintage fabrics, wadding, strong card for backing, embroidery hoops and of course, a clock mechanism. It does prove to be fiddly and the clock mechanism is temperamental. Although, that could be because they had travelled by mail all the way from China! The ladies who made the clocks were delighted with the outcome.
Use round doilies to minimise cutting and bulk.
Make sure backing card is strong but cuttable.
Provide smaller embroidery hoops (but not too small)
This project will defiantly be repeated if I’m lucky enough to be asked onto another cruise!
I’m still busy putting together my next craft cruise projects. This clock is just one craft that I’ve been working on. I’m not certain if it will make it to the final suitcase as I have really struggled with the clock mechanism. I suspect it’s a case of buy cheap get rubbish so I will need to review what to do. This is something that I embroidered but I did plan for my class members to up cycle vintage linens. As I have already bought thirty embroidery hoops I may need some inspiration as to how to use them! I will let you know how it goes. By the way has anyone got any good project ideas using thirty embroidery hoops?
I have mentioned my Monday craft group many times. The wonderful thing about it is the people ( of course) and the diversity of crafts that we have. There are spinners, knitters, crocheters, knitters, lace makers, knitters, embroiderers, sewers, knitters,and weavers. When we meet there is also a huge amount of chatter and laughter.
I recently commissioned one of the weavers, who happens to be the only guy, to make cushions. I wanted one for myself and one for my daughter. I must confess that he was very patient as I wanted mine to be woven in red. But not too red. With white but not too white. He was spot on with my request!
I also asked him to make a “purplish” cushion for my daughter. Again it was perfect.
Trevor also weaves the most beautiful scarfs which are soft and warm.
It didnt occur to me until I purchased these cushions that there is no need for a zip or fasten. Just use a polyester filled cushion pad and carefully wash cover and pad in one go when necessary! Easy!
I love this monogram…
B Is for : Better get on with it! I am still trying to complete some of my UFOs! I have completed a Christmas present this week. Last year’s not this! I can’t show it to you as I haven’t had chance to give it to Darling Daughter and she is the intended recipient! Watch this space……
B is for Blanket ( or Afghan or throw depending on where you live!). I have tried hard to get ahead with this Blanket this week. Today I spent my time at craft group Darning in ends. I hate that job so try to keep up as I crochet. This is a “use up stash sort of project”
B is for Beach -I love the beach!
One of the great things about cruising is getting dressed up for dinner. On our recent Fred Olsen cruise to Norway there was a choice of casual or smart dining. Mostly I chose dressing for dinner, just to make eating an occasion. The problem with this cruise was the need to take so many warm clothes! Sweaters, thermals and woolly hats don’t blend well with cocktail dresses and high heeled shoes ( In fact I mainly wore snow boots!!). Anyhow a great time was had.
We arrived In Alta, Norway our most Northerly port of call. It was very cloudy and mild (ish) so not too bad underfoot for a walk around the town. The cathedral was the first place that I visited. It was small, modern and peaceful.
In this beautiful building in the photograph above right, I lit a candle for a small person that I had lost and sat for some thoughtful moments in the peaceful pews.
I explored the town. All of the shops are located in “malls”and from the outside don’t look very interesting. Inside I found many shops and coffee places and FREE WIFI! I felt very clever when I used Google maps for the first time ever. This directed me to what is reputed to be Norway’s largest craft and wool store.
I had been warned of the high prices in Norway. Apparently a beer cost £9 but I didn’t try that! A coffee and cake cost £5 and I did try that! As money was no object(ha ha!) I gave in and purchased some Aida fabric and an embroidery hoop. Hopefully not destined to become another UFO.
It was interesting to get back onto the ship and compare craft finds with my new crafty friends!
Another project “in the bag” for when we go on our crafty cruise in January. K and I are working hard at putting the ideas, examples, and textiles together. We aim for all this to be done prior to Christmas so that we can sit back and relax. The preparation is hampered by the fact that we both have other cruises booked with our husbands in December. How lucky are we?
The latest project is a cover for coat hangers using upcycled vintage textiles. Many of these vintage cloths have beautiful embroidery and have lace on them. Many are damaged with wear and tear so this is a good way to re purpose these lovely old textiles. The project is worked using hand stitching, lots of imagination and is great fun. Hopefully this project will appeal to people who can sew and people who can’t as part of the delight of demonstrating these items is helping them to finish an item. And enjoy the result.
Each coat hanger cover includes a pocket in which I have put a perfumed piece of linen or could be used to hide jewellery. Neat!
Just two more projects to go so watch this space……
During our recent crafty Cruise we encouraged ladies to bring their own crafts to our classes. This was a great success and we had ladies who crochet, knitters and cross stitchers. We enjoyed the variety and their company.
There was a young girl recovering from an accident who whilst not able to work, had taught herself to crochet. It was good to watch her progress and help her where we could.
The age range of participants was unexpected and a great bonus. We had one elderly lady who had really bad arthritis in her hands. She decided to make herself a mobile phone case, which was her design. We watched with bated breath as she stitched slowly. Her hands were so painful that she had to keep stopping to rest them. She was delighted with the end product and we were delighted to see her success.
There was a lady who was knitting a foxy scarf and another who was knitting animals (just seen in the picture.) Everyone had a great time and I can’t wait to do it all again!
On my recent trip to Madeira, Portugal I was intrigued to see beautiful samples of the lace and embroidery worked locally.
The work is very fine and mostly done by hand. The cheaper items such as tea towels and cheaper cloths are machine made. It was lovely to see the demonstrations at the Spring flower festival. I didn’t buy any on this occasion as I have so much linen I could ( in fact might!) open my own shop.
These embroidery samples were each made by my children when they were in Junior school. They were usually made as Mothers Day gifts. The two boys produced excellent results which is amazing as neither would dream of picking up a needle and thread these days. Well maybe the Company Sergent Major would! They have used Aida cloth.
Aida cloth is manufactured with various size spaces or holes between the warp and weft to accommodate different thicknesses of yarn. These are described by the count. For example, a 10-count aida cloth would have 10 squares per linear inch. Typical sizes are 7, 10, 11, 12, 14, 16, 18, and 22 count, ranked from the coarsest to the finest count. Traditional colours are white, ecru, or shades of tan and brown, although brighter colors are also available. Aida cloth is sold in precut sheets or in bolts of 40″ – 60″ width.
Aida cloth has a tendency to fray and often needs hemming before use. It should never be laundered prior to craft work and tends to contract when the finished item is washed in soap and water. Hand washing improves the appearance of finished cross-stitching because Aida cloth naturally contracts in specific areas where it is embroidered.
I suspect that the teacher would have helped quite a lot,as they were each made when they were aged about eight or nine.The patterns are all quite precise and carefully balanced. I adore these “Folk Art” samplers and will keep them with my other treasures. My three children all have children now so I am watching with interest to see if the Grandchildren bring home similar gifts.