Stitching in all of its forms

There are hundreds of ways to use a stitch and I’ve tried many of them. Since retirement I’ve had the time to learn and play and also to teach and lead groups doing crafting, quilting, colouring and block-printing on fabric; a favourite has become embroidery by hand and by machine.

It all started when I bought a computerised sewing machine which did all manner of fancy stitches and was so clever that I could load complicated embroidery designs into it. Making the items as a background for those designs evolved through children’s clothes, play blankets, large quilts and table toppers, and lots of experiments in wall hangings.

Since retirement I’ve taken City & Guilds qualifications in Patchwork & Quilting and another in Hand Embroidery. But I’ve also bought and studied some fascinating books which have taught me how to use fabric and thread in dozens of delightful ways. There are opportunities to acquire new skills on-line as well. Not to mention local workshops and classes, particularly in this very artistic area where I live.

I moved on to making bags with all kinds of finishes. I used crazy quilting, applique, embroidery by hand and by machine.

When my lovely husband died I moved to be nearer to my younger daughter. Now l live in Herefordshire near to the Royal Forest of Dean in an area famous for the beautiful hills and trees of the Wye Valley. This is a place steeped in arts and crafts and several art trails are organised here during the summer months. I’ve taken part in the Forest and Rivers Open Studios event in the past two years.

Retired and in a lovely part of the UK I’m fortunate to have the time to experiment and practice new skills. I’ve set up and run a local group which meets twice a month. We try all kinds of stitching related activities including felt applique, making Suffolk Puffs and using Indian wood block prints. We haven’t run out of ideas yet and have a full programme for this year. Mainly though it’s about making friends and spending time together having mutually absorbing fun with our stitching.

Colourful little houses made with wool felt and featured on a needlecase.

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