Could you do without stitching? I would definitely feel a little deprived not to have my lovely, colourful, relaxing hobby, and fortunately it is not a question I really need to ask myself. It is one of the many things in my life that seem either an essential part of me, or too obvious to need any thought. Of course there is always a bit of needlework ready for me to pick up when I feel like it. And of course there is always a cup of tea to sip (often with a little something to nibble, too) whenever I want it. But last weekend I learnt that it is possible to do without an awful lot of things which once seemed essential or obvious, when I joined eight teenagers and four adults in our church’s Slum Survivor challenge. It’s remarkable, but you don’t really miss your stitching when most of your time is taken up by building a slum dwelling to live in, doing jobs to earn money, getting water, keeping warm, and trying to make something palatable for your family out of rice and lentils when all you have to add to it is a little garlic powder (no salt!)
We were lucky. After two nights we could go home, have a hot shower and any food and drink we liked, and look forward to a nice, warm, comfortable bed. Many millions can’t. The experience helped us all to look a bit more closely at what is essential to us and what we could do without in order to help others, and to appreciate all the more those wonderful non-essentials that make life so pleasant.
As for going back to tradition, this is about a design I finished some time ago. You could say that Wedgwood goes back to two different traditions. Its use of only one thread colour harks back to Hardanger’s origins when the Norwegian women of the region used only the white or cream threads they spun themselves, while the coloured fabrics echo the English pottery that the designs were named after. But what I especially like is the use of three thicknesses of one colour in these designs – the different ways in which they catch the light when you look at them at an angle is evidence that you do not need lots of colours to provide variation.
Does this mean that from now on I will forswear my lovely hand-dyed and other coloured threads, or beads, or other colourful additions? Uhm, no, as this sneak preview of Treasure Trove (finished! finally finally finished!) clearly shows .