There were fewer older children (of 11 or 12) at this year’s Christmas Craft Event, it seemed to me (although I don’t get a lot of time to look around when we’re in full swing) but fortunately still plenty of stitching action, including several boys. One of them was going to use the finished project as his history homework – they are doing the Victorians and were told to bring in some craft appropriate to the period. Although foam baubles would not have been recognised by embroiderers of that time, needlework is definitely an appropriate craft, and thinking of all the beaded slippers, woolwork sewing baskets and decorations stitched on perforated paper I’m sure many a Victorian needlewoman would have loved this new type of ornament to decorate! One modern-day young lady definitely did enjoy herself, and was justifiably proud of the end result.
I am a member of a stitching group that meets ever Monday afternoon during term time at the local adult education centre (where I also teach occasionally). It’s not a class, we simply all bring our needlework (mostly cross stitch, but also Hardanger, stumpwork, beaded cards, crochet and knitting) and work on that while having a good chat and a cup of tea. Sometimes a member may organise a workshop or demonstration, and anyone who is interested joins in while the others work on their own projects. And of course we all help each other out when a project presents particular difficulties.
We heard last Monday that a new lady would like to join, but she has no experience of needlework and would need a lot of guidance and advice about materials and so on. As she had also asked what she should bring, I told our group leader (who hates the title, claiming that all she does is pick up the attendance register from the office, tick it and take it back again) that I’d provide a small kit so that this lady would have something to get started on. A few years back I did some small kits for two children we were babysitting, but they had rather child-like motifs, so I decided on the mini peacock from the freebie section. I printed the chart in three different ways (coloured squares, coloured squares with symbols, and symbols only) so that she can see which type she finds easiest to follow, and stitched a model myself to check on the amounts of thread. Like many stitchers I have a bag of unlabelled stranded cotton which contained plenty of thread in the right colours, and a piece of 14ct aida was easy enough to find too. The second picture shows my stitched model next to the original peacock I stitched on 40ct silk gauze some time ago. It’s quite a difference…
Several people have let me know that they are thinking of doing a Floral Lace afghan, which has made me feel a bit twitchy – will 14 designs be enough? Should I design a few more? I am curiously tempted by the little red pimpernel flower, and I love lily-of-the-valley, although on white fabric with white Kloster blocks that may turn out a bit anaemic. But let’s face it, even if I disregard white flowers because they wouldn’t show up enough, there are still plenty of flowers I haven’t tackled yet. So the flowers aren’t the problem; new and different bead arrangements are more difficult to come up with! Because of this I am particularly pleased with the beads in Sunflower as the clusters echo the two internal, skewed squares formed by the Y-bars.
Perhaps thinking up some more new filling stitches would in turn inspire more bead patterns?