CHOOSING YOUR THREADS
A Case Study:
Erin loves to embroider beautiful designs for her home, family and friends. The first thing she looks for in a project that features a stitchery block is whether it has a story to tell, tugs at her emotions, or simply makes her smile. She gets a real kick out of wearing her heart on her sleeve through the projects she makes, and right now she is keen to make a birthday gift for her next door neighbour, who also happens to be her best friend!
After browsing through the stack of craft magazines she borrowed from the library yesterday Erin decides to sew a country style cushion. With her pattern choice made she carefully combs through the small tub of special fabrics she likes to use for her embroidery.
“What will best suit this project?” she wonders. Linen? Pale lemon gingham? Solid white homespun? Or maybe some tea dyed muslin?
She decides on the lemon gingham with its sweet hint of hearth and home because she is going to stitch a farmyard scene that features pretty russet chickens and a black and white cow very similar to her Aunt Mabel’s favourite milker, Daisy Mae. Erin’s best friend is a farmer’s daughter you see, and her home is filled with country crafts so Erin knows this gift will be perfect!
She sorts through her deep drawer of threads and places the colours she thinks will work well with her project onto the small table that sits beside her old and well-worn dark grey recliner. She has a regular routine of stitching in front of the television for a few hours each night after the dinner dishes are cleaned and put away, her husband comfortably settled nearby with the remote control and a favourite sci-fi series to watch.
A few days later her pretty farmyard scene has come to life and Erin cannot wipe the satisfied smile off her face! She can’t wait until Saturday when she has arranged to have the whole afternoon to herself in the sewing room. Her bright and cheery stitchery block will soon become the centre of a large cushion, and before she meets her friend for a birthday morning tea on Tuesday she can wrap it lovingly in the huge sheet of yellow daisy paper she bought months ago for such a gift as this.
Saturday afternoon arrives and after waving her husband off to enjoy his fishing she opens the door to her sewing haven.
Following the directions in the pattern from the magazine she trims the block to 8½” x 10½”. Turning to the large set of shelves which house her generous stash of quilting fabrics, Erin begins to study them closely.
Fat quarter after fat quarter are taken from the shelves, held against the stitchery, and then returned to the shelf. A slow half hour passes, and the joy of this project’s completion has begun to wane. Oh, why did she choose that deep turquoise thread? And the dirty-red-brown of the four chickens really stands out so much that all of her bright Christmas red fabrics clash dreadfully with it! The blue isn’t right, and the gold thread she used for the apples on the tree is nothing like the canary yellow she favours in her fabric purchases.
Glancing at her watch she decides to grab the block, her purse, the car keys and head to the quilting shop before it closes…
It took me years to figure out what I was doing wrong but one day I had an epiphany – choose the fabric first, then the material to embroider on, and last of all the threads.
No frustration, no waste of fabric or money, no more ‘not quite right’ finished projects that fail to truly satisfy the eye. Just a satisfying process which co-ordinates beautifully from start to finish.
And isn't that what we're all after?
In my designs below you can see this process in action, how the threads and fabric look as though they were made for each other. That's the joy of picking your fabric first and using it as your guide for choosing 'just the right' threads - everything works together in harmony...
You know, it’s very easy to take a fat quarter or even a small square of fabric with you to the thread or quilt shop to choose the right skeins for your project, but it's much more difficult to take the completed stitchery to the quilt shop and try to find a fabric you like that will blend perfectly.
I hope this has little story has helped some of you?
It's amazing how many people I've shared it with who have told me they'd never thought to choose the fabric first. And now they do.
The stitchery patterns above are inside the April issue of the Rewind Stitchery Club. If you'd like to make them yourself just pop over here to my Rewind page.
A new baby in the family!
In the early hours of this morning my daughter Anita and her husband were blessed with a second daughter, Khadija, another precious little one to love and cherish.
Mother and baby doing fine after a very long labour and eventual c-section.
Daddy overwhelmed with love for Mother and all she went through to bear this new daughter.
Big sister Aminah over the moon.
Nana over the moon and round the sun.
It's been a happy day at Elefantz, yet there has been sorrow in Christchurch.
I ask that God bless you. I pray that the small things in life bring you unexpected joy today and in the days to come. Sometimes we have to look for them, and sometimes they seem to be all around...but there is good to be found everywhere, despite the darkness and the sad and the evil that wants to rear its head and fill us with fear.
Hold fast to what is good and holy and kind and compassionate.
Hold tight to Jesus.
Hug one another and say "I love you".
Call that friend you're missing.
Forgive and make amends.
Be a light.
Shine God's light.
Let peace guide you always.