I hope you all survived the recent VERY cold front, and that your hands were not too cold to continue your beautiful embroidery. Now that the days are beginning to warm up, spring is on the horizon, and most of us have been double vaccinated (even though infection numbers are still high), we were hoping that meeting again would be possible in the not too distant future. Unfortunately that won’t be possible. The Roosevelt Park Recreation Centre is undergoing some renovations, and will be closed for the rest of the year. That means we will still be working from home, although I’m sure smaller, informal, self-generated meetings will happen, and perhaps the committee may have some plans for later on in the year.
We have reached the last month of our Covid project “The Eye of the Needle”. Jenni has between 20 and 30 pieces, and Hilary has a few as well. Please finish up what you are doing, and let us have them. The next collection day is the 28th August at the Roosevelt Park Recreation centre, and then the team will begin putting it all together. I finished my piece, and was truly inspired by a new book out this year “Threads of Life” by Clare Hunter. It is a story of the history of embroidery, but not about who wore what and which stitches were used, but rather a narrative of the author’s discovery of what embroidery meant to the many people (men and women) and how it is more than a hobby, but has been an eternal document of the lives and experiences of people of all ages, cultures and civilisations for about 1000 years. I bought an audible version and am still listening to it while doing handwork. You need a few tissues at times – it can be quite moving. It made me realize our Covid project is more than something to keep us busy during lockdown, but it is a statement of women in Johannesburg, in South Africa, during an event which is profoundly shaping us and will have huge implications in the years to come. Please don’t pass up the opportunity to have your say, and get your bit of cloth and do something for us. This is not about producing a piece of perfection which will be judged by the nastiest Home Economics teacher you ever met, but rather a statement, however imperfect, of our dealing with sadness, frustrations, deprivation, stress and a world-wide sisterhood (and brotherhood too) sharing the uncertainty of a spikey golf-ball shaped virus which has come to dominate our lives. Future generations will get to understand this in our unique way — WE NEED YOUR INPUT! I am including link to a review of the book which will tell you much more about what is in it.
Jenni has once again included a short “how to” piece (see the bottom of this post). You will all remember that last Friday was World Embroidery Day. To mark it, perhaps you may like to try something new if you have never done cross stitch before, or you might like to teach someone. 95% of the time it will be one lesson and they will probably never pick up a needle and thread again, but at least they now know what embroidery is. That other 5% may take to it at once or may pick it up later. See what you can do! There will never be too many embroiderers in the world.
Colleen Goy has been busy and she says she has a number of new designs in the pipeline. She has given us two of them and we are the first people privileged to see the final product. When you have done your “Eye of the Needle” project and handed it in, here are some exciting new things to take on. I have attached them to this letter. Keep an eye on the Roseworks website, and look in our favourite embroidery shops, and we will soon have new things to do.
In the meantime, keep on keeping on. These trying times will end someday, and let us use our art to make us stronger, kinder, and more resilient people – although most of you are there already! Lots of love.
Most counted cross stitch projects are worked on even weave fabrics made especially for counted tread embroidery. These fabrics have vertical and horizontal threads of uniform thickness and spacing. Aida cloth is a favourite because its weave forms distinctive squares in the fabric, which makes placing stitches easy. To determine a fabric’s thread count, count the number of threads per inch of fabric.
In addition to even weave fabrics, many stitchers enjoy using waste canvas, perforated paper, and plastic canvas.
Waste canvas is basted to clothing or other fabric, forming a grid for stitching which is later removed.
Perforated paper has holes evenly spaced, 14 stitches per inch.
Plastic canvas can be found in different counts and shapes.
Size 24 and 26 blunt-end tapestry needles are used for stitching on even weave fabric and Aida cloth. The ideal needle size is just small enough to slip easily through your fabric. When stitching on waste canvas, use a sharp needle. Sharp needles are also recommended for back stitch and other embroidery stitches used to embellish cross stitch work.
HOOPS AND SCISSORS
An embroidery hoop is recommended for cross stitch, and a pair of small, sharp embroidery scissors is very helpful.