Posts Tagged ‘memory’

I bit the bullet! I finally plucked up the courage to steam and cut the canvas round my Sue Hawkins needlebook and once that was done, the rest just fell into place. The waste canvas folded back a lot flatter than I thought it would and blanket stitching the felt down was a breeze.


The rest of the felt gave me four internal pages and a finish.




It feels very odd to have a roomy book to leaf through looking for needles instead of a scrap of felt half the size of a credit card!

Another finish was this broken vintage brooch…


…to which I added some 3D beading on a piece of dyed pelmet vilene.


The beading was set into the long channel down the spine of the brooch and I set cats eye beads instead of diamantes into the cup shaped settings.


A jump ring and a gold plated chain completed the transformation into what my middle one calls the ‘fancy pea pod’ pendant!


It’s available here in my Etsy shop.

The other finish is another upcycled pendant created from a section of broken vintage bracelet and a single vintage earring.


This one is available here in my Etsy shop.

The fresh start is the third of my memory journals. Now Tattershall has been put to bed I can concentrate on the Kew journal, remembering one of the hottest days of the year last July when I visited the Chihuly glass exhibition with my son. I’ve completed the cover, another stitched on paper piece which I blogged about back in last August but now I can focus on the Kew pieces rather than being distracted by having all three on the go as I did last summer. So here it is ready to be filled.


The first piece is based on an image of the Niijima Floats in the Japanese Garden. Hopefully I will have something to show by next week!

Read Full Post »

I recently started a Writer’s Circle at SLTC, and the focus of the last meeting was monologues. I love memories and anecdotes; precious fragments of lives, and one of the things that interests me most about stitching is how memories can become part of the stitched work. Perhaps through memories associated with the fabrics used, perhaps more actively through stitching as journaling, but most fascinating of all, through the memories, experiences and emotions that the person was undergoing when they stitched it. For me these so often end up in the piece as a record, invisible to everyone but me, of where I was, physically and emotionally when I set those stitches.

At the Writers’ Circle we write for a blessed uninterrupted hour. This is how I explored some of my thoughts about stitching and memory.

The Quilt

The speaker is an elderly woman in a care home somewhere in the American Midwest. She is talking to a visitor who has admired the patchwork quilt covering her knees.

 Thank you. That’s real nice of you. Yeah, I guess I am surprised. It’s been a part of my life for so long I’ve never really thought about it like that. It’s just a quilt. It’s soft, it keeps you warm; it…it…it ain’t anything special. Not like these fancy quilts people make nowadays. Goodness knows how they get ‘em all pieced and quilted so neat and fine and those fancy fabrics they use; silks and stuff. There’s only one piece of silk in this whole quilt. Course, I ain’t sure if it’s silk exactly. It’s a scrap my Grandma gave me. She said it came from the bodice of her grandma’s wedding dress. I don’t know if that’s true but it’s a pretty story. It’s that piece just there; feels soft, don’t it?

 I pieced that block through a real bad snowstorm we had one winter. Lasted two whole days and knocked all the power out from here to Fort Wayne. Frank and the boys shovelled a path to the barn, dug out all the old lamps of his mother’s and that’s all the light we had for weeks. Don’t look too close – that’s why the stitching ain’t too even. Lily was just a mite then. I used to rock her off to sleep in the old cradle and then I’d sit and sew with the mantle of that old Tilly lamp hissing away like a kettle on the stove and that heavy sort of quiet you get when the snow’s deep and thick, just thinking and stitching.

 That’s some of Lily’s first summer dress right there. Yeah, that pretty blue cotton with the flower sprays; came from Mason’s closing down sale in the spring of ’49. I bought a bunch of stuff that day. We’d not been married long and money was real tight but I knew it’d all come in at some point. Mason’s? It became a drug store for a while after old Mr Mason sold up and then the whole area got pretty run down. Course, it ain’t there now, it was on one of those blocks they flattened in the Seventies when they built the High School.

 That was from Mason’s too. I had a sun dress in that green with the flowers and cherries. It was so pretty and comfortable. Wore it for years and then when I put on weight I cut it down to make pinafores for Lily and Sylvia. That was from a shirt I made for Frank one fall. Remember I just had enough to make one for Kit too; brushed plaid cotton. I had such a bother to match the pattern – I reckon there was more cussing in those two shirts than in anything else I ever made – but they came out a treat. You know, I can see them two boys now, heading down the track to the creek with their denim pants tucked into their boots and their matching shirts and Kit’s little blonde head bobbing up and down by Frank’s waist. He was so proud to be going fishing just like his Daddy.

 Course, that was when Jack was too small to go with them. He’d stand by the kitchen door, sobbing and hollering in an almighty temper and then he’d start slamming and kicking the door till sometimes I’d no choice but to take the back of my hand to him. He always was the odd one. But there’s so much of him in this quilt. Not the material: I think that might be from one of his baby shirts and that’s definitely from a bowtie I made him when he was in High School and nutty on the Sanderson girl, but…no, not an awful lot. Not compared to the others, I mean. He’s there in other ways. In that block mostly. I was stitching on it the evening he came home to tell us he’d enlisted. Frank was a mild-mannered man but he’d seen enough in Europe in the last war and he said he weren’t having no son of his jauntering half way round the world and getting himself killed for some bunch of foreigners who couldn’t even run their country properly.

 And then they started shouting. I knew it’d do no good me saying anything when those two had their danders up like that so I just sat tight and sewed. Jack said some awful things about Frank being unpatriotic and un-American and then he called his father a ‘dammed Commie’ and slammed out of the house. Frank never forgot that, you know. It weren’t true but it hurt him more than anything and of course, they never had the chance to say sorry, either of them. Sometimes I wish I’d spoken up but that’s not what you did in those days. I just sat tight and sewed and it’s like I sewed every word into that block and it’s still there.

 Goodness! I don’t know what’s gotten into me, rattling on like this; you must be bored silly. After all, it’s nothing special. It’s just an old quilt.

Copyright: Alex Hall January 2012

Read Full Post »


stitching, creative textiles, inspiration

Claire Steele Textiles

Art, Textiles and Photography


for embroiderers and textile artists in hertfordshire and beyond


Embroidery & other craft


collecting retro

View From Our Hill

Textile, Mixed Media, Yarn, Books and Beads

Things I find in the garbage

I'm a professional scavenger making a living selling curbside garbage. This blog details my finds and sales. It also acts as an archive for things beautiful and historic that would otherwise have been destroyed.

Stitched up with Thread

Slowly threading things together through stitch

Lincs In Stitches

Creative ramblings in the Lincolnshire Wolds

Kiln Fired Art Blog

Crafts and the outdoors - slow living involving handmade ceramics, painting, textiles, walking and good food

Hillview Embroidery

Teaching and Learning One Stitch at a Time

Dreaming In Stitches

a mingled yarn

sunshine and celandines

These are a few of my favourite things.

LucyAnn &Luna craft

crafting,dachshunds including other bits & bobs

Carlseapatch's Weblog

A log of progress (I hope)and fun in textile arts


Life on a Cornish cliff

late start studio

Late . . . in taking my creativity seriously.

Shibori Girl

....practicing the fine art of shibori

Pomegranate Studio

- because making is good for us

Fall from Grace Crafts

A blog on my craft journey highs and lows...


one Englishwoman's work

Playful Bookbinding and Paper Works

Chasing the Paper Rabbit

Chrissie Freeth - Tapestry Weaver

Blog of artist and tapestry weaver Chrissie Freeth


into textiles & beyond

KDD & Co

Award-winning Scottish publishing and design