Thursday 27 January 2022

It's a stay in and stitch day


What good is the warmth of Summer without the cold of Winter to give it sweetness.

John Steinbeck.

Although we have had lots of sunshine of late, the temperatures have been single numbers here.  I love going for a lovely walk along the riverbank and seeing the trees glisten with the frost and the sun.  Jack frost has been very busy making it so beautiful.

Apart from going out to appointments and to my Mum, it has been a hive of stitching activity here at Thimble.  I am working on a little pile of stitchery that needs to be finished.  I got a bit side tracked on my covered journal that I have mainly stitched whilst with my Mum in her very sleepy moments and days.

The fire has been blazing and the candles lit the pure cosiness of the cottage has been so wonderful and the slow stitching process has been good for the soul.

Its the hygge of it all and when combined it is pure bliss. 

A few weeks ago, you may remember I was asking your opinions on day light lamps.  Well I decided that indeed it was something I really would find useful on dull days and Winter short days of sun.

I decided that it was the day light bulb that was the winner and so as long as the lamp I choose was fit for purpose I could get and antique anglepoise lamp.  A friend found one on Ebay for me and it looked perfect.  It is antique and is the original cream colour.  It moves up and down and in every possible position.  It had been re-wired with antique looking cord and I bought a daylight bulb.  There is a square two step base and I am thrilled with it to say the least.  Its fluid so I can move it around and that means not only can it go on the little coffee table by my favourite chair to stitch in the lounge, it can go on any table here or easily moved to the studio as well. It folds up and I could take it away with me as well if I needed to.  My stitching hours have now stretched and that means even if I can not pick a needle until mid afternoon, now my sewing can continue on after 4 ish. 

Memories are stitched with so much love. 

Spring is not too far away and at the moment bulbs are doing their very best to sprout their leaves through the hard ground.  I am looking forward to it I must say because I am going to be busy putting in a little patio area that always gets full sun in the afternoon right up until the sun finally sets.  The rest of the garden at that point breathes a sigh of relief after a very warm day and settles into some welcome shade.

In addition to that I am going to raise a border in the little garden for my miniature fruit trees and some wild flowers in between.  Spring is the perfect time to get this done before (hopefully) the

heat of the Summer months.  The little fruit trees are at this point in time in huge pots but I really want to plant them out.

I have been doodling around with new designs and ideas as well.  I must admit I really enjoy that part of my stitching process.  The smell of a new paper page blank in front of you and just waiting to be drawn upon or even sometimes water colours are brought in as well.

Sat out in The Threads of Time studio the other day I had candles going and lights.  The radio was on in the back ground and I was imagining it filled with laughter when the workshop days start.  I think the fun, laughter, company of like minded people will lift our spirits after a difficult few years.  Covid has seen families apart and freedom as we knew it, taken away.  

Yesterday I went on a walk with my Sister and her dog and then we went to the farm shop to have a coffee and a cheese scone with homemade butter.  It was bliss, there we were face to face and not on facetime, laughing and talking... never again will I take that for granted.  

My days are split with sewing, organising workshop dates and designing for said events. I am hoping 2022 will be the year it can all begin.  I am so looking forward to meeting some of you.

On that note my basket of stitching beckons once more and the fire will need to have a few logs thrown on.  Then the kettle will need to go on for some tea and I can settle back in to my little tiny slow stitches and with my old/new day light lamp I can work on a little longer today.

So for now HAPPY STITCHING and as always take care out there.

Sarah XX

Thursday 13 January 2022

January Slow Stitches


As you practice slow and intentional stitching, your life, your attitude, your creativity, your health, your spirituality ... All of it will benefit as a result.

Mark Lipinski

January can be a bleak month, indeed here in Dorset we have been under fire from a monsoon of rain and now it is sunny but low temperatures that the frost actually looks like snow.  All the roof tops as far as the eye can see towards the river are white each morning.  My garden gate was frozen early today...

Now some might not delight from this but for me it is a slow stitch day with the light of the sun and being cosy inside.

I have being working on journals for my use of late, I find it is transportable to sit with my Mum
as well.  I have covered a journal with an antique embroidered tray cloth which is so beautiful it makes my heart sing and also with some slightly damaged antique linen that has weaving issues I have hand stitched the front and the back of another journal for me to use both this year.  

I usually pay a little over what I would normally for a tray cloth when they are as unique as this and if it is for my use well it does not matter as it is not for sale.  The working out of these can take some time as this embroidery is on the back as well.  The covering of the journal can take a lot of time to do properly ... I would say it is worth it.  It is a artist journal with incredibly good plain paper inside that will take water colours as well.

A good way to get into your slow stitching zone is to not think about making 'a thing'.  Take your time looking for inspiration and do not just jump in and think ' I have to make something with this.'  Be quiet, be patient, and play with the materials until they tell you what they want to be.

Melissa Jackson.

This is the front of my journal and as you can see there is what looks like a line or that it needs a good iron, but in fact it can not be ironed or flattened as it is a flaw ( some might call it) in the weave of a extremely old piece of French linen.  I love the character it brings to this piece.

I used a very old small hexagon that I had bought some time ago and the other one I made from favourite bits of my collection of paisleys and eiderdown fabrics I have.  I added three hexagons that have words written on them an covered them the same ... this time leaving in the papers and with the words on show.  

This piece will forever remind me of my Mum because the stitching was done by her bedside and on days when she was cosy in her chair and more alert I would give her little bits of the fabrics to

look at on her lap.  She would pick through them and look and then I quiet often got a smile.  To me this journal is worth more than gold.  I covered it at home in my studio because of the glue smell and the space I have in there.

The back of the journal was very simple with the words 'slow stitching' stitched on and a very old suffolk puff/yo yo stitched in place.  Inside I will write on the first page these words. Slow Stitching ... sustainability, simplicity, reflective and mindful.

This has been such a wonderful project to complete and the memories already contained within are priceless, even as yet not words have been written inside.

I have been refilling my jars which live in my studio on the dresser in there,  You may recall that I have a jar of hearts and my new addition is snippets for mice.  I have had plenty of those of late with cutting out little bits for the hexagons that I have been making.  

I am also getting ready to take workshops this year, I figure that Covid is something we will all have to live with.  So as long as everyone who attends has had their jabs and masks are worn
whilst stitching, that indeed we all need to have some freedom and some like minded fun.

I will be putting up some dates on here and there will be all the information that you might need to attend.  Six people on any one date may come and a full lunch will be provided along with drinks and a homemade piece of cake.   Everything you will need to complete a project will be provided and all included in the price.  To be with people who love to slow stitch or want to learn and the studio to ring out with chatter and laughter will be a tonic for me and for those who attend one of the workshops I hope.

So what will I be stitching today, the answer is I am not sure yet.  I have four projects ready to go and which ever speaks to me today will be the one I pick up.  I am not with my Mum today so I can choose one that is easier done here and have one to pick up and go when I visit with her.

At the moment there is Covid in her care home.  Everyone there has been jabbed but it still can happen so my visiting is limited.  On the ground floor where she is, is Covid free and she has a double door which leads to the garden in her beautiful room.  So we do not have to walk through the care home to see her ... We have to take a test everyday and that is ok with me.

Today though I am cosy at home and looking at the sunshine that is shinning down on the hard frost, which in turn is sparkling like diamonds everywhere.. and it is with this beauty that I leave you today to stitch.

As always Happy Stitching and please take care.

Sarah XX


Wednesday 5 January 2022

Threads of Time.


We can let others convince us to rush or we can choose to live in the moment connected with our stitching and the past.  Even if it is for only a few minutes a day.

Kit Dunsmore.

Firstly please let me wish you all a very Happy New Year!  2022 can you believe it, I got the keys to Thimble Cottage in February 2020 and not sure where that time has gone.  I hope you all had a peaceful, healthy and Happy Christmas.

The pleasure in the process of sat slow stitching is calming and serene.  You can be almost anywhere, sat in your favourite cosy chair, on a seat by the river watching the kingfishers and robins, on a train or like me most days sat next to my darling Mum if she is very sleepy.  Again we have days when she rallies an over the weekend was such a day.  Psychologists say that hand stitching helps to create a self induced state of focus, also known as mindfulness.  It is said to reduce blood pressure and anxiety and promote relaxation and I totally agree it does for me.

Mum was desperately trying to tell us something, her face had taken on a serious look and I am afraid she does not make sense with only the odd word we can recognize  We tried to tell her not to worry that we now do the worrying for her.  She got so frustrated that tears started to run down her cheeks, which in turn set myself and my sister off. The heartache we felt was immense.

However with this terrible illness comes loss of time and space and she soon forgot and cheered
up when we fed her a butterscotch mouse!

I love to read too normally but I can not seem to settle to that much so stitching it is and I must admit it clears my mind, my breathing somehow slows and I can just fall into my vintage and stitchery world with utter bliss. 

Fill your paper with the breathings of your heart.
William Wordsworth.

I always start new journals each new year for my stitchery designs and so one of the journals that I will be covering with the hand stitched design on to gorgeous antique French linen is for my personal use.  The French knots are still going and I have lost count as to how long it is taking but it is looking good in my opinion.  So I am still doing a few hours of those and then onto the journal coverings ...

The weather here in Dorset has been very wet for the last month it seems, however today is sunny but bitterly cold.. just the day to sit and stitch.

I have so many plans this year for taking courses at Thimble, however it all depends on Covid right now.  The Threads of Time Studio is awaiting laughter, stitching and fun.  It has been ready for over a year now and I find it so sad with the emptiness of people.

The dinning room awaits all the chatter around it at lunchtime on the courses too.  So plans are being made in the hope that this year anyone who has had their covid jabs can come and mingle with like minded people for the day and talk vintage whilst stitching...

This week saw the taking down of Christmas and getting back to some sort of normality.  I have some gorgeous new books to put away properly, calligraphy things and some gorgeous packs of vintage ribbons.  I am sorting things out this week and my stitching will be begin in earnest by the weekend.  That said I am going to be taking little slow stitches later and I have missed being sat there in my favourite chair with my basket of stitching. I want to finish my hand stitching on some gorgeous antique piece of French linen so that I can cover my new stitching journal for 2022.  The ideas are popping right now and are scribbled on a scrap piece of paper.... this of course will not do at all.

I have cut out a few gorgeous antique French linens to cover journals in and they are awaiting their hand stitched personalisation to be done.  These are easy to transport to my Mums and so I can sit with her whilst she sleeps and easy to put down and pick up again when she is awake and I can chat to her.  She looks at me as I quietly talk about my every day life to her.  I tell her about my walks that I take, what I have spotted by the river bank.  I hold her hand and tell her about all my hopes and dreams and hope upon hope at least some of it goes in.

I have received some beautiful letters through the post from my penpals and I sit and read those to her as well as  reading her Little Women too.  When she drifts off I pick up my stitching and sit and sew in the armchair by the window that looks into her garden and watch the robins go about their busy day.

I miss talking to her and she talking back to me and showing her my stitching and she would always love to see everything I stitched.  

Hygge is about the small things in life. Like warms socks. Candle lit room. A hot cup of tea in your favourite mug.

Hygge has been my best friend at Thimble when the decorations came down, plenty of candles and throws everywhere and a little pile of books by my bed and some in the lounge too.  I love the coziness of the Winter months and toasting my toes in front of the log burner with a cup of cinnamon tea close to hand.  

So for today I will leave you with that image as that is what I am about to do. Until next time stay safe and as always Happy Stitching!

Sarah XX

We will open the book.  The pages are blank.  We are going to put words on them ourselves.   The book is called Opportunity and its first chapter is New Years Day.

Edith Lovejoy Pierce.