A summer’s stitching …

I can tell autumn is on it’s way – not from that chill morning smell in the air, nor the blowsiness of the garden … No, it’s because I am all stitched out for this summer …

Last year, a visiting American friend brought me some lovely presents – two little hand-made bags and an exquisite glass heart – all charmingly wrapped up in a little flowery handkerchief …About the same time, another dear friend (this time from Nice) sent me some of her left-over fabric scraps – knowing how much I enjoy piecing odd little stitcheries together …Well, somehow these bits and pieces came together, and before I knew what it was June – and that little handkerchief was the centrepiece of a summer doodle stitchery … I don’t know why earlier incarnations of this piece escaped the roving eye of my iPhone, but there it is, they did.  I think it is because I struggled – I really struggled – to get this piece going further. Frankly, I struggled even to enjoy the stitching …

What changed for me round about June was that I eventually began to train myself  to look at my stitchery differently. It continued to be a bit of a struggle for a while. But I found I could stop aiming for a finished product, and focus on the particular, the different constituent parts of this embroidery. And how very different they all are!

There are twittering birds. With embroidered French knots those little birds began to twitter more and more …The cats’ glasses became even more extravagant …Their bow-ties flashier …The Mayan figures (scraps from my daughter) got glasses too …And little Japanese doll companions …One Mayan figure sprouted cats from its head …Which grew more and more elaborate as the stitching went on …Until there was a great totem pole of be-glassed cats …In the centre of the panel the flowers grew more ornate …With little decorative centres …Embroidered dragonfly hovered about them … (Copied from another stitchery of mine) …Another fabulous fabric bundle of scraps arrived, this time from my friend Claire …Did you see the silk cloud fabric just peeking out at the top from under the cat? Well, all of a sudden there were clouds in my stitching … little ones …And big ones too …And medium sized ones as well …And some time in the stitching, it began to snow little cherry-blossom flowers …I spent many evenings cutting out these fiddly little fabric pieces …Pinning them on …Suddenly there were loads of them …I am sad to say (but not surprised to record) that the kits were no respecter of my work …Finding it a comfortable pad from which to survey their domain …And boy does Eggy love my embroidery basket!Earlier this month I realized I was approaching the time when it all needed to be drawn together – it needed a border. Perhaps blue seashell fabric? Hmmm, I think not …But I could pick out that turquoise spotty fabric? No, too swimming … Now how about some dark ikat fabric? Ah, now that’s worth trying! It’s a surprisingly light fabric so needed some gentle wadding folded into the frame …And a nice bit of stitching along the ikat border to hold it all in place …Now for some final cherry blossom snowflakes to tie it all together …The outer dark ikat border is transformative, sending the inner dark border of the original handkerchief into recess, as though a window opening onto another world.  I am so very pleased!  It has to be time to finish stitching …

My weird and wonderful world of birds and cats
with glasses …

Just a bit of summer fun …


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10 thoughts on “A summer’s stitching …”

  1. This is so happily detailed! Is it possible you were thinking about your daughter’s pregnancy with the cats in glasses and Japanese dolls? Since you finished just after Felix made his appearance? And speaking of finishing, what a fine eye you have, adding that dark ikat border—It adds great dimension.


    1. Thank you, Maggie – and yes, I was very pleased with how that dark border changed the dimensions, but I hadn’t realised it was going to do that so can really take no credit! Nor can I really explain why I put the bits and pieces in. It may indeed be Helen’s pregnancy. Somebody else said that there was a distinct connection with the cats and birds in our real everyday lives. I wonder. Perhaps one day all will become clear!


  2. D > That’s a delightfully creative project – it looks though it should be fun, though I empathize with the difficulties you describe. Borders : I learned early (from major blunders) that the border is integral to a project like this, and indeed any project, and to be considered at the outset. Leaving it until later can be to risk disaster. Been there, done that, and have the not so colour-coordinated border to prove it! That said, these days, I can feel hemmed in by all that planning and calculating : I’d just love to make something up as I go along, and to hell with the consequences!!


    1. Thank you, Denise. It was fun (most of the time!) stitching. I think it wouldn’t have been in the spirit of this project to have been too organised about the border from the start! Most things come together, don’t they? 🙂


  3. More loveliness. Isn’t it fun when we change our expectations of our work and just let whatever is in there manifest?? I love the tiny flowers, and the little cat glasses.


    1. Thank you, Frith 🙂 Yes, I agree – it is such fun to go with the flow, and just see where the path takes you – after all it doesn’t really matter very much, does it? 🙂


  4. Wonderful Katherine! As always, amazed by your patience and attention to detail. Love the way you describe yourself dropping into the pleasure of the process.


    1. Thank you, Polly. And yes, stitching this really changed my attitude to such sewing projects. I’m mulling over starting another one now, and hoping I can sustain the mindfulness …


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