Sunday, August 28, 2016

Starting my Spirit Cloth 101 workshop

I have been reading and watching the videos / audios  ( ) and have been gathering my supplies so that I am ready to start my sewing. It is important to me to use what I have and to use things that have meaning. I want the process to be thoughtful and intentional.

So I have used a small basket given to me by my mother from Malaysia . It was from a trip she did many years ago and bought from a street market. It is a simple heart shape with some  Raffia flowers.  It is hand made and I have always loved the baskets piled with needlework that I remember everyone used to have. No posh , compartments or styles. Just simple and handmade.  I have used this to place my sewing tools and supplies as suggested by Jude Hill on her blog ( Spirit Cloth ) . It is old and comforting and reminds me of happy times.

My threads are very much in a nest . A Collection of DMC embroidery threads saved from other projects. I find it interesting to note that Jude Hill also describes her thread nest. It is somewhat exciting to pull colours from this nest and see if it is long enough to be used. I would have loved to keep my thread nest in a lovely wooden bowl hand turned by our friend Joy Cowley . However a nest of threads may be too much temptation for my cats. So instead I have opted for a red woven basket box that once held candy from my partner's mother. A welcomed gift on a visit. The candy lasted only briefly - the box endures to remember the gift. I wonder if I am like other women. I can't resist old tiny tins , baskets and boxes. Maybe its a Squirrel like instinct. Maybe is simply hoarding!

I have a wee container of pins stashed in a little Mary Englebright  box . It was a gift from a online friend. I really love it. A little hand turned needle case made from New Zealand Kauri. and a scissors which must be now over 20 years old. The black handle now scratched  to silver.  I had to add my two pin cushions. One a little owl made and stitched by me  while  the other a lovely patchwork one made by my friend Georgina. A lovely lady who makes the most wonderful cloth dolls. We used to do a little sewing day once  a week and a wonderful charity shop excursion from time to time. It was friendship forged from living so remotely in the country.  The pin cushion was a parting gift when we moved.

I also have a tiny notebook - one I remember so well from childhood for its 555  logo on the front. I don't even know if they are made anymore. I will use this for ideas and thoughts as it fits nicely into my basket. Last of all is - a flat hard board to use as a hard surface for stitching . This was a treasure found dumpster diving after a friend moved. Crafters and Artists we are a shameless lot.

The fabric I am using to stitch on is one of Greg's old shirts - its thin and soft and well used. the backing fabric is from an old pillow case my mother embroidered on as a Christmas gift. I saved the embroidery and torn apart the soft cotton fabric. It has a discolouring that comes with age and I love it.

In one of her videos /audios Jude Hill talks about the idea of coming up with a theme or meaning to the work. A purpose . An idea. I have given this some thought and scribbled some ideas. It does control my tendency to just jump into a project thoughtlessly and then lose interest. . I want to make something useful for my stitching- maybe a pouch or needle case . Not too big but something easily carried in a basket or my handbag. I thought of the theme of flowers or cats could do nicely - but was unable to decide between the two. So the idea of flower cats came up. Cats with flower faces or petals and stems . It amused me and opened a whole lot of ideas to think about. Maybe this is the point of making a deliberate plan.

My first task is to  to baste the two fabrics together using an invisable basting stitch. Jude demonstrates this in her video. It is interesting to note she describes the way the fabric then feels different after stitching the two parts together. I like this deliberate tactile observation.

So I am off to baste the fabrics and plan for the next section.I am eager to start sewing.

If you want to follow the class . it can be found on

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Our friends- please share with us your thoughts and words too. We welcome hearing from you and your unique insights.With love ..Greg and Tammy